What should I do about a heater!? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-01-2010, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Question What should I do about a heater!?

When winter comes around it is going to get COLD. I need advice on what to do about a heater for my 55 gallon tank. My big concern is the fact that my house is very old and we do not have central heat. It gets drafty and it is never very warm in this house during the colder months. But it's texas, so when summer rolls around I don't even need a freaken heater... lol. The last couple of years in houston it has actually snowed. So do I get a 200 watt heater? 2 100 w heaters to disperse it? 2 150 w? 2 200w? I have no clue... anyone?

10 gallon (Aquarius the betta)
30 gallon tall (currently in progress) 4 black skirt tetras.
55 gallon planted: 4 Three Spot Gourami, 4 young Angelfish, 5 young clown loaches. (don't worry, they are getting a larger tank), 1 bristlenose pleco, 3 otto cats, 4 guppies, & 1 corydora.

Jack (the bunny). Sakura, Mouse, Wookie (the guinea pigs).

My Cats: Yoda (hand raised FCK kitten), Patch (one eyed rescued stray), Charlie, Costello, Blue, Mamma, Dixie , Precious, Sadie (all rescued strays)
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post #2 of 3 Old 08-01-2010, 03:08 PM
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the general rule is 5 watts a gallon
One 275 watt heater is good and if you are concerned about making hot spots then have a current to circulate the warm water.
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-01-2010, 03:45 PM
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In tanks 4 feet and over in length, it is best to have two heaters. If the filter has the intake at one end and the outflow at the other, which is best for circulation, a heater next to these works very well as the heater warms the water passing over it coming in to the tank, and the opther warms it going out to the filter so there is better consistency. Two heaters not only work better at heating the tank, they last longer because they are not individually doing as much "work."

As for size, 200w is good (thinking of two in the tank here). The higher wattage heaters are better constructed, at any rate they certainly last longer and do not malfunction nearly as much as 50w for instance.

If the above is not possible, an alternative is to lay the heater at an angle on the tank wall so the heat rises from a greater horizontal plane.

The heaters should remain in the tank year-round. In warm weather, if the room reaches or exceeds the set temperature of the heater, they simply won't come on. But you want them there in case it lowers at night. A fairly steady temperature is best. Some aquarists do have two sets on timers so one set comes on during the day to keep the tank at say 78F, while the other is only on a night and set to perhaps 75F. The idea here is to replicate the natural day/night fluctuation in nature. This is good thinking, although I personally don't bother, I have mine set at 78F (81F for the Asian with rare gourami) permanently.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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