Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Sizzling heater, melted plastic (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-aquarium-equipment/sizzling-heater-melted-plastic-57462/)

kaythenewbie 12-15-2010 12:08 PM

Sizzling heater, melted plastic
 
Today I was doing a weekly water change. I changed about 50% of the water. As I was filling up the buckets with fresh water for my tank, I heard a weird sizzling noise. I looked and my heater was sizzling. It also had melted the plastic plant next to it. It burned my hands to touch it.

It's a 100 watt Aqueon heater. I have a 20 gallon long tank kept at 78 degrees F. The heater is about 5 months old. Does it need to be replaced? Or did it just overheat since there was so little water in my tank? I've never had any problems with it before.

Also, does anyone know how the melted plastic will affect my fish? I have 5 glowlight tetra, 4 black phantom tetra, 3 otos, 1 dwarf gourami, 2 ADFs, and 5 ghost shrimp in the tank.

Redknee 12-15-2010 12:18 PM

Take it out NOW and put it in the garbage.
Melted plastic will probably not harm the fish unless it was a massive quantity.
And never ever use a heater that has any signs of stress, they can even explode(slim chance but why take it?)
If you google exploding aquarium heater you will get some info and pics about what a heater can do to a tank(put a big hole into it).
But forget the tank, if it does explode and you or someone is near you can get seriously injured by it.
And say it does not go boom you can still get electrocuted, don't risk it, it aint worth it.

Mikaila31 12-15-2010 02:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kaythenewbie (Post 535141)
Today I was doing a weekly water change. I changed about 50% of the water. As I was filling up the buckets with fresh water for my tank, I heard a weird sizzling noise. I looked and my heater was sizzling. It also had melted the plastic plant next to it. It burned my hands to touch it.

It's a 100 watt Aqueon heater. I have a 20 gallon long tank kept at 78 degrees F. The heater is about 5 months old. Does it need to be replaced? Or did it just overheat since there was so little water in my tank? I've never had any problems with it before.

Also, does anyone know how the melted plastic will affect my fish? I have 5 glowlight tetra, 4 black phantom tetra, 3 otos, 1 dwarf gourami, 2 ADFs, and 5 ghost shrimp in the tank.

Throw it out. I don't think this is the fault of the heater though. Unless your heater specifically says it has a auto shutoff when removed from the water you NEED to unplug it when doing a water chage. It says this in the instructions. The room is colder then the tank thus the need for the heater it will keep heating out of the water because its colder. A heaters design requires it to be in the water when heating because water absorbs heat quite well and functions to cool the heater. You let it run out of the water and in the case of the plastic ones they tend to melt. The glass ones get really hot and can shatter when but back in the water. You need a new heater and you need to unplug it during water changes. I personally would unplug even the heaters that are suppose to auto turn off out of the water. It takes all of 10 seconds.
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underh2o 12-15-2010 02:58 PM

I Agree!! Throw it out and chalk it up to experience! It is not worth fooling with a questionable electric device near or in your aquarium. One more thought make sure your aquarium outlets are GFI protected.

SinCrisis 12-15-2010 03:43 PM

Whats GFI?

rdwj 12-15-2010 04:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SinCrisis (Post 535247)
Whats GFI?

Ground Fault Interrupter. It will break the circuit if something unusual is going on. It can save equipment and prevent you for getting shocked or starting a fire. You can replace the outlet in the wall with a GFI or get an external one. I'm not sure what the best practice is for aquariums as I'm pretty new to all of this

Redknee 12-15-2010 05:21 PM

A GFI is great for any electric equipement that has contact with the water but i'd use an external one, messing with the hearet itself can be a bad idea. Maybe if you have extended experience with electronics you might venture into a heater but even so it's not the best idea.
My advice as a fishkeeper/jack of all trades(i tend to mess with anything that can be messed with from a simple light bulb to whatever i can get my hands on) is to just not mess with that stuff and replace anything that has problems ASAP.
Unfortunetly electricity does not smell like gas does so there is no way to know when you'll get zapped.
A few dollars are not worth risking your life.

Ostara 12-15-2010 05:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikaila31 (Post 535212)
Throw it out. I don't think this is the fault of the heater though. Unless your heater specifically says it has a auto shutoff when removed from the water you NEED to unplug it when doing a water chage. It says this in the instructions. The room is colder then the tank thus the need for the heater it will keep heating out of the water because its colder. A heaters design requires it to be in the water when heating because water absorbs heat quite well and functions to cool the heater. You let it run out of the water and in the case of the plastic ones they tend to melt. The glass ones get really hot and can shatter when but back in the water. You need a new heater and you need to unplug it during water changes. I personally would unplug even the heaters that are suppose to auto turn off out of the water. It takes all of 10 seconds.

Not just +1, but +1000!

You always always unplug the heater along with the filter for water changes. My brother's friend forgot to do that a few months back and it completely cracked the side of his 75 gallon tank. Luckily he had places for all of the fish, but the tank was a total loss. Definitely not something that you want to risk.

Mikaila31 12-15-2010 08:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by underh2o (Post 535224)
I Agree!! Throw it out and chalk it up to experience! It is not worth fooling with a questionable electric device near or in your aquarium. One more thought make sure your aquarium outlets are GFI protected.

I agree right back at you! ANY aquarium should be on a GFI. A GFI outlet is the kind you find in your bathroom with the little buttons in the center. Newer homes require these in kitchens too. They are suppose to be used ANYWHERE around water. If you know electrical stuff then a regular outlet can be replaced with a GFI enabled one pretty easily. You can also buy power strips that have GFIs on them. All my tanks run through GFI outlets. If anything goes wrong (short/ fault/ water contact) entire outlet turns off in a millisecond and cuts power to either the entire tank or too more then one tank in my case. Don't ignore them either I had one trip and couldn't really find anything wrong when I turned it back on. About 24 hours later I noticed my heater was stuck on.
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SinCrisis 12-15-2010 09:55 PM

Mine are all on a power strip except for my lights. Does that do the same thing? I also have all my cables set up in a drip loop.


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