Water Heater?
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Water Heater?

This is a discussion on Water Heater? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Hello everyone! ok my next item on the shopping list is a water heater, the ones i have found are either GIANT or small ...

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Old 08-11-2009, 07:00 PM   #1
 
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Water Heater?

Hello everyone!

ok my next item on the shopping list is a water heater, the ones i have found are either GIANT or small but are pretty much all the same price. my question is how big of a heater will i need for a 55 gal that is 48in long 13in wide and 22in deep?

i plan to have a nice size community tank that is heavily planted with floro lighting. but i dont want to get a water heater that is 2 feet long either lol. yes i can hide it and what not but id rather have a smaller one so its "easyier" to hide. now let me tell you how i plan on hiding it and tell me if it will work "if you guys say a smaller heater will be ok"

so i have alot of flat rocks that i found at a local stream and i plan to lay them agianst the back of the tank and have the heater between them and the tank with a powerhead pushing the water aout of the "heater cave" would this be able to heat the whole tank? whats the general rule of thumb when chosing heating?
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Old 08-12-2009, 06:11 AM   #2
 
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Here's my thinking (this is a guessetimate) a smaller heater would have to work twice as hard as a larger one to keep your tank the correct temperature. The power head running over the heater would produce a "cold flow" over the heater keeping it running and/or possibly over heating your tank. I would use the rocks to cover over, but not touch the heater, just add gaps between them for the heated water to escape.

I'm not a pro with heaters, and I just recently got one myself for my 30 gallon, I got the freak of nature huge one.

Lets see what the pros say!
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:42 AM   #3
 
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In heaters it is the wattage that is critical. I'll assume by "smaller' you are referring to the overall size of the heater, and not the wattage. There are high-wattage heaters that are not very large in size.

For a 55g tank I would have two heaters (I always use two in anything over 30g). Reasons are, should one stop, the other still works. Also, both work less because both are heating, so they tend to last longer wihthout problems. I speak from experience, I had one 50w heater in my 30g and it overheated overnight and I lost all the corys that couldn't take 85+F and it was a day before I noticed the higher temp.

Second, get a higher-wattage heater than what the manufacturer recommends. For your setup, two 100w heaters would work, or two 150w heaters better. It may just be my luck (or lack of it) but my heater failures (two so far) have always been 50w heaters, never the 200w heaters I've have on my larger tanks for 10+ years.

If you go with two (one 150w or 200w would work in a 55g, but I still recommend two given its 4-foot length), one should be positioned near the outflow from the filter (as you suggest, behind the rock, that's fine and a good strategy), and the other at the opposite end of the tank near the filter inflow. The filter inflow and outflow should always be at opposite ends of an aquarium to ensure complete flow-through, and the water temp will remain basically uniform with this scheme. Having one at the filter input addresses the valid point Krinedawg makes about overworking the heater; the water going through the filter is ging to be at temp. Iève never noticed overwork by either heater with this arrangement in two tanks.

Last point, do not skimp on heaters, it is probably the single most important element of an aquarium: the light can fail, no harm to the fish; the filter can fail, probably no harm as it is readily noticed and there is always more bacteria in the tank than in the filter. But if the heater goes either way, the fish can be cooked or frozen overnight.

I recently bought one of the Hagen Fluval series of heater that has the digital display that shows the current temperature of the water flowing over the heater at that moment, and the background is green if it is within one degree C or 2 degrees F of the set temp, red if it is is higher, and blue if cooler. Lets you see at a glance if the temp is within a degree of where it should be. Of course, this would be useless hidden behind rockwork, but one of these at the other end next to the filter outflow pipe would be good. Thermometers seem so unreliable; I have stick-on digital ones and floating sticks, and while the floating sticks are more reliable they can also vary slightly.

Another thought is a canister filter (I would use a canister on any tank over 50g) with a built in heating unit. I have one Eheim with this, and it has run continuously for 12 years with never a problem. No heaters in the 90g tank, and the digital unit sitting on top of the canister filter tells me the exact temperature as the water comes out of the aquarium (the probe is next to the filter input tube) and is accurate to .1 of a degree. Good way to go if you do not have space or want to see hanging heaters.

