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Old 03-13-2009, 11:24 PM   #1
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Fish Tank Too Warm!

Hi. I have a 45 gallon tank. In it I have a 200 watt top fin heater. Just below the top thermostat part it has a line that says that it should be lined up with the top of the water, so that is where I have it. I noticed my tank was up to 84 degrees. Eek! Scary! It doesn't seem to be bothering my fish, but it doesn't seem okay. I turned it down to low. It only has a dial with a few marks on it from high to low. No temperatures. Now my tank is at 86! I unplugged the heater and opened the lid on the tank and it still hasn't cooled down enough. It appears the heater just comes on for a while and shuts off for a while like it is on a timer. Does anyone know if it is actually reading the temp? Should I get a new heater? What is a good/inexpensive heater to buy? Please help! Thanks!
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Old 03-14-2009, 12:24 AM   #2
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Is it possible the thermometer is faulty? I bought my heaters a few years ago, when marineland stopped making their dual-temp heaters, and they've worked well for me. I think generally recommended heaters are ebo-jager and visitherm, but I'm not sure on prices.
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Old 03-14-2009, 12:35 AM   #3
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I am going to be getting rena smartheaters, I've read alot of good things about them. I have also heard good things about ebo-jager and visitherm, but I am partial to Rena. Two days ago I lost 4 of my cichlids because my heaters malfunctioned. A couple of my clown loaches caught ich so I turned the heaters to 83 degrees and the next morning the temperature in my water was 95 degrees!!! I was absolutely sick to my stomach when I saw the dead fish. The heaters I had were hydor 300w heaters. Two of the fish I lost were frontosas (one being at least 5 inches long: my favorite, and the other was 3 inches", one was a sexfasciatus, and the other was a eureka peacock. I don't know what kind of fish you keep but if they are anything expensive it's probably not best to go with whatevers the cheapest. I would invest the money to get a good heater so that you don't have problems in the future. If I were to go and buy the same size fish that I had it would probably be at least $200.
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Old 03-14-2009, 12:59 AM   #4
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Thanks

Well thanks for the advice. Right now I have the heater unplugged so the tank will cool back down. Its only down to 83 and its been about 2 hours. I will try to invest in a good quality heater. I definitely don't have $200 in fish, but I don't want them to die either. My favorite is my severum and he is very moody now that the tank has gotten so warm. I'll try plugging the heater back in after the temperature comes down and see if it is still overheating. If it is I will go to my LFS and purchase a new one. I know it won't be cheap, but I know it will be a quality product.
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Old 03-14-2009, 01:06 AM   #5
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There is always deals on ebay and also bigalsonline.com has some awesome prices too. Cichlids are not that expensive when you buy them as juveniles but the larger adults ones are pretty pricey. The fish I lost had been in there probably at least 2 years. I'd love to see pics or your fish I've never dealt with severums before.
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Old 03-14-2009, 02:52 AM   #6
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i get my heaters on ebay at 1/4 the price as i would from the lfs...
26.99 for a stealth fully submersible heater lol
NIB Marineland Aquarium Heater 200 Watt + FREE SHIPPING - eBay (item 200320078726 end time Mar-20-09 18:18:41 PDT)
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Old 03-14-2009, 08:00 AM   #7
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Probably not the best quality heaters. They are submersible so the water line that you see is there to indicate that the water should never go below that line while it's turned on. If it does, the heater can break (either stop working in the off or stop working in the on position). Always unplug a heater before taking it out of the tank, doing water changes etc. Submersible means it can be fully under water. I place mine horizontally on the bottom of the tank behind decorations attached to the back wall.
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Old 03-14-2009, 08:56 AM   #8
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Ditto what CaptainAhab said.
The line means never let the water get below the line, the entire heater really should be submerged. I lay mine horizontally a few inches from the bottom.
Top Fin anything are just plain poor quality. I believe Top Fin is a Petsmart brand if I am not mistaken. I have a Top Fin 300w that I keep for an emergency spare, I was not happy at all with it while I was using it. I replaced it with a Marineland Stealth heater that has been working just fine.
PS: I don't know where the thermostat is on the heater but the fact that you are leaving part of the heater out of the water may explain your problems.
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Old 03-14-2009, 01:32 PM   #9
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There are also non-submersible Top-fins .... The ones in the kits at PetSmart (at least in Canada) are not submersible. So, just make sure you have the submersible one before dunking the whole thing in the water.

Cheap heater are notorious for not keeping a stable temp. <And the top-fins have a terrible record from the posts on the web.> If the heater is heating the water to 86 on the lowest setting, I would think the thermostat is kaput. You would be better off investing in a quality submersible heater.
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Old 03-15-2009, 08:37 AM   #10
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Keep the heater though. I have several 'broken' ones that I always find a use for, from heating PWC water, salt mixes, etc. Even to use in an emergency.
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Old 03-15-2009, 08:08 PM   #11
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Thanks for the help everyone! I went to the LFS and bought a new heater today, one that actually has temperature settings instead of lo to hi. They made sure I got the right model, and they didn't have an outrageous price. I am very pleased! I won't be keeping the other one because when I took it out of the tank I noticed several spots that looked like burn marks, a couple possible cracks, and areas where it looked like there was algae on the inside of the heater. That just can't be natural.
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