Killer heater - how to prevent its rampage? - Equipment - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 02-20-2013, 02:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Killer heater - how to prevent its rampage?

This is the second time I've had a heater go rogue. The first time my 25w heater fried a young batch of 100 angel fish fry in my 2.5g rearing tank. The second time my 50w heater fried 60 kribs I had been raising for over two weeks. I'm not totally sure why the heaters do this but it always seems to happen after I do a water change, so I think I may be bumping the heater's dial when I put the light fixture back on the tanks.

Is there a heater alarm or heater shut off that I can buy to prevent this from happening again? It is such a pity to lose 100's of promising young fish simply because of a malfunctioning heater...
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Killer heater - how to prevent its rampage?

That's terrible! I always unplug my heater when I'm doing a water change, if it will be more than just a little exposed to air. From my understanding, you should expect a glass heater to last 1 year, then you may have one of two problems. It may not be able to keep up with heating the water, or it may get stuck in the on position and just cook baby cook.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Killer heater - how to prevent its rampage?

Yes, they exist. Finnex has one in the $40 range. I use the ReefKeeper Lite by DigitalAquatics, because it makes it easy to program lights too.

Redundancy is essential to protect from heater failure. To prevent overheating, one needs two thermostats -- the built in one and an external one like you're asking about. If there's a danger of too-low temperatures, one needs two heaters.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Killer heater - how to prevent its rampage?

I've had a few go rogue too Zapins, even before they're a year old. They just start cranking up the heat of their own accord. Sucks, a lot. I've heard some people re-calibrating heaters by messing with the dials, but that's probably not much help at this point. I will say the only heaters I've *never* had a problem with are the older Ebo-Jagers. I have some that are ancient and still work beautifully. The only heaters I've never had problems out of.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Killer heater - how to prevent its rampage?

Maybe you don't need a heater: http://www.seriouslyfish.com/whaddaya-mean-too-hot/
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Killer heater - how to prevent its rampage?

I do believe fish can take lower temps than generally recommended. I run my 100G at 24 celcius and it drops down to 22 celcius after a WC without problems. But at the lfs I work we have way more white spot disease if we lower the temp so I wouldn't recommend it. For growing plants vs algae, lower temperatures are way better!
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Killer heater - how to prevent its rampage?

I agree about the wider temp tolerances, but where you live and what you keep your indoor temps at will play a role.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Killer heater - how to prevent its rampage?

That's an interesting point yohan. About algae at higher temperatures. I wonder if anyone has tested this out scientifically.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Killer heater - how to prevent its rampage?

I have had experiences just about freezing all my 2000 or so fish in the fish room. Forgot the window open during winter. Temps outside dropped during the night too. Temp in the room dropped to 50F.

The water in the tanks had gotten to 55F. All fish survived except cories. Some fish fell into a stupor (no movement, no reactions) but came 100% back after the water temp raised back up.

I had various rasboras, loaches, badis, gobies, and several other species. Rasbora maculata, that flimsly looking thing, just lays there looking dead at 55F but once the temps are normal you'd never tell what happened.

Main thing is - DO NOT drop the temp too fast. And DO NOT raise it too fast (my first urge was to add hot water to the tanks). My experience was with the temp dropping from 76F to 55F in the course of about 12 hours.

And yes, an expensive German heater makes a whole lotta sense now to me too. Had enough issues with other brands, even not cheap. One super cool kind of damage that an overheating heater did to my 55 gallon tank was to soften the filter hoses. When soft the ouflow hose had come offof the filter fitting. The inflow hose was soft but stayed put. And my inflow was close to the bottom... The canister had been shooting water at the wall under the tank. The most efficient tank drain short of the glass breaking. (That was the time when aided by a shop-vac I discovered that the new looking carpet in my fancy apartment produces dirt as black as motor oil. No more carpet for me ever! 50 gallons of water that have to be sucked out of a carpet will change your mind anyway.) All that fun happened with a Titanium heater - the ones that are all metal and with a thermostat dial outside of the tank.

Last edited by niko; 02-26-2013 at 03:19 PM..
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