Teco Tank TK 500: the king of chiller – In depth review
An important constructive detail is certainly the positioning of the probe temperature inside the chiller. Teco insert the probe on the water inlet hose, in this way there is the assurance of detecting the actual temperature coming from the aquarium because the water is not cooled by the chiller, and this is one of the reasons why after some time from power on you might not notice a drop in temperature on the display.
If the probe is in fact installed on the outlet pipe, the water would be affected immediately and the Teco TK500 would detect and immediately show a lower temperature, but which would not be the real situation in aquarium, only the cold water coming from the unit. And this would lead to frequent cycles on and off.
Installation is extremely simple, as it is possible to get also insulated pipes of the right size from Teco, that must then be tightened with the supplied springs.
To clean it, and it is better doing before each use, you need to disconnect it from the sump, and using the supplied plastic clamps is simple, to put its circulation pump and pipes into a big pot where you will put water and hydrochloric acid (acid muriatic) to 5%, leaving one pump turn on for about ten minutes, in this way the acid will dissolve any residue of limestone that it were to be deposited inside. The recommendation is to not use concentrations higher than 5%. Following the cleaning will be necessary to rinse with plenty of water, even tap water, there is no reason to use reverse osmosis water here.
Once put in place, and having chosen a suitable pump, Teco recommend at least effective 400 liters per hour, you immediately notice the low overall noise, and especially the frequency of the noise, as if the noise generated by a fan larger gives much less discomfort than what was generated from previous models.
The display continuously shows the temperature measured in the tank, or better, the temperature of water which is conveyed inside, with a view to the tenth of a degree. Similarly the temperature control is always set to tenths of a degree. The cycle of action shall be one degree, editable via menus in half a degree while holding down the button set, although Teco does not recommend it because too many power cycles in the long run may damage the compressor.
To set the required temperature, simply press the “set” button for three seconds, the display will flash showing the setting temperature and you can vary it by the two arrow buttons.
When you turned on, you can immediately notice the power of the compressor that generates a little annoying noise and not particularly high, compared to other chillers that I had felt at home, and those of aquarists friends. We believe that the TK 500 has made a significant step forward in comfort.
The field trial
The aquarium test on which we have installed it and tried throughout last summer is from Jonathan Betti and you can see in the picture below.
As you can see the aquarium was lit mainly by a pair of ceiling Elos E-Power HQi 250 watts, and the dimensions were equal to 150x60x60 (h), or an aquarium with 540 liters gross with a thermal capacity of close to 1 watt per liter due to the lamps.
A trial almost impossible if we consider the power of the chiller, but we were curious to see what the TK 500 under stress would have done.
From the point of view of cooling, there were no particular problems, even if the chiller remained switched on for long periods, and the aquarium is always maintained below 27.5 ° though assisted by an external fan, without any problem. And consider that we are talking of Rimini where the average summer temperature is well above 30°C.
This guarantees that, for example, with a low thermal load, such as a LED ceiling light, one could easily do without the fan and rely on this efficient chiller.
Let us remember that fact, this chiller has an electrical capacity of cooling of only 240 watts, and yet manages to keep cold a 500 liters aquarium with 2 HQi, although helped by an external fan.
I'm sure the chiller is a purchase totally recommended regardless, and Teco TK 500 is a great chiller, very quiet when compared to the powers involved, very well built and, at least under our test conditions, very efficient, so that we can elect it the King of chillers!