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Thread: Tote Box Heater

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Arnoldsville, Ga.
    Posts
    2,775

    Tote Box Heater

    Back by popular demand is the tote box heater! I will also include the shopping list to build it.

    1. A tote box, mine is about 16 1/2" W x 23 1/2 L x 15 1/2" H.
    2. One or two swimming noodles
    3. two outdoor electrical cords with grounding plugs
    4. one round 4" box
    5. one double light fixture
    6. two waterproof connectors
    7. two heavy duty 60 watt bulbs
    8. two short bolts to connect the box to the tote box.

    I use two separate cords on mine. One cord is connected to one bulb socket and the other cord is connected to the second socket. I plug in just one 60 w bulb and keep the second for a spare in case the bulb burns out and the box is frozen in the ice, I simply plug in the second cord and presto, a new 60w light.

    Questions, please ask.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tote1.JPG  
    Chuck
    Happy Koi Keeper!
    AKC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Arnoldsville, Ga.
    Posts
    2,775
    Picture two. Note the slits in the side of the tote to allow a little air to circulate.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tote2.JPG  
    Chuck
    Happy Koi Keeper!
    AKC

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Arnoldsville, Ga.
    Posts
    2,775
    Picture three
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tote3.JPG   Tote4.JPG  
    Chuck
    Happy Koi Keeper!
    AKC

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Arnoldsville, Ga.
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    2,775
    The tote at work in winter. It keeps a good size hole open in the ice with just one 60watt bulb.

    I also use my bubbler pump under the tote. It has worked for three years for me and I'm sure it will for you.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tote5.JPG  
    Chuck
    Happy Koi Keeper!
    AKC

  5. #5
    Pondgirl Guest
    Hi Chuck, Thanks for doing this, we'll drop the POP sticky soon and replace it with this if we ask Conor really nice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    where the wind blows a lot! KS
    Posts
    685
    I agree good idea Chuck getting this on early it is just amazing how well it works! great idea with the 2 cords/bulbs thats good r&d haha!
    take what you think it will cost or how hard it is and double or triple it should work out close with a pond!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Eau Claire, WI
    Posts
    6
    Wondering if something like this will work in my area? My county is zoned 4A/3B and I know we get lots of ice on the lakes around here.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Arnoldsville, Ga.
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    2,775
    It should, I am in the mountains of NE Pa. and I get 6" of ice on the pond and lots of loads of snow. There are people out your way that have used them with success. They are very cheap to operate, only one 60w bulb.
    Chuck
    Happy Koi Keeper!
    AKC

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    3,117
    Chuck it must be hot there if you are thinking about winter this early
    Jackie

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Southeast, Michigan
    Posts
    626
    Hi Chuck,
    Great pics for folks who are going to go through their first winter this year. On our totes, we cut a larger slit on the side so when a bulb burned out, we lifted the flap and changed the bulb. It helped us when the tote box froze in place. Like you, we also placed our bubbler under the box. No problems here, either. Great invention!!!!
    Denise
    Save a life - adopt a Greyhound.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Oakville,Canada
    Posts
    119
    I always heard one 60W bulb will work...two is the way to go?
    www.urbanfalls.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    where the wind blows a lot! KS
    Posts
    685
    one bulb is all you need on at a time Urbanfalls the deal Chuck made is in case a bulb goes out and the tote is frozen in the ice where it cant be removed which many people will tell you it happens haha all you do is plug the other cord in! I use rough service drop light bulbs way better than house bulbs you can almost throw them and they still work I didnt change a bulb all winter I use 75 watt cause thats the lowest power my parts houses carry.
    take what you think it will cost or how hard it is and double or triple it should work out close with a pond!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    cleveland ohio
    Posts
    321
    what a great idea. lol that is how people become rich.
    John
    www.brooksponds.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Milwaukee Wi... "Algonquin for the good land"
    Posts
    110
    saw you used the Thermopond floating heater...

    In my opinion that was the biggest waste of money I ever threw in the pond. It froze over 3 times on me in the WI winter....

    Otherwise... nice idea, I may end up building one....

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Arnoldsville, Ga.
    Posts
    2,775
    I had thermostat problems with mine, lost a few of them. The latest model is supposed to be better. I usually got a floating ice ring around the inside. The tote box is much better. Can't have enough openings for the kids to breath.
    Chuck
    Happy Koi Keeper!
    AKC

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Dubuque, Iowa
    Posts
    366

    Noodles huh?

    So THAT is a noodle... who would have known? Everyone but me I guess.

    Good stuff Chuck.

    Mel in Dubuque
    My pond and stream are a dream come true.
    Rocks, Rocks, lotsa rocks.
    Plants, plants, lotsa plants.
    And a few fish, too

  17. #17
    Pondgirl Guest
    LOL Mel, I had no idea what he was talking about when he first bought it up, dont feel alone, I thought we were talking about soup!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Arnoldsville, Ga.
    Posts
    2,775
    You need to talk to some Youngins, haha. they know!
    Chuck
    Happy Koi Keeper!
    AKC

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Dubuque, Iowa
    Posts
    366

    Cool

    I might just skip the Youngins and go get me a tote, some wire, a light bulb and two "noodles." What I wonder, what was not on the shopping list was the most important thing; what do you use to hold the noodles on to the tote, super glue?

