Thermometer and heater issues
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Thermometer and heater issues

This is a discussion on Thermometer and heater issues within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> last week when I went to do my water changes I got out my thermometer that I use to do water changes with that ...

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Thermometer and heater issues
Old 03-06-2013, 09:47 PM   #1
 
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Thermometer and heater issues

last week when I went to do my water changes I got out my thermometer that I use to do water changes with that I use for making sure my aquariums temps are the same as the water im adding I thought I would test my 120 gallon because it felt cold it has 2 titanium heaters that have digital read outs out side and they are both 6 months old and they read 81 degrees the thermometer said 76 degrees so I put it in the other aquarium which usually runs at 82 degrees even though the heater is set at 77 degrees it said 76 there also and the outside strip thermometer said 27 degrees I knew this thermometer was messed up so I did my water changes at what I figured was the right temp of each aquarium and bought a new thermometer for water changes I noticed my strip thermometer on the tank with the glass heater whis was set at 77 and ran at 82 had jumped up to 28 this week and when I went to do my water change this week the new thermometer said this tank was at 85 degrees so I turned the heater down more I had cleaned the glass top recently and had moved the heater and thought maybe I moved it so I turned it down I noticed last night that one of my baby golden rams which I have had for a month was pale but still active, I wish I had thought that my heater was messed uip. tonight when I came home from work late I fed my fish their supper and one of the golden rams didn't come I found him dead and white then I noticed the other ram while hungry and eating was pale i looked at the strop thermometer which was still at around 28 degrees celcius and grabbed the other thermometer and found out the water was at 87 degrees i whipped out the heater and threw it out and for now have put in one of my titatiniums from my 120 gallon in with the digital heater and them temp is coming down I hope my other baby golden ram is ok he is very active mut is still pale it looks like his color is starting to come back, the other fish are fine and there color is okthe temp is now at 84 and set at 81, I don't think I will ever by one of those heaters again its under a year old and will never trust strip thermometers either, I had this happen years ago when I lost all my fish how long do heaters last? I have the 2 Via Aquas in my 120 so that if one of them goes the other will pick up and if one of them over heats it probably won't boil my fish. my 30 gallon is probably too small for 2 heaters any thoughts They have 100 watts in the via aquas and 200's

Last edited by boxercrazy156; 03-06-2013 at 09:50 PM..
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:36 PM   #2
 
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Heaters can malfunction either way--overheat or fail to heat. I have had both problems, and sadly lost fish as a result.

As for thermometers, the glass mercury tube thermometers that float in the water (you can attach them to the glass with one of those little suction holders) are the more accurate. I bought some of those digital strip thermometers that you stick on the outside back in the 1990's and I have noticed that they are not accurate. Though having said that, they do seem to be constant, just not at the actual temperature. The glass tube thermometers are worth having.

On the heaters, my Tronic have been operating flawless since 1996/7. I bought a couple of the Fluval digital ones, one failed within a year and the other is questionable. I am now buying Eheim Jager heaters to replace as needed.

A couple of points to keep in mind. First, don't scrimp on heaters [not implying you did, this is just "general" advice for everyone reading]; buy the best you can, as no piece of equipment is so important. Filters can fail, but this will not result in fish losses before it is noticed and resolved; but a failed heater can kill a tank of fish overnight.

Second, buy larger wattages; these heat faster, so they are working less.

Third, have more than one in any tank over 3 feet in length, and have them next to the filter intake or return so water is moving past them constantly.

Fourth, make sure the ambient room temperature is not more than 10 degrees below the intended tank temperature; heaters are not intended to heat "cold" water of in cold spaces.

Fifth, for tanks with canister filters, consider one with a built-in heating element. I have one Eheim Pro II with this, and it has never failed in continuous oeration since 1997 and the tank temperature never fluctuates more than 2 or 3 decimal points from the set temperature--i.e. set at 25C and it varies from 24.8 to 25.2, and that is solid reliability.

Byron.
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:43 PM   #3
 
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As for thermometers, the glass mercury tube thermometers that float in the water (you can attach them to the glass with one of those little suction holders) are the more accurate.
Just a quick clarification - mercury thermometers have a silver liquid (mercury ) - if the thermometer liquid is red, as the vast majority of them are, then it is an alcohol thermometer.
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:25 PM   #4
 
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I read in an old book that it was a good idea to get a quality pharmaceutical grade thermometer to check your tanks against the typical aquarium thermometer. Since I seem to have heater problems (over heating) on an ongoing basis, I'll be making that purchase in the very near future. My heaters range from store brands to top of the line and the problem is always over heating (not just thermometer readings but, wrist feel also).
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:33 PM   #5
 
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I read in an old book that it was a good idea to get a quality pharmaceutical grade thermometer to check your tanks against the typical aquarium thermometer. Since I seem to have heater problems (over heating) on an ongoing basis, I'll be making that purchase in the very near future. My heaters range from store brands to top of the line and the problem is always over heating (not just thermometer readings but, wrist feel also).
Yes, the pharmaceutical/scientific grade thermometers are generally mercury and are more accurate (at higher temps). The alcohol thermometers are more accurate at low temps, because of the freezing point of alcohol. The typical aquarium thermometer is alcohol, since it is easier to dispose of and more likely to break, making it much safer for you, the fish and the environment.
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:59 PM   #6
 
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The via aqua heaters have a separate digital thermometer which I have found very accurate not that I trust any thermometer anymore I have the digital read out sitting on top so every time I walk by that tank I can see the temp I will by another for inside the aquarium and will replace the heater with same one that I stole out of my 120 gallon last night since now it only has one in it they are a lot more money but worth it my golden ram is still good but now I don't have my pair I wonder if I can find it another mate the same size
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:34 AM   #7
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I have a digital one in the tank, cheapo but it seems to be reasonably accurate. I use a digital cooking thermometer for water changes and to spot check the tank. Digital tech is pretty good and pretty cheap now but mercury and alcohol units are more consistent... even if not accurate they will always tell you if the temperature has changed relative to where it normally indicated which is almost more important than the actual temperature if within a few degrees of desired anyway... that is something a digital cannot do if it managed to get wet or the battery is low.

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Old 03-08-2013, 08:31 AM   #8
 
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Digital cooking thermometer never thought of that I really like to make sure the water I'm putting back is the same temp I noticed that my heaters default to 79 degrees if the thermometer part has been out of water to long so I have to check them after my water change
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:25 AM   #9
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Digital cooking thermometer never thought of that I really like to make sure the water I'm putting back is the same temp I noticed that my heaters default to 79 degrees if the thermometer part has been out of water to long so I have to check them after my water change
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That's odd. If you unplug them and plug them back in does the same thing happen? This would be an argument against a digitally controlled heater if that were the case.... although 79F is not usually too far out of any tropical fishes temp range it could be a long term issue with some cooler water fish.

Even just having to remember to mess with the setting all the time introduces more chance for error and that alone is not a good thing.

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Old 03-09-2013, 11:05 PM   #10
 
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I'm not sure it's happened to me twice I need to find out maybe some how without me knowing it I have done myself
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