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Looking for heater recommendation


ReefGuy77

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I'm looking for some advice on a new heater for a new tank I'm planning on setting up. In the past I've always used Aqueon heaters for most of my tanks, they were readily available at my fish store and affordable. I've never had a problem with them, but I get the sense most people are using something better, so I have heater envy. 

 

I'm just wondering what others would recommend looking into. I've seen the Eheim brand thrown around as a good one. Is it worth spending the extra money, or should I just stick with the Aqueon? Thanks in advance!

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1 hour ago, Clown79 said:

I use an aqueon pro in my lagoon, does a great job.

 

I also use eheim jaggers- if they fit in the tank.

 

Makes me feel better about using Aqueon Pro in my tanks. Any reason you use the Eheim if it fits instead of just sticking with the Aqueon? 

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49 minutes ago, ReefGuy77 said:

 

Makes me feel better about using Aqueon Pro in my tanks. Any reason you use the Eheim if it fits instead of just sticking with the Aqueon? 

I originally purchased the eheims but it doesn't fit in the lagoon and i had an aqueon pro which fits perfectly.

 

 

Both heaters work well and i have had no issues with either.

 

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I quite like my BRS heater controller and titanium heater element.  I've been using that since just after they came out with it.  Having that heater controller plugged into my DIY aquarium controller gives me two levels of redundancy to keep the fish from cooking, plus I get an email if the tank gets too hot or cold.

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3 hours ago, empresto said:

Having that heater controller plugged into my DIY aquarium controller gives me two levels of redundancy to keep the fish from cooking, plus I get an email if the tank gets too hot or cold.

It also creates more risk from the added failure points vs just a heater.  IMO, with more potential failure points and no additional features, it seems like the wrong kind of redundancy.

 

Don't be too reliant on the sensors either....calibrations have been known to drift on gear like that so as time goes on it doesn't know what the temp really is.

 

You should be looking at the tank temp. pretty much every time you feed, so there's not a lot of room for surprises to begin with.  👍  Make it easy to see the temp...lots of options from magnetic thermometers to LCD thermometers to thermometers with remote wired or wireless sensors.

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6 hours ago, mcarroll said:

It also creates more risk from the added failure points vs just a heater.  IMO, with more potential failure points and no additional features, it seems like the wrong kind of redundancy.

I would agree with you if the fail state for the controller hardware was 'ON', but all relays involved have an 'OFF' fail state.  The added feature here is the ability of the controller to override the heater thermostat so that the worst that can happen is the heater turns off and the tank starts to cool down.  Having had more than one heater fail in the 'ON' position, I trust this setup over the stock thermostat in the heater.  I should also point out that the BRS heater controller is the thermostat for their titanium heating elements since those don't have a built in thermostat.

 

I get what you're saying about the sensors, but since I have a calibrated glass thermometer visible in the tank that I see daily, I would know if the probes were starting to drift.  I've also got one probe for the tank, one for the sump, and one for ambient temp, all three of which are recorded and evaluated separately.  I get an email if any of those three wander out of range; the ambient temp probe actually clued me into my AC unit dying long before I would have noticed the house warming up; bought me an extra day to get a repair guy out to fix it before the 100F day we had, which would have also cooked the tanks 🙂 

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Overall I agree...and sounds like you have a fine setup.

 

The only thing I'd re-mention is that 2 failure points (a heater AND a backup system) is still more than 1 failure point (just a heater).  2 is twice as likely as 1.  That's true no matter how you slice it.

 

If I were personally subscribing to more failure points and more complexity in my tank's heating function, I'd want to gain full redundancy in the deal.  

 

Notification of a failure is nice, and it's a feature that can be used with any type of heater installation.  But in lieu of actual redundancy notification alone still leaves the animals more exposed while you receive and react to the notification, which takes time. (When it works). 

 

In most circumstances, I'd pick two smaller heaters vs one larger heater and a backup system.  (Two small heaters and a notification system would be a nice combo tho....don't get me wrong.)

 

A heater sticking on is literally half the problem it could be with my setup as it would be otherwise.  A single small heater in that setup can stick on for quite a while before the tank gets into trouble....lots of time for you to notice...the second heater just won't run (very much).

 

So you'd have at least double the amount of time you'd have to catch a misbehaving full size heater in a more traditional setup....whether you're notified or not.

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14 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Overall I agree...and sounds like you have a fine setup.

 

The only thing I'd re-mention is that 2 failure points (a heater AND a backup system) is still more than 1 failure point (just a heater).  2 is twice as likely as 1.  That's true no matter how you slice it.

 

If I were personally subscribing to more failure points and more complexity in my tank's heating function, I'd want to gain full redundancy in the deal.  

 

Notification of a failure is nice, and it's a feature that can be used with any type of heater installation.  But in lieu of actual redundancy notification alone still leaves the animals more exposed while you receive and react to the notification, which takes time. (When it works). 

 

In most circumstances, I'd pick two smaller heaters vs one larger heater and a backup system.  (Two small heaters and a notification system would be a nice combo tho....don't get me wrong.)

 

A heater sticking on is literally half the problem it could be with my setup as it would be otherwise.  A single small heater in that setup can stick on for quite a while before the tank gets into trouble....lots of time for you to notice...the second heater just won't run (very much).

 

So you'd have at least double the amount of time you'd have to catch a misbehaving full size heater in a more traditional setup....whether you're notified or not.

Truth! 🙂

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15 hours ago, mcarroll said:

The only thing I'd re-mention is that 2 failure points (a heater AND a backup system) is still more than 1 failure point (just a heater).  2 is twice as likely as 1.  That's true no matter how you slice it.

Depends how you view it. Two points of failure is what you say .What I say is two points of safety limit switches.. 

It's way more common (and worse )for a heater to fail on. I'd much rather have a back up switch to kill the heater if it gets stuck on. Plus the back up temp switch isnt very likely to go out bc it shouldnt be cycling, unlike the heater which cycles on and off thousands of times a year...

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6 hours ago, FISHnChix said:

Depends how you view it. Two points of failure is what you say .What I say is two points of safety limit switches.. 

It's way more common (and worse )for a heater to fail on. I'd much rather have a back up switch to kill the heater if it gets stuck on. Plus the back up temp switch isnt very likely to go out bc it shouldnt be cycling, unlike the heater which cycles on and off thousands of times a year...

This is the logic that lead me to what I have.  The back up temp relay only cycles when the controller power cycles, so once a month plus any power outages (less than 30 times a year). Since the service life of that relay is in the hundreds of thousands of cycles, I find it unlikely it would break in the life of the tank.

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Aqueon Presets, because they are small, no knobs to play with, and as I understand it, they have a Safety Thermostat along with the Set-point Thermostats. Also I don’t use one Heater in my Sump, depending on the Tank size that can vary from two to four heaters, with the load spread out. If one fails I’m not going to loose the entire Tank.  It’s the old adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” BTW, if you have  submersible pumps, you need to

figure them in when sizing your heater. Let’s say your Return is 36 watts, Skimmer is 23 watts and you have two wave pumps at 16 watts each. With these pumps you already have 91 watts of heat added to your Aquarium. Size your heaters accordingly. 

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