Aquarium heater in 5 gallon bucket with nipples

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rjackh, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. rjackh

    rjackh Out Of The Brooder

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    I installed some nipple waterers on the bottom of a five gallon bucket. Will running an aquarium water heater into the bucket keep it from freezing? Just wondering if small droplets at the nipples themselves will still freeze and render them useless. Thanks.
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    I read in a different posting about someones solution to what you have, They used an aquarium heater and a small submersible water fountain pump together inside the bucket. the heater heats, while the pump keeps the water mixed so it distributes the warmth to all the water. Very simple and effective. He also use a thermo cube to thermostatically control the on and off automatically. The nipples should not freeze because the flowing water is providing the warmth. search chicken watering dispensers on this site in and you will find many great ideas.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Vertical nipples in bottom of bucket will likely freeze even if you heat the water.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...-vs-horizontal-spring-loaded-watering-nipples

    advanced search>titles only>horizontal nipples


    I'm using an aquarium heater, after I got a good heater....so far so good
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/936870/my-new-heated-waterer
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
  4. rjackh

    rjackh Out Of The Brooder

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    Why do vertical nipples freeze and horizontal nipples don't? And is it necessary to have a small pump circulating water in such a small bucket?

    Couldn't I buy an oversized heater that would be strong enough to just heat the entire 5 gallons without a submersible pump to move water? Thanks.
     
  5. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Heat travels up. so nipples on bottom more susceptible to freezing. Oversize heater will work but then it may make water warmer than you wanted, and energy cost will be reflected. Water pump which is a small item and uses little energy keeps water temperature throughout container uniform
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Horizontal nipples operate differently than vertical ones.
    Vertical nipples operate by gravity with a ball bearing sealing the flow 'outside' the vessel.
    Horizontal nipples have a spring loaded valve that seals inside the vessel so are less likely to freeze.

    I don't use a pump with AQ heater and horizontal nipples.

    Nope. See above.
     
  7. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was able to keep the vertical nipples thawed in a 3 gallon bucket using a 100W submersible aquarium heater. A stock tank deicer did not keep the water warm enough No pump. I think the coldest I was able to test it was -5F.

    But I switched to the horizontal nipples later that same winter....waaaay better. The thread linked by aart goes into greater detail, but the nutshell version of benefits:

    My experience with the horizontal nipples:

    * Don't freeze up with less heat (I keep the water at about 45F rather than 68F...I can use the stock tank deicer and save on electricity)
    * Don't dribble as much in use, less ice build up on the ground
    * Don't get the birds wet in use, wet birds can lead to frost bite
    * Are easier to install into the bucket than the vertical ones

    The only downside is they cost more. For much less than the cost of a quality submersible aquarium heater, you can set up a new bucket with horizontal nipples. If it gets much below 20F, you will want some sort of heat device, I use the 250W K&H stock tank deicer in the sunken orientation (see the thread aart referred to for details). Last winter this worked to -9F, the coldest I was able to test it to.

    I've read some recent posts where people have been using the horizontal nipples down to -15F, using a deicer heat device (heats the water much less than an aquarium heater), with no freezing issues. Another person said she had freezing problems, with a similar setup, when it hit -17F. I don't think anyone using the vertical nipples has reported such low temps and having the VN's still function.
     
  8. rjackh

    rjackh Out Of The Brooder

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    Where I am, dead of winter is low 20's usually. So if those are good to -5, I'll order some and skip the aquarium heater. Thanks.
     
  9. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I haven't tested it without any sort of heater. I have heard from several others that it worked for them until about 20F, not using any heater. I suppose it depends on where you keep the bucket (run or coop) and the ambient temps in there. It may be 20F outside, but inside most people's coops (and maybe the run, depending on how open it is) will be at least several degrees warmer. You'll probably just have to try it to see if it works in your situation. If you can position the bucket to receive any sort of direct sun, that would most likely keep your water plenty warm, even in a white bucket.
     

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