07-06-2013, 12:56 PM
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Agree, I use the glass thermometers that either float or (better) or can attach them to the glass with a little suction cup that comes with them. They tend to be reliable in my experience, unlike the digital stick-on strips that I once thought were wonderful but having them on all the tanks and using the heater thermometers/glass ones it is obvious how far off they can be. The digital one Jeff mentioned is good too, if you want to spend more.
Heaters are not always calibrated exactly, meaning that while you may set the temp to 78, the heater might be working to keep the temp at 80, or conversely 75 or something. I have some very expensive and good quality heaters by Eheim that are flawless in maintaining the tank temperature, but to keep it at 77 I set it at 74 I think. Change it slowly, and monitor the temperature and how often the heater comes on; most have a light when they are "on." Also consider room temperature; if it is 80F outside and in the room, you are not going to keep the tank at 77.