One of the first lessons that you learn when setting up your first aquarium is that maintaining a stable water temperature is essential. The temperature profoundly affects the inhabitants, and if you don’t keep it under control, then your cold-blooded species such as fish, crabs, and corals are not going to have a good time. Here is where aquarium chillers come in. As the name implies, the purpose of an aquarium chiller is to lower the water’s temperature level and keep it stable so that the inhabitants are safe at all times.
If you are thinking about setting up a new aquarium or improving your older one, then you are probably wondering what the best aquarium chiller is? We asked that question ourselves and decided to do some research. We came up with nine products that deliver stellar performances. Today we are going to review the pros and cons of the best fish tank chillers available on the web. Stick around for the end because we are also presenting a detailed buying guide.
Before you go ahead and purchase an aquarium chiller, let’s take a look at what are the most important features you need to search for in order to find the best fish tank chiller. Check them out below:
Chiller or Fan
When searching for the best aquarium chiller, you will find out that there are two types: chiller or fan. Picking the right type of unit for your aquarium is quite essential, especially since both types have their pros and cons. Fans such as the Petzilla Aquarium Chiller are great for beginners who don’t want to get complicated and install a chilling unit. That’s not all, fans are also more affordable, and you can purchase more fans as your budget grows. On the other hand, chillers are the best choice for bigger aquariums. They do a much better job of lowering the water temperature and have special refrigeration plates that let them work without a pump. However, aquarium chillers are usually not-budget friendly.
One important feature that often gets overlooked is the noise of the chilling unit. This might come as a surprise, but chillers that run continuously will make a loud noise, and this is troublesome if the aquarium is placed in the bedroom or the office. Luckily, there are units such as the IceProbe Thermoelectric Aquarium Chiller that are designed specially to run quietly. We also want to mention that fan chillers make more noise than the ones that use refrigeration agents.
If you paid attention to the products that we reviewed today, you probably noticed that their power is represented in HP. The power ranges from 1/5HP to 1/3HP. Here is where you will need to do some research because finding the best aquarium chiller requires you to select one that is powerful enough to maintain the temperature in your fish tank. We highly recommend the Active Aqua AACH10HP Water Chiller that is great for 10 to 40-gallons aquariums. The versatility of this unit is quite impressive.
Aquarium chillers run on electricity, and therefore, picking one that doesn’t use too much energy is always a good idea. The JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Chiller is an excellent example of a power-efficient fish tank chiller that will save you lots of money in the long run. With that said, we highly advise you to compare models and take into consideration how much energy they use in order to run at peak performance levels.
The best Aquarium Chillers
If you love the environment and you always choose to purchase eco-friendly products, then you don’t need to look any further than the Active Aqua AACH10HP Water Chiller that provides an alternative to the traditional freon chillers. The chiller freon-free, and instead, it uses R134a refrigerant that provides the same performances while being safe for the environment. The Active Aqua AACH10HP Water Chiller features a large refrigeration capacity, and thanks to this, it offers a high rate of flow for the aquarium. We also want to highlight that the unit is equipped with a user-friendly interface. The interface is paired with lots of buttons and a LED screen that shows all the important information.
The great thing about the Active Aqua AACH10HP Water Chiller is that it works with different volumes. Starting with 10 to 40 gallons, and going up to 80 to 250 gallons, the fish tank chiller can be paired with any aquarium setup. That’s not all. The versatility of the unit impresses even further. It can be used for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums because it features a ventilator that is built from anti-corrosive titanium. The last thing that we want to mention is that the Active Aqua AACH10HP Water Chiller has a 1/10 HP that provides an excellent flow rate of 132 to 396 gallons per hour. The water will be cooled in almost an instant.
- Versatile (works with saltwater and freshwater tanks);
- A flow rate of 132 to 396 gallons per hour;
- It uses R134a refrigerant;
- Large refrigeration capacity;
- The chiller is available in budget-friendly and premium options.
- The build quality could be a bit better.
