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Old 04-28-2005, 11:44 PM   #1
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Best Heater...

Anyone use one of those Titanium Proheat digital heaters that are common on ebay? The price is pretty cheap... about $40 for a 350w. Any other recommended heaters?

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Old 04-29-2005, 02:26 AM   #2
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I've never used one of thos heaters...But I would definitely recommend an Ebo Jager if you have the money.
Check out http://www.fishinthe.net/html/reviews-1.html for a review.
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Old 04-29-2005, 02:35 AM   #3
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Won Bros ProHeat titaniums are top-quality...external controls, independant probes, absolutely unbreakable, and accurate within a degree....I have several and know about 80 people using them all with the best of reviews for the product.
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Old 04-30-2005, 09:02 PM   #4
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How does the Hydor in-line compare to the Won Bros titanium?
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Old 05-01-2005, 05:21 PM   #5
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I run a Hydor-Theo PTC shatterproof glass heater in my Rainbow Lifegard in-line heater module on my 55 gal tank setup --> http://www.pentairaquatics.com/produ...le_heater.html . This series of Hydor heaters are unique in that they use a conductive polymer sheet as the heating element instead of a metal coil. The theory is that the peak operating temperature can be lower to still achieve the same amount of heat transfer, since there can be a lot more surface area with a polymer sheet than with a metal coil. This is 'life and death' important if the heater is ever allowed to operate dry (because a metal coil will burn out but the polymer sheet stops getting much hotter and survives). This is a much greater risk factor if the heater is installed in an in-line heater module depending on a pump to flow water past it and force trapped air out of it, versus being immersed inside a tank. For this reason, the Hydor PTC is the only heater that I would ever consider running in external forced flow installations. Since I also run ceramic bio-balls inside my in-line heater module, the lower peak temperature of the Hydor PTC heating element is also a supposed plus in regard to potentially killing off 'good' bacteria if the heater stays on and the water flow stops for some reason.

Hydor of course also offers their own combination heater and in-line module --> http://www.aquatichouse.com/Pumps_fi...20external.asp --> for a little less money than buying the Hydor-Theo heater and another company's in-line heater module separately, but the Hydor in-line module doesn't have room for adding bio-balls, is harder to take apart and clean, and the 'plumbing' is messier (particularly since I'm running other Rainbow Lifegard filter modules too). However, there are several degrees of error in the knob markings versus the actual tank temperature with my Hydor-Theo (but this might be due to the fact that there is actually a temperature difference of several degrees between the water in my in-line heater module and the water in my tank). Perhaps the Hydor combination unit already 'knows' that it's being used in an in-line application and has been recalibrated for that application, where my Hydor-Theo thinks it's immersed in a tank when it's actually installed in another company's in-line heater module.

Won titanium tube heaters take a different approach, using a metal coil for heat but providing a 'bulletproof' outer tube which cannot crack under any conditions. The Won heater's great claims to fame are that it was the first to use the titanium tube, the first to use a separate temperature sensor which accurately measures water temperature away from the local effects of the heater, and that it uses a control box which (presumeably) switches power to the heater electronically instead of via a 'mechanical' switch contact inside the heater tube thus eliminating another common cause for heater failure. Also ViaAqua now makes a similar titanium tube heater, but (presumeably) doesn't have as sophisticated of a control box. IMHO the Won is the ultimate heater for inside the tank immersion installations because of the 'bulletproof' tube and super accurate temp control, if you don't mind the extra 'mess' of the separate temperature probe and control box.

In my 6 gal tank I run a VisiTherm 25 watt conventional glass tube heater. It was very cheap, it's well protected from damage by a 'rubber bumper' which almost totally surrounds the glass tube, and the thermostat setting is actually very accurate. Plus there aren't very many heater companies which offer a 25 watt model for use in very small tanks i.e. the smallest Won heater is a 50 watt. If you're on a tight budget, VisiTherm is 'the cream of the crap' so to speak.

As to Ebo-Jager, I run one of these (which I've had for a couple of years) immersed in the tank as a second heater on my 55 gal. While these heaters have an excellent reputation and I've certainly gotten great service out of mine, IMHO recent technological advances have passed them by and I wouldn't buy another one today. The Won titanium or Hydor PTC are in the same premium price range and use better technology for their respective applications. The VisiTherm uses the same technology and is quite a bit cheaper, just as accurate, and better protected from impact damage.
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Old 05-01-2005, 10:33 PM   #6
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Thanks melonie for your reply.Are the Hydor in-line 200 and 300 models as good a heater as the Theo PTC. I know they also incorporate the conductive sheets.I'm undecided on which would be better,Hydor or Won Bros.
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Old 05-01-2005, 11:26 PM   #7
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Well, if your application is for the heater to be immersed in your tank, then you pretty much can't beat the 'bulletproof' titanium tube and the separate temperature sensor and controller setup of the Won. For immersed in the tank applications, IMHO the main advantage of the Hydor-Theo PTC plastic heating element being capable of surviving dry operation really isn't all that important when the heater is to be immersed all the time, but where the accuracy of the Won's separate temperature probe and the long life of the electronic controller IS important.

The Hydor in-line models look like they're the best thought out in-line heater design ... if you are JUST looking for an in-line heater, and if you already have a canister filter or pump/modular filter setup with a hose that you can cut into to install an in-line unit. The Hydor in-line models use the same PTC plastic heating element as the Hydor-Theo glass tube immersion heater. However, the temp controller built into the Hydor in-line models appears to be more sophisticated than the standard 'twist-knob' arrangement on top of the Hydor-Theo.

If the real question is whether or not in-line heaters in general are better than heaters which are immersed in the tank, ultimately they both heat the water. Where in-line heaters are concerned, the major attraction seems to be eliminating an 'unsightly' object from the tank. IMHO this is a great arrangement if you're comfortable running a single canister filter and a single heater. However, unlike a heater immersed in the tank, with an in-line heater if the pump quits on your filter then heated water stops flowing too and your tank will start cooling off. If like me you believe in running two heaters for redundancy, then you wind up facing a choice of having one immersion heater anyhow or setting up a second canister filter or pump/modular filter in order to have a separate water flow for a second in-line heater. Installing two in-line heaters depending on the same pump will still leave your water temperature 'up the creek' if the one and only pump quits.

To be honest, I probably would not have gone with my in-line heater setup if I didn't need some extra bio-filtration anyhow, and the Lifegard in-line heater module provided lots of room for adding bio-balls (I used ceramic balls to eliminate any possibility of thermal damage where the balls touch the heater tube). The Hydor in-line heater modules cannot do anything else except heat the water.
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Old 05-02-2005, 11:54 PM   #8
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Man ... trust me ... go with the won brothers ... best i have ever used!
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Old 05-11-2005, 09:42 AM   #9
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I have to agree on the Won. I just got one as my previous heater was having issues maintaining the temp for some unknown reason. The Won has kept the temp to the degree for quite some time now.

I got the Pro Heat II so it has the Temp display. Worth the extra couple $$ IMO.
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Old 05-15-2005, 09:51 PM   #10
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Excellent point melonie about how the external heater is useless if the cannister fails.But I always thought the external heater would provide a more evenly heated tank because there is no heat concentration on any one part of the tank. Thanks to all for their replies
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