Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Marine Aquarium Heating 3

Related Articles: Heater Impressions (Reviews) by Steven Pro, Marine System HeatingColdwater SystemsControllers

Related FAQs: Heating 1, Heating 2, & FAQs on: Rationale, Heating Methods/Gear, Heat Controllers (Fans et al.), Measuring/Thermometers, Heating Troubleshooting/Repairs, Makes/Models by Manufacturer, & Chillers, & FAQs on: Fans For Cooling, Chiller Rationale/Use, Selection, DIY, Installation, Maintenance, Troubleshooting, & Water Temperature

Hawaii: no heater?      1/2/17
Happy New Year Bob and crew! We live mauka at about 850ft. Temp for the 200+ gal system is dropping to 66 degrees at night. I read corals stop making cal carb skeletons at 65 degrees.
<Yes; many of the species kept by aquarists. Oh, I owned a SFR w/ two friends at 1,400 ft (above the salt line) Palani, up in Holualoa... much colder at times>
Is this maybe why my Zoas aren't making more polyps? We're Kona side and in about to pick up a heater. Not sure my batteries in my solar system can handle a 200-400 watt heater. Prob not. Is my reef doomed?
<Mmm; not doomed, but I'd be doing a bunch more research here. Too expensive to heat the mass of water outdoors unless you have free-ish power from solar or such>
It's about to heat up and I'll inevitably get into the 80s soon. Prob a 10 degree max temp swing.
<That's too much diurnal fluctuation...
Sorry. B>
May okay if I just keep softies or Aussies? Mahalo.
Sky Kubby
Re: Hawaii: no heater?      1/2/17

Well since I do have solar I could get creative. One thought is if I shut off the remote 150gal DSB from the system at night, I can hear less water.
But then mixing the water temps later might cause a shock.
<Try it and see? Measure both at intervals (hourly?)... if no more than 2, 3 F.... I wouldn't be concerned>
I'll just see about keeping the temp at the minimum (78) on the Aqueon heater. I could also insulate the tank outside.
<Yes I would>
I'll do more research.
<Ditto. B>

Sky Kubby
Re: Hawaii: no heater?      1/3/17

Good news, this AM my system was up to 71 degrees. Although a bit on the cold side I think it’s still okay. The 66 degrees was one chilly night here in HI. Kind of rare. I think I can use the 200W as an emergency. In researching natural reefs around the world it’s not uncommon for some to fluctuate between 71-84 degrees.
<... see prev. corr.>
The question is, do I set the minimum to 68, 72 or 76?
Is my coral growth going to be seriously retarded at 72 as a low if the temp swings up to mid-high 70’s during the day?
<Yes; as prev. stated
. B>
In the summer I’ll have the other side of the problem, trying to keep from peaking at 82-84.
In Gratitude,
Sky Kubby 

Heaters and scats?      11/26/13
Hi there,
I have a 65gal corner tank and just installed a heater fit for "up to 100 gallons". The temperature in this tank, which contains my red scat, was 70 degrees when I first pot the heater in. Overnight, it rose to about 81degrees.
<? This heater is not thermostatic? Has no control setting?>
 I unplugged it, feasting that even on it's lowest setting it's still too strong for my tank.
<If so, then it's defective. Return/exchange it for another. See WWM, bb's for input re brands/manufacturers>
How warm is too warm for a juvenile scat?
<Upper 70's F is about right... too warm will shorten this animals life>
Will the heater just keep warming the water indefinitely?
<Hopefully no. You need a thermostatic make>
 I'm new to heaters, so this is troubling.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Addendum to heaters/scats       11/26/13

Sorry about this, I just remembered additional questions.
<No worries>
There is a vent about 3 to 5 feet from the tank. One side of the tank is adjacent to my arcadia door, and I have that area insulated with layers of blanket so that as little cold passes from the door to the glass as possible. Now, if I keep the house heater at a steady 74 degrees, will this possibly eliminate the need for my overactive heater?
<I'd still use one. BobF>
The vent from which the warm air comes is, as I said, only a very sort distance from the tank.
Thanks again.

Temperature Question   3/19/12
<Hello there Abbas>
Just wanted to run something by you. I have FOWLRI tank. The temperature fluctuates between 27.5C at lights on (12.00), 29 - 29.5C at lights off (21.00). The temperature drops back to 27.5 - 28 by around 00:30 and remains at that level until lights on. Ambient room temperature here ranges from 26 - 30c and on cooler days the temperature sometimes does not increase. The tank is cooled by fans and all the inhabitants seem to be in tip top shape and there have been no fatalities in the last three months apart from an improperly acclimated Fromia millepora and a skunk cleaner than went down the over-flow.
I just wanted to know whether this swing is ok since it is impractical for me to purchase a chiller at this time. I used to run the tank at 29.5 all the time but I noticed washed out colours in fish and my anemone didn't seem to be too thrilled. Since I turned the heating down to 27.5 (about 2.5 months) I have noticed a return to natural vibrant colour. I will eventually purchase a chiller and run the tank at 27c but until that becomes possible I will have to rely on the fans. The fans would do a spectacular job if it wasn't so humid here.
Thanks for all your help
<I think you're fine here... there are reef areas I've been to in the world that display this diurnal range of temperatures. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Temperature Question   3/19/12

Thanks, Bob. It puts my heart to rest. I was thinking the same thing since much of the waters around Sri Lanka fluctuate in this range, sometimes wider than what happens in my tank. Thanks so much.
<I hope to get out diving in your country... have been but once to the Maldives, and in Thailand's bit of the Andaman Sea. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Temperature Question    3/21/12

Oh that's lovely. I'm sure you will like it. If you are, please drop me an email. Will be glad to meet and show you around. :-D
Thanks for all the help.
<I thank you for your kind offer Abbas. BobF> 

Water Temp Issue and Evaporation -- 09/27/11
<<Hey John>>
I had a question about my set up.
It's a 55gallon saltwater aquarium with a 20 gal sump underneath. I have a protein skimmer with a Rio 2100 and a return pump with a Rio 2100. I also have 3 small circulation pumps (250-425 gph each) inside the main tank. I have 4 Power compacts at 65w each running from 7am to 7pm. And 4 computer fans set up to try and cool down the system. The temperature with the fans ON is normally 80 to 82 degrees. Is it normal for me to have to add about a gallon of water a day to keep the water level the same?
<<It is normal to need to add freshwater to replace that which evaporates, yes'¦the volume required will vary from system to system based on size, amount of exposed surface area (display, sump, etc.), air movement across this area, room temperature and humidity level, et al. While it may seem like a lot, a gallon-a-day for a system like yours is not anything to be alarmed about>>
I want to cool it down more but can't afford the chiller right now... I have an external pump on the way to replace the return pump in the sump tank, hoping that it'll drop the temperature some more.
<<Maybe'¦maybe not (depends much on the pump)'¦and then there's the trade-off in noise (again, depending on the pump). A better solution may have been to get a 'better' submersible pump like those offered by Eheim>>
Any help with temp and water evaporation issue would be appreciated!
<<Do realize that it is the evaporation that 'is helping' with your tank's water temperature (evaporative cooling). I am hesitant to recommend reducing water pumps/flow, or photo-period'¦using the fans to keep the water temperature in the 80F-82F range is quite acceptable, in my opinion'¦and short of utilizing a chiller device, is about the best you expect here I think>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>
Re: Water Temp Issue and Evaporation -- 09/27/11

Why is Eheim "better" as far as temperature/heat transfer?
<<Very well made/efficient (watts per gph)'¦low heat transfer in my experience. May or may not be a better choice, depending on the external pump you are considering'¦just another option to consider. EricR>

Top Layer Sand Sifter 9/22/11
Hello Crew,
<Hi Sergey>
It has been some time since I've written to you (that's actually a good thing :) but I am now dealing with a frustrating dilemma. I have a 75g saltwater tank that I've had for over a year now. It houses a Pink Tail Trigger, a Hippo Tang (I know 75g is too small for this fish), and two Clarkii Clowns (larger female and smaller male.) There are 3 Emerald Crabs, 2 Peppermint Shrimp, about 20 Red Leg Hermits, a Fighting Conch Snail, 3 Turbo Snails, a mix of other small snails (about 20 or so) and 1 Bubble Tip Anemone (green). My water param.s are 0's on the Nitrite and Ammonia,
<What about nitrates, high levels are the major cause of excessive algae growth (I did read your statement below).>
running at 82F (I know this seems warm but I read research that shows that a warmer tank extends the life of the anemone (check about.com for that study.))
<This may or may not be entirely accurate. I will ask/refer Bob to the article.>