Last edited by Byron; 08-12-2009 at 11:48 AM..
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Old 08-12-2009, 02:14 PM   #4
 
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i cant really change the location of the return water from the filter as its a hangon and well it would just be a pain in the *** to do. but placing the heater by the intake that i can do. but what if i were to put a powerhead by the outflow moving the water towards the other side of the aquarium. the heater i am looking into buying has a sensor that can reach from one end of my tank to the other. so i was thinking if there is enough current moving the water around it would be a consistant temp with just one heater, lets say 200 watts?. i am really only trying to get one heater right now as they are a bit exspensive and i still have alot to buy before i can even put water into it. but down the road i will definately pick up a second heater as you said byron they are very important espcially in a basement during the winter :X

Aquarium Heaters & Temperature Control: ViaAqua Titanium Tube Heaters

heres the heater im looking into getting. it is freakishly big but i have a friend that has had one of these types before and he says they are awsome. never had one break (in 5 yrs) and he has a 75 salwater.
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Old 08-12-2009, 02:42 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyMitch View Post
i cant really change the location of the return water from the filter as its a hangon and well it would just be a pain in the *** to do. but placing the heater by the intake that i can do. but what if i were to put a powerhead by the outflow moving the water towards the other side of the aquarium. the heater i am looking into buying has a sensor that can reach from one end of my tank to the other. so i was thinking if there is enough current moving the water around it would be a consistant temp with just one heater, lets say 200 watts?. i am really only trying to get one heater right now as they are a bit exspensive and i still have alot to buy before i can even put water into it. but down the road i will definately pick up a second heater as you said byron they are very important espcially in a basement during the winter :X

Aquarium Heaters & Temperature Control: ViaAqua Titanium Tube Heaters

heres the heater im looking into getting. it is freakishly big but i have a friend that has had one of these types before and he says they are awsome. never had one break (in 5 yrs) and he has a 75 salwater.
No personal experience, but it looks like a heater I would not hesitate to purchase, so good choice in my humble opinion.

Know what you're saying on the cost. Here's another cost...I would get a canister filter down the road. For anything over a 30 they are preferable. They're outside the tank completely, have multiple chambers to accomodate various media as you might need, easy to clean, reliable... and you can adjust the placement (and flow rate on some) within the tank. I used to have hang-ons up to a 55g. Went to canister with the 90g, never looked back. One thing, the hangons I had had a directional spout for the water return, and placing it at one end i could direct the water flow down the acquarium rear wall. That helps dispers heat and filtering.

B.
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Old 08-12-2009, 03:19 PM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
No personal experience, but it looks like a heater I would not hesitate to purchase, so good choice in my humble opinion.

Know what you're saying on the cost. Here's another cost...I would get a canister filter down the road. For anything over a 30 they are preferable. They're outside the tank completely, have multiple chambers to accomodate various media as you might need, easy to clean, reliable... and you can adjust the placement (and flow rate on some) within the tank. I used to have hang-ons up to a 55g. Went to canister with the 90g, never looked back. One thing, the hangons I had had a directional spout for the water return, and placing it at one end i could direct the water flow down the acquarium rear wall. That helps dispers heat and filtering.

B.
i actually have a half done diy sump that i made by myself, i do plan on putting that with the tank but i had to sell my saw about 2 yrs ago due to a move and lack of space/cash. so are you saying if i put a powerhead where the out flow of the filter goes it would be fine? just as long as the flow is directed at the other end of the tank.
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Old 08-12-2009, 04:08 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyMitch View Post
i actually have a half done diy sump that i made by myself, i do plan on putting that with the tank but i had to sell my saw about 2 yrs ago due to a move and lack of space/cash. so are you saying if i put a powerhead where the out flow of the filter goes it would be fine? just as long as the flow is directed at the other end of the tank.
Yes, in my view. That's a 4-foot tank and I think you should have some flow (need not be much, the strength will depend upon type of fish and plants) the full length.

B.
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:49 PM   #8
 
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cool cool thanks now for the next item on the list (time for a new thread) :O
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