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Old 01-30-2011, 11:02 PM   #1
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Heater for a small tank, is anything too big?

I'm trying to put together a <10gal tank. As for heaters, is anything too big? Are there any real risks to using too big a heater for a small tank?
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:06 AM   #2
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The risk could be making the temp too high, I wouldnt recommend getting anything bigger than what it is rated for
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:13 AM   #3
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Should be fine aslong as its adjustable wouldn't try in a stocked tank I have the one out of my old tank rated for a 55 gal in my 15 with it on the second to lowest setting and it keeps my tank at the correct temp but if its non adjustable I'd say no and if ur tank is already stocked I wouldn't risk it some lfs might trade for a smaller one or give a discount mine used too but stopped selling used recently
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:24 AM   #4
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I always get a bigger heater than is recommended. For my 10 gallons, I have a heater rated for 15-20 gallons.
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkpate View Post
I always get a bigger heater than is recommended. For my 10 gallons, I have a heater rated for 15-20 gallons.
I agree, there is no harm with having a larger heater unless the tank is really small. I have 50W heaters in my 10's. All it will do it take less time to heat the water.

The risk of the heater malfunctioning and overheating the tank exists whether the heater is more powerful than needed or not. It's an urban legend that a powerful heater will overheat the tank.
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:38 AM   #6
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+1. If the tank is smaller than 5 gallons, I would go with a heater rated 1-5 gallons though, nothing bigger.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:41 AM   #7
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you want a 3-5w per gallon or there about for heaters. it depends on the temp in the room. the only problem is using too big of heater it will turn off and on more often and higher chance of it to fail sooner.
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:45 AM   #8
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Why would turning on and off cause it to fail sooner?? I could say something similar about a less powerful heater - it'll be running more often, therefor it's more likely to break. I've heard all sorts of "reasons", none of which have ever been substantiated. IMO and E, it's just people perpetuating a myth. It's so pervasive that I've actually seen people recommend getting a heater that is too small for the tank, that way it won't cook the fish if it breaks. How ridiculous.
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:11 PM   #9
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Turning electronics off and on constantly wear them out sooner than turning them on and leaving them for a reasonable amount of time because they're rarely operating in steady state mode. The transient mode is more damaging.

That said, I don't know how long it takes a heater to get to steady state. I have both undersized and oversized heaters in my tanks. I've got a 100W in a 29g and a 300W in a 40g. Both do the job.
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:31 PM   #10
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With that said, Google released stats on hard drives in their storage sometime last year and it made for some interesting reading. They had drives which were ten years old going strong, while others had lasted a month. Their stats (because being google they kept records, of course) said that if electronics were going to fail, they failed almost immediately. If they lasted the first 3 months the chances were they would last many years.

If the heater has a temp setting on it, then there is only one difference, and that is how much capable the heater is of heating the surrounding water. The higher the wattage, the quicker and more effectiveness of the heater. Putting a 300w in a 10 gallon won't have any detrimental effect, infact the stability of your tanks temp will be greater. With a lesser wattage you could have variations in temp caused by the increased amount of time taken by the heater to heat the water.

Whether it is on and off for a more or lesser amount of time SHOULD have nothing to do with it. I'd much rather have a heater that successfully goes on and off a hundred times a day than one which has only been tested a few times and might fail on any of them.
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