TECH SECTION

How to save electric power in marine aquarium: the return pipe


We know it may seem naive: what kind of big change can make a pipe? Well, know that by changing your return pipe you could save until 100 euro per year. Do I have your attention now?

Amtra abbatti i consumi

This article is also available in: italiano

Usually aquariums have a small return pump, smaller than necessary, and a pretty small return pipe, in line with the pump. Well, this leads to lose many, many money.

Let’s start from the beginning. Do you know how to size a return pump for marine aquarium? If you don’t, don’t worry, check this article we made about: How to choose the right return pump for marine aquarium. If you want a summary, the return pump should treat a little more water than the water treated by the skimmer. The reason is in the article.

Then, once we brought home the return pump, we find ourselves choosing between more than one hose holder to insert. For example, in the next picture, you see three hose holders to accompany the Hydor D6000. Normally, we would use the smaller one with a hose of 19 mm that reaches the aquarium. This because the 19 mm hose in the easiest to provide and the one that best adapts because it has a small hole. And anyway, it isn’t cheap.

What does this choice mean from the hydraulic point of view?

As you can imagine, if the rate between two hoses with different size was the same, the narrower would be faster. But what does this mean? More friction on the hose’s sides that makes the water push to lose energy.

And practically what does it cause? A greater demand of energy, so, with the same rate, you would have bigger costs.

Let’s see what happened to me.

This is the starting situation, with the Hydor D6000 pump and a 19 mm hose. The pump is set at its maximum with 6 dots out of 6.

Portata Acquario con pompa Hydor D6000 e tubo da 19mm: 984 l/h
Aquarium rate with Hydor D6000 pump and 19mm hose: 984 l/h

As you can see in the picture below the power consumption with this configuration is 53 watt. In a year this lead to an expense of 53x24x365/1000*0.3=139 euro.

I always said that I was going to change my hose in a bigger one, but I’ve never done that… because I’m lazy. Now I couldn’t be more sure. What convinced me was the visit at Hobby Acquari’s store in Bologna, where I bought a very expensive hose of 25 mm. The cost is one of the reasons why they always give you a smaller one (of 19 mm).

Well, once I changed the hose this was the rate:

Aquarium rate with Hydor D6000 pump and 25mm hose: 1.470 l/h

Incredible, right?

This resulted in a decrease of the power of the pump with 3 dots out of six 6 that guaranteed the same rate as before. In truth, it was slightly over 1.000 l/h.

The power consumption, at the same rate, switched from 53 to 30,8 watt. A decrease of 42%! This results in a net savings, at the end of the year, of 58 euro!!!

And all because I changed a piece of rubber…

Disclaimer

Always use appropriate hoses, even if they cost more. Avoid gardening pipes and take the PVC ones for food use, in order to not release filth in the aquarium.

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