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Old 06-20-2013, 08:28 AM   #1 
Atena
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How to heat many individual containers?

I am curious as how one would be able to heat multiple small containers without having to buy individual heaters?

I am planning a fish room and I want to use the beanie boxes everyone recommends for when the babies grow to old to be together. I know they will only spend a short about of time in these boxes as from here they will move on to a new home, but still I want them to be comfortable.

The room I am using is a spare bedroom and we have central AC. keeping that one room warm is not an option.

I don't want a shared water system, individual water system with an overflow water exchanger, fresh water coming in, old water going out and disposed of, no recycling.

I have this all figured out, except the heat, how do I keep so many containers at a steady 80F?

Any suggestions?
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:42 AM   #2 
shellieca
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I would shut off the vent to that room to help keep the temp warmer in there. Some people get something such as short rubbermaid storage container, fill it 1/4 to 1/2 way with water, put the heater in that & set the small containers in that.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:20 AM   #3 
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Don't just turn off the vents to that room, cover them with some styrofoam insulation. You can buy it in sheets and cut them to size.

Keeping the whole room warm is the easiest way. That's why most folks make their fish room in a basement or garage - mine is in a great big shed, sectioned off from the rest of it.

The second easiest way is to put all your jars into a larger container of water, and heat the water in the larger container. But it's a bit messy and it can be hard to see the fish.

Your other option is some sort of bottom heat. I've heard of folks using everything from mats made for starting seeds (gardening section of the hardware store) to rigging up something with old electric blankets!
But now there's supposed to be a heat tape/mat made specifically for use by aquarists - I'm sure someone will be along with the brand name soon :)
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:58 AM   #4 
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That room is our guest room too, if anyone stays with us they will be sleeping with the fishes.

Thank you for the heat tape idea, I actually found one that I think will work great, I just did a quick diagram and figure using 19" for each tank will be perfect and I can do 8 tanks from each unit.

I will build the room to accomidate the heating elements from above.

http://www.petco.com/Shop/Product.aspx?sku=1491407

Thank you for giving me the idea, I had no idea such things existed.

Atena :)
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:50 PM   #5 
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I tried the storage container with water, but it's just not worth it.. humidity in the room increases, have to stay on it all the time (filling it up), but and debris get into it all the time.. just icky icky.

I personally use and love the Flex Watt heat tape.. can make it any length you want, connect them all together so you can have it running on each shelf of a book case.. just need a thermostat for every 15 feet, which isn't too bad. They come in different widths, etc. It does not increase the temp of the room, and is safe to use with beanie containers.

I get my flexwatt items here..

And here is the best place to find the Beanie containers - pretty much the cheapest you'll find and they are the tall ones with the small lids rather than the large lids which takes away from the fish. Make sure to select the large size.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:55 PM   #6 
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wow, I like that even more. Thank you.

Check this site out too for beanie container: http://safetitesupplies.com/products...eanie-box.aspx

If you order 100 at a time they add up to $1.10 each, with shipping.

Of course, if you only want a few, your source is the best I have seen yet.

Thank you again.

Atena :)
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:02 PM   #7 
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I am not seeing a thermostat available with the flex tape, can you recommend one?

Also, do you just put this on the shelf then place the boxes on top to keep the temperature right?
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:13 PM   #8 
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You place it on a shelf, can use aluminum tape or even electrical tape to keep it in place. And yes, just place the containers right on top. It's water proof, and the clear covers will help keep the connectors from shocking you/getting wet. I cover them over with electrical tape just because I'm paranoid like that.. I also place electrical tape on the last edge of the last piece of the flex that don't have connectors on them.

As for thermostats.. any will do pretty much as the connection wire you order through there has a plug on the end to plug it into any thermostat. I just got one that is used for reptiles, unsure how good it is as I have nothing to compare it to.

To make layers (as on a shelf) you will just use basic lamp wire from a hardware store to connect them.. that is very cheap.

Basically this is what I got -

(Make sure to put together before plugging in)

Flexwatt (You will want to measure the width to get the right one to fit where you are placing them on, and the length total of what you are planning). The new Flexwatts (which you will get if you order through the Beanfarm (which was the cheapest I found) is a new style that don't have the dotted "cut" line, rather you just cut it to your exact length.

Razor blade or box cutter (unless you are good at cutting straight with scissors). You will want to cut between the black stripes, don't cut into the black stripes.

Lamp wire pretty cheap, so can get extra.. just measure the distance between the shelves, etc and add them up.. I got extra because a couple times I had to redo a connection and it was easier to just cut and restrip the wires.

Toenail clippers (the large kind) - can cut the wires to the length you want using them, can also use them by gently cutting into the rubber and then stripping.. if you have wire cutters or wire strippers than no need for the clippers.. I just went simple.

Electrical tape

Aluminum tape (optional)

Flexwatt Cord Set If you plan to run more than 15 feet or so then I would order 2 of them. 3 if you want to have a back up for any reason.

Clip Sets There are 2 metal connectors and 2 plastic covers per set.. you will need 1 set (2+2) per connection/row/shelf. So say you have a 6 shelf book case you are using - you will want a set per shelf = 6 sets. I HIGHLY recommend getting at minimum 3-5 extra sets as sometimes things happen and once you close them you can't get them open without destroying the set. So if for some reason you have to redo a connection, you will be thankful for having the extras.. it's well worth it.

Thermostat - you will want one like this (I can't remember where I got mine from :( But it's similar..) you do NOT want a dimmer, as you can't control it as easily, and it doesn't have the safety feature of shutting off when it gets to the correct temp like a thermostat does.

I just googled and youtube searched for the flexwatt - you will find people setting it up for under reptile containers, but it's the same set up as what you will be doing (connecting it together). It's pretty simple and it works great.. I tend to have to keep the thermostat up a few degrees higher than what I am wanting, but it does keep it steady at what I want. It comes on and off as needed (tape down the part of the thermostat that detects temp to the flexwatt itself, as that part can't be in water.. that is why the temp of the thermostat needs to be a few degrees higher). It saves on electricity, and it's barely warm to the touch when the thermostat is on, when it's off it's cool to the touch.

It's safe to place on plastic, acrylic, wood of all sorts, some even use styrofoam under it.

I LOVE it.. had too many issues with the water in the tub thing, rather not risk mosquito breeding in the room, etc.. and eventually the outside of the containers become gooey, etc. This has made things so much easier for me, including being able to see the fish and water changes.

Good luck!
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:42 PM   #9 
Atena
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Thank you for all that detail, it made it really easy to understand. That war really nice of you.

I ordered it today. Can't wait to get started on my fish room!

Atena :)
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:58 PM   #10 
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Good luck! Just remember, it takes a little patience putting it all together sometimes.. but in the end, it's so much easier, healthier, better than any other way I have found/tried.
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