So I have 3 platies in a 5 gallon tank. The guy at my LFS sold me a Marineland 10w heater, saying that it should keep my tank around 75 degrees. Unfortunately, the temp of the water seems to fluctuate directly with the temp of the room I keep the tank in. I program my thermostat to drop to around 59 when I go to bed, and when I wake up, the water temp is at 71. When I'm home and the heat in the house is on, the temp of the water is 75 or so. I know fish are not fans of temperature fluctuations.
I ended up getting a Hydor THEO 25w heater, which has a temperature knob, but the same thing is happening. The temp in the tank with go as the room temp goes. Do you think the fish care about a 4-5 degree change every day? Should I try both heaters at the same time?
I have a 50w in my 5 gallon preset to 80 and that's where it stays (betta tank). Until you can get a higher wattage, put both in there.
You're going to have to find the sweet spot when you preset both. I'd check the temp every few hours until you get it where you want it.
You can find a fairly cheap submersible heater online. I've had good success with the Petco brand which I found surprising......
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