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Old 12-23-2012, 02:59 AM   #11 
Blue Fish
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Give the heater a *very* thorugh testing, as in, use it in non-fishy water for at least a month before you chance it with fish.

I learned this the hard way...and my incident was with a *new* heater. :( It was an adjustable on I'd purchased from my LFS about a month before, and everything was going along fine, staying between 75 and 78 (depending on day or night time, my house is drafty and the atmospheric temps change quite a bit), until one morning I came in to feed the fish, and I realize the heater was BUBBLING, and the water was bathtub hot. The thing had gone ballistic and my water was well over 90 degrees. I ripped the plastic off the top of the tank, took out all the plants, fully expecting to have two very dead bettas. Fortunately, both were very warm, but still alive. They've recovered now, but I will not ever NOT thoroughly test out a heater ever again. I tested it for a week prior to use...but that was obviously not long enough. :(

Good luck to you though, and it sounds like you got a great deal!
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Old 12-23-2012, 11:29 AM   #12 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Fish View Post
Give the heater a *very* thorugh testing, as in, use it in non-fishy water for at least a month before you chance it with fish.

I learned this the hard way...and my incident was with a *new* heater. :( It was an adjustable on I'd purchased from my LFS about a month before, and everything was going along fine, staying between 75 and 78 (depending on day or night time, my house is drafty and the atmospheric temps change quite a bit), until one morning I came in to feed the fish, and I realize the heater was BUBBLING, and the water was bathtub hot. The thing had gone ballistic and my water was well over 90 degrees. I ripped the plastic off the top of the tank, took out all the plants, fully expecting to have two very dead bettas. Fortunately, both were very warm, but still alive. They've recovered now, but I will not ever NOT thoroughly test out a heater ever again. I tested it for a week prior to use...but that was obviously not long enough. :(

Good luck to you though, and it sounds like you got a great deal!
Thank you for your advice! I was only planning to test it for about a week, so something might have gone wrong... Now I'll make sure it's tested for at least a month.
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Old 12-23-2012, 11:38 AM   #13 
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Yes, test it in a fish-less tank for a while. Before I moved my little assasssin snails to their own tank I made sure the heater wouldn't burn or over heat the water. It took about a 2 weeks to settle down at 82F- I think the small wattage warms according to outside tank temp or something and it was unstable up in a drafty window.

Anyway, *I'm a thread troll* lol Congrats on the deal!!
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Old 12-23-2012, 12:22 PM   #14 
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Wow, what a steal for $12.00! Congrats! Just make sure you do a thorough cleaning and make sure everything works good!
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Old 12-23-2012, 02:32 PM   #15 
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No need to test it out for a month.

48 hours is FINE. I have one of the FIRST submersible heaters probably ever sold & I tested it for these things......
  • Does it turn on?
  • Does it heat?
  • Amount of power consumed?

They're NOT complicated devices. You can break them by overturning the temperature knob. Turn it to the lowest setting FIRST, then turn it back to the halfway point.

Or you can just leave it alone. Most people don't even touch it.

They buy a tank, overstock the tank, overfeed the fish. they all die, buy more fish, cycle repeats & give up.

Tank is donated or given away due to guilt.

BlueFish, what brand & model heater was it?

I had a 6" VisiTherm 25W heater, made in Italy that I left on top of my tank OUT OF WATER for 12 hours while it was still plugged in. Melted through the lid, but AMAZINGLY didn't crack.

After I allowed the heater to cool down, the next day, I cleaned some melted plastic that bonded itself off the glass tube, & the heater still works fine.

I'm actually using it right now in a little tank I have right next to my computer mouse.
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Old 12-23-2012, 11:14 PM   #16 
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I buy and use a lot of different aquarium items all the time from thrift shops, yard sales....etc...Plus some of the aquarium items I own/use are close- if not older than 20 years old and still work fine. I have heaters that are older than some of the members here that still work fine-I don't like them since its hard to adjust the temp...but they still work...lol....

With tanks, especially glass tanks-its always a good idea to do a 24hr leak test. And with anything new or used...a good rinse in running tepid water.

Most if not all aquarium items that are allowed to dry out for at least 3-5 days-usually will not have any parasite/pathogen problems due to-once dehydrated they die and/or without a host-they die....Most of these items are safe to use-like your tank, heater, filter, decorations, fake plants, gravel....etc.....The porous or organic items-like driftwood-these need a good wash, scrubbing before use-but generally they will still be safe to use.

