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Old 06-30-2007, 02:01 PM   #1
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Hot Heater

Ok, maybe it's just me, but I seem to have bad luck with aquarium heaters. I have a 90 gallon freshwater with a 300 watt heater in there and the temperature runs hotter than what I've set. I've got the thermostat set at about 78, and the tank temperature is usually up around 85. I've tried turning the thermostat down but that doesn't seem to make any difference, it always cranks up to 85. Lately, I've only been running the heater at night and that does seem to help a little bit, but there's got to be a better way.
Orginally, I thought I had a bad heater, but this is the third one that I've had in there, and they all have followed the same pattern.
Am I just unlucky with heaters? If so, what can you recommend for a good one. Or is something else going on here?
Thanks!
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Old 06-30-2007, 02:09 PM   #2
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What kind are you using?

I have had great luck with the Visitherm heaters, both the original and the stealth variety. Great heaters, sleek, keep temperature very well.

Sounds like you've just been unlucky or are buying bad brands.
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Old 06-30-2007, 02:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dehinrichs
Orginally, I thought I had a bad heater, but this is the third one that I've had in there, and they all have followed the same pattern. Am I just unlucky with heaters? If so, what can you recommend for a good one. Or is something else going on here?
Thanks!
Where they all the same brand of heater? Some turn clockwise for higher temperature and others turn counter clockwise (guess how I learned this). Rarely do the markings on the dial match the temperature. Also 300 watt may be too much for 90 Gal. Check the location of heater compared to the location of the thermometer and water flow. Check your thermometer
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Old 06-30-2007, 02:50 PM   #4
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300 is not too much for a 90 gal tank. The rule of thumb is 5W per gal. What is the temp in your house? Where is the heater located in relation to the thermometer? What kind of thermometer are you using? What is the brand of heater? What kind of lights are you using? Is the tank located next to a vent or window?
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:47 PM   #5
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This is what I would look for in a heater shatterproof, Shuts off automatically and Fully submersible.

Visi-Therm Stealth Heater. Sleek, inconspicuous aquarium heater design incorporates accurate, "shatterproof" performance. Reinforced plastic casing protects the components against thermal and mechanical shock to eliminate shattering. "Shuts off automatically" when out of water; restarts automatically when in water. "Fully submersible". Temperature select dial and aluminum cylinder distribute core heat evenly and efficiently with ±1.0°F accuracy. Easy to set and install. UL-Listed.

This one looks good. I would stay away from ones that have a sperate thermostat as I overheated a tank when the thermostat was moved during cleaning.

As for wattage you may be better off with two smaller heaters over one in case one should fail. The more wattage means the heater will run less using more electricity. I ran my FW 180 on one 200 watt for years, of corse I live in California in a heated house.
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Old 06-30-2007, 06:05 PM   #6
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Do the heater(s) you have now indicate when they're on? It may be that they're not running at all and something else is causing the high temperatures in your tank. Also, what kind of thermometer are you using, and could it be suspect?

House temps and amount of lighting can significantly drive the water temperature as well.
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Old 06-30-2007, 06:15 PM   #7
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I picked up visitherm 50w stealth heater for my 10 gallon. Needed it for tiger barbs that had ick and decided to do the temperature treatment. It never matched the temperature read from a seperate therometer but it holds the temperature steady. I thought something was wrong with it, but considering it holds the temp constant I am not to worried.
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Old 06-30-2007, 06:58 PM   #8
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I've never found a heater that matches what's on the dial. But, like you said, stability is what matters in a heater.
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Old 07-01-2007, 03:08 AM   #9
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Actually my thermometer is pretty close to the heater. I'll try moving it to the other end of the aquarium. I could probably work on my water flow as well. I don't think the water is moving as well as it should be.
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Old 07-01-2007, 09:26 AM   #10
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That's a possibility.

What is the temp in your house? What kind of thermometer are you using? What is the brand of heater? What kind of lights are you using? Is the tank located next to a vent or window?
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Old 07-01-2007, 05:24 PM   #11
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Never trust the numbers on the dial of the heater. Trust your thermometer instead. And keep the thermometer away from the heater, or you'll definitely get bad readings. You want the temp of the tank, and not the water near the heater. I've never seen a heater where you set it to 78 on the dial and the tank be 78 degrees, with the exception of the Hydor ETH Inline heaters. I have 3 now, on 3 different tanks, and they are all within 1 degree of the dial reading.
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Old 07-03-2007, 09:39 AM   #12
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Definitely sounds like a flow/reading issue to me. The odds of 3 heaters failing to properly maintain the temp is very low. Can you post a pic of your tank and point us to where the heater is and where the thermometer is? Also many of us are having difficulties right now due to weather increasing our tank temps but I wouldn't think Oregon would have this problem (but I've never been there and am just guessing on temp). Are you running some crazy overdriven HO lights or MH? That could explain the temp problems but it would have to be pretty crazy to heat up such a large tank like that....

In low flow tanks the surface of the water can be drastically different then near the substrate. Take several measurements at different depths/locations in the tank and it should give you a good idea of how good/poor your circulation is. If you see hot and cold spots you should think about getting a PH or increasing the flow rate of your filter (cleaning, repositioning lines, etc.).

HTH
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