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Have you had a heater disaster? Vote Yes or No.


Have you had a heater disaster? Vote Yes or No.  

35 members have voted

  1. 1. Have you ever had a heater short, break or otherwise fail, that led to die offs or dangerous water temps?

    • Yes, every heater I've bought.
      2
    • Yes, more then once.
      6
    • Yes, Once.
      8
    • No, and I've been in the hobby for years.
      19


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Reading forums, we typically hear about the unusual and unique circumstances that arise in our tanks, as no one tends to report a lack of tragedy and uneventful days gone by. 
 
Let's have a poll, how many of you have had a heater disaster or a close call?
Just bought a Cobalt 25watt from Amazon. Temperature was stuck on the default setting so I returned it. Back to using a Hydor, old standby.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I say no, but I've had a couple Hydor heaters (I forget the name, but they are glass tubes but small for  <20 gallon tanks) that always made the tanks much hotter than the setting implied. It would be hard to keep it under 80 degrees F without putting them at a minimum setting. I never had any deaths that I'd attribute to it, though.

 

I'll also mention a heat-related mishap I recently had. I had a digital thermometer in one of my tanks, one of those cheaper plastic ones where the display goes outside the tank with a probe inside the tank. I'm always skeptical of cheap thermometers, of course. I also have a TDS meter (handheld) that has an option for measuring temperature instead. Well, the two thermometers agreed perfectly with each other, so that gave me confidence that they were probably basically correct. Well I bought a pack of three nearly-identical digital thermometers recently, about two years after getting the previous one, and wanted to compare the readings. The new trio all agreed with each other almost perfectly, but were way off from the old one. The new ones had a temperature reading about 3.5 degrees F higher than the old one.

 

I ended up doing a test that I saw recommended in a few places on the web. I put a little bit of water in a glass of ice and stirred for a little bit to chill the water as much as possible. The correct temperature reading should be 32F/0C. The new ones read between 31.8 and 32.1 while my old one (as well as the TDS meter) register at about 29F. That means I'd been calibrating all my heaters to a true temperature about 3 degrees higher than I thought I was, all because my two most trusted thermometers happened to be wrong in the exact same way.

 

In the main tank affected, I had lost some Corydoras habrosus after over 2 years in the tank in what I considered a premature die-off. It was initially stocked improperly, with German Blue Rams in that same tank, so I had been trying to keep the temp right at 78F, which is an absolute maximum for long-term care of C. habrosus and a minimum for long-term care of the GBRs. As it turns out, the tank was likely 81-82 for most of that time, probably contributing to the early demise of those Corydoras. Interestingly, my Eheim heater — which can be calibrated — hardly allowed for me to change the calibration enough to get it to match up with what I thought the temp was. That's because the heater was more correct than my thermometers.

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I only throw a small one from Amazon in for maybe a month or two when winter is at its coldest. (50's in So Cal LOL) but the tank temperatures do drop below comfortable levels for a bit. They keep my tanks above 68+ degrees and I've luckily never had a problem. But I've heard nightmare stories! So I do check them frequently and sometimes they worry me, yes. 

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I keep mine indoors now so I just regulate the temperature of my room to be in the 70's. In the past I have used them when my shrimp were in my garage. I have never had an issue, but they scare me too. Whenever they look old or overly calcified I dump them.

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for those of you that have to use heaters, there are a couple of things you can do to help with a faulty heater.

 

1. add a controller to the tank.  they can be programmed to shut the power off to the heater once the desired temp is reached.

 

or

 

2. use 2 heaters instead of one.  and make sure each heater is not big enough to heat the entire tank by itself.  this way if one heater malfunctions, it is not powerful enough to over heat the tank.  the 2 small heaters together can achieve your desired temps but one of them by itself can not.

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18 minutes ago, chappy6107 said:

for those of you that have to use heaters, there are a couple of things you can do to help with a faulty heater.

 

1. add a controller to the tank.  they can be programmed to shut the power off to the heater once the desired temp is reached.

 

or

 

2. use 2 heaters instead of one.  and make sure each heater is not big enough to heat the entire tank by itself.  this way if one heater malfunctions, it is not powerful enough to over heat the tank.  the 2 small heaters together can achieve your desired temps but one of them by itself can not.