The one thing I do worry about with used tanks and items....Copper medications being used in them-but only because I keep inverts. So far, I have been lucky and its never been a problem....
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Old 12-24-2012, 12:48 AM   #17 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG View Post
48 hours is FINE. I have one of the FIRST submersible heaters probably ever sold & I tested it for these things......
  • Does it turn on?
  • Does it heat?
  • Amount of power consumed?
They're NOT complicated devices. You can break them by overturning the temperature knob. Turn it to the lowest setting FIRST, then turn it back to the halfway point.

Or you can just leave it alone. Most people don't even touch it.

They buy a tank, overstock the tank, overfeed the fish. they all die, buy more fish, cycle repeats & give up.

Tank is donated or given away due to guilt.

BlueFish, what brand & model heater was it?

I had a 6" VisiTherm 25W heater, made in Italy that I left on top of my tank OUT OF WATER for 12 hours while it was still plugged in. Melted through the lid, but AMAZINGLY didn't crack.

After I allowed the heater to cool down, the next day, I cleaned some melted plastic that bonded itself off the glass tube, & the heater still works fine.

I'm actually using it right now in a little tank I have right next to my computer mouse.
I wish I could tell you what brand it was, but unfortunately I threw away the package about two weeks into using it, assuming that it was a good heater and it had been working properly/no problems. I know them by sight so I will not purchase another...I did not adjust the temp settings, and nothing changed that evening. Fish were fed, I went to bed, temp was at 78 (and had been holding steady, no problem there), properly into the water, etc. etc. and the next morning the thing is boiling the water around it and my fish were lucky to be alive.

Nothing about the heater had been changed, heater had not been touched in a week or more.

I'm sure I just got a faulty heater...but ever since then I've been leery of anything that I haven't tested out VERY thoroughly. A few more hours and I'd have had two very dead bettas. :(

Next time I'm at that LFS, I'll see if they still carry those heaters and get the brand and size.
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:01 AM   #18 
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Whenever you get around to it I'm interested in the brand & model.

Also try to look into the country where this faulty heater was manufactured.

The Visi-Therm heaters I have from Italy are all pretty solid.

Most of the equipment produced today probably doesn't go through the "QC Quality Control" standards of the past. That position I believe was eliminated or downsized by a lot of companies to cut costs.

Hence the problems with the "newer" equipment.

Of course there's always consumer error @ play that creates issues.

OFL is right again with the "vintage" heaters. Their knobs are "fragile" & very difficult to adjust. The strange looking brown submersible heater from I guess the 70's/80's has no labeling at all. No model number either, but the surface of the heater gets smoking 130 degrees in about 2 seconds once plugged in. All that mattered was it turns on & heats. I'll test it out for a day or so when I actually NEED it to make sure it's stable.

But until that day it'll sit in the emergency fish box.

As for cooking your bettas, they can can tolerate 90 degree temperatures as long as they're "HEALTHY" = healthy & not overweight. I left my halfmoon male Akoya too close to the windowsill over the summer & his tank climbed up to 96 degrees or higher. I can't recall, but I remember the cake thermometer I had in the tank read close to 100F.

I have the photo in my flash drive. My betta Akoya wasn't pleased but he was fine, same with the other new bettas that just arrived.

If I didn't notice Akoya "hiding" underneath his log & personally walk over to check out his peculiar behavior I think him & his new betta buddies would have been dead by the time I arrived home in the evening.

Those tanks would have EASILY climbed up to about 110F-120F if not more that day.
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:42 PM   #19 
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Wow...okay, well I now feel less guilty about almost boiling my guys! :) I've been using the Tetra submersible heaters ever since and they've done a good job. They don't get quite as warm as I'd like them to (stay about 75, which is okay...but warmer would be better)...I've wondered if maybe I purchased a second heater if that might help? I'm trying to avoid spending major bucks on three big new heaters, but if I need to, I'll do it. Would prefer not to, but it's not something that I *can't* do. :) They're my pets, it's up to me to make sure they're taken care of. :)
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:12 PM   #20 
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I've picked up a lot of thrift store heaters, tanks, ect. For the heater, my advice is to make sure that the glass is not cracked and it is still properly sealed at the top, around the plastic. If you can wiggle or turn it, it's not good. Aside from that, all the other advice is great.

I would caution against one thing, however. Throw out the gravel if it came with any. I've picked up tanks from thrift stores and have found that old gravel, no matter how well you wash it, isn't safe. There are just too many pores and holes for bad things to get stuck in, even with a good bleaching. I would just throw out any gravel you get with a used tank and bleach the decorations very well. Make sure the filter is clean, too. Get out all the gunk and grime, scrape the inside as much as you can and give it a quick bleach, then rinse rinse rinse!
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