I have a skimmer and a Marineland 48-60" Reef Capable LED Lighting.
The Anemone sits in the top 1/4 part of the tank so it's is getting the most from that lighting (it moved to that spot.)
<Lets hope it stays there because the Reef Capable LED fixture isn't going to provide enough light for the anemone at depths any greater than that, and may even be questionable at that depth.
Time will tell.>
The big problem that I am now dealing with is that as my fish are growing, there is more waste and therefore Algae growth is now problematic.
<Your skimmer may not be efficient enough. What brand/model do you have?
Also, how large are the trigger and tang?>
I have just recently started adding the hermits (I add 10 at a time) to see where I need to keep them so that I don't overwhelm the system. The concern then is the top layer of the sand. The Fighting Conch is not doing a good job of keeping it clean. So reading everything I could, I decided that I had to find a goby for my tank. After looking at my options I opted for the Diamond Goby. I realize that feeding this guy is an issue but I decided that I was willing to spot feed so I bought him. At first everything was fine and in fact the goby started sifting within minutes. The problem is the male clown started being very aggressive toward the goby. The goby dug a burrow and very rarely came out (it did eat from my spot feeds.) A few days ago (this is about two weeks since I got him), I stopped seeing the goby coming out at all, and eating any of the food. Yesterday I raised up the rock over it's burrow and the goby was not there... instead was a huge pile of Fireworms. I am not sure whether they were there to eat the food I was giving the goby or if they consumed the goby themselves.
<Likely were consuming the remains of the goby.>
I checked all around my aquarium and looked at my sand hoping to see a spot of sifted sand
but there was none. (My aquarium top is very well covered so it is highly unlikely he jumped out.)
So my questions are:1) What could have happened to the goby? 2) Is it possible that he is still alive in a new burrow that I can't find?
<Likely died from lack of nutritious food and the ability to get to it with the clown harassing it.>
3) What do I get to take care of the top layer of my sand? I was looking at sand sifting stars, but I read that they sift the bottom layers, not the top? I would really prefer another goby but one that can stand for itself in my semi aggressive tank. (I do not like the Dragon Goby, I heard it will likely be problematic in this tank too.) Is a shrimp and watchman goby pair a viable option?
<Won't help much with algae control. May want to add a mix of Nerite, Cerith, and Bubble Bee Snails keeping in mind that the triggerfish may find these tasty.>
4) I plan on making one more addition to this tank, fish wise, the Genicanthus melanospilos (Blackspot, Spotbreast, Japanese Swallowtail Angelfish). Do you foresee any concerns with this fish in my setup?
<Mmm, I wouldn't do that with the aggressive Pink Tail Triggerfish present.>
Thank you,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Sergey Sagan
Info needed... Tropical anemone temp.s     9/23/11

A querior was referring to an article about how high water temperatures (82F) increase the survival rate of anemones. I cut/pasted a paragraph from that article which is located at www.about.com.
In this study, anemones which were kept at 76° to 78° F. lived nearly 3 times longer than anemones kept at lower (71° to 75° F.) temperatures. This makes a lot of sense when you consider that the temperatures of the oceans where anemones come from are in the mid 80's to over 90 degrees.
I'm questioning the "where anemones come from are in the mid 80's to over 90 degrees".
Seems quite high, doesn't it?
<It definitely is>
I've never dived on the reefs so I wouldn't know.
<I've been on many over the decades... the only ones in this temp. range are "lagoon" type inner-reef settings during periods of low tide and high insolation>
Here is a link to the article the querior was referring to.
The survey results were put together based on a survey of over 100 aquarists who have or have had anemones so I'd take that with a big grain of salt.
<I'd take it/this w/ a 50 gal. salt mix. Cheers, BobF>

Re Tank Temperature 3/24/10
I just wanted to get a little peace of mind as far as my tank temp is concerned. I feel that it is a bit high 83.3 F but have read that coral as well as fish can live even at this high temp.
<Will depend on the species. Ronald Shimek wrote an article a while back stating that the corals we have in our tank come from many different ocean water temperatures ranging from 72 degrees up to about 92 degrees.
In that regard, a happy medium should be reached at around 79 degrees.
Providing you have no animals that are most comfortable at the colder temperatures, your animals should be fine at 83 degrees. What stresses the animals out most is rapid and extreme fluctuations in temperature and your system exhibits none of those fluctuations/extremes.>
My temp. does not fluctuate much 83.7 in the day 83.2 at night I plan to install 3 3" fans in my canopy but needed to know if they should blow in or suck out.
<I've always saw better cooling performance by a couple of degrees with the fans blowing in and forcing the warm air out, and that is providing the back of your canopy is open.
If not, you can easily drill out some vent holes with a hole saw.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Water Temperature -- 07/30/08 Hi Eric, <<Hej Michael>> Yet another question! (You need a vacation soon!) <<Ha!>> I have been reading through some FAQs regarding temperature. <<Okay>> And there seems to be some different opinions, about what temperature swings are within the acceptable range. <<Indeed>> Since setting up my tank Feb. 07, my temperature range has been lying between 24-26 degrees. <<Mmm, okay'¦so about 75-79 degrees Fahrenheit>> Starting off with 24, and ending when lights are off at 26 (well maybe closer to 25.5-25.8). <<Many will recommend a swing of no more than 2-degrees (Fahrenheit) within a 24hr period but if your tank is healthy otherwise (no other undue stressors), I don't think what you show here is a problem>> I have not (as far as I recall) experienced any casualties because of this. <<You are likely fine re these temperature swings>> In the summer months, when it is hot (and it is not that often) It goes from 27-28.8. <<That's starting to get pretty warm (83.8 Fahrenheit). And though this too is likely not a problem for the short-term, I would recommend placing a small fan to blow across the surface of the water to facilitate evaporative cooling>> I have sump (18G), so the water is constantly being moved around, so I guess the oxygen concern will be of a lesser factor right? <<That and the use of a skimmer, yes>> Your thoughts? <<You have them, mate>> Cheers Eric. Michael Fick Denmark <<SkÃ¥l Michael. Eric Russell SC>>

Re: Water Temperature -- 07/31/08 Hi Eric, <<Hiya Michael>> Thanks for your reply. <<Quite welcome>> Just to be clear. It is not constantly going from 27 to almost 29 degrees the whole summer, as we don't have a warm 3 months. <<Understood>> So it is only for short periods of time the temperature gets that high. <<I would still use a fan for evaporative cooling'¦won't hurt to be a bit cautious>> Right now the temperature is at 27.7 at 4pm local time, when lights came on at 9am it was at 27 degrees. <<Ah'¦not a bad increase at all then>> I have a Deltec APF 600 skimmer. <<Excellent>> A skimmer I can recommend 100%. <<Indeed'¦reportedly a fine piece of gear>> It should be able to take "care" of a tank as big as 180 G, so it should be big enough for my tank. <<Agreed>> Can't get too big a skimmer right? <<Is debated by some'¦ But in my opinion, practically speaking'¦nope>> Are you familiar with it? <<Have researched/read about others use'¦never used one first-hand>> Actually most of my equipment is Deltec; including a brand new return pump (started with a used pump) it is working in total silence. You have to put your ear to it to hear it sizzling. Thanks again my friend, Michael Fick Denmark <<Always welcome Michael. Eric Russell>>

Won Bros. Heater Failure (A Common Tale?)...What's A Good Replacement? -- 08/20/07 Hello WWM Crew! <<Hey there Adrian!>> I currently have a Won Bros. 1000 watt Power Heat II Titanium Heater in my 300 gallon aquarium. <<Mmm...that's a big heater...>> Unfortunately the digital temperature reader went out on me a couple days ago. <<I had this same problem with a couple of the 300w heaters from this manufacturer...cheap circuit boards I imagine>> Is there a heater the crew recommends which is more reliable and won't die on me? <<I make no guarantees, but I did a little research/heard good things about the Finnex electronic titanium heaters so I purchased a couple of these (year or so ago I believe) and they have performed well/are still working well for me at the moment>> Would it be advisable to use two heaters instead of one? <<In my opinion, yes...is safer/less chance of damage should one 'stick' on...also provides some backup until you get a replacement should one fail. I use a pair of 300w units in my 375g reef and they have proven quite sufficient...but if you want 'more power' they build units as large as 500w>> Your assistance is appreciated. <<Happy to help>> Your website is great . . . has taught me many things. <<Very good to know>> Thanks, Adrian <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Queen Angel and Niger Trigger problems  7/26/07 Based on your suggestions and hours of reading, I am going to purchase a hospital/quarantine tank this weekend. This is definitely not an inexpensive hobby. <Agreed> I think part of the problem with my tank may be that the temp fluctuates too much. It hovers just below 80, but can sometimes drop to 77 or below during the night. I'm don't have a heater, but plan installing one, or getting a chiller/heater combo which will keep the temp where it needs to be. <I would> I'm quickly learning that I was not fully informed on everything I would need when I purchased the tank. <Is indeed an ongoing learning experience... Enjoy the journey/process! Bob Fenner> Thanks for the advice, David

