10-26-2011, 12:44 PM
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First on the heaters. In tanks 4 feet length and over, no less than two heaters should be used. Unless you have a canister with a built-in heating unit [more on this when I consider your filter question]. The filter intake (= water in to the filter) should be at one end of the tank and the filter outflow at the other end. A heater can be placed next to both of these. This means the water is being heated as it enters the filter, if needed, and when it enters the tank. The flow from the filter dissipates the heated water evenly. In my two tanks with this system, Ihave not had an issue setting the heater temp; but then, they are good quality heaters.
As to size, I always prefer higher than the recommended minimum in wattage. On my 70g I have two 200w heaters. The higher wattage heaters will work less hard to heat the water, and thus last longer. Mine have been operating without trouble since 1996. Buy the best you can afford. The heater is the single most important piece of equipment. If it fails either way--overheating or not heating--it can kill the fish within hours especially if this occurs overnight. I've experienced this with the smaller heaters.
To the filter. Eheim and Fluval are comparable in the task they perform. A third is the Rena Filstar. Eheim is most expensive, then Rena, then Fluval; not surprising, this is also the order they are rated from best down. Eheim has the track record (over decades) to prove that it works and will last. My two Eheim Pro II's have been operating since 1995 and 1997 respectively, with never an issue. Fluval is not as well made, no one can argue that, so it is less expensive. Rena has not been around long enough to have the record Eheim has, and most suggest it too will not likely perform as well longterm. The extra cost of an Eheim probably gives you longer life without trouble and additional expense along the way. I have one Rena Filstar; no one locally was selling Eheim when I wanted a new filter, so after reading many reviews and consulting others, I went with Rena. I do like it, but will it last? No idea--yet.
One of my Eheim has the heating unit. Rena do not have this feature, at least not when I was looking. I would definitely get the Eheim with the heating unit if I were looking for a new filter. All the tank water has to pass over the heating coils in the bottom of the canister, so every inch of water in the aquarium is heated. There is simply no way to achieve that no matter how many hanging heaters. The temp in my 90g with this filter has never in more than 12 years fluctuated from the set temp by more than .3 of one degree either under or over. The temp probe hangs in the aquarium next to the filter intake so the temp of the water leaving the tank is being measured. The digital thermometer is calibrated to tenths of a degree, centigrade or farenheit. So the tank water remains within the temperature range of 76.8 to 77.2 constantly, when set on 77F.
Last edited by Byron; 10-26-2011 at 12:51 PM..