Chiller Maintenance

these documents have been prepared by John Nordstedt, who works with the NJ TIC program

(There are many documents for download at the very bottom of this page.  Also, please carefully check your warranty before performing these tasks.)


Aquarium chillers are primarily designed for tropical fish applications where water temperatures are around 70 degrees F.  Trout need water temperatures of 52 – 55 degrees F. Most applications – home and offices – have well controlled room temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees F.  

In school applications, the room temperatures run much higher – many times as high as 80 – 85 degrees F.  In most instances the room temperature is not within the control of the teacher.

Both of these conditions mean the chiller has to work a lot harder than it was designed to work. While a 1/6 HP chiller may be good for a 55 gallon tank of tropical fish in a home, it is not good for trout in a classroom. NJ uses a 1/3 HP chiller so that the chiller does not have to work as hard to cool the water.

Finally, the atmosphere in a classroom is dusty and dirty.  As the dust gets into the chiller it quickly becomes less efficient.  The less efficient it is, the harder it has to work. This is why you need to have your chiller at least 24 inches off the floor with a 10 inch clearance on all sides.


The chiller must be positioned well off the floor – like on a milk crate – and have at least ten inches of free air space all around it.

Every day someone should compare the temperature shown on the controller with the temperature of a good thermometer placed in the tank.  

The Aqua Chill, Oceanic, and Prime chillers have easily removable front panels behind which are mesh filters.  During the school year, these filters should be vacuumed or brushed weekly. (Also, see foam filter instructions below.)

Every chiller should be thoroughly cleaned at the end of the year.  A compressor with a blow off nozzle is required.  Most schools are equipped with a small compressor.  The annual maintenance does not require a HVAC person. Anyone who can handle a screwdriver can do it.

Specific instructions are in the documents below.

You can download the following information:

Again, please check the conditions of your warranty before performing any of these tasks.

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