Nitrifying Bacteria Wipe Out? (Heater Breakdown)  3/16/2007 Hello to all, <Hi.> Need to ask one question on the bacteria, I've recently lost a marine aquarium to a heater malfunction. Of course it stayed on instead of off. Like they usually do. <Sorry to hear that, recommend going with two heaters next time, lower wattage. There is still a risk but if one goes awry again...it's less likely to cook a tank since it's not as powerful....and less likely two will go down simultaneously.> My question is how high a temp. can the bacteria take before dying? <Unless the tank literally boils for a sustained period of time, it is not likely you will kill all of the bacteria. There will however be a die off and it will take time for them to procreate and return to optimal levels.  Think of it as restarting your nitrogen cycle.> Thanks so much for your answer. <Of course.> Jim  Jesko <Adam Jackson.>

Heater Hazard! 2/27/07 I have (actually had) a 75 gallon reef tank with a variety of soft corals (zoos, mushrooms, polyps, etc), a jawfish, blue/red wrasse, Clarki clown, Blue goby, and the cleaner crew.  It was beautiful! This past weekend when I came home, my heater was shattered in the tank, the top of my aquarium was cracked, the plastic was broken away, and there was a black substance splattered on the wall all the way up to the ceiling. <Oh boy, sorry to hear.>  All the snails and crabs were dead, all the corals were withdrawn and the wrasse was dead.  <Painful loss I'm sure.>  I did an immediate water change, not knowing if there were any chemicals in the water from the shattered heater, but I lost all the corals anyway. <Not unexpected unfortunately.> The temperature did fluctuate and dipped to around 72 degrees. <Left and right hook.>  The heater was not touching anything, and I can't figure out what happened. <Have seen this before, does happen from time to time, weakness in the glass gets worse over time with repeated heating and cooling until it gives way catastrophically.> I always unplug my heater for water changes and have never had a problem before.  <Not really avoidable, sort of a ticking time bomb.> I immediately removed all the dead creatures.  Since then, I have a consistent ammonia reading in my tank and have done daily water changes to try to save the fish. <Good.> Do you have any other suggestions regarding the ammonia? <Doing all you can currently, the die off from the LR is probably causing the ammonia spike.> Obviously I am completely devastated and am contemplating reverting back to a fish-only system because I can't afford to restock the tank. <Discouraging for sure, but I encourage you to continue, would have had the same problem in any tank.>  Any suggestions on how to avoid this in the future? <Avoid the glass heaters, got with one of the titanium ones.>  Do you think there are chemicals in my tank still? <Yes, run lots of carbon and Poly-Filters.>  Was it the temperature change, electric shock, or chemicals that killed everything? <Yes to all, a triple whammy.>  Are there heaters that don't contain damaging chemicals or will automatically shut off if there is a problem? <Putting it on a GFI outlet will help, although the bigger culprit is the metal inside the heater.>  Or are some heaters just doomed to shatter. <All glass heater have this possibility, go with a titanium one.>  Also do you think my live rock is damaged? <Only time will tell, see how it recovers.  I would bet on it being ok long term.>  Or the substrate filtration? Thanks! Amy <Sorry to hear of your troubles.  Have faith you will be able to work through this and get back on the right track.> <Chris> Heater Hazard! 2/28/07 Thank you for your reply! I appreciate all your help. Although frustrating, at least I know I am doing all I can do.    Amy <Stay on the path.> <Chris>

Heater in CPR BakPak 2r+ Return 2/27/07 Hello! <Hi>   First off, let me join the scores of others that have complimented you on your site. <Thanks.>    I have read the FAQ's for hours but am unable to find an answer to this question.  As I have grown up being told there are no dumb questions, I'll ask it. . . <Fire away.> Do you see any problem, either with skimmer efficiency, overflow, overheating, etc. with putting my submersible heater in the return chamber o my CPR BakPak skimmer? Thanks for taking the time to help with this question, and for all the kernels of wisdom I have gleaned from reading the FAQ's. -Kris <Have seen this done and seems to work fine.  It does make me a little nervous though, if the skimmer pump dies could be big problems.> <Chris>

Broken heater & resulting contamination 2/1/07 <Hi, David. GrahamT with you tonight.> Hello, I just did my weekly water change and realized after I poured the new water in that my heater had broken inside the bucket. <Uh-oh!> I quickly stopped before the brown cloud at the bottom of the bucket poured in. <I would be willing to bet that any of the water was fouled.> Within an hour EVERY coral closed up. <Not at all surprised. Who knows what exactly is in there...> (not the way I see my corals normally close after a water change) I'm not sure what could have been in my heater to contaminate the tank. All the fish seem fine but the zooanthids and leathers and Heliofungia looked terrible. I quickly made another 10% water change and replaced the carbon after reading WWM. <Would think something along the lines of 75% or more would be on the menu here.> Funny I found the same thing happened to another aquarist only they were smart enough not to use the water in the bucket. DOH! <Relax, it only means they looked in the bucket a little closer than yourself. Can't beat yourself up...> I learned during that research trip that we shouldn't worry about the innards of a thermometer these days but what about the insides of a heater? <That is what you need to act on, IMO. Not sure how much/how fast carbon will remove the chemicals here, but would help to do a LARGE water change.> I'm really going to sound stupid when I say this explains why the breaker in my son's weight room was popping. < "It popped AGAIN?!?" I can see you now. ;) > I'm wondering if the electricity that was probably charging the water before I caught it could have done something more to the water than just the heater parts leaching. <I can't answer that question, though I suspect not. I think your main problem would be the electronic components/circuitry that went supernova with your water as it's "atmosphere" to absorb the toxins. You must be able to picture (through experience or my imagery) an electronic device smoking as it burns up? That foul-smelling smoke is burnt resin, epoxy, rubber, plastics etc. Each heater has their own makeup, but many are made with more than just a coil and tension-style temperature control. These models have semi-complex regulating circuits built-in that would provide the fuel for some nasty toxins in your water if burnt... but I digress. Whether you have toxins or not, or some odd chemical transformation from the prolonged exposure to current is mott at this point. You are well-served to perform as massive a water change as you are equipped to do.> I guess a lil time will tell now what is to happen. <Let us know how it turns out! -GrahamT> David Conway

Digital Thermometer preference? 1/26/07 <Hello, GrahamT with you tonight.> I was on your site to see if you recommended a specific brand of digital thermometer, but was unable to find a FAQ that answered my question. <Isn't one.> I purchased a Coralife digital thermometer in early January and exchanged it for another one since the temperature was showing about 3 degrees cooler than my original mercury thermometer.   <Mercury, or alcohol? Silver, or blue/red?> When the Coralife replacement was still showing about 2 degrees cooler than the mercury thermometer, I added another mercury thermometer to the tank and both read 76 degrees (my heater is also set at 76 degrees as well).  I sent an e-mail to Coralife (esuweb.com) on 1/18 with no response from them. Not sure what you think of this product, but my opinion is pretty much made up regarding Coralife's entire product line.  I wanted to know if you recommended a specific brand of digital thermometer. <I like Coralife just fine, but I know what I like them for, and I make no bones about it. They make affordable products that live up to my expectations of them. They are inferior to many other higher-priced competitors' products, but you get what you pay for. I have personally noticed several Coralife dig. thermometers giving variously erroneous reading of temperature in the SAME SYSTEM. I'm not sure if they are always at the same margin above or below actual temp, but I don't bother with it. I have an indoor/outdoor thermometer that I bought at RadioShack that talks and yells at me when the temps go above or below a customizable preset value. I spent less than $30 dollars on this contraption. (I did coat the metal probe with plumber's GOOP and also the wire as it enters the back of the probe) If you need super-accurate, get a temp controller that tells you the temp and keeps the heater on that loop as well. For cheap thermometers, Hellolights.com has a $5 fully-submersible digital that I dint to be very accurate and convenient. HTH GrahamT P.S. BobF, now we have the first entry in the new temp-measurement FAQ ;) > <<Yet another Sub, sub, sub FAQs file to make...?Aiyeee! B>>

