03-01-2008, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
| | Aquarium Heaters
(I'll be posting this in a general, non-club section also)
I just experienced a failure of a Rena aquarium heater. The temperature fell to about 60 degrees and we lost all of our neon tetras. The other fish were unaffected.
However, when I put in a backup heater, a titanium type with an outboard controller, it also failes and shot the temperature up close to 90 deg.
So both of those heaters are going into the trash.
In the meantime I'm using a 400W Hydor Theo heater that we weren't using from the goldfish tank. There's no crisis as of yet, but I may have to deal with disease or stress from the wild temperature swings. I'm leaving the temp around 80 for now and will bring it down slowly.
I would like to buy a replacement heater for a 55 gallon tank. The room the tank is in is cool, a bit above 60 degrees, which means that heater ratings won't tell me everything I need. Also, ratings are all over the range for how big of a tank they will support, depending on the manufacturer. I tend to go on the high side, but ideally I would use a little more than 1/2 of what I need for a heater but use two heaters. That way, if one goes bad in either direction it doesn't do it so quickly.
Now, as to wattage, I am open to recommendations.
However, the main purpose of this post is to find out what you have found to be reliable over a long period of time. Let's not look back at models that are no longer available, like the old jaegers (but if their newest line is as good as the old, let's hear about it!!!).
My main goal is to not lose any more fish due to a failed heater. I suppose it will be inevitable that sooner or later one of my heaters will fail, and I'm not going to pull out all of the Renas or the cheap branded ones until I see that they are starting to fail, which I have usually seen a failure at the seal where you see a tiny amount of condensation inside the glass tube (which you wouldn't see inside an opaque tube!).
I'm thinking of getting a Visitherm stealth or Visitherm Deluxe. We had one fail (the deluxe glass model) but it had a lifetime guarantee, so we got a replacement for free. The stealth has lasted more than a year now without problems. No fish were lost. I think it was a temperature regulation problem where you had to increase the setting over a period of weeks to maintain the same temperature.
The only "problem" I see with the titanium or plastic bodied heaters is a lack of an indicator that it is cycling on and off. And I don't really want to do daily testing to determine if it's working or not. I'll probably know when I feed the fish.
The Eheim Jaegers looked good but their warranty is only for 3 years. That tells me that they don't have much faith in their product.
Some of you are using the Wong or Jebo heaters. They are cheap. Are they durable? Or are they prone to failure?
Another brand that is inexpensive (300W is $11.00) is Via Aqua. Any good, or just another cheapie?
Any other brands worth looking at?
I am going to look into building an inexpensive temperature alarm that will alert me if the temperature goes over or under certain pre-set values as a safeguard, but I'm not in a hurry to do that since it will take some searching over schematics of temperature alarms to see how I can make one cheaper than the ones you can buy for $20 or less. And the ones you can buy are pre-set for a maximum range of 75 to 82 degrees F, so some of our fish tanks wouldn't work with that range.