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Old 04-11-2014, 06:54 PM   #1
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Heater and Temperature Controller Advice

Hey if anyone has extensive knowledge of heaters, and also temperature controlling devices, I could use some guidance.

The reason I'm looking into this, is right now I have a tetra submersible heater in my 10 gallon tank (yes, the cheap one you get from WalMart that has no temp control, it just automatically "sets" it in an acceptable range)
While Mr. Cheapo is working fine right now, it tends to keep the water around 76, and I wouldn't mind it being 78... So while I started researching heaters online, I now have heard numerous horror stories of this heater (Cheapie WalMart Heater) malfunctioning and cooking people's fish. People saying "STAY AWAY" and "ONLY BUY THIS HEATER IF YOU HATE YOUR FISH". I don't hate my fish, I love my fish. I don't want to take any risks, especially seeing that this tank is at work and all of this could very well happen on the weekend while I'm away. I'm Mrs. Worst Case Scenario.

So although the ticking time bomb death machine is functioning, I went shopping for a new, adjustable heater. Much to my dismay, even the most expensive heaters out there have reviews of failing equipment. I ended up going with a 50W Aqueon Pro. Few bad reviews, good price.

Paranoia has not subsided, so I started researching more into what is best - fully submersed or have the dial above water - vertical or horizontal - etc etc

From some advice I saw online. Heaters work best in the vertical position, with the dial out of water. Having two heaters of smaller watts would prevent overheating, and/or having this temperature controller safeguard.

So, here are my questions:

1) Should I return my 50Watt heater and get two 25Watt heaters for my 10 gallon tank? What brand sells a reliable 25 watt heater? I saw one for EHEIM Jager, but it seems so tall! --- or will my Aqueon 50Watt be okay in there?

2) If the heater works best in vertical position, during PWC's, the water will be below the "water line" drawn by the manufacturer. is it okay to unplug a heater while doing the water change, and plug back in when complete? Or should I have it horizontally on the bottom so it never has to be unplugged?

3) What type of temperature controller would work best in my situation? 10 gallon tank...
Does anyone have success with the Ranco ETC? if so, is this the device I need? Is it too much for my little set up? I found one prewired because I'm no electrician guru.
http://www.etcsupply.com/ranco-etc111000000-prewired-digital-temperature-controller-p-87.html

4) I feel really dumb asking, but how do these work? I assume the device plugs into the outlet, and heater plugs into device? Correct?

Thanks for any advice!

KF
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:42 AM   #2
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No advice?! Haha
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:35 PM   #3
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I don't have any controllers (yet), so I'm following this thread. One thing I do note is that I don't see anywhere where you state the size of your tank. That needs to be known for those to help you.
I own 3 aqueon pro's and a fluval. Three heaters are 300 watts, in 55, 55 and 75 gallon respective. The remainder is a 100 watt in my 29 gallon.
I guess because of the brands/positive reviews on these, I tend not to worry. Although I probably should be.
Buying one controller and having one tank is not so hard. Buying 4 is like a kick in the wallet! I'm interested in what comes from this thread, and if there are some money saving alternatives!
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:10 PM   #4
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Haha yes I imagine so.

I just have a ten gallon. 50 watt heater not yet put in as I'm waiting to hear some feedback on how to position it in the tank for best results.

Thanks for the reply to my lonely thread
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:40 PM   #5
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I actually emailed the ETC company and they got back to me rather quickly on what model would best suit me.

They said while this model (the one I linked) can handle much more wattage than what I plan to plug into it (50watts) he said this is what it is commonly used for, and there is no smaller controller (that they sell anyway). They also suggest with their controllers to have a thermowell on it. I have no idea what that means but I'm sure he'll explain when I ask...

So it sounds like this is the modelI need if I decide to go with the controller rather than the two 25 watt heaters. They also confirmed with me my dumbed down version of how the device is to operate (plug device in outlet, plug heater in device - set heater temp a couple degrees warmer than controller in case the controller itself fails)

So that leaves me with a couple of the same questions, but fewer:

1) horizontal or vertical placement of heater? Is it better if the dial is out of the water? (50watt adjustable heater)
2) if vertical - I just unplug the heater when doing water changes so it's not out of the water?

And if anyone has a better idea for safeguarding heaters please share.

Any information is helpful for me as I'm still somewhat of a beginner.

Thanks!
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:09 AM   #6
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I think the word was thermo dwell it refers to the time between the controller turns off and turns back on. It becomes more important when using a chiller to keep them from cycling too fast.

I built a controller for about $50 with a controller I bought off Ebay, 2 relays and parts from the hardware store. It was designed to run a chiller and heater but I want to LED lights before I really needed it. Yes I a Electro-Mechanical Tech.

1. Some of the newer heaters are submersible so they work in any position. The older heaters had to have the top out of the water.
2. Here again some of the better heaters are designed to shut down if they are out of the water. I would still unplug it any way. Better yet use a plug strip with a switch. So you can turn everything with 1 switch.

IMO with a small system I would relay on a good name heater and keep the cheap one for emergency's. Good luck!
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Old 04-19-2014, 02:40 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice!

Okay so I will just unplug to be safe during water changes.

It is a thermowell - it's a little tube that goes around the wire near the device to prevent water damage -apparently!

I'm going to remove the potential fish killer heater and keep it in case it's needed, and switch it with the new 50watt one.

And ill look into the controller in order to prevent malfunctions. This fish keeping sure adds up! $$$

Thanks again!
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:57 PM   #8
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Fluval Heaters have temperature control and are VERY dependable. OS.
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