Re: Dig. Thermometer Preference? Follow-up 1/29/07 Thanks for the info and I agree with your assessment of the company.   <I will add that I don't hesitate to use their lights, air-pumps etc. (I think it's all the same company now anyway... Central PET Pet pet...)[like "Pigs in SPAAAAaaace"] ;) > I guess my frustration is with the company not even having the good sense to reply to one of there customer's e-mail.   <A huge no-no in my book as well. I would probably go so far as to call someone and see where it gets me.> To answer your question my original thermometer has a red line (I get your point it's not mercury as I had described).  I also had the same experience you described below, before I returned the original digital thermometer I had both in the tank and they both had different readings.   <Not very useful in our quest for duplication of environs, hmm?> I love your site, used it often over the years and I never hesitate to point others to it as a source of reference. <Thanks for the follow-up, Nick. I always like hearing back from post-ers after the fact. You should consider those little "Hellolights" digi-gauges. They seem plenty reliable to me! -GrahamT> Nick  

ZooMed 500R for Saltwater?  1/26/07 I have tons of extra ZooMed 500R thermostats left over from extra reptile projects. Am getting back into my saltwater setups after some years of wanting. Right now I have a 29 and 75g. Both setups are reef, under Halides, and have sumps. With the cold weather right now, I have purchased extra heaters for them that I would like to hook up to controllers to keep nighttime temps level- all titanium heaters with built in temp controllers (which are WAAAY of what the dial reads) and temp probes. Am wondering if the ZooMed reptile thermostat would be ok to use in a saltwater setup? My concern would be the probe being submersed in water 24/7. I do not know if controllers that are specific to aquariums use any different materials that one made for reptiles. <Mmm, these should work... But I would contact Gary Bagnall at Zoo Med (.com) just to make sure. Bob Fenner>

Reef Tank Water Temperatures/Fluctuations - 12/14/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I have a 75 gallon reef tank with some fish and other creatures in it.  I'm having some temperature adjustment issues now that it's winter.  My sump [55 gallon] with the heater is in the basement, so it's colder there.  I try to keep the sump temp at about 77, so it doesn't get too hot in the tank during the day.  My range generally goes from about 76, 77 at night [75 really cold nights]  to 78, 79 during the day in the tank - it's hard to tell because I have both digital and paste on thermometers and sometimes they read slightly differently, even from one side of the tank to the other. <<Mmm...the temp swing (3-degrees) is not that bad, but you should ditch the paste-ons and obtain/use a single reliable digital thermometer for reasons of consistency>> I'm trying to keep both the fish & the corals happy.  I'd appreciate it if you could let me know what the acceptable ranges are, as I've read different opinions. <<Water temperatures between 77-84 degrees are acceptable...in "my" opinion [grin].  The key is to keep the night/day fluctuations to a minimum, though a "swing" of three degrees has not proven deleterious in my experience.  I suggest you add a second heater to your sump in the basement to help with maintaining temperature at night>> Thank you! Linda in upstate New York <<Quite welcome.  EricR in sunny South Carolina>>

Tank Temperature Mystery   12/11/06 <Hi David - Tim answering your queries today...> Thanks for your help over the past few years... in particular the advice over the past week.  Seems like lately I've been asking some pretty good questions that aren't in your FAQ's. The question today is...  I've been having some temperature issues in my aquarium room.  I live in Calgary Canada and the temperature averages about -20oc over some of the winter months and about +24oc during 3 months of the summer.  I have a 90g reef tank (no corals yet) with 2x250watt metal halides and CF's.  This tank sits on a wall secured stand about 6" away from an outside wall. The temperature with halides off sits about 24oc and with halides on to about 26oc. Over the summer I was running into some temperature issues however I think I may have this figured out for this tank.  Anyhow, on the inside wall... my 200g predator tank shows through to my living room.  The room temperature of the living room is about 18 - 20oc year round.  My aquarium room stays about 25oc year round... however this 200g tank is at 29oc.  I have one external pump, a Panworld 250ps at 1600gph, and a Mag7 pump in the main tank at the back for further water circulation.  The lighting for my 200g tank is one 36" long CoralLife PC 2x95watts and one 24" long CoralLife PC 2x65watts.  I don't think the lighting is the problem as both fixtures have fans and the glass it sits on get only a little warm... not hot.  The temp of the tank whether lights on or off stay at 29oc.   I have a suspended ceiling in the room and I removed one of the ceiling tiles to allow heat to rise and disperse up in the ceiling instead of being contained in the room... but then again, ultimately the room is staying at 25oc.  This does seem like a tank issue.  My hospital tank is a small 20gallon tank that sits next to my 200g... I only have a small MaxiJet900 in that tank, and the temp stays at 27oc and is running trough a tiny FLUVAL filter. I'd think with that kinda volume of water... the temp would stay closer to the room temperature... I'm not using heaters in any of my tanks. It's frustrating.  I was thinking of a ceiling fan... but I don't think this is going to help.  I'm kind of confused as to why the 200g is so warm compared to my 90g reef tank (which has pump, skimmer, 4 power heads, and a phosphate reactor).  I'd hate to spend the cash on a chiller. A decent one goes for about $1,000 right? <I agree with everything you have said - there do not seem to be any major heat sources in your 200g and I would expect the temperature to be just slightly above room temp. I have two questions - what type of heating do you use for the aquarium? Very often setting a temperature on a heater will not equate to that same temperature being produced in the aquarium due to a number of reasons, relating to the calibration of the heater and the flow in the aquarium/placement of the heater within the aquarium. Secondly, have you used any other devices for measuring the aquarium temperature? There is always the possibility that your thermometer is wrongly calibrated. I would ensure that neither of these issues is responsible for the aquarium temperature before considering the need for a chiller or any other method of reducing water temperature. In any case, please let me know what you find. Best regards, Tim.> Regards, Dave Brynlund

Temperature Controller 12/5/06 Greetings! <Hello devoted Webber.> I always research your web-site for advice before I attempt anything new with my small set-up. I read with interest the article that extolled the necessity of a temperature controller and now I am a true advocate. There are just a few technical points I would like explained to me. I have my controller set at 80 degrees F and the actual heater at 82 degrees F. I understand that this allows for a redundant heating solution for my tank. I understand that the heater is basically" on" all the time and the controller supersedes this anomaly. <Yes> I understand that this is why the controller can still modulate the heater if it ever sticks in the "on" position. <Yes> First question: Is the opposite true? Can it control the heater if the heater fails to come "on"? <No, if the heater is defective, nothing is going to make it come on.> Second question: Does the controller actually manipulate the bi-metallic strip inside the heater-closing and opening the connection -or does the bi-metallic strip stay immobile in the "on" configuration allowing the controller to perform this task via its self-contained computerized components? I know that heaters fail due to the bi-metallic strip wearing out and I need confirmation that this is prevented by the very nature of the controller. <The heater should be set about 5 degrees higher than the temperature you want to maintain.  This will insure the bi-metal strip is always closing the circuit and giving full control to the controller.  Controllers basically are just a hi-tech thermostat that maintains the temperature selected more accurately. There are heaters available designed to be used with controllers.  These types have no internal thermostat.> Thank you very much. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> A devoted "Webber"!

