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Old 01-02-2013, 11:19 PM   #1 
jdeschene
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Question Question about Heaters

Hi all,

My under-gravel mini-heater just arrived and I now have a couple of questions:

- Does it affect my options for decorations? Are certain decorations compatible or incompatible with under-gravel mini-heaters?
- Should I keep decorations a certain distance away from the heater? If so, how close can they get?

Thanks very much! I hope everyone is having a wonderful New Year!
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:17 AM   #2 
DragonFish
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Based on my own experience with those little pad under-gravel heaters, they really don't get all that hot....not nearly hot enough to cause any hard to any decoration or plant. Actually if any heater ever were to get that warm, you'd have much bigger issues then damage to decor.....like a cooked fish.

You can decorate how you like, however if you do stick the heater under the gravel(which you don't have to do, mind), and especially if you put things on top of it, it is going to limit the amount of heat its going to give out. Personally, I would just suction it on the wall of the back of the tank for better heat distribution.

Honestly though, those heaters aren't all that great....OK if the tank is around 2 gallons and room its in doesn't drop bellow the mid-lower 70s or go above 80, but these things don't have any kind of thermostat, they're just constantly giving off heat while they're plugged in so not only will the temp often fluctuate with your room temperature if it fluctuates more then a couple/few degrees regularly, which most do, but it can very easily just under or over heat your tank depending on your regular room temperature.
Personally I like them as backup emergency heaters for smaller tanks, but I don't think they're really good for much else. I've heard the newer models are sometimes a little better, so if you have just the right tank size in just the right spot in your house you may be alright, but I've also read that a lot of people still have those problems with these heaters, if not on a night/day bases then seasonally(unless you live in a place with a mild year-round climate). Personally, I would still suggest for the long-term looking into getting a more reliable adjustable heater. What size of a tank do you have?
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:27 PM   #3 
LittleBlueFishlets
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Aquarium heaters don't get all that hot. They'll heat the water in your tank to about 79F. But your own body temp is about 98.6F!

In other words, you'll be able to touch the heater at any time, and it won't even feel warm. (If it does, as DragonFish said, there'd be a big problem!) So no, you don't need to worry about it affecting your decorations.

I have three of these preset heaters. Two are Petsmart (Top Fin), and the other is Marina. All three keep my 3 gallon tanks at a consistent 79-80F.... The only issue with them is that they're nonadjustable, so I can't adjust the temp if needed. Right now, my fish are healthy, so this isn't an issue. But if one gets sick, I might need to raise or lower the temp (depending on what's wrong), in which case an adjustable one would be preferable.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:45 PM   #4 
jdeschene
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Thanks for your help, guys! I do tend to worry needlessly sometimes and I'm glad this is one such instance.

The heater I have is by Hydor, and I made sure to do my research before I bought it. People on Amazon seem to like it a lot, giving it mostly five stars, and there were absolutely no "it cooked my fish" reviews.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:06 PM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdeschene View Post
Thanks for your help, guys! I do tend to worry needlessly sometimes and I'm glad this is one such instance.

The heater I have is by Hydor, and I made sure to do my research before I bought it. People on Amazon seem to like it a lot, giving it mostly five stars, and there were absolutely no "it cooked my fish" reviews.
Do you have a thermometer?

A "floating" glass type one is really good (and easy to read).

Here's the Petsmart one, but there are a lot of brands: http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=2752255

I really recommend having one - they're not expensive and it'll go a long way towards relieving that worry-syndrome. I check mine frequently, since I tend to worry, too. LOL
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:20 PM   #6 
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I have heard that the more recent models(mine are several years old, but also Hydor)do tend to be a little better, and even my old ones when I lived in Washington where the climate was rather mild year round and my room stayed a decently steady temp because I had so many tanks packed in there did well with my Kritter Keepers and such.
However, they didn't work very well here, especially in the winter where things get pretty cold. The temp just dropped down and/or fluctuated far too much for my liking....so I switched and bought all adjustable heaters and never looked back.

So really, if you live in the right place or your house/the room your fish is in retains heat well and stays fairly warmish/stable these heaters aren't all that bad. But IMO/E, adjustable is the way to go in the long term for many reasons. Its just more reliable and safer over-all, if you ask me.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:38 PM   #7 
jdeschene
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Thanks for the advice. My house temperature is pretty stable, so I'm thinking this heater will do the trick.

Yes I do have a thermometer and I intend to check it frequently.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:02 PM   #8 
LittleBlueFishlets
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonFish View Post
I have heard that the more recent models(mine are several years old, but also Hydor)do tend to be a little better, and even my old ones when I lived in Washington where the climate was rather mild year round and my room stayed a decently steady temp because I had so many tanks packed in there did well with my Kritter Keepers and such.
However, they didn't work very well here, especially in the winter where things get pretty cold. The temp just dropped down and/or fluctuated far too much for my liking....so I switched and bought all adjustable heaters and never looked back.

So really, if you live in the right place or your house/the room your fish is in retains heat well and stays fairly warmish/stable these heaters aren't all that bad. But IMO/E, adjustable is the way to go in the long term for many reasons. Its just more reliable and safer over-all, if you ask me.
I tend to keep the heat up fairly high. (I'm allergic to cold! LOL) I also put some aluminum foil over the ventilated tops of my critter keepers to help retain heat (and humidity). And my tanks are fairly small (3 gallons each), so I'm not overwhelming the capacity of these small heaters.

That said, I definitely DO see the advantages of having an adjustable heater. (Although, moving to Hawaii would be a really nice option. )
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