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Old 01-07-2008, 02:26 PM   #1
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Visitherm STEALTH heater owners inside please

Hello everyone,

I've recently had some heater issues with my dwarf puffer 10 gallon tank at work. The heater after being set and working seemingly fine for a month or so decided to start heating well above its set temperature (or so I thought).

I had originally set it for 80, and got it dialed in pretty well. Then I didn't check it for a couple weeks, until a couple days ago. Well I was shocked to see it was almost 87F!!!

I had lost 2 oto's in the last 2 weeks but didn't attribute it to anything such as the water temp. So I turned the heater down slightly and waited until the next day. No change?!?!!

I then turned it down some more and still no change.

Now I thought I had a broken heater and was all set to return it. But first I wanted to make sure I wasn't doing something like turning the wrong direction, not turning enough, etc. This whole time I was setting it by putting my hand into the tank and turning slightly. I had never taken it off the suction cups and actually looked at what the temp setting was.

So on Saturday I came in and sure enough the temp was still 87. I took it off the suction and looked at it. Sure enough the setting was quite high (well above 80F). I turned it down to about 82F or so (for fear of overshooting in the wrong direction and seriously stressing the lone puffer), and replaced it.

I came in this morning and it was still 87F!?!?! Now I was sure the heater was broken (and just constantly on), but I had one more stupid thought.

I UNPLUGGED the heater and turned it down a bit more, then plugged it back in. The temp started to fall in the tank. That was this morning and at 1:30pm, the temp is now 82.2F. It seems to be holding stable around that temp but I'm going to keep an eye on it before I leave today.

So to other Stealth owners, have you experienced it not taking a new setting until unplugged and plugged back in? Or is mine just on the fritz?

And for ALL owners, this is one of the reasons why we do NOT recommend more than 5 watts per gallon (wpg) for any tank. Staying at 5wpg or slightly less should allow you to catch the problem before you boil the fish. It seems like my heater might have been maxing out and by evaporation and radiation the tank temp never got above 87F.

EDIT: I've had this heater for less than 1 1/2 years.
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Old 01-08-2008, 08:53 AM   #2
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Came in this morning and the temp had dropped to 73.5F!!!! That's a HUGE drop in tank temp. Fortunately my puffer still looks fine and he took a snail no problem this morning. I unplugged the heater, turned it slightly up, plugged it back in. If I don't see it stabilize by this afternoon I'm going to replace it.

I turned it up slightly as soon as I saw the temp this morning and it is so far at 74.0F and slowly rising....
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Old 01-08-2008, 12:04 PM   #3
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I have several Visitherm Stealth heaters: 25, 50, and 75W. None of mine ever acted that way. I would return it and get your money back. I'm glad your fish is fine!

BTW, with any heater I've had, I don't rely on the temperature gauge to set the temperature. I set it for 78 degrees and then about 6 hours later, I'll use a thermometer (a digital one from the kitchen store) to measure the temp. I'll turn the dial a little up or down depending on what the thermometer, not the heater dial, says. I want my tanks to be at 80 degrees. I think my heater setting is more like 77 degrees but as long as the thermometer is reading what I want for the water temp. then that's what I go by. Whenever I've done this (I just set up two tanks recently from my move) the Stealth heaters never heated up as much as yours, so I think yours is defective. I set the heater dial for about 78 like I said and the measured temp. never got higher than 82. So although you can't really go by the dial, it never heated that far out of the range I set it for or stuck on.
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Old 01-08-2008, 05:55 PM   #4
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I'd also suggest returning the heater - there's got to be something wrong with it.

One thing that I don't like about the stealth heaters as compared to the old glass Visitherms, is the lack of a light indicating when the heater is actually on. If the stealth had this feature, you probably would have figured out what was going on much sooner.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:52 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies people. For some reason I didn't get an email notification of replies and so thought no one had posted a reply.

An t-iasg, the heater is used solely to heat the tank, all measurements (and posted tank temps) are taken from a digital thermometer placed away from the heater enough to give accurate readings. The flow in the tank is more than adequate (AquaClear20 on the 10 gallon tank). The FIRST thing I did when I saw the temp was verify with another thermometer. I was hoping it was just my digital thermomemter crapping out.

The heater is still in the tank and everything is fine. It turns out the little give in the dial (in and out) seems to be what the problem was. You could spin the dial but the heater didn't recognize that as changing the setting and so it led to a crazy visual setting (ie 89F but was only getting the water to 80F). I messed around with a combination of slight pushing and pulling while turning the heater up (I first turned it ALL the way down), and now have it at a relatively stable 79F. The dwarf puffer made it through like a champ!

As for the light, that would be a great way to tell easily that its on. I found when the heater is on if you put a light at the back of the tank (I have no background) you can see the "heat" coming off the heater as the water rises off. And when turning the dial you can hear an audible click when it shuts off. That helped me to figure out quickly at least whether I was in the right direction.

I purchased this heater from petsmart and don't know what their return policy on a heater is, especially one this old (year and a half). I obviously don't have any packaging or reciept so I'm pretty sure they wouldn't take it back. I'll be keeping a much closer eye on the tank for the next couple of weeks to make sure everything is working properly.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:40 PM   #6
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Stealth heaters have a lifetime warranty
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:58 PM   #7
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You probably did get a less-than-perfect heater but if you've worked out a way to set it, that's good. You may want to check the Marineland's website to see what the warranty is - probably a year though.

Here's the link I found: http://www.marineland.com/products/a...rm_stealth.asp

It has a warranty registration screen but no info on the warranty itself that I could see. Hold on a sec...I'll go look at my box...I just got a 75 watt Stealth heater last week and I still have the box. It says "Lifetime Warranty" on the box. I think it's worth asking at Petsmart or contacting Marineland through the website. I took a faulty heater (a Visitherm Deluxe) back to the store once and they put it in a bucket of water and plugged it in. They saw that it was acting up and exchanged it for me.

The forum default, I think, is to subscribe you to every thread you start or reply in, and to email you instantly. To change these settings, go to UserCP (at the top blue bar). In the left column, scroll down to Settings and Options and select Edit Options. Under Messaging and Notification (second block in the main screen area), you'll see a "Default Thread Subscription Mode" area with a drop-down box. Set that to your preference - you can subscribe or not subscribe, and set the frequency of the email notifications. Hope that helps.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:57 AM   #8
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Well its good to know they have the lifetime warranty. If this heater fails at a later time I'll definitely try to get a replacement. Because of how odd the heater acts I don't know if PetSmart would exchange it since its not broken or always on (just finicky).

As for the auto-emailing this last post you made sent me an email without me changing anything, so maybe I got it and accidentally deleted it as junk mail?

Thanks again. Heater still working great this morning ~79F.
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Old 01-11-2008, 02:59 PM   #9
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You could always ask the next time you're in. Don't remove it from the tank unless they will do an exchange. That way, you didn't go through the hassle of removing the heater, driving over with it, only to have them refuse to exchange it. Ask first and they may help you out! I can't imagine that they wouldn't, given the problems you've had.

Yes, the new notifications in email are worded a little differently than the old site's notifications. I almost deleted one myself before I realized what it was!
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Old 01-11-2008, 04:38 PM   #10
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I have about 16 stealth heaters of various wattages. I also don't like the lack of an indicator for when it's on, but I have found that when it's on, bubbles usually form on the outside of the heater. Once I did a big WC and left my stealth heater on since it's supposed to have an automatic overheat shut off. It didn't shut off and the plastic casing bulged and bubbled. I contacted Marineland and they just said to send it in and they would replace it.
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