High temperatures   11/26/07 Thanks for the prompt answer to my email! <My pleasure!> I added an airstone to the aquarium which has increased the evaporation rate and thankfully lowered the temp to 28C (not ideal, but better than the other day.) <I have to admit, the use of an airstone to increase evaporation had not crossed my mind - but a very clever technique indeed!> Interestingly I was talking with a guy at my LFS who lost a lot of stock the same day I noticed my temp up (his got to 32C) A little additional info regarding the diatom problem. My water stats read ammonia = 0, nitrite = 0 and nitrate = 20 ppm. Is this nitrate too high? <There is much debate as to what is too high... To be honest, if you're above zero - and realistically, you almost always will be, then a reduction will only ever be a good thing. I think 20ppm is certainly an acceptable level, depending on what you are keeping, but you should continue to strive for a lower reading of your ANN levels.> Also, I have not heard of sulphates even being an issue. <I do apologize ever so much - meant to say phosphates! I'm very sorry for the confusion...> I spend a lot of time maintaining the aquarium to keep it looking good. In fact I think I'm spending TOO much time having to continually clean the sand (aragonite) of these brown pests. <Consider increasing your cleaning crew to do some of the work for you!> The skimmer I have is a Jebo 180. It's been very difficult to find any info on these things, do you know anything about them? <No, I am afraid I am not familiar with them...> The reason I bought it was the relative ease of drilling to do to actually attach it to my system. I've since modified the collection cup as the lid prevented foam overflowing into it, it's pulling out about 1/2 cup of nasty green gunk a week. The water circulation is good, I had a 1500L/h powerhead which I have now replaced with two 1200L/h that face opposite directions. Can I expect the diatom problem to ease up once the skimmer has been going for a while? <Possibly... If the skimmer is working efficiently and sufficiently then that will certainly help. Also, consider what and how much you are feeding. Best of luck - It sounds as though you give a lot of attention to your aquarium and put in the much needed effort. In my experience it has always been people like yourself that have the most beautiful aquariums.> Daniel Temperature Fluctuations  10/29/06 I have a 90 gallon Reef Tank and experience about a 1.5 - 2 degree F. shift in temp throughout the day. Early morning temp averages about 78.2 Full Lights on average about 79.7 Is this too much a temp swing? <Mmm, nope... have been diving in many places on our worlds reefs... and there is much more range here at times... moment to moment due to currents, upwelling, water running off of reef flats with tidal changes... Bob Fenner>

Nano Reef Emergency   10/27/06 Dear Mr. Fenner,          The heater in our 20 gallon  nano reef tank malfunctioned three days ago.  The temperature went from 82  degrees to 95 degrees.  We noticed this in the morning.  As soon as we  did, we took steps to correct it.  We replaced the heater and floated a bag  filled with ice in the tank, as instructed by my LFS.   <Mmm... better (unless organisms were obviously dying...) to let the temp. return slowly...> I had to leave  immediately afterwards, on a previously scheduled 3 day vacation with my  parents.  The tank was left in the care of a person who is knowledgeable  about salt water aquariums.  Upon my return, I found almost everything dead  or dying, except for my two ocellaris clown fish and a yellow tail blue damsel  fish.  I have yet to see the firefish. <These are inappropriately placed here> My question is, is there  anything I can do to save any of the corals?  Here is a list of corals that  I have.              1  pagoda cup coral              1  Lobophyllia              1  hairy mushroom              1  xenia              several  small colonies of star polyps              several  small mushrooms Most of the corals look beyond  hope.         As a warning to anyone who has or  is thinking about buying a heater. DO NOT GET AN AQUATIC GARDENS  BRAND!!!!!!! I will everything I can to save any of the  corals, considering the combined value of them exceeded  $400.   I appreciate any help or information that you can give me. Thanks for the help, Michael <Mmm, thank you for the warning. Do search WWM re temperature/thermal stress... Heat/Heating Marine Systems... read the FAQs files. Ideally, moving all the life to larger, new circumstances... Bob Fenner>

Heater sensor location   9/26/06 Ahoy mateys and good afternoon! <Aye bee gar!> A really dumb question but one which I would really like to know the answer. I have searched the forum and FAQ's but no one has ever asked this dumbest of questions. Where exactly on the body of a submersible aquarium heater is the sensor that activates the heater to heat, or not to heat the tank water? <Up near the "top" where the electrical cord exits generally... though there are makes, models with this remoted> It's not the big things that confuse me but the wee-est of life mysteries. Thank you very much. Sue :) <There is likely an "indicator light" that comes on when the heating element is energized... the sensor is likely nearby this. Bob Fenner>

Optimal Reef Temperature    9/22/06 Looking for some help....I've searched the web and the many varieties of answers still confuse me. <Many opinions> I've got a 55 gal w/ live rock and the following livestock: toadstool, pulsing xenia, 2 BTAs, 1 sebae, a pair of mated clowns, 3 cardinals, 1 zebra sailfin tang, coral-banded shrimp, and some  peppermint shrimp. What is the "optimum" temperature that I should seek for this reef  set-up? Thanks folks! <Most reefs in the world average about 80-82F, I would suggest about 81F is best.> <Chris>

T5 or MH, Heat Issue...   9/2/06 Hello Crew,     I'm upgrading my 100 gallon tank into a reef tank. Currently I'm planning on removing my closed canopy and replacing it with an open lighting fixture. I've set my mind on either Metal Halide or HO fluorescent T5 lighting.     The thing is, I don't know which lighting will be better for my setup. My tank dimensions are 58" wide and 18" deep. I would like to keep Bubble-Tipped Anemones and Tridacnid Clams (I would place the clam at the bottom of the tank). My preference in Corals is still not clear, but I would like to be open to a wide range of possibilities.     I've read through your FAQs that Clams prefer MH (and so do I, due to the pleasing shimmering effect), but heat is an issue to me. My room temperature is 25 C, but my tank is around 27 C and I think it's mainly due to the trapped heat in the closed canopy (with three 40 watt fluorescent lamps, will remove soon). I'm also adding more powerful powerheads that will add up to the heat. I'm not sure if T5's will provide enough lighting for the intended inhabitants while emitting low heat, and need your inquiry. Thank you. Have a nice day. Mohammad <<Mohammad:  While there are some people who like T5's the vast majority of people that have anemones and clams (including me) have MH lighting.  If your canopy is open, I don't thing the MH lighting will significantly increase your temperature.  Some day, we may be able to light our tanks with LED's; but, the technology is still being tested.  Best of luck, Roy>>

Re: Tank Temp 8/23/06  - 09/01/06 Hi Jen- <Hi John... You've got another John here as I found this in my box.> I am just now reading the "dailies" as part of my ritual and can not resist adding my two cents on this temperature situation. <Great! Thanks.> In my haste to skim and former reluctance to research, I too purchased a SeaClone skimmer in search of better water quality. Much to my chagrin it raised my 20g system's temperature about 4 degrees. <Yes, the effect could be rather pronounced on a small system such as a 20g.> It was due to the temperature situation, constant fiddling, and my distaste for the now dubbed SeaClown that it was promptly returned and replaced with a Berlin Air Lift. The Berlin is working great for me and will tide me over until the cash flow allows for an AquaC or EuroReef skimmer (drool). The weather has been 'pahweful hawt' here in the Carolina's and my fans and air conditioning are working overtime to keep my new larger system stable. <Here too... Shanghai. If you go outside for more than 5 minutes, you promptly melt/sauté. I have been considering changing my religion to Air Con Worship.> I wanted to pass this along based on my observations. Thanks to all of you for the invaluable insight, and keeping me reading/cogitating about something useful and interesting instead of vegetating in front of the other large glass box in my house. <Thank YOU for the insight. I'm sure this will be useful to others. Best regards, John.> Regards- Jake

Tank temp follow-up - 1/9/2006 Hi Crew,     I don't know if it is polite or what protocol says about responding to someone else's post, but I have some personal experience with my own 20 Gal Reef Tank. <Perfectly polite and much appreciated. Wasn't my post, but I'll chip in anyway as this was in my box...>     I added a SeaClone 100 Skimmer and also experience profound temperature increase (up to 4 degrees).  The SeaClone has a pretty large submersible pump for a 20 Gal tank.   The answer that found was changing to a Red Sea Prizm.  Now I know that the Prizm does not share one of the best reputations for skimmers, but the pump does not go into the tank.  The pump is in the skimmer housing, much like the pump from a hang-on power filter.  Going from the SeaClone to the Prizm lowered the temperature by those 4 degrees and actually produced foam! <The 4 degree temperature rise is almost a carbon copy as another such post I have just responded to.>     I find the Prizm to be pretty tweaky; I need to adjust it after water changes, but for the most part I get 3/4 of a cup of very dark skimmate every other day, in a relatively under stocked tank.  Again, just a suggestion for a small marine setup where temperature may be a problem. <Many skimmers I have tried are the same -- things take a while to get back up to speed after a water change.> Thanks, <Thank you for your input. Best regards, John.> Roy

