Wednesday, July 29, 2015

DIY Corner: Fan Power!!

Hi Folks!

With the onset of summer in full swing, depending on where you're living, you may or may not be experiencing heat problems. I figure I make a short entry to help folks explore a different cooling method other than the typical cooling methods such as chillers (expensive), AC (also expensive and not every house has one), freezing ice bottles and adding it to your hot tanks (highly ineffective), and many other misc. methods. 

As we all know, summer can be a big issue for those living in places that experiences extreme temperatures. Myself, I am living in an almost desert like state, and our summer gets pretty..warm.. I usually dread the summer because all my hard work breeding and rearing my shrimps ends up dying due to the hot summer (also I hate the sticky icky summer and I have bad allergies).

As such, I wanted to share something that I've found to be extremely helpful at cooling and fending off the summer heat. I am a big advocator of using fans to air cool my tanks. Fans provide cooling to our tanks in the form of evaporation. If you can deal with this problem, then air cooling is a very efficient and cost effective way at dealing with the heat.

Clip on fans (Aquarium Fans, keyword ebay search) are very easy to find. If you're not techy, then I would highly recommend searching for an eBay auction and just buying a pre-assembled setup. Having been using the China made aquarium fans since 2014, I can confidently say that they work. Not only do they work, but they work pretty well. The only downside of the fans are that they are quite noisy, and the prices of individual units are high and can really add up of your an enthusiast with many tanks (as I am assuming you are if you're reading my blog). 

After buying 3x China made aquarium fans and spending nearly $120 for the lot, I figured there must be a more cost effective approach to cooling me fan. I figured that PC Fans wired into a DC power source is something not overly difficult and thus could be sourced and made in scale at very affordable prices. And so I started my search and planning. I wanted something that was aesthetically pleasing but had function and form to support.

Below is a prototype of what I came up with. This is a singular PC fan wired into a DC wall adapter. Unlike the China made fans that comes with a minimum of 2 fans, this single 80mm monstrosity is a single unit that packs enough cooling power as the 6x fans unit... no lie.... 

This is a 3-spd Antec 80mm fan that I found and decided to use as my prototype. This fan was small enough to be discrete but had enough power to cool a 20G long without much effort.

For the longest time I struggled to figure out how to attach the fan onto the tank. I found that it was too costly to have plastic fabricated to fit my aquarium. As such, I found a L-arm that provided the perfect fit. 

Wires all hidden behind the heat shrink cable and connector plugs. I'm all about aesthetics, so looks was an important factor to account for. If I couldn't achieve a nice looking cooling unit, then I would not pursuit this project in the first place. #1 Rule: Aesthetics

A closer look at the L-Arm that allowed for this entire project to happen. This little guy was the catalyst that made it all happen.  This serves as a very tight clamp and can be  modified to fit any size Rimless GLASS tanks under 40G.

The 3-spd controller. Another reason why I decided to opt for the Antec fan is because this particular unit allows the end user to set speeds at low, medium, and high. You may be wonder why this is important? Well, this factor is important because this single 80mm fan can be fitted for tanks as small as 4G all the way up to 25G. Having a speed controller will allow for less evaporation if fitted for a smaller tank. The cooling provided will be the same, but the low settings help cut down the evaporation. Additionally, on warm days, you can change the settings down to low and have the fan run all day and maintain the tank's cool temperature or set to high if rapid cooling is required. Lastly, the low - medium settings is very quite, unlike the China made fans. Suitable for bedroom tanks.

Photo of this unit clipped on the side of my 60P. It's very discreet and actually looks much better than the bulkier China made fans. 

Special thanks to my dear friend Gene for helping me understand how the rig this setup and for inspiring me to find a more cost effective approach to keeping my tanks cool. 


  1. Hi shrimpfan.
    I'm reading your posts right now. Very interesting.
    I have a question to your Japan trip.
    Can you contact me on clayiant at

    Greetings from germany,


  2. How did you attach the fan to the clip?

    1. The fan and clip are attached by a double sided adhesive used for clocks and heavy objects. It’s 20lbs tested. I was initially planning on using a plastic bonding agent that would melt and bond the plastics on a chemical level but decided against it. The chemical bonding process left a lot of holes and warped the plastics making it look really ugly.

      The double sided adhesive tape is discrete and very sturdy.

      On a side note, I’m working on rigging PC cooling fans on all my breeding tanks on the rack. Planning on installing a “brain” or smart system that can turn on/off when the tank is cooled to a specific temperature. This way I can better combat evaporation and save on electricity.

  3. Hi I just found your blog and I'll be further reading all your posts but I do have some questions so Ive kwpt neo shrimp before and have a tank for Crs and CBS and set up a new 20L for Taiwan bee shrimp but my problem is during the day I can keep temps low with ac on but at night I can't run the ac and the temp reaches 78-80 with a fan on do you have any advice?

  4. Hello,

    If you're having issues with cooling the tank at night, and running AC all night is not a viable solution, then I would recommend doing a fan cooling. Fan cool should be sufficient as it is much cooler during the night. Also, it is dependant on where you are living. If you have spare PC fans laying around the house, then find a 9v-12v power unit and hook it up to the fan. I would suggest a larger fan (90mm+) as it will provide a more steady cooling during the night. It will also be less noisy. Evaporation during the night will be a problem but setup a simple dripping system and you'll be fine, or wake up a little earlier in the morning if you have work and topoff.

    Hope that bit of info helps.