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[APD] Cool towel

Last May we had a heat wave here.  It was an unseasonable foreboding of more 
heat to come.  It got up into the Nineties and lasted for several days.  We 
all know how much plants like high temperatures.  I'm sure my bottle of fish 
antibiotic was ruined and who knows what may have happened to the vitamins in the 
fish food or to the chemicals used in the test kits.  Some stuff is supposed 
to be stored at room temperature.  Several of the meds in my medicine cabinet 
are labeled for storage below 84 degrees fahrenheit.  One of my test kits 
should be stored at or below 73 degrees F.  I took some things downstairs where 
it's cooler.

Unfortunately, upstairs in the two gallon aquarium the water was ninety 
degrees!  I considered getting a Coolworks Iceprobe thermoelectric chiller for 
$129.00.  A hole in the cover glass would have been all that was  needed to insert 
the probe for chilling.  There would be another cover glass without a hole in 
it for when the chiller wasn't in use to keep the fish and plants from 
jumping out.  But why spend all that money when you're probably going to upgrade to 
a bigger aquarium in which you couldn't use an Iceprobe?  And what about the 
chems and meds?

So I went to the archives for a DIY solution.  It seemed so daunting I didn't 
expect to find anything.  But then, there it was.  Evaporative cooling was 
the answer.  Several of the posts recommended using a fan to accelerate 
evaporation at the water's surface in order to help cool the water in the tank or to 
blow heat away from hot ballasts and lights.  But my fish jumps so I couldn't 
just remove the cover glass.  And if the cover glass is not removed the fan 
can't hit the water and it won't evaporate as quickly as it needs to.  Other 
posts suggested using a tray or trays outside of the tank to increase evaporation 
and cooling of the water with a greater potential surface area, but I didn't 
know what effect this might have on injecting CO2.  I really like this idea 
though.  It's a little cooling tower for your aquarium.  Has anybody ever tried 

The idea of evaporative cooling reminded me of the sling psychrometer used by 
people to get the wet bulb temperature.  You spritz a muslin bulb on a 
thermometer with water and swing it around on a cord to evaporate the water in the 
bulb.  After a while you read the thermometer and compare it to another to get 
an idea of how much the water is evaporating and cooling.  The more humidity 
there is, the less evaporation and cooling there is.  With this in mind, I 
dampened a towel, folded it in three and wrapped it around the small aquarium.  
The water temperature went down from 90 to 78 degrees in about an hour and the 
towel stayed damp a long time.  I then placed another dampened towel over the 
top of a small insulated lunch tote to store my chems upstairs next to the 
aquarium with a resulting temperature of 74 degrees!

Hope this helps someone with a small tank this Summer, George

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