Cyano, Hair, and Temperature   8/31/06 Good morning... <Getting to be...> Just wanted to get your opinion on my battle against Cyano.  I tell ya, except for learning the hard way once... not to add 4 fish into a new tank at the same time years ago, my tank has been running pretty smoothly.  My only problem is the fight against Cyano bacteria. <A common pest> I have a 90 gallon salt tank with a deep sandbed 3 - 5".  I have a 33 gallon sump that operates about half full.  I am getting really good skimming out of my AquaC Remora Pro (I have to empty and clean 3 times a week, sometimes more).  My water volume turnover per hour is approximately 17 times. pH 8.2 Ammonia: n/a Nitrite: n/a Nitrates: on my test kit, I'm either showing no signs or very minimal. Tough to tell between two shades of yellow on a piece of paper. Salinity 1.025 (am I missing a zero in there?) <Nope this spg is about right> I have just recently added a new lighting system, two 250watt metal halides, two 96watt compact fluorescents.  I have only been using one of the halide lamps in order to get a handle on my aquarium room temperature as well as my tank temperatures... in addition to let my critters get use to the new lights.  I don't have any corals yet. I am lightly feeding flake food maybe 3 times a week, and then using either krill, bloodworm, or Mysis shrimp, twice a week.  Fish are only fed 5 of 7 days.  Since I've been battling the Cyano bacteria for about a year... I had upgraded my protein skimmer (mentioned above) and my water flow.  As well, I am watching that I am feeding only as much as the fish are consuming.  With my light feeds, I don't notice much going to waste.  At times, I don't think my yellow watchman goby is getting any... but he's quite large and is staying fairly plump and healthy looking.  One of my friends with a fresh water tank is shocked that I feed them so little. <Likely getting quite a bit of nutrition/small animal life from the substrate infauna production>   In short, I don't think overfeeding is my Cyano issue. <Doesn't read like it... just a dearth of competitors thus far> I have a refugium being setup in my sump. <Oh! Good>   It's about a one foot square section with 1" deep Miracle Mud and I am waiting for a cluster of Chaeto' something-or-other. <Chaetomorpha...> You guys recommended it to me and I'm sure you know what I am referring to.  I figure this will help a little in biological filtration and competing for nutrients. <Oh yes> My water changes...   I am doing partial water changes about two to three times a month (5 gallons each time).  After reading Bob's wonderful book... I'm thinking, that this HAS TO BE my solution? <Is of help> With approximately 115 gallons in circulation... I should be changing out approximately 30 gallons a month, correct? <Mmmm, or more... more frequently... see WWM re... 10-20% every two weeks or so...> As well, I have been taking straight tap water at about 22 - 25oc, mixing my salt until it appears to be fully dissolved... adding a minute amount of additive that removes chlorine/chloramine/ammonia, and then adding direct to my tank within about 5 minutes. <Mmm... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm> As well, I have been topping off evaporation straight outta my tap without waiting. <I'd invest in an R.O. device...>   In your opinion, would you say that this would be a likely cause of a continuing Cyano problem? <Mainly a lack of competitors...> With all the other upgrades I've made: water flow, skimming, lighting, working refugium soon!!...    If increase my water changes to 10gallons 3 times a month from water that has been premixed an aged for a minimum 24hrs... if not 3-7 days    and if I keep aged fresh water available for top up, should this remedy my Cyano issue? <I give you very good odds> If so, will the Cyano just die off over a month or so?  Or, do I need to syphon what I see off first? <Will go a bit at a time... over a month or more likely... can siphon during water changes> On a side note, I have some pretty long green hair algae growing all over.  Ya, it looks kinda nasty, but this actually beneficial to my tank, correct? <Mmm... marginally> I will be getting a tang soon... Can I safely presume that I shouldn't have to worry about adding 'greenery' to my tank for food as long as I have the hair algae with my tang? <Mmmm... not really. Many such "greens" are unpalatable... and/or of little food value> I was reading in a book that with all the chemicals in municipal water systems... that basic tap water is a sure cause of both massive Cyano and hair algae outbreaks and that a reverse osmosis mechanism is absolutely necessary. <Not always necessary... but often desirable... I/we use such for our drinking and cooking uses... but I skip for my African Cichlids... they get "hose water"... and a bucket of hot straight tap during the winter...> Yet, Bob mentions simply aging the tap water.  Will aging tapwater really minimize nutrients and 'food' in the water?? <Yes... a good deal of the municipal additions and "picked up" soluble material precipitates, insolubilizes with time> Lastly, my aquarium room sits at approximately 23 - 25oc.  My tank seems to have a low of 26oc after the single metal halide has been off for a few hours, but rises over several hours to about 28 or 29oc with the single lamp on. <Mmm... this is too much of a thermal swing...> I'm fearful that if I use two lamps... my temperature will rise twice as fast and will peak at maybe 31oc? <Not good> The fans are working on my CoraLife lighting unit.  Is this daily temperature change going to be an issue for keeping corals? <Likely yes...>   Should I wall mount a fan to cool the air in-between my lights and my tank? <Can try... but you may be a customer for a chiller> We get cold winters, so I'm thinking 8 months out of the year this won't be an issue, but during the summer it's tough to keep the tank cool. <Maybe> You guys are always a tremendous help... don't know what I'd do without ya! <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Tank Temp 8/23/06   Hi Crew,      <Hey there>     Thanks for the great site.  I have a rather unusual problem in that my 20g aquarium maintains an 86 degree temperature without the heater being plugged into an outlet.  I have 2 percula clowns and yellow and domino damsel that I am afraid of losing if  the problem persists.   <I've had the same problem in my smaller tanks too.  Its something you really have to be careful of in the smaller system tanks.  The lighting required to keep corals really heats things up.>     Tank specifications:      water quality tests well      25lbs of live rock      100 SeaClone skimmer      150 penguin filter      power head      regular lighting that came with the tank (one fluorescent bulb)     This has just become a problem after I installed my SeaClone skimmer and I was curious if there was to much going on in the tank.  Should I invest in a chiller? Thank you for any help that you can provide.   <I don't really see how your skimmer is all of a sudden causing this problem.  Its more than likely the lingering heat across the country.  To tell you the truth unless you have the few hundred lying around dying to be spent I wouldn't buy a chiller for that size tank.  I would invest in some venting fans - install some under the hood.  (Actually, if you ever want to get corals or any light loving inverts - you should also invest in more lighting, which could possibly come with some fans.)  Also, you can add a refugium - extra water volume will not only help you with you temp problem but will make water quality MUCH easier to keep up.  Do some searching on WWM re: heat issues.  Good luck!  Jen S.>         Regards,     John

Re: Tank Temp 8/23/06 - A comment  8/29/06 Crew, <Roy> Sent this on Friday, just to perhaps help out a fellow enthusiast.  Doesn't look like you got it. <Thanks for the info!  I also have a Prizm on one of my smaller tanks.  It can be very very picky, but ultimately does the job.  Thanks for the input.  Jen S.>                                                         Roy   Hi Crew,       I don't know if it is polite or what protocol says about responding to someone else's post, but I have some personal experience with my own 20 Gal Reef Tank.       I added a SeaClone 100 Skimmer and also experience profound temperature increase (up to 4 degrees).  The SeaClone has a pretty large submersible pump for a 20 Gal tank.   The answer that found was changing to a Red Sea Prizm.  Now I know that the Prizm does not share one of the best reputations for skimmers, but the pump does not go into the tank.  The pump is in the skimmer housing, much like the pump from a hang-on power filter. Going from the SeaClone to the Prizm lowered the temperature by those 4 degrees and actually produced foam!       I find the Prizm to be pretty tweaky; I need to adjust it after water changes, but for the most part I get 3/4 of a cup of very dark skimmate every other day, in a relatively under stocked tank.  Again, just a suggestion for a small marine setup where temperature may be a problem. Thanks, Roy

