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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning on building some small aquariums for office and home, and would like to design them for use with plants and fish that will not require the use of a filter or fancy lighting system. I would like the focus to be on the design of the tank and its inhabitants (florae and faunae).

I had read in a past article in the AGA's journal titled "Tiny Plants for Tiny Tanks" that the author uses reptile heating mats for his tiny tanks that will house plants or fish that need some heat (ex. Barclaya longifolia). His tone indicates that he has had no problems.

My question is, short of lots of trial and error, how would one go about figuring out which mat is best? How might one determine the size needed? Mostly I am wondering if anyone here has any experience using this method to heat a tank. The nice thing would be, nothing in the tank that throws off the visual.

The aquaria I am considering would be 12w x 12d x 19h in. The water would stop ~2-3 in from the top so I could have it open top and hopefully the extra would prevent any inhabitants from jumping out (at least in theory).

From searching this site, I have found references to the use of heating pads with emersed planting, but I could not tell whether they were referring to generic heating pads used for one's stiff back, or the type of pads I am looking at.

Some mats I found at drsfostersmith.com...
http://tinyurl.com/2n4k8
 

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Im not too sure about all this, but maybe if you could find one with some sort of thermostat then you could experiment until you get the water temp you desire. Im not sure though because I think with most heating pads once its on, its on and your water temps would just keep rising.
 

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rusticitas,

you cannot use those reptile heating pad for fish tank. 100% will crack your glass. cancel this idea. buy a heater. :lol:

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Art_Giacosa said:
Maybe an old wive's tale, but I've heard stories about the heat breaking the glass. Be careful.
Hm. That is, of couse, something very serious to consider. Maybe I should try to find the email of the author of that article and contact him directly to see what he is using, and whether he has had any problems or not. If he is with the AGA, perhaps they would be willing to forward it to him as a favor to a new member. ;-)

Would the water just keep getting hotter and hotter? I would think, and I do not recall what would happen from any my college courses, that it would just hit a stabilized temperature. I will have to see if I can figure out what the wattage to temperature conversion would be. I would assume it gets complicated as the glass will have certain characteristics, the substrate (ex. eco complete) would as well, then the water and plants and of course out the top.

The easiest thing would be to just buy one, put it under a small jar or 2.5g in a plastic tub to catch the water should something break and plug the heat pad into a safety outlet. Much less calculation. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Pigheaddd said:
rusticitas,

you cannot use those reptile heating pad for fish tank. 100% will crack your glass. cancel this idea. buy a heater. :lol:
Dang. Any personal experience? Just wondering... Thanks for the advice.
 

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rusticitas said:
Pigheaddd said:
rusticitas,

you cannot use those reptile heating pad for fish tank. 100% will crack your glass. cancel this idea. buy a heater. :lol:
Dang. Any personal experience? Just wondering... Thanks for the advice.
hey,

i was into PDF/terrurium hobby about 1.5 years, so... i read lots of people's experience. :twisted: you can get 200% sure answer from here. let me know if you have further question. i will try my best to explain. :lol:

http://forums.kingsnake.com/forum.php?catid=23

Tim
 

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You can also consider using fauna that can take cooler temperatures, the plants won't have any problem. This way you don't worry about heating at all. Most homes and offices are stable enough and have both air conditioning and heating so temperature should remain stable and within acceptable ranges for several species.

Hope that helps
Giancarlo Podio
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
gpodio said:
You can also consider using fauna that can take cooler temperatures, the plants won't have any problem. This way you don't worry about heating at all. Most homes and offices are stable enough and have both air conditioning and heating so temperature should remain stable and within acceptable ranges for several species.

Hope that helps
Giancarlo Podio
I had considered that. I understand that White Clouds can do that, but they might not like the "smaller" space too much. But Bettas and some Killies would be ok, but they might like better temps than the low 70s. I do not know about others, nor am I 100% sure about those two fish mentioned, as I am still pretty new to this hobby.

This would be used in my office, and at home, both of which are temperature controlled. Usually my apartment is easily kept at 73-74F and the office can vary, depending upon several factors, between 69-75F (those new and amazing air quality control systems, feh!).
 

