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What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

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What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by alexmtl on Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:52 am

What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Aquarium store employees will ask if you need a heater with your tank purchase. Many people believe that all tropical aquarium fish need an aquarium heater. What are the features to look for when buying a heater ? How many watts ? Do I need a heater ?

CanadAquaria Forum Members share their expertise on this fact (or fiction) of aquarium keeping
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Re: What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by Sbenson11 on Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:51 pm

Not much help from me on this one, Koi/Goldfish don't need heaters.

For my saltwater tanks, I just buy whatever is cheapest.

As long as they are fully submersible that is.

Steve
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Re: What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by Shell on Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:10 pm

For me, and this is a personal preference, I like fully submersible heaters with controlled temperature settings.

Even with our new betta fish, who is in a 5.5g, I refused to buy one of the heaters typically made for small betta tanks because they are all preset to about 77, give or take 2. I prefer to set it where I want it, and not have a bigger chance of fluctuations.

The reason I like submersible heaters: 1) you don't have to worry about the suction cups giving way and destroying the heater, 2) it is easier to place them wherever you want in the tank  Very Happy 

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Re: What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by goldfishbetalover on Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:36 pm

all of the heaters I have are submersible...ONLY used obviously for the bettas and the |mystery fish"
The fancies and comets don't like the heat!
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Re: What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by CAAIndie on Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:33 pm

I prefer submersible as well. I am currently running one that isn't, and it is a big pain. Unfortunately my submersible one is only a 50 watt.

I also like to ensure that my heater can be set to a certain temperature, rather than some that just have ratings like "low" or "high". Using a thermometer to ensure your heater is also accurately hitting that number is also key.
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Re: What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by caoder on Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:34 am

I have heard of many failures of heaters... I am still young into this hobby, so I am still trying my luck with cheap heaters. I have not had a breakdown as of yet. It has only been 2 years and quite a bit of used equipment.
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Re: What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by Suprd71 on Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:10 pm

For me, with large violent fish, shatterproof is a requirement. I use Eheim Jaeger. Submersible, shatterproof and very accurate. Putting heaters next to filter outflows makes them more efficient as well, pushing the warm water around the tank.
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Re: What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by goldfishbetalover on Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:12 pm

interesting pointer re placing the heater near the filter flow
of course makes good sense
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Re: What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by mikebike on Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:02 pm

I often lay the heaters ontop of the gravel under the outfall of the HOB/"Hang On Back" filters or in the stream from the canister filters return.

If the tank is bare bottom I will hange a heater in the tank with an air stone and tubing to it.
A gentle bubling ensures water circulation around the heater to exchance the heat to the water.
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Re: What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by alexmtl on Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:26 pm

Many aquarist consider that the heater is one of the top components of your aquarium system, outside of the filter and lighting. Heater failures are very common yet you may never experience the potential damage that over heating can do if you plan (for heater failure) properly.

Tips to reduce the impact of heater failure
• Use several small heaters instead of one large heater (there is an equation that can be used to determine wattage and aquarium requirement)
• Connect the heaters to a thermostat controller (could be expensive)
• Don't place the heater in an area where it can run dry
• Don't fully submerge the heater (even though they are labelled as fully submersible, consider keeping the temp dial out of water)
• Size the heaters to match the system: larger wattages, if they fail, will cook your aquarium. Smaller wattages limit damage.

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Re: What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by mikebike on Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:52 pm

Most good quality heaters these days are made to fail in a no heat mode.

I like multable heaters also.
The other tanks in the room make it survivable if a heater fails.
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Re: What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by caoder on Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:55 pm

Or lastly if you have a fish room, it may be quite a bit cheaper to heat the room instead. Just make sure its well insulated and keep the humidity in check.
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Re: What do I look for when buying an aquarium heater ?

Post by cephalotus on Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:19 pm

Not much to add. I agree that submersible ones are the way to go, they just provide more versatility for placement and you don't have to worry about what happens if they fall in. Having the heater near a source of current distributes the heat more evenly around the tank. I also think that having an adjustable heater and separate thermometer are important for more control.

Having separate, smaller heaters in case one fails is a good idea that i have not implemented. Since my tanks are primarily show/community tanks, I would have to be creative in hiding all the extra hardware!
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