Selecting the correct wattage heater for your tank - 8/10/2006 Hi Crew, <Cin-darolla> My LFS recommends purchasing larger wattage heaters than the manufacturers' recommendations.  Their theory is that manufacturers recommend the minimum wattage heater so that the heaters run continuously and wear out faster. <Nah! Much better to have "just enough" heater wattage rather than too much... lest they get mis-set or fail on...>   I purchased all my heaters one or two sizes larger than recommended.   After reading through your FAQ files and articles I noticed that you only recommend selecting heaters according the manufacturer's recommendation charts.   Is my LFS right or wrong? <Not correct IMO> I also was wondering if you recommend unplugging heaters during heat spells? <Nope... are thermostatic... won't turn on if the temp. is higher than their setting/s> I read somewhere on your website the suggestion that it's better to run two smaller wattage heaters than one large heater. <This is so in "large/r" volumes... more than sixty gallons let's say; or in very cold settings... glass vs. better thermal-insulating acrylic...>   I think it should be noted that you should only attempt setting up multiple heaters on an unstocked tank. <Or are very careful/observant to make sure they don't "get away" w/o your notice in setting them initially> If you do opt to run more than one heater, make sure to spend the extra money to buy top of the line heaters with thermostats accurate within 1 degree and let them run for 3-4 days before adding livestock. <Good advice> Some heaters thermostats can vary 4-5 degrees and running two of them can overheat a tank to dangerous levels.  I run single Visitherm Stealth heaters on all my tanks (I have 7 running right now).   I happened to have 2 unused inexpensive all glass heaters lying around that came packaged with aquariums (a 100 watt and a 50 watt).  I decided to throw them into my water storage/preparation tank.  I set them as closely to 80 degrees as I could possibly figure out (they don't even have numbers on the dials).   The next thing I knew these new heaters heated my 30 gallons up to 90 degrees. <Yikes!> I lowered the settings to the low and still could not let them both run simultaneously for more than a few hours, or the water got poaching hot.   I spent two years doing as much as 75% water changes with my Visitherm Stealth heaters and never unplugged them once. <Mmm...> Fortunately for me, the automatic shutoffs worked. <Yes... I have destroyed a few dozen heaters over the years for this lack of foresight> Then I read somewhere on your website that you should always unplug heaters before making water changes and I've been doing this ever since. <Good>   One day, not long ago, I was filling a tank with water from my storage tank and completely forgot to unplug the cheap heaters in the storage tank.  Sure enough, just like you said would happen, when the water level dropped, one of those cheap units began making horrible hissing and crackling noises and the heater's thermostat got nuked.   <Yeeikes! Could've been much worse....> Now if I leave it running more than an hour or so, my storage water exceeds 100 degrees. <Steamin'!> Another thing I'd like to mention is that large fish like Oscars are often attracted to the red light that illuminates from many heaters and have been known to attack and break them. <Yes... had a Clown Trigger that was heck-bent in this manner>   That's why I like my Stealth heaters (which are completely shielded in black plastic and hide the red glow) and would strongly encourage large fish owners to take this into consideration and look for unbreakable units like the Stealth or titanium heaters. Cindy <Thanks much for this insight/set of tips with examples. BobF>

Ebo-Jager Heater Malfunctions - 08/04/06 Dear Crew, <<Brad>> I own 6 of the latest Ebo-Jager heaters.  They were very reliable at first, but now are experiencing two problems: 1) the set-point is drifting, and 2) the dead-band is getting larger (they are sticking on until they reach as much as 5 degrees over set-point).  Of course, this is murder on my poor reef aquarium.  Can you please tell me what are considered to be the most reliable (cost be damned) heaters available so I can rush order some in? <<Troubling to hear...I have used/relied on Ebo-Jager heaters for decades.  But your account is not the first I've heard, my local reef club has "several" members who have related recent tales of this brand heater "sticking on".  I suspect there has been a design change...too bad.  As for a "reliable" heater I suspect you'll get as many different answers as people you talk to...I've used the Visi-Therm brand with no problems, and my reef display has a couple of Won Brothers Titanium heaters w/remote display/controller which have worked flawlessly for nearly three years now...but there's been mixed reviews on these for sure. Thank you as always for being there for us, <<Is a pleasure to assist>> Brad in Basalt <<EricR in Columbia>>

Light + Heat = Frustration  8/2/06 Greetings to each and every member of the crew. <And to you.> My question today concerns some difficulties in keeping our reef tank cool.  We're hoping for 79 deg., but 80 would be OK.  Having a hard time achieving that and wondering if something is wrong. This is a 40 gal. tank - 36" long, 24" deep, 12" wide.  We have a glass canopy.  Lighting is a Coralife 36" Aqualight compact fluorescent light fixture - w/two 34" long 96 W bulbs (10,000K daylight bulb, 96W actinic).  This fixture has 2 built-in cooling fans.  Accessory mounting legs were installed that raise the fixture off the canopy 2".   The daylight bulb is on 11-12 hours per day; the actinic a total of 6 (2.5 in the morning, another 3.5 at night).  We have central A/C, but rather than try to keep the entire house at refrigerator temp. levels, we closed off the room with the tank (a small room, perhaps 11 x 11) and put in a window A/C unit.  The room temperature maintains at 71 degrees.  Shades even kept closed because it's been so hot.  We have also been keeping the aquarium stand doors open and the cover off the sump so that the sump is exposed to the cool room air.  At present there are no sump fans. <With an ambient of 71, your lighting should not be raising the temperature that much.> My question is - daily tank temps go from 81 deg. to the high 83 deg. area.  I hear the light fixture fans, but does it seem excessive that mid-tank depth temps are in that area in a darkened 71 degree room?  I'm wondering how to tell if the fans have become compromised in some way.   Would you expect to see a tank that's 10-12 degrees warmer than the room under the circumstances I've described?   <Not with your conditions.  I'd make sure your heater isn't coming on, may be defective.  You may also have a powerhead overheating.  Unplug pump(s) one at a time for a day or two and see if your temperature comes down.> Given the relatively dark, very cool surroundings of the tank, doesn't something seem wrong?  I certainly can't imagine going to MH lights at this rate. <If you have a custom wood hood with the light fixture inside, your problems may lie here.  There won't be much room, in this regard, between the fan intake and the wood canopy.  If this is the case, you will need to have a hole drilled, at least the size of your fan diameter, that will align with the fan on the light fixture.  A decorative chrome guard can be placed over the hole.  Another area to check is the amount of dirt/dust on the fan blades.  Most fans are held in place with four screws.  Remove these screws, with the power off, and clean the blades with Q-Tips and alcohol.  The motors in the mini fans do not have any more power than necessary to turn the blades.  Excess weight, in the form of dust/grime, on the blades can result in a slower RPM of the unit and impede desired CFM of the fan. A coincidence, since I have a 40 gallon minireef with the same wattage lighting system and I have no heat problems.  My ambient (room) temperature is 76. I am not using a Coralife system.  My lighting unit is completely enclosed in acrylic whereas the air is forced through the housing and nowhere else.  Hope this helps you out.> Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Laura

Re: Light + Heat = Frustration   8/3/06 James - Thank you for this answer.  We feel sure the solution is cleaning the fan blades.  We have already ruled out a problem with the heater, and will do a test of the powerheads one by one if the fan cleaning doesn't do it.  However, we think that's it.  The fact that you have a similar-sized tank and do not experience these temp problems with ambient room temp of 76 degrees confirms that something's wrong.  (That's what we had our central A/C set for, and couldn't keep the tank cool enough, which is why we closed off the room and put in a window unit.)  We had suspicions about the fan lights, but would never have thought about a messed up powerhead supplying heat, so that's great info even if not the culprit this time.  Thanks again so very much for your input. <You're welcome.> Have a wonderful day. <And you, also.  James (Salty Dog)> Laura

Laboratory Grade Thermometers   7/25/06 I'd like to tout a product that has been unwisely ignored by many aquarists. <<Okay>> This product is a liquid-filled thermometer that is accurate enough to calibrate a thermostat or temperature controller. <<Yes indeed, a "laboratory" grade thermometer can be a great help for determining the accuracy/degree of deflection of similar "hobbyist" grade devices>> I purchased two such thermometers last year and they are indispensable.  Most thermostats and temperature controllers must be periodically checked and calibrated. <<A good practice, yes>> The A-20 mercury thermometer that I purchased early last year from " http://www.sealifesupply.com/" is ideal for this purpose.  Its range, 66 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, makes it ideal for aquarium use.  It is a foot in length with markings every 0.2 degrees.  Using this thermometer, I discovered that my digital controller, which displays temperature to 3 digits, had drifted by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit.  I also discovered that some of my analog heater thermostats were off by almost 5 degrees.  Later, during a trip to NY, I purchased the nearly identical T-4900/S80F1 thermometer from " http://www.millerweber.com/".  The T-4900 is filled with a non-toxic blue liquid and is especially easy to read. <<Mmm...something coming of increasing importance to my aging eyes>> Except for a slightly slower response, it gives identical readings as the mercury-filled A-20 which is also manufactured by Miller & Weber.  The often ignored liquid-filled thermometer may appear to be an anachronism in this digital age but I submit that nearly all thermostats and controllers must be calibrated by one. <<Indeed, and I'd like to mention...analogous to using a quality lab-grade hydrometer to calibrate/determine the amount of "differential" in your choice of tools used to measure salinity/specific gravity>> Regards, Paul <<Thank you for sharing.  EricR>>