    Thanks Chuck. Since it is about 94 degrees out today, I think I am not in too big a hurry.
    My pond and stream are a dream come true.
    Rocks, Rocks, lotsa rocks.
    Plants, plants, lotsa plants.
    And a few fish, too

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Arnoldsville, Ga.
    Posts
    2,775
    You can probably just use one noodle but nice to have a spare.

    I use plastic wire straps. I drill a couple of holes in the tote near the top rim and use the straps to fasten it in place.
    Chuck
    Happy Koi Keeper!
    AKC

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    5 minutes away from ADI
    Posts
    1,222
    Chuck.... when are you going to patent this?
    Melanie DanFan13

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Arnoldsville, Ga.
    Posts
    2,775
    Hi Mel,
    Actually, I got the box idea from G. back when I really needed it, in January three years ago.
    Chuck
    Happy Koi Keeper!
    AKC

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Grapevine Texas (outside DFW)
    Posts
    202
    Stupid question, but I'm gonna ask- I doubt my pond will freeze- I live in Tx the Dallas area, we get some snow, some cold weather, and some freezes. Should I be considering some sort of a heating device? What will my fish do if it does get really cold? Hadn't even considered heating my little pond.....I know my pool has a freeze guard on it that is on frequently in the winter, do I need heat in the pond too? My pond is only 5' x 7' and 20" deep....

    I would buy those noodles NOW, I'm sure they'll be gone in a few weeks!!
    Love my pond!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Just North of Toronto Canada
    Posts
    14
    Hi there.........I'm new to this forum.

    I've been ponding for only 3 years now.........I live just North of Toronto Canada in Zone 5.
    The 1st Winter was OK. I covered the pond with a tarp and supported it like a tent with 2 x 4's. I figured any day with sun, it would be a bit warmer under the tarp. In late March, I peeked under the tarp to see if everyting was OK, and was delighted to see ALL my fish--still alive and NO ICE. MY neighbour has a pond as well--leaves his uncovered, and still had at least 6" of ice at the same time.
    I didn't use a heater or a bubbler, and kept the tarp on all the time.

    Last year wasn't so good. I closed the pond the same way, but waited a 2 weeks longer to do it. Many leaves got into it, and I couldn't get them all out. I guess it made the water toxic and as a result, all my fish died.

    Your idea for the tote bin heater is great, anf I'm going to give it a try this Winter. I'll cover the pond same as before with the tarp till' all the Fall leaves are gone, then open it up and try your idea.

    What do you think?? Any other Zone 5 ponders have any luck with the tote idea??
    It's a sad day when you've outgrown everything.....

    Brrrrrrrr!!--------------Zone 5!

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Arnoldsville, Ga.
    Posts
    2,775
    Jeff,
    Many people have had good luck with this heater and most have not covered the pond over the winter. We use a leaf net over it to keep out most of the leaves then remove it before the pond freezes. We also use a net to pull out any leaves that may have gotten past the net.
    Chuck
    Happy Koi Keeper!
    AKC

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    northwestern NJ
    Posts
    46
    Chuck,

    I am certainly going to give this a try this winter .. hoping this winter won't be as bad as last year. Thank you for the detailed instructions/parts list - I am confident I can assemble it myself. Used the ADI winter return last year - worked ok until we got blasted with a foot of snow - everything froze so I unplugged the pump. What are your ideas on keeping a small fountain pump going underneath the tote? Pond is 3 ft deep -Is an aerator the better way to go?

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Arnoldsville, Ga.
    Posts
    2,775
    In frame #4, I mention using a bubbler pump, mine is 200 GPM under the tote. I have it on the plant shelf with the tote box over it. It needs to bubble about an inch above the surface. It works like a charm for me.
    Chuck
    Happy Koi Keeper!
    AKC

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    591
    It's a slick lil concept indeed. I used one last winter and it did a good job. My only modification.. well not even that, really.. was to forgoe the noodles. Since I have a bridge, I just attached a board near the top of the tote and then attached the tote assembly to the bridge via the board.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    326

    Thumbs up

    I think this year I'm going to try using one of those "appliance" bulbs sold for use in ovens and refridgerators. Might have better longevity, ya think? Denise, I like the idea to cut a flap in the side to enable a bulb change while the tote is frozen in the ice. I'll definately do that. It would also make a nice way to take a peek at the kids in the middle of winter.
    Go Fish.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Southeast, Michigan
    Posts
    626
    Hi Pond Scum,
    The slits in the side really helped. We didn't have to put our 1200 watt heater near the tote to thaw the ice so we could lift out the tote to change a bulb. Just simply open the slit. By the way, the tote with the slit did not function any less effective heat-wise than the one without the slit. Both holes in the ice were the same size. (We tested it out before cutting slits in all our tote boxes). Unfortunately, usually when we peeked inside all we saw was algae! Those bulbs you mentioned sounds like a good idea.
    Denise
    Save a life - adopt a Greyhound.



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