09-03-2010, 07:12 PM
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I'm not sure where you obtained your information about the Hydor heaters, but I personally suggest them in many situations such as you are describing. Hydor makes one of the best heaters in the industry, especially for small tanks. I am personally not as fond of the Marina brand, simply because I have dealt with many unhappy customers who have issues with the Marina brand working properly and life span of their heaters.
One of the problems you are going to run into with a heater for that size of a tank is that the majority of the heaters that will fit into the tank are preset for temperature, this includes Marina and Hydor. Hydor does offer a more expensive option that has a manual temp control available to it, but for a betta, I can't imagine anyone wanting to spend that kind of money if its not needed.
Checking the preset temp of the heather you decide to buy is important, as most of them are set for 76F, but not all of them. For a betta tank, the higher temperature is healthier.
Is your tank covered? That is another important factor that many people forget to include when deciding what to use for a heater. A betta tank should always be covered due to their jumping, but there is more benefit to a cover than just keeping the fish in the tank. A cover will trap humidity at surface of the water where bettas need to obtain oxygen for breathing, and that is a good thing. Air temp at the surface, if it differs greatly from water temp, can cause many health risks to a betta. A cover also helps to maintain heat in water temp, and helps to keep the temp stable.
Another thing to consider with your situation is where the heater will sit and how it attaches to the tank. Being acrylic, you have the potential of melting the bottom or sides of the tank if the heater comes into contact with the acrylic, and some heaters, if the temp is too high, don't need to have direct contact to cause a problem. A heater laying in the gravel bed can heat the gravel temp high enough to cause damage to the acrylic as well. (this also applies to rocks that come into direct contact with the heater)
I have used the Hydor brand of heaters rated for under 10 gallons in acrylic tanks and have never had any problems, long or short term, so that is going to be my suggestion to you. The way Hydo designs their heaters helps to avoid any of the potential issues I mentioned here.
Hope this helps.