Heat wave and AC outage with Ribbon Eel   7/24/06 Hey...  thanks for all the great advice you have given us all in the past. <You're very welcome!> I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank FOWLR. I am currently building a new home with a 290 gallon custom tank built in. <Very nice> I have a small (2 inch) Clown trigger, a sand sifting goby, a Ribbon Eel (which was the best eater I have ever found.  He would eat anything including frozen food.  I also have Porcupine Puffer. My problem is this....    I am in the military (Air Force) and am stationed here in Florida.  I went on a trip for 4 days to Washington DC, and received a call the second night I got there.  My A/C unit in my home stopped working.  This was on a weekend of course (par for my luck) and the soonest I could get anyone to come out was this morning.  I had my brother try his best to cool the tank, however the temps inside the house were 98 degrees plus. with 80 percent of more humidity after every fan I owned was being used.<Yikes!> I am pretty sure the temperature in the tank probably hit somewhere around 96-100 degree range yesterday. <Utto> Fortunately (not for him) all I lost was my ribbon eel. <Awwww I'm so sorry.> I instructed my brother to place ice in a zip-lock bag and float it on top to try and cool the temp down. I got back into town this morning and got the A/C working again. I noticed the eel passed away.  Everyone else in there seems to be ok just kind mad at me for being so hot. I have slowly throughout the day lowered the tanks temp back down being very cautious not to let it drop too fast.... and have since let it stop at 85 for the night to let them adjust.  Could the heat in the tank have killed the good bacteria? < No, should be just fine.> I did a water test and found no traces of ammonia or nitrite and about 10 on the scale of nitrate.  What can I do to ensure these little guys continue to survive this? <Keep a close eye on the survivors for any signs of stress induced disease; a water change would  not be  bad idea; keep up the water quality;  and seriously consider a chiller to avoid future overheating issues and big temperature fluctuations. In the mean time, a couple of small 6 to 8' electric clip on fans work well to keep temps down on the modestly warmer days. Place the fans so that they blow across the water surface.  This will however increase evaporation, so you will need to top off more frequently.> I am planning on doing a little larger than normal water change tomorrow, after I hear back from you. < Good plan>   Thanks again for all the help, and hopefully I can make the little guys feel better and continue to thrive. Josh Henley <Your most welcome, best of luck to you and try to stay cool in that heat. Leslie> To Cover or Not...Let Your Tank "Breathe" - 06/18/06 Hello Crew! <<Hi Pedro!>> I plan to add metal halides to my 75g tank, I have now 2x96w pc + 2x56w T5, and want to add 2x150 MH on canopy.  Don't know if to go with fixtures with built in UV glass filtering pendants or to use the All-Glass Versa Tops with do it yourself HQI sockets.  Will save some money with the second, but will I block too much light and build up heat? <<Yes to both...having the glass on top of the tank will trap heat/slow gas exchange as well as reduce light penetration due to the "mineral buildup" that will form on the heated glass due to its proximity to the water.  It is much better to have the UV filter on the light fixture/pendant rather than on the top of the tank>> Nobody in Florida wants more heat.  I will have 2x4" IceCap fans blowing across the glass tops with all the lights on. <<Won't make enough difference>> I heard that the glass tops reduce evaporation which I like, but  will I give up too much light for too little evaporation and add more heat? <<Yes>> Is egg crate a better option? or no top at all?  Just the canopy with the fans that can give me surface movement and deal with the evaporation? <<The egg crate material is fine if you have fears of jumping fishes, but I prefer "no top at all"...lets the tank "breathe">> Pedro  Velasquez <<Regards, EricR>>

- Do you think I will need a chiller? 6/16/06 - Hello WetWebMedia Crew, <Hello.> Thank you for taking the time to look at my e-mail.  I am planning on upgrading the lighting on my 75 gallon reef tank (48" x 18" x 21").  The reef tank also has a downstream refugium that holds roughly 15 gallons.  At the moment, I have a 260 watt Odyssea power compact fixture on the display and a 130 watt Odyssea power compact fixture on the refuge.  I also have a heaters in both the display and the refuge that were bought to match their respective sizes, but I cannot remember their exact wattage.  I realize the heater in the refuge is unnecessary but I was having flow problems and have yet to take it out... I also have an Eheim 1260 (634gph, 65watts) pump for circulation in the display and an Eheim 1250 (320gph, 28watts) pump running the refugium and display.  A mag drive 3 (350gph, 35watts) pump runs my Remora Pro protein skimmer    I found a 48" Maristar fixture by sunlight supply that has 2 150 watt HQI bulbs and 2 54 watt T5 bulbs.  This light was discontinued but they still make it custom ordered.  The temperature in my reef is about 77 degrees with the room temperature being 72 degrees. Based on your experience with similar setups, do you guys think I will need a chiller.  Any advice you can give me is appreciated. <Hard to say for certain as even two identical set-ups really aren't identical once they go to someone's home. It really depends on the temperature you want to keep the tank. Without a doubt, it's not going to stay at 77 F, but it may only go up to 79/80 F - is that ok with you? Can you be certain it won't go higher? If you want to improve your margin for error, you may want that chiller anyway.> Thanks, Tim <Cheers, J -- >

- High Temp Problems 6/15/06 - Hey guys, I have a problem in my tank. The temp is usually 76-77 Recently The temp shot up to 81 in a few days time.  All inhabitants are doing fine but My torch coral has some what it looks to be bleaching in the base of it, this is one all of the polyps. I have a big fan cooling it down. Will the torch recover? <Only time will tell. Keep that fan running. Cheers, J -- >

Hot tank Part II 5/28/06 I writing regarding the respond I got back from Chris. I wrote in asking what I could do to help my 29 salt tank from over heating. Chris said one of the things I could do was keep the lid off. That would be cool, the only question I have is. I have a blenny and a clown fish and also a green Chromis. Would they jump out of the tank or no?   Thanks Cody <Maybe, most/all fish will jump if startled or because they feel like it.  Many people use egg crate available at hardware stores to cover the tank but still allow good air flow.  Even that is not fool proof, a fish can jump out the tiniest of spaces behind even a glass top as I have found out the hard way.> <Chris>

Hot Tank 5/27/06 Hello there guys and girls: <Hi> Quick question, I have a 29 gallon salt tank FOWLR. I'm having trouble with the temp. in the tank getting hot. It reads 84.5 as of right now. <Hot> It only gets warm in the day time. I really don't want to kill my fish but I also can't afford a chiller. Will this high of temp. be a problem? Thanks   Cody <84 is pretty hot.  Plus temperature swings are very unhealthy for the livestock.  Try keeping the lid open and placing fans blowing across the top.  If this doesn't help you may need to limit your lighting, which is probably causing the temperature rise.> <Chris>

Heater malfunction - 5/16/2006 My water temp is usually at 78-80 degrees.  This morning it was at 89.5 degrees! <<Fish soup!!>> I am thinking something must be malfunctioning. <<Likely.>> The tank is in the basement, so although it was warmer here in Montana yesterday (85 degrees), we have central air and the basement doesn't get that warm - the air temp was 70 by the tank this morning.  I checked the heater and it was set at 74, as always.  It is a Pro Temp 300W.  I unplugged it, opened windows (it is a cool 50 degrees outside this morning) and opened all aquarium cabinet doors.  We have an RO system with auto top off, so I checked the holding tank heater and it was set at 76, water temp in holding tank was 80, so I turned it down to 72.  We have 120 gal tank with 2-400W 10,000K MH, 2-110W VHO actinic, 4 LED moon lights. When I went to bed last night, the water temp was a little high (82), but I wasn't too concerned.  We have not been having fluctuating temps before this or any overheating issues, so I am thinking the heater must have malfunctioned? <<Probably, yes.  This has happened to me before too.>> Any suggestions as to what else to check or what to do? <<I would replace your heater with a few smaller ones.  That way if one should malfunction, there is less overall effect on the tank.>> Thanks <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Tank Fluctuations And Chocolate Chip Stars  - 5/2/2006 Good Day Ladies & Gentlemen! <Hello to you> As always; your site is an invaluable resource and it has helped me in so many ways I can't count them all. <Thanks for the kind words from all of us> It's because of your site that I decided NOT to give up my aquarium when I first started this hobby.  If it hadn't been for you guys and gals, I would have cut my losses at the $1500.00 mark and gotten a dog.  Today I have a beautiful tank; healthy fish and am thoroughly enjoying my new endeavour and I owe it all to your advice. <More so your hard work and dedication>   I'll be making a donation to the site this upcoming pay period just to say thanks for all the help.<Anytime and thank you> In the meantime, I have a tiny little question about my tank that I cannot seem to locate an answer to (if it's there on the site somewhere; I've obviously missed it, please accept my apologies; slap my wrist and point me to the page and I'll read every word and take a test).<No worries, lets see if I can help, but a pop quiz may be imminent>   I have a 45-gