Beginning aquarists know about a lot of things they might need to get started with their new aquarium keeping adventures.

A good aquarium heater for tropical fish is probably needed.

You’ll probably need a filter.

You need a sump.

You need a skimmer, some nets, and the lovely substrates that decorate and provide hiding spots for some fish.

But one of the less-common possible needs may well be a chiller.

Below, you’ll learn about how best to use them, and discover our top choices for the best aquarium chillers.

Best Aquarium Chiller Quick-Find Table

ImageProduct
  • Super powerful chilling technology
  • Anti-freezing tech to prevent killing your fish from too much chill
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Super powerful chilling technology
  • Anti-freezing tech to prevent killing your fish from too much chill
  • Easy to set up and use
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  • Super powerful chilling
  • Built-in thermostat for easy maintenance
  • Quietest large aquarium chiller
  • Super powerful chilling
  • Built-in thermostat for easy maintenance
  • Quietest large aquarium chiller
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  • Medium to high capacity chilling
  • Totally freon-free chilling
  • Great for hydroponics or aquariums
  • Medium to high capacity chilling
  • Totally freon-free chilling
  • Great for hydroponics or aquariums
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  • Best for small and mini aquariums
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Incredibly reliable and efficient
  • Best for small and mini aquariums
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Incredibly reliable and efficient
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  • Small, compact, and easy to install
  • Inexpensive but high-quality
  • 2-variable speeds for the best control
  • Small, compact, and easy to install
  • Inexpensive but high-quality
  • 2-variable speeds for the best control
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  • Extremely high-quality product
  • Comes from one of the market’s most trusted brands
  • Super easy to install and maintain
  • Extremely high-quality product
  • Comes from one of the market’s most trusted brands
  • Super easy to install and maintain
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What Exactly is an Aquarium Chiller?

goldfish with open mouth best aquarium chiller

The first question I had when I started getting into fish keeping was “what the heck is an aquarium chiller?” I’d heard the term before, but what was this thing and why would I need one?

I discovered that an aquarium cooler is a basically a small refrigerator – or in some cases a fan or “air conditioner” – that is installed inline or by drop-in.

This refrigerator unit has an external filtration system and uses that to cool the water that passes through it.

When the chiller is coupled with a thermostat, the chiller can actually prevent the aquarium from getting too warm, which is so important for keeping cold water fish healthy.

Why Should You Get an Aquarium Chiller?

If you keep fish that need a specific temperature or cold water in their tank with higher dissolved oxygen, keeping the water cool enough for them is important.

The chiller will help you do that by regulating the temperatures, especially if you live in a warm climate or tend to keep your house on the warmer side.

How to Decide if You Need an Aquarium Chiller

Not every aquarium needs a chiller, but there are some good reasons to consider getting one. Here are some of the best ones to think about.

Summer Temperatures in Your Location

If you live somewhere that summertime heat gets the best of you, chances are, the temperatures of the water will get the best of your fish, too.

And if your temperature changes often – like it does in places like Chicago and Toledo, Ohio – you may also want to consider a chiller, as they can help keep the temperature in your tank at a steady degree.

Whether or Not You Use Air Conditioning at Home

If you live someplace where air conditioning is optional because it’s cold all year, you may or may not want a chiller. If, however, you’re like some folks I know who actually prefer being on the warm side, your fish might want a break from the heat that a chiller can provide.

The room temperature of your house can greatly affect the temperature of the water for your fish, so if “warm” is your comfortable spot, you might want to grab a thermometer and check to make sure that your fish agree with your lack of AC use.

The Placement of Your Aquarium

Another thing that might help you decide on whether or not to grab an aquarium chiller is where you keep the tank.

If the fish live in water that receives sunlight from the window, you might be slowly cooking your pals with UV light.

The Use of Lamps and Pumps

Or, if that aquarium is located under lamps of any kind, if you use pumps, or other electrical equipment to keep water flowing, bubbling or otherwise altered, you should also consider an aquarium chiller.

The chiller can help regulate temperatures that are artificially increased by these devices and machines.

coldwater paradise fish best aquarium chiller

How Do You Choose the Best Aquarium Chiller?

Whether you’re working with a saltwater aquarium, cold-blooded fish with big water needs, or just trying to keep the goldfish alive longer, the right fish tank chiller can make all the difference.

So, here are a few things to keep in mind as you shop.

The Right Type of Chiller

Before you buy anything, always make sure you’re getting the best aquarium chiller for the type of tank you own. Whether that’s a freshwater 200-gallon tank for koi or a 20-gallon saltwater aquarium for your kid’s first firefish, the wrong chiller can get gummed up.

Generally speaking, most aquarium chillers will regulate the temperature of the water in any size-appropriate freshwater tank, but they are not all designed for use in saltwater and reef tanks.

A Chiller for Your Size Tank

The best chillers for your situation are the ones that fit your tank size. Be sure to carefully read the information before making a purchase.

Our aquarium chillers reviews include this information, but not all will.

Go through the details, and specifically the questions answered on Amazon, if this information is missing in the description or review.

High-Quality Ratings

Even if you’re not planning to drop a few hundred bucks on this chiller, chances are, you don’t want to replace it in three months.

So when you do your shopping, verify that it’s not just the paid reviewers getting advertising fees that recommend the specific option.

As I went through the reviews of others before working on my own, I found a few options that had such limited ratings I didn’t even bother reading the information them.

Real-life users tell you what you really need to know about the product, even on those that come from really trusted brands.

Heat Exchangers, When Possible

If possible, try to find an aquarium chiller that uses a heat exchanger to help temperature control two ways. The best aquarium chillers use titanium heat exchangers because these last forever.

Reviews of the Best Aquarium Chillers For Sale

Hamilton Technology Aqua Euro Max Aquarium Chiller

If you’re working with a tank of up to 700 gallons, the Hamilton Technology Aqua Euro Max is a great option that will work for you.

The aquarium chiller uses rubber mounts to reduce vibration for quieter operation, has a bright digital LED temperature display for accuracy, and a powerful anti-freeze system that doesn’t allow the heat exchange turn to freezing your fish out.

This well-trusted aquarium chiller comes highly recommended by professional fish keepers and everyday hobbyists alike.

The LED screen makes it easy for anyone to track the temperature of the tank and the filter is an easy-to-remove model that makes for easy setup and maintenance throughout the lifetime of the chiller.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Type: Saltwater or freshwater
  • Tank size: Up to 700 gallons
  • Horsepower: 1/13 to 1HP
  • BTU rating: 25% BTU per watt
  • Chilling power: Cools 20+ degrees below room temperature

The casing for the chiller is made of corrosion-resistant material and the whole thing is energy efficient, incredibly durable, works reliably for years, and works for both saltwater and freshwater tanks.

If for some reason the power goes out, Aqua Euro Max remembers your previous settings.

The compressor is also an energy saver despite being able to lower water temperatures down to 20-degrees Fahrenheit lower than room temperature.

Plus, it’s easy to setup and easy to clean throughout its whole lifetime. This chiller uses eco-friendly refrigerant and rust-resistant titanium evaporator.

The chiller comes in models that work for various sizes tanks, from 50 gallons to 700 gallons, so be sure to get the model you need for your aquarium.

The one downside seems to be that it’s a little noisier than some other models. If you’re working in a close space where noise will bother you, this is a problem. Otherwise, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

BEST FOR SMALL TANKS

#2. Iceprobe

IceProbe Thermoelectric Aquarium Chiller

For your small or mini aquarium chiller needs, you’re going to want to look into the Nova brand IceProbe Thermoelectric Chiller.

This powerful little device will keep your betta and your guppies cool, easy-going little guys via the right temperature and smooth flow rate.

This fish tank chiller doesn’t require a water pump, and mostly runs super quietly. It’s energy efficient, reasonably compact – though I’ve seen some reviewers complain that’s a bit large for micro-aquariums – and is super easy to set up and operate.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Type: Freshwater
  • Tank size: 10 gallons or less
  • Horsepower: Unknown
  • BTU rating: Unknown
  • Chilling power: Cools up to 8 degrees in a 10 gallon tank

This awesome little fish tank cooler comes with a 5-foot, nine-inch cord with a 6-foot probe cord, but only measures 4-inches by 7-1/2-inches for a super small, powerful aquarium cooling in your tank that hold 10-gallons or less.

This little chiller has a fan above the heatsink that emits a low humming noise, though it can’t be heard from a short distance away.

It’s not loud enough to be disruptive or annoying when working properly, unless you have ultra-sensitive ears.

Honestly, though, all devices running with motors like this will have some kind of noise, so don’t let that deter you.

The IceProbe comes with a one-year warranty.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

QUIETEST CHILLER

#3. JBJ Arctica

JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Chiller

The JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Chiller is another power aquarium chiller worth considering for your fish tank that holds over 130-gallons of water.

This beast is designed with coil technology that chills your tank efficiently – which is why you only want to use it on the right size tank – quickly and easily.

The coils in the JBJ Chiller pulls cool air from the front of the cooler and draws the air out through the back while heating and exhausting it to avoid over-chilling the fish.

The built-in thermostat helps you keep track of the exact temperatures and allows you to quickly adjust lower or higher as needed.

Plus, it comes with a remote control with a bright LCD display for easy reading any time of day or night.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Type: Freshwater or saltwater
  • Tank size: 130+ gallons
  • Horsepower: 1/15 to 1/3 HP
  • BTU rating: unknown
  • Chilling power: Cools 10+ degrees

This is a super energy efficient chiller that uses corrosion-resistant titanium construction and an ozone-friendly chilling agent, so you can feel good about using it. It’s also super durable, so that saves you money while helping reduce waste.

The exact drop in temperature from the Arctica varies based on the number of gallons in the tank, but it’s a fairly high drop across the board.

The Arctica reduces the heat that passes in and out of the chiller more than most other models, so in many cases is actually the most efficient model out there. It’s also pretty darn powerful, though, so it is definitely not recommended for smaller than 130-gallon aquariums.

The chiller comes with a 2-year warranty. Folks have not reported any particular issues in that, at all, and few uses of the warranty have been on record.

As with any device using coils, be sure to keep the chiller away from fabrics and other flammable objects.

The main downside of this aquarium chiller is the price. It’s a lot heftier than many other models. It is, however, one of the most powerful and durable models, so that probably accounts for and justifies the higher cost.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

BEST FOR SALTWATER

#4. Hydrofarm Active Aqua

Hydrofarm Active Aqua Chiller

If you’re looking for an uber powerful freon-free chiller that will keep your medium to large aquarium chill, the HydroFarm Active Aqua Chiller is a great direction to go.

This chiller comes from a well-trusted brand that specializes in commercial grade products for aquariums and hydroponics for professionals and amateurs at a reasonable price.

While technically this chiller is designed for use with hydroponics tanks, they’re perfect for freshwater or saltwater fish tanks as well.

They cool with a whopping 2300 BTUs per hour in anything from 40 to 250-gallon tanks, using 1/10 to 1HP power and zero freon.

  • Type: Freshwater or saltwater
  • Tank size: 40 to 250-gallons
  • Horsepower: 1/10 to 1HP
  • BTU rating: 2300 BTUs per hour
  • Chilling power: Cools 30+ degrees in smaller tanks

The chiller is super quiet in its operation, so you can use it anywhere and has a high flow rate to keep things working smoothly and cleanly.

The control system is designed for user-friendly operation and the system uses an anti-corrosive pure titanium evaporator for smooth operation in either freshwater or saltwater tanks.

