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Reducing Fish Room Aquarium Costs ideas?

Andrew Puhr

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I am looking to reduce energy consumption in my unfinished basement fish room. I know there are various videos out there but I have some ideas and I am just looking for feedback. 

Total Aquariums: 2 - 30 Gallon Tanks, 3 - 40 Breeders, 2 - 75 Gallon Tanks, 1 - 80 Gallon Turtle Tank

All tanks are set-up with hang on back filters, heaters, some have sponge filters, and the turtle tank has a sump. All tanks have either glass or greenhouse plastic. 

I was thinking of ways to reduce costs would be:

1) Convert all non-turtle tanks to sponge filters and then just increase my water change schedule to keep nitrates down. 

2) Make sure lids are tight with no major gaps to limit heat loss

3) Change lighting schedule for non-planted tanks

I thought about heating the room but its a large space and I don't really wanting to build a room to heat within the unfinished basement. Any other thoughts?

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What sort of outdoor temps do you deal with?

I live in Maine with a heating design temp of O farenheit and about 6500 heating degree days per year.

In this scenario, I find insulating basement walls to be an excellent investment with payback on materials in under 7 years from house heating cost savings alone. 8 inches of concrete is R1. The same as a single pane of glass.

and the floors of the living space above become more comfortable as well.

I love adding insulation. Once done, if done right the benefit will outlive you with no degradation or extra energy input… It just silently works for you paying dividends every cold weather month regardless of how you heat your living space…

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On 9/29/2022 at 11:12 AM, Andrew Puhr said:

I thought about heating the room but its a large space and I don't really wanting to build a room to heat within the unfinished basement.

I would suggest not ruling this out totally yet.  I have virtually zero building skills.  However, I was able to build two different rooms in my basement out of the 2" thick foam insulation panels (blue board, I think, although mine is purple).  All I had to do was cut/or get cut a few board and attache them to the exposed boards that hold up the floor above (probably a construction-y name for those...  Joists?), and then I used Liquid Nails and some screws with big washers to attache the foam to the boards.  Presto!  I now have a reasonably well insulated room.  If you are curious about this "method" (if you can call it that), let me know and I post photos here.  It's shockingly easy!

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If you haven't switched to all LED lighting for the aquariums and the basement, there will be a savings there.

Foamboard insulation on 3 sides of the aquariums may be an option depending on your setup.

Calculate the total wattage used by multiple air pumps to determine if fewer larger pumps would be a savings.

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If the basement is cool, the lions share of the energy consumption is going to be tank heating, followed by lighting.


switching from hob to sponge filters is really going to see minimal savings.


an insulated room would help even with heaters in the tank.  Ie you do not have to heat the room to see the benefit.


insulating basement walls if in a cold climate will easily increase basement temps nearly 10 degrees if floors above are not insulated.

you could of course simply insulate all of the tanks, removable panels on front and insulated canopy on top for viewing and maintenance and replace them when you are not down there.

non planted tanks need minimal lighting. Minimal wattage led on timer for fish circadian rythym and viewing pleasure.


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