Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Freddy 05-02-2010 07:16 PM

Heater trouble
I've been having trouble with my heater for the past couple of days. The temperature was constant at 80 for a while, then 82, but then 86 and 88! :shock: Today, the temperature is off the top of the thermometer, and the heater is at the lowest setting. It's a 100 watt heater on a 29 gallon tank. I this the right size? It came with the aquarium kit. I floated two bottles of ice in the tank, and the temperature still hasn't come back down. What should I do? The room temperature is about 70 degrees F.

rsn48 05-02-2010 07:24 PM

Is your heater in the vertical position like this | ; it shouldn't be. Instead you want it at an angle like this / as the temperature can fluctuate all over the place. However since your heater has been working fine, I suspect you have a defective heater and if you don't turn it off, you will fry your fish. If your fish are in a room with doors that can be closed maybe you could get an electric heater for the room and turn the temp up until it is around 76 or so; your fish can handle that; and get a new heater. If your heater is one of the cheaper brands, they don't last so well.

Freddy 05-02-2010 07:37 PM

Wow, thanks for the quick reply! Yes, the heater's in a vertical position, but I don't see how slanting it would change anything. I'll check the temp. again in the morning, and if it's still off the thermometer, I'll get a new one.

Byron 05-02-2010 07:55 PM

Most heaters have a pilot light that lights when the element is on (heating). If yours is on constantly, it is clearly malfunctioning, whatever position you have it, and you may not have fish left much longer to worry about. I had a heater malfunction like this once and within 2 days (I hadn't noticed it the first) all the Corydoras were dead; it only went up to 85F but that was too much for them.

I would turn the heater off (remove it) if it will not go off normally. Let the tank cool naturally, not with ice. Keep the room around 75 as suggested previously, or place a blanket over the tank during the night if you can't. Buy a new reliable heater ASAP. Stealth heaters seem highly recommended by members. For a 29g tank, I would recommend a 150w or even a 200w heater.

It is a good idea to have a "spare" on hand for such emergencies. This can be a cheaper one, as it is only going to be used for a day or night at a time.


Freddy 05-02-2010 08:58 PM

My heater's pilot light comes on and off regularly, but this leads to another question: how do heaters work? I don't mean how do they heat the water, but how do they regulate heating? Is there a timer, or a thermometer?

I unplugged the heater and stopped using ice. The temperature is now 88 degrees F, back on the thermometer, but just barely. (The thermometer is an LCD.) Just a theory I was testing when the temperature was really high, if the water is warm to the touch, it's hotter than body temperature. If it's cool to the touch, it's cooler than body temperature. Is this right? The water was dangerously close to lukewarm, and if my angels can survive 98 degree water, that's awesome, but I don't think it was actually close to that hot. Since I got the kit for Christmas, do you think there's a warranty on the heater?

But I might have thrown the thing I needed for it away when a bunch of water splashed on it...:doh!:

Freddy 05-02-2010 09:09 PM

Oh, now I looked it up online and it looks like a bunch of other people have had the same problem with the same filter. Apparently the filters are not properly calibrated from the factory. I will get a new, better one tomorrow!

rsn48 05-02-2010 09:09 PM

There's an internal thermostat that "reads" the temp of the water and turns on and off when needed. I didn't think to ask, but if your heater is one that isn't submersible (often comes with kits) but sits on the tank ledge, these are definitely cheaper heaters and can present problems. The reason to angle submersible heaters is that the thermostat can be near the top and if the heater is vertical the heat will rise from the heater and go past the thermostat and this is the water temp the thermostat will be reading. If the heater is at an angle, much of the heated water rises not passing the thermostat.

A "good" heater isn't that expensive and as you will discover, a 100 watt heater may be only a dollar cheaper than the 200 watt model. Look at Eheim Jager (used to be called Ebo Jager). I have a Marinland Stealth heater and I like the black and the fact the light on top is very easy to see, but the temperature fluctuates more than I'm used to when I used Ebo Jager heaters - I've used Jagers most of my life when in the hobby.

Freddy 05-02-2010 09:30 PM

I'm looking on and they're expecting to get that heater in June. I don't think any of my LFSs have that. They do have the ViaAqua Stainless Steel heater that looks pretty good, any experience with that?

Oh, great. It's on backorder. Not available until the 17th. Well, I'll keep looking...

They do have ViaAqua titanium tube heaters though...

Freddy 05-02-2010 09:40 PM

Oh, has it. It looks good!:-)

Austin 05-03-2010 02:17 PM

Personally I'd go to the store and buy one right away. If you have the funds you can buy both and keep the one you purchase now as a backup for such situations as byron recommended.

I'm also having issues with my heater kind of. I have it at around 77 but the water stays around 80-81. Watching closely.

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