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rmeden
04-01-2006, 12:09 AM
I'm sure this was in the old forum but should probably be asked again...

Anyway, has anyone used those cheap "Solar Fish" instead of a bubble cover?

The theory is it places a thin layer of something (oil?) to reduce evaporation.

It supposidly works better if you don't run the pump (or maybe redirect the returns from the surface)

Does it work? I don't want to mess with a bubble cover, but could use some cheap heat gain.

Robert

waterbear
04-01-2006, 12:17 AM
I did some online research on the solar fish a while back. The liquid inside is also available in gallons by the company that manufactures it for commercial pool use. It has some type of propriatary material in an isopropol alcohol carrier and if there is NO disturbance of the water surface from anything (even the wind) it can help keep a couple of degrees of heat in the pool overnight. Once the water surface is disturbed the effect is lost until it is calm again. It might work for you. I decided it was not worth the money for me to try it.

Brock
04-01-2006, 01:35 AM
Since we have an indoor pool we tried it when it first came out. It was better then nothing, but not by much. If I had to guess I would say no cover was 0 and the bubble cover was 100% the fish was about 20%. We even actually dropped what was rated for our pool surface area, and then tried doubling it with little added effect. Not enough to allow us to leave the cover off, but again better then nothing at all. The heat loss was still way too much and the humidity never really came back down after swimming until we covered it.

Better then nothing, but not by much and as water bear said if it was outdoors and windy I wouldn't think it would do much of anything.

Waterworks
04-01-2006, 01:42 AM
I have literally hundreds of customers that swear by the solar fish. I swear I must be losing money in my store from lost solar blanket sales. Of the hundreds of happy customers, we have probably 10 or so who have said they would not use them again. This product has been around for many years (~30?), and apparently there is science to support the manufacturer's claims. The fact remains that wind, water flow and someone jumping in the pool will disturb the surface tension of the water, thereby negating the positive effect of the fish.

Brad
www.waterworkspools.com

CarlD
04-01-2006, 01:12 PM
I have literally hundreds of customers that swear by the solar fish. I swear I must be losing money in my store from lost solar blanket sales. Of the hundreds of happy customers, we have probably 10 or so who have said they would not use them again. This product has been around for many years (~30?), and apparently there is science to support the manufacturer's claims. The fact remains that wind, water flow and someone jumping in the pool will disturb the surface tension of the water, thereby negating the positive effect of the fish.

Brad
www.waterworkspools.com (http://www.waterworkspools.com)

Brad:
It sounds like you are truly baffled as to why they use them. Me too! How many does the average customer spend per year, how much is the average solar cover--per year? If the Fish annual expediture is more than the per year cost of a cover (say a cover costs $200 and lasts 5 years--that's $40/year). So in my example, if they spend more than $40/ year on the fish, you are makin' bucks, bro!
Carl

waterbear
04-01-2006, 01:22 PM
Brad:
It sounds like you are truly baffled as to why they use them. Me too! How many does the average customer spend per year, how much is the average solar cover--per year? If the Fish annual expediture is more than the per year cost of a cover (say a cover costs $200 and lasts 5 years--that's $40/year). So in my example, if they spend more than $40/ year on the fish, you are makin' bucks, bro!
Carl I did a quick check on prices. the basic fish are about $10 a pop and it takes two to treat an inground pool of 16x32 or bigger (one fish treats up to 350 or 400 sq ft surface area).
The deluxe fish with the built in dosing pump( about $20-$25 a pop) will treat 800 sq fot for a month or 400 sq ft for 2 months but I have read either on here or on a different board I visit is that the pump and battery don't last that long and they go dead in a week or 2.
The heatsavr liquid by the gal costs about $60. Dont know how much or how long it will treat but it does have to be dosed on a regular basis since it biodegrades in a few days.

Seems like a solar blanket and reel is a better deal to me!;)

rmeden
04-01-2006, 07:05 PM
Due to the size and shape of my pool, a bubble cover would be a pain and I know once folks start swimming it wouldn't go back on!

If the fish help a little over the next 30-60 days, that's a plus for me. I have some floor returns so I can keep the water pretty still. (as long as the wind isn't blowing)

I'll post how it goes!

