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Hi, I've read somewhere that it is advisable to place the water heater IN the gravel, so that the plants don't get "cold feet"... apparently, the reasoning is that a layer of "cold" water will stay at the bottom, preventing the water from circulating. Now, I have a heater that is submersible, but it's suctioned to the side right now. Is it advisable to place it underneath the gravel? (besides, it'll make my tank look better and less cluttered with "artificial" stuffs)

Thanks again.
 

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Don't try this!! You gonna end up with fried fish for dinner :wink:

There are substrate heating cables that are used to do this, regular glass heaters would burn up, crack and possibly cause a safety hazard if there is no water movement around it.

Personally, I don't feel they are necessary, or should I say worth the expense if your tank is in a room where temperatures don't drop too much. Your substrate will never drop to a lower temperature than it's surrounding room, actually it will be somewhere between the room temperature and the water temperature. For most homes, this is only a couple degrees cooler than the water temperature. Heating cables can cost around $100 or more. Other than that, many people swear by them and used to be very popular a few years ago.

Hope that helps
Giancarlo Podio
 

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I agree, don't bury your heater. The heat would be so localized anyway that it would not produce the effect you would want.

I have used substrate cables for a few years now and I like them. Like many aspects of the hobby, you need to try them yourself and decide if you like the results (not that there wouldn't be other variables...) They definitely aren't needed to get great results, though. If the $$$ have to be spent, try one out. :wink: They don't hurt anything other than your wallet...
 

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I was under the impression that substrate heaters are intended for rooted plants. I think it encourages root growth to the bottom for better nutrient pick up abilities. But I am new at this and could be wrong. :)
 

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One more thing...FWIW.

On my old 40 gallon tank, I used substrate heating exclusively. There was no other in-tank heater. The sub stayed at about 82, while the main tank was kept at a constant 79 - even through the MN winters!

This may be an option for smaller tanks, and can eliminate the expense (and eye-soreness) of the "regular" heater.
 

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They may benefit root feeders, but what happens when you want to re-scape your tank? All the plants' roots are entangled in the cable and the cable has to come out, too. With a good, rich substrate I think it's useless to use cables. The only time they were useful is when laterite alone was used.
 

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Raul-7,

To my knowledge, most plants are root feeders for many major nutrients. Therefore, use of substrate heat is potentially beneficial to most plants. I mainly use laterite and gravel, so that may go along with what you are saying. As I said, it's up to the aquarist. I see lots of great tanks here, and judging by the responses I see regarding heat cables, heat cables aren't in widespread use. :)

When the roots become entangled, I've never had a problem teasing them off or just snipping them. Bunch plants are about the only ones I ever need to pull and replant and their roots are easily dealt with. There's no need to be careful with them IMO, because when they are pulled, the bottoms are cut anyway. In the rare event of replanting a sword, it may present an issue, but hasn't been a problem for me. The problem lies within trying to replant it without cutting roots and digging up a chunk of substrate. Crypts IME, don't have the umbers of roots to pose much problem - and I try not to ever pull them anyway.

With 3+" of substrate, I have never had to worry about my cables becoming exposed. It does require caution, though.
 
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