 

I have 6 temp controllers , because some heaters cannot work correct, some are eheim, fluval...

But sometime probes need changes ... when its time to replace it read very big temp or very low... ( something like +70c) ,... or it can be -(20c+).

Ithink its beter to get cheaps heaters and add temp controllers...

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11 hours ago, nicpapa said:

 

I have 6 temp controllers , because some heaters cannot work correct, some are eheim, fluval...

But sometime probes need changes ... when its time to replace it read very big temp or very low... ( something like +70c) ,... or it can be -(20c+).

Ithink its beter to get cheaps heaters and add temp controllers...

 

you should calibrate & check your temps for accuracy every once in a while.

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11 hours ago, Wygglz said:

Recently had one shocking an entire 75 gal tank. Gill got zapped pretty good when he investigated.

 

I wonder about this all the time.

 

Can you share if there was anything notable that gave notice this was occurring?  Or did Gill only find out when he got zapped?

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14 hours ago, chappy6107 said:

 

you should calibrate & check your temps for accuracy every once in a while.

Some heaters cannot calibrate ... thats why i use temp controllers...

I check the waters every day when i feed , if you keep lot of tanks, its easy something go wrong.

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2 hours ago, nicpapa said:

Some heaters cannot calibrate ... thats why i use temp controllers...

I check the waters every day when i feed , if you keep lot of tanks, its easy something go wrong.

 

talking about the controllers.  they need to be calibrated every once in a while so that they stay accurate.  same as ph probe or any probe

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On 12/15/2017 at 6:04 PM, Wygglz said:

Hi Shrimple, he had no idea til he grabbed the filter and got zapped. The fish seemed a bit out of it, but all survived. He says they don't seem as friendly anymore.

 

wow that sucks.  I have heard of these things happening.

I would not be as friendly either. lol

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  • 4 weeks later...

In the last ~year i have tried every major brand and a few lesser brands and have lost ~4,000$ in fish. Most of that loss is in discus breeding pairs which stacks up cash fast. A heater dies, a discus whirls and is dead by dawn. Lost a whole betta breeding project.

Marineland takes the title with 4 Discus breeding pairs and ~60 show stock betas in the breeding project. 

Topfin. Breeding pairs and a few misc med-large discus. 

Eheim. ~7 misc med-large discus. (this is now heating the sole discus tank so I expect more bodies on this brand)

Finnex salt grade heaters: a few med-large discus and an expensive pleco.

Aquaion: a few med discus. and a pile of jar bettas (powerhead + heater in a bath to warm the jars).

Aquatop: misc med-large discus.

Hydor: failed but killed nothing.

etc..

 

The last of my discus are in a single 60 which I will run until they are all dead and then give up on discus. Heaters have gotten me out of discus.

 

Heaters seem to last 3-6 months. Most just stop making heat but I have had a few go crockpot (last one took a betta and Florida flag fish tank close to 100 but they were cool with that). 

 

 

So basically if you cannot put your tanks in a room that is heated to the proper temp, my recommendation is to figure out how big a heater you need for your tank then divide than number by 3 and use 3 heaters of the 1/3 total power size. If one goes cold the other 2 should keep the temp non-fatal. If one goes crockpot the other 2 should stop heating and your tank dwellers will hopefully not cook. If you have expensive stock like shrimp/discus/salt you may want to look at APCs for your heaters and pumps/filters. The APCs will be $$$ as the watts on heaters add up quick.

For brand so far Hydors have been failing the least.

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  • 2 months later...

I don't run heaters in my shrimp tanks, but my tropical tanks are heated. Been running tanks on and off since I was ten (yes, started early) and have only had them die in the off position. I will fess up and admit that I forgot to turn one off while doing a water change and cracked it when adding new water, but that one was quickly switched out.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

I killed SOOOOO many glass heaters, you really have no idea!! (i started fish keeping early in life too lol) 

 

The last heater i bought (and will continue buying) are the Aquael unbreakable! Man they take a beating. 

I second on the AQ controller for temp, so much easier to callibrate! 

 

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