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I already planned on doing this for my 2.5g. I just got a 4w heating pad, the ZooMed Mini one. I can't really see how it could break the glass if you make sure to keep the water in it at all times that the heater is on. But, with mine, it's not that powerful & just wanted it to raise the tank temp jsut a few degrees.
You also have to keep some space under the tank so the pad doesn't overheat (I'm guessign this could deffinately break the glass)

They do make seperate temerpature control units for them as well.


Now to just zero in on this glass breaking issue...
 

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It seems to me thta pigheaddd knows what he is talking about but I do wonder, would that issue be the same for an acrylic tank?
 

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Why not use a substrat heating cabel? It's made for aquarium, and unless your making a really big tank you should have no problem with it keeping the tank warm. Been thinking about this myself, but I don't know the effect on the plants with this much heat in the substrat.
 

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dennis said:
It seems to me thta pigheaddd knows what he is talking about but I do wonder, would that issue be the same for an acrylic tank?
im wondering about acrylic tank too. im not sure about this one, but im sure that glass tank will crack. if any of you have question about heating pad under acrylic tank, you can contact with Sean to see if he has had experience with heat pad. normally, frogs don't need heat pad. :wink: he was one of the top breeder i got my frogs from. all of his frog tanks are made by acrylic.

http://www.herpetologic.net/

Tim
 

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Most heating cables don't have a thermostat, they are not made to warm a tank up, just raise the substrate temperature slightly to improve plant growth. They are usually underpowered so that they will not overheat a tank by remaining on all the time.

A heating mat can be used but you'll need a dissipator between the pad and tank to avoid hot spots which could crack the glass. A marble or granite slate would work just fine, or even another layer of glass or aluminum, anything that conducts heat will work. Just make sure you don't overheat the tank though.

Starting to think a regular submergible heater is the easiest solution for you :?

Giancarlo Podio
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
gpodio said:
Starting to think a regular submergible heater is the easiest solution for you :?
Yes, a submersible is the most practical. My hope was to find a solution that would not look obvious or invasive or an eyesore in an otherwise nice looking setup. I will go with the safest and most practical approach, but I think I will experiment with a "sterile" (ie. no flora or fauna) tank to test this out with over a few weeks to see how it works. My working for an engineering college, although I am not an engineer, might help me access someone with knowledge or some basic equipment to test with (you know, very high tech like those newfangled "thermometers"). ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm thinking. Why would a heating mat crack an aquarium, but not a reptile tank glass? Is it just the presence of water and/or substrate? I would assume a lizard tank would have some kind of substrate as well, and all of the ones I see are glass as well, and thinner glass at that because it does not have to support the weight of the water. What am I not understanding here?
 

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Personally I don't think the heat itself would break anything, most likely the fact that it doesn't provide a solid flat surface for the tank to sit on properly. With enough heat, it's more likely that an empty tank will break rather than one full of water.

Giancarlo Podio
 

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I'm guessing a tempered bottom tank will fair better against cracking as well.


Either way, I'm gonna try it on my 2.5g. It's only a 4w pad so I can't see any major problems developing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Daemonfly said:
I'm guessing a tempered bottom tank will fair better against cracking as well.

Either way, I'm gonna try it on my 2.5g. It's only a 4w pad so I can't see any major problems developing.
I'm curious to find out how the pad works out for you... Can you let me know how it works out (success or failure)?
 

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Put it on the bottom of the 2.5g today (Sun). Have the tank sitting on some pink sytrofoam insulation board (mainly due to non-smooth/flat surface). I'll turn it on tomorrow (Mon) and keep a temperature probe under the tank to make sure it doesn't overheat from the insulation. If it does get too warm, I'll find some other source of support.

I used the ZooMed ReptiTherm Mini http://zoomed.com/html/under_tank_heaters.php

I don't foresee any problems as the Mini is only 4w and is the only UTH of theirs that is rated safe with acrylic tanks. If it works with acrylic, I can't see it cracking my glass 2.5g.
 
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