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Old 12-07-2013, 04:30 PM   #1 
hb1547
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Is it a bad idea to use a 20g heater in a smaller tank?

I bought a heater meant for up to 20g tanks, and I used it for a while in a 10g tank with no problems. It has a temperature dial and shuts off automatically at the right temperature.

Temporarily, my betta is in a smaller, 1.5g tank while I'm living back home, and the temperature is pretty cold. I have a heater meant for small tanks, but I regularly had problems with it creating massive amounts of slime and leading to fin rot.

Would it be unsafe to use the more powerful heater in the small tank? Obviously I don't want to fry my fish, but since it has a thermostat, I'm hoping it would be okay.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:52 PM   #2 
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I think it depends on whether the heater is adjustable or not. If it is adjustable you'll have to set it to be slightly lower than what you want it to be in a smaller tank (it will heat the water faster) and well... does the heater you want to use have a minimum water-coverage line on it? You'll have to cover the heater with water to make it run right if that's the case. Hmm... what is the heater specs and brand?
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:55 PM   #3 
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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This is the heater in question (100W version).

I'm currently setting up a similar-sized tank with the heater, I'm going to watch the temperature
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:03 PM   #4 
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Oh good! These are great heaters (I have yet to get one) but if they work like mine, you're going to have to check how it heats up water in a smaller tank as it will heat up the water faster and may heat it up too much. Start at the lowest setting and check on it for a bit. The lowest setting may be perfect for heating a smaller tank. Good luck and tell us how it goes!
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:54 PM   #5 
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I'm using 100W heaters for 5G water systems right now. The temperature is pretty stable. I would not go under 5G for a 100W though, you potentially run the risk of the heater heating the water too quickly and causing temperature fluctuation. I am switching the 100W heaters out for 50W when I receive the replacements just in case the heater does malfunction.

You can also fill a larger container with water and place the heater in the container, and then place the 1.5G tank in that container (that's probably the safest option).

Of course it also depends on the heater's reliability. I see some very good reviews for that heater, so it could work. If you have a thermometer, you should watch the temperature pretty closely for a couple hours to make sure it doesn't spike. The 100W heaters I have I bought used and very cheap off someone, so I don't expect them to work perfect. In the end it all depends on how good you trust your heater to be : )

Good luck!
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Old 12-07-2013, 07:56 PM   #6 
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To verify the temperature in your tank you should have a thermometer in the tank. However, since you have an adjustable you could theoreticly use a much larger heater but it very important to monitor the temp because of the inaccuracy of the thermostat dial on the heater. The wattage rating will determine how fast the temp will reach the required temp not the eventual temp the tank will reach. I have spent a large part of my 50 years in industry with using heaters in process control in areas where errors in temp would have disastrous result so I have strong knowledge of temp control if anyone wonders how I know.

Conversely, a heater too small for the size tank it is in will never the required temp so the logical procedure is to use a heater that is larger then would seem necessary.

Last edited by FirstBetta; 12-07-2013 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:12 PM   #7 
hb1547
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So far everything is going great. The heater keeps it at the stable temp, but I've been watching it with a thermometer.

I was a little uneasy that it would heat up the water too fast, so I just turn the dial a couple of degrees every couple hours until it reaches the ideal range.
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