One of the most notable things on this chiller really is the flow rate. The whole thing runs smoothly for a competent, powerful flow that keeps the water chill and moving, helping to keep your fish healthier and happier.

The only reported issues I’ve really noted are a few efficiency problems with specific parts – please check the Amazon reviews for details – and a few minor defects on the temperature sensor.

These reports, however, are few and far between and don’t outweigh the overall positive reviews from everyone who uses this fantastic machine to keep their tank cooler.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

BEST CHEAP CHILLER

#5. Petzilla

Petzilla Aquarium Chiller, Fish Tank Cooling Fan System for Salt Fresh Water

For the budget-conscious fish keeper, the Petzilla Aquarium chiller cooling system is your best option.

This little nano aquarium chiller is budget friendly and will keep your small aquarium chill and healthy for a long time. This little chiller works for both freshwater and saltwater, too, so whatever kind of fish you keep, you’re in luck.

The Petzilla Aquarium chiller system attaches to your aquarium wall to reduce the temperatures up to 7-degrees Fahrenheit.

The fan system has two variable speeds with a wide angel adjustment and stable, strong clamp to allow for the perfect positioning for cooling your tank.

  • Type: Freshwater or saltwater
  • Tank size: 10 gallons or smaller per fan
  • Horsepower: Unknown
  • BTU rating: unknown
  • Chilling power: Cools up to 7 degrees

The fan is an easy-install option with no assembly required. Just clamp the nano aquarium chiller to the side of your tank, plug it in, and watch it go.

The system uses evaporation to reduce temperatures, rather than refrigerants like the other chillers use. And if the one fan isn’t enough, you can go all the way up to 6-fans in a single unit to get the chill going.

The chiller system comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty with free user support.

The only downside I’ve found with this system is that since it uses evaporation to cool the water in your aquarium, you’ll have to add more water fairly frequently.

Also, the aquarium walls must be less than 0.5-inches thick to support the clamp size on the Petzilla chillers.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

BEST PREMIUM QUALITY CHILLER

#6. Coralife

For those looking for the high-end, premium grade stuff, the Coralife Energy Saver ACL36060 Chiller is the first place to look.

This chiller comes from a well-trusted brand known for their high-quality products built using cutting edge technology and the highest-quality materials available. The Coralife Energy Saver Chiller is no exception to their rule.

The Coralife Energy Saver chiller comes with a reusable air filter, is really easy to install and use, and easy to access everything you need for maintenance.

The air filter is detachable and easy to access for cleaning – which is basically effortless – and the system is made with rust-resistant coils for better heating and cooling efficiency.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Type: Saltwater and reef tanks
  • Tank size: Up to 55 gallons
  • Horsepower: 1/10 HP
  • BTU rating: Unknown
  • Chilling power: Adjustable

One incredibly nice thing about this chiller is that is basically functions like an air conditioner for your fish tank. Instead of one single temperature setting, you program the temperature in and the chiller works to that temperature within 2-degrees, for a consistently cool environment for your fish.

The system has an adjustable inlet and outlet connection, uses only 1/10 HP, and works well for tanks holding up to 55-gallons of saltwater. The system is reasonably quiet, set up is intuitive, and overall use with remote control and LED lights makes it an overall easy-to-use aquarium cooler.

The only real issues we’ve seen with this one are that because it’s a premium chiller, it’s got a premium price and that the lights aren’t as durable as may be necessary for some environments – i.e. homes with clumsy folks like me, kids, and rambunctious pets.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

The Best Aquarium Chillers Around to Help with Temperature Changes

When you’re new to keeping fish or just needing to replace equipment, some good, solid, unbiased reviews help you find the best options available.

Our aquarium chillers reviews should help with this through examination of the tank size, temperature controls, ease-of-use, special features, and more.

Just take a look, read, carefully, and compare each type of chiller with the type(s) of aquariums you keep and see which option is best for you.

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