JBJ is a leader in the aquarium chiller industry, and the JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Chiller is one of its bestselling units shipping with a plethora of features. The JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Chiller is super easy to use shipping with a digital controller that has a backlit screen to be readable day or night. To make things even better, the unit is bundled with a built-in programmable thermostat so that you don’t have to program it every couple of hours. The fish tank chiller will do all the ‘heavy-lifting ‘for you. Also, the JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Chiller measures in at 13 x 21 x 20 inches. The small footprint is quite essential because it means that you will not have problems finding a good spot for it.
If you are new to aquariums and are worried that installing the chiller is complicated and you need to call a professional, then you should be pleased to know that this is not the case for the JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Chiller. The fish tank chiller has a compact design, and it is easy to install and set up. Moreover, the JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Chiller uses a highly efficient condenser that is optimized to use less energy so that your electricity bill doesn’t go up. The last thing that we want to mention about this unit is that it is corrosion-resistant and that it contains safe ozone friendly R134a refrigerant. You will be doing the environment a favor by choosing to buy this aquarium chiller.
- It chills up to 40 gallons of water;
- Quick and easy to install;
- Compact design;
- It uses R134a refrigerant;
- Digital controller;
- It uses titanium refrigeration coils that are corrosion resistant;
- It is available in multiple models.
- The unit runs 24/7.
Are you looking for a budget-friendly product that is going to keep your aquarium’s water temperature low at all times? If that is the case, then the Petzilla Aquarium Chiller is ideal for you. The aquarium chiller uses fans that clip-on to the edge of your tank to reduce the water temperature. You can get setups of one to six fans, and they can be adjusted to an angle of 90-degrees to blow the cold air directly into the water. According to the manufacturer, the Petzilla Aquarium Chiller will lower the temperature by up to 4-degrees Fahrenheit. This is quite impressive when considering that the device doesn’t use freon or refrigerant.
The Petzilla Aquarium Chiller offers two variable speed options and an easy-installation design. You don’t need to assemble the fans, and they are good to go as soon as you clip them on the tank. Not just that, but the manufacturer also includes an AC adapter to ensure that power is not an issue. While the aquarium chiller is affordable and runs well, there is a downside that we need to highlight. The Petzilla Aquarium Chiller is compatible only with aquariums with 0.5-inches thick walls. Also, the size of the device varies depending on how many fans you will order.
- Adjustable fans;
- It ships pre-assembled;
- It contains an AC adapter;
- It lowers the temperature 4-degrees Fahrenheit;
- Easy to use.
- The fans are loud.
On the fourth spot, we have a high-quality titanium chiller that is designed to work for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. The Aqua Euro USA Max Chill is powerful, quiet, and it features a compact design that is not going to take up lots of space. However, the feature that makes the Aqua Euro USA Max Chill stand out is not its power or efficiency. Instead, it is the compressor that uses an eco-friendly DuPont R134a cooling agent. The digital LED screen is also a nice touch because it provides simplified functional control over the temperature levels. Another useful feature that the Aqua Euro USA Max Chill offers is the automatic power surge shut-off control. This feature protects the fish tank chiller in case of a power outage, and it reverts to your preferred settings.
The Aqua Euro USA Max Chill is great for fish tanks of up to 320 gallons, and it provides a flow of 315-795 gallons per hour. The heat removal rating of the unit is quite impressive, and it comes as a courtesy of the heavy-duty condenser that easily releases the heat collected from the water. Since we mentioned the condenser, we want to note that it is easy to remove it alongside the filter to make cleaning easy and effortless. If you dread spending hours trying to assemble devices, then you should be happy to know that the Aqua Euro USA Max Chill contains all the necessary fittings for quick installation on any aquarium.
- Ideal for aquariums up to 320 gallons;
- It provides a flow of 315-795 gallons per hour;
- Heavy-duty condenser;
- Easy to assemble;
- Compact design;
- Digital LED temperature display;
- Automatic shut-off control.
- The price is high.
The IceProbe Thermoelectric Aquarium Chiller is quiet, efficient and it works best for small aquariums. This makes it ideal for nano fish tanks or shrimp aquariums that are around 10 gallons. The highlight feature of this unit is the advanced thermoelectric technology that converts electric power into cooling power. The temperature of your fish tank will be lowered in an instant, and you will never have to worry about adjusting the heat again. In addition, the footprint of the IceProbe Thermoelectric Aquarium Chiller is really small. Although there is a problem that you are going to deal with. The unit requires a drilled aquarium. You need to have a hole that can fit the probe.
If you are handy with power tools and can customize your aquarium to fit the probe of the chiller, then the IceProbe Thermoelectric Aquarium Chiller is a great option. The reason why we are saying that is because unlike other aquarium chillers, this one is not going to take as much space inside the fish tank. Moreover, the chilling action is continuous, and you don’t have to press an on/off button to maintain the temperature at safe levels. According to the manufacturer, the unit does a fantastic job of chilling 10 gallons of water by 6 to 8-degrees Fahrenheit. That’s not all. The unit can also chill bigger aquariums of 20 or 40 gallons by 1 to 2-degrees Fahrenheit.
- Small footprint;
- It chills 10 gallons of water by 6-8-degrees Fahrenheit;
- It runs silently;
- Requires no pump;
- It runs continuously;
- Ideal for small aquariums;
- Reasonable price.
- It requires a drilled hole for the probe.
The Hamilton Aqua Max Aquarium Chiller is one of the most expensive products featured on our list, and there is a good reason for that. The unit features a durable build, and it does a fantastic job of automatically maintaining and regulating the water temperature. You don’t have to manually control the unit because it will automatically turn on when the thermostat senses that the water is getting warm. To make things even more impressive, the Hamilton Aqua Max Aquarium Chiller features a user-friendly LED control panel that makes it super easy to control the temperature. If the price tag is a problem, then you should be happy to know that the product is available in multiple options, including a budget-friendly one.
The Hamilton Aqua Max Aquarium Chiller uses an anti-freezing system that makes sure the heat exchanger never freezes. The high heat removal rating (BTU) provides 25% more BTU per watt than most of the aquarium chillers featured in the same price range. This puts the Hamilton Aqua Max Aquarium Chiller in the premium category. The fish tank chiller is also eco-friendly, and it uses a DuPont cooling agent that doesn’t damage the ozone and uses lesser energy than other cooling agents. Also, the unit is easy to install. It doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes to set it up, and you can even remove the front condenser grill and the filter to make the maintenance work more manageable.
- High heat removal (BTU Rating);
- Memory recall system;
- Digital LED temperature display;
- Automatic shut off;
- Anti-freezing system;
- DuPont cooling agent;
- Removable condenser grill and filter.
- The price is high.
Coralife is one of the most reputable companies in the aquarium chiller industry, and this is thanks to the fact that it produces efficient units that are equipped with excellent temperature control systems. The Coralife Energy Savers ACL36060 Chiller is not an exception to that rule. You only need to set the right type of temperature for your aquarium, and the unit will take care of everything else. The installation is simple, and you don’t need to spend any extra money on maintenance because the unit is equipped with a reusable air filter. Simply clean it every week to make sure that it performs well. Not just that, but the air filter is easily accessible, being hidden just behind the main grill.
The Coralife Energy Savers ACL36060 Chiller is built to last, and it uses very durable and high-quality materials. If this is not impressive enough, then you should know the aquarium chiller is equipped with an LED screen that is highly visible and easy to use. There is a “set” button that you can use to lock in the desired temperature and two other buttons that make it possible to adjust the settings manually. Moreover, the Coralife Energy Savers ACL36060 Chiller features adjustable inlet and outlet connections so that the compression prevents leaks.
- Premium product;
- Durable build;
- Digital LED temperature display;
- Adjustable inlet and outlet connections;
- It includes a reusable air filter;
- Easy to install;
- User-friendly design.
- The chiller runs loud.
8th EcoPlus Chiller
On the seventh spot, we have the powerful EcoPlus Chiller that comes in three models: 0.1HP, 0.25HP, and 0.5HP. The price difference between the models is significant, and this is because they all provide different power settings that are suitable for various aquarium sizes. However, there is one thing that all models have in common. They all deliver reliable performances and run quietly. The unit is equipped with a LED screen and three buttons that make it easy to set the correct temperature and monitor it. What’s great about the electronic controller that the EcoPlus Chiller features is the fact that it remembers your settings. In case the power fails, the aquarium chiller will automatically revert to the settings you saved.
The manufacturer recommends a maximum water volume of 132 gallons for the EcoPlus Chiller. However, we think it’s safe to say that this capacity is more than enough for most fish tanks. Moreover, the manufacturer states in the specifications that the recommended pump size is 317 to 793 GPH. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with plumbing, because the EcoPlus Chiller is bundled with plumbing connections of 3/4-inch NPT with hose fittings. The pump will circulate 66 gallons per hour without a single problem! On a final note, the EcoPlus Chiller uses a titanium heat exchanger that provides fast performances, and it is corrosion-resistant.
- Available in three models;
- Runs quietly;
- Digital LED temperature display;
- Powerful compressor;
- Built-in microcomputer;
- The pump circulates 66 gallons per hour;
- It includes 3/4-inch NPT connections.
- It will get hot when running continuously.
As we have previously mentioned, JBJ Arctica is a big brand in the aquarium chiller industry. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that another product from this company is making an appearance on our list. The difference is that the JBJ Arctica Aquarium Chiller 1/15 HP is a more affordable version of the previous product from this company. However, you shouldn’t let the budget-friendly price tag fool you into thinking that this is not a premium product. The unit is one of the quietest fish tank chillers available on the market, and it stands out with its highly efficient condenser that helps you save money in the long run by using less energy.
The JBJ Arctica Aquarium Chiller 1/15 HP falls into the premium category, and therefore, it boasts with titanium coils that are excellent for heat exchanging. Just like the first product from JBJ Arctica, the JBJ Arctica Aquarium Chiller 1/15 HP is easy to install. The unit is built in-line so that you don’t have to struggle with the setup process. We also want to note that the aquarium chiller weighs in at only 25 pounds, and therefore, you are not required to find someone to help you pick it up when it arrives at your doorstep. All in all, this is a highly efficient aquarium chiller that does a fantastic job of keeping the water temperature at safe levels so that your fish are happy.
- Reputable brand;
- It weighs only 25 pounds;
- Highly efficient condenser;
- Titanium coils;
- Small footprint;
- Quick installation;
- It runs quietly.
- The construction quality could be improved.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best Aquarium Chiller?
The rule of thumb when selecting the top 9 products reviewed by us today was that all of them need to be of premium quality. Therefore, you can’t make a wrong choice here as long as you take into consideration the capacity of your aquarium. If we had to pick one as the best, then we would go with the premium Active Aqua AACH10HP Water Chiller.
How do Chillers work?
The definition of aquarium chillers is that they are special devices that can reduce the temperature of water in a fish tank and keep it at a safe level for your species. Chillers are available in multiple types, and the most popular ones are fans that blow air across the surface or refrigeration plates that pumps the water. A reliable aquarium chiller is a “must-have” because it allows you to choose a preferred temperature.
Are Aquarium Chillers difficult to assemble?
If you are not an experienced hobbyist, then you are probably worried that installing an aquarium chiller is going to require a professional or power-tools. Fortunately, this is not the case. Aquarium chillers are easy to assemble, and they also ship with written instructions that show you how to do everything in a step-by-step guide. Not just that, you can also type in the name of your fish tank chiller on YouTube, and you are guaranteed to find at least one instructional video.
Why do Aquariums overheat?
Are you wondering if getting a chiller is mandatory and why do aquariums over-heat? A chilling unit is necessary because many factors impact the temperature in a fish tank. For example, the temperature in people’s houses is usually higher because no one likes sitting in the cold. This will slowly but surely impact the aquarium’s water temperature. In addition, equipment such as pumps and lights that are used for aquariums will make the water overheat.
How do I clean an Aquarium Chiller?
Maintenance work is the most annoying thing about aquariums, and luckily, cleaning a chiller unit is not complicated at all. You can start by disconnecting the water pipe connections to the chiller. Repeat the process for the electrical connection, and from here on, you only need to rinse the chiller with clean water. If you have a saltwater aquarium, then you will probably also need to clean the calcium deposits. The Hamilton Aqua Max Aquarium Chiller is a great choice here because the front grill is easily removable, and it also ships with a reusable filter.