Robert

waterbear
04-01-2006, 08:21 PM
I am iterested in hearing your results. I have an odd shaped pool and the solar cover is a pain to put on and take off. I really only use it from about Dec. thru Feb. because my heater doesn't have to work as hard then!

luvapool
04-01-2006, 10:20 PM
Doesn't the film or whatever it is muck up filters?

waterbear
04-01-2006, 10:46 PM
according to the manufactures info it is harmless to filters and people and compatible with all forms of sanitizers (CL, BR, Bac), ionizers, etc. It HAS been in use for quite a while now and if there were negative effects I'm sure we would have heard about them. The main thing about it is the question of whether it is a cost effective and just darn plain effective solution to heat loss and evaporation.:rolleyes:

CarlD
04-02-2006, 12:57 AM
according to the manufactures info it is harmless to filters and people and compatible with all forms of sanitizers (CL, BR, Bac), ionizers, etc. It HAS been in use for quite a while now and if there were negative effects I'm sure we would have heard about them. The main thing about it is the question of whether it is a cost effective and just darn plain effective solution to heat loss and evaporation.:rolleyes:

Um, I don't mean to be snotty here, but manufacturers of pool chemicals try EVERYTHING to convince people the methods advocated on this forum are crazy.

HTH, one of the biggest chem companies, recently reformulated their Tri-Chor tabs to include copper, which generally VERY bad for pools with the advert "Now double-acting!"

waterbear
04-02-2006, 01:00 AM
CarlD,
I mean that if there are any negative effect I am sure that someone in this forum would have pointed them out to us! ;)

sb2323
04-02-2006, 05:54 PM
This is the second season we've used the solar fish. In my experience, in Central Texas, it warms the water 6-8 degrees in a matter of several sunny days. Before we got the fish, our pool would lose heat at night, and every morning was like starting over at square one temperature wise. The fish kept the temperature from dropping back down and allowed it to keep climbing even higher the next day. I have young children who have a higher tolerance for cool water than I do :-). There is no way I wanted to mess with a cover when the kids would get in and out of the pool several times a day for 20 minutes or so. It extended our swim time both in the Spring and in the Fall. I noticed absolutely no oily residue or coloring/clouding of the water. I do not think it is as finicky about water motion as some other posts mentioned. We used the filter as usual and as stated before were in and out of the pool often. I w ould suggest you try it for $10 and see if it works for you too!

Brock
04-02-2006, 05:59 PM
Yup, I would agree if you don't want to do the cover it is better then nothing. We still use it if we have lots of people over and know the pool will be left uncovered so people can go in and out as they please, every little bit helps.

mas985
04-02-2006, 09:02 PM
The primary chemical in heatsavr (Solar Fish) is isopropyl alcohol which changes the evaporation properties of water. Because a pool loses most of the heat through evaporation, this can help reduce heat loss as well. They claim as much as 40%. It is not as effective as a cover but a whole lot easier to use. I plan on trying it out this season to see how well it works.

Here is a web site that has the technical information:

http://www.flexiblesolutions.com/products/heatsavr/material_safety_data.shtml

rmeden
04-02-2006, 09:15 PM
The way I read the product description the alcohol is a carrier and quickly evaporates. The "active" ingredient is not named (other than by brand), even on the MSDS.

waterbear
04-03-2006, 12:09 AM
The primary chemical in heatsavr (Solar Fish) is isopropyl alcohol which changes the evaporation properties of water. Because a pool loses most of the heat through evaporation, this can help reduce heat loss as well. They claim as much as 40%. It is not as effective as a cover but a whole lot easier to use. I plan on trying it out this season to see how well it works.

Here is a web site that has the technical information:

http://www.flexiblesolutions.com/products/heatsavr/material_safety_data.shtml My understanding is that is is a proprietary susbstance in an isopropyl alcohol carreir or solvent. It is supposed to leave a molecule thick coating on the surface of the water. This leads me to believe it is some type of polymer. The MSDS that the above link goes to lists the isopropyl (commenly called rubbing alcohol) as the only hazardous ingredient since it is both toxic and flammable. Alcohol will disperse in water and not form a film on the surface. If you had enough in the water it would evaporate first but you would need to have a pretty strong mixture...probably over 50% to have any appreciable effect!

mas985
04-03-2006, 01:38 PM
oops, I guess I missed the note on the primary chemical. Sorry. However, the effectiveness test do show some promise.
http://www.flexiblesolutions.com/products/heatsavr/effectiveness_tests.shtml

rmeden
04-05-2006, 02:04 AM
Well, I've had two nights with the fish!

It'd say it works as advertised. Temperature barely dropped overnight, even with a 10 degree air/water difference.

Unfortunately, it was in the upper 60's low 70's all day today so the pool didn't heat up either... but still holding at 71 degrees. What do other folks in Dallas have?

Not a scientific test, but I'm pretty sure I had temp drop overnight before the fist.

I estimate 800 sqft of surface area. I was only able to buy the "turbo" fish ($20@Leslie's). They have two modes, 400 sqft and "other". I dropped in two fish.. one in the "other" mode, the other 400sqft. I wanted to make sure I had enough in the water to get a result

I'm running the pump during the day 6 hours or so. Sucking from skimmers and returning through floor jets. Water is pretty smooth.. barely a ripple in the wind.

I'll report results from time to time. I used the spa tonight, so tomorrow's measurements will be meaningless (I dumped heated spa water into the pool when I was done)

Robert

salinda
05-03-2006, 01:54 PM
I use the Turbo Solar fish and it works for us. I believe a bubble cover would work better, but we have a large odd-shaped pool and not much deck space inside the safety fence to store the rolled cover, even in pieces. My kids are another reason to avoid the bubble cover--a friend's toddler almost died when the pool gate was left ajar at a party and he went into the pool, slipped under the cover and wound up at the bottom before being found just in time.

We have a large temperature drop in the air in N. California (30-40 degrees sometimes). The fish keeps temperature loss in the pool to 5-7 degrees, sometimes less depending on cloud cover.

Sometimes the fish don't work and I can tell right away by the pool temps. The company that distribute the fish (sunsolar) is really good and will send replacements for bad fish if you send the proof of purchase, so keep the receipts. They don't have this on the instructions, but if you have the turbo they told me to hold the turbo at the base when you first put it in the water (not held upside down, just put your hand onto the bottom of the fish). Within 4-8 seconds, you should feel the vibration of the pump activating. If not, remove it from the water, give a small whack against the pool deck and try again.

LostboyinVA
05-05-2006, 12:52 PM
I bought 2 of the normal fish to cover my 750sqft pool. They went in last night. Pool has been open 2 days. (it is crystal clear and balanced as of last night) Last night I had a 4 degree overnight drop. Previous night was 6 degress. Not scientific, but that makes it better if it lasts. I'm going to watch it for the next could of weeks and see if makes a difference. The kids won't care if I can just get the temp over 70. It was 66 yesterday afternoon. It was 62 this morning. I'm getting about 9-10 degree rise a day for now. If I can keep the weather gods from causing a serious temp drop during the days here in VA I should be over 70 this weekend. Needs to be closer to 80 before I'm getting in, but I'll let the boy and his friends in this weekend if it goes over 70.

I don't want to mess with a cover and figure I will only need to mess with the fish in May and September. Once completed in August the pool was plenty warm enough to not even need a cover (consistently 85+). I expect June and July to be the same. $40 a year to extend the season a week or two is worth it to me if it works. If it doesn't work next year and in the fall I save the money.

martyhammer
05-05-2006, 01:19 PM
The reason I tried to avoid replacing my solar bubble cover by using the fish, regardless of apparent/real price difference, was because of the inconvenience I found with daily use of a cover. While the cover is on, nothing dropping onto the cover, e.g., leaves, dirt, etc., moves to the skimmer (which is essentially useless while the cover is on). It's real easy to roll up the cover for a swim session, but then all the dirt from the cover dumps into the end of the pool where the spool is, and then I've got a major amount of junk to try to scoop up with a net. In other words, my pool stays much cleaner, with much less effort, with no cover.

All that said, I count not perceive any positive contribution via the fish and hence I'm coverless and fishless.

-Marty

PhantomAndy
05-08-2006, 07:52 PM
I don't mean to repeat what may have already been written, but I'll try to be brief.

I tried this last year and here is what I found (I'm located in Kentucky where the temps are moderate).

The fish are utterly worthless. They probably only reduce evaporation by 20-30% (I'm being generous I think). Additionally, to get any significant effect, you MUST turn your pump/filter OFF at night when the temps are the lowest to get the maximum benefit.

Additionally, the first fish I used last year, failed when the fish was 1/2 empty, leaving 1/2 of the 'liquid solar blanket' still in the fish (I used the 'Turbo' model with the 'computer controlled' pump).

The company replaced the defective fish (I was very surprised) but of course it is still very ineffective.

With experience with both the liquid blanket, and a standard bubble cover - I'd have to say that the bubble cover is well worth the effort (just ordered a new one).

If you are frustrated with your bubble cover style solar blanket and don't have a solar cover reel - spring for the $150 or so for an inexpensive model. It only takes me about 30 seconds to remove my 18x40 blanket, and about 2 minutes to put it on (by myself). Very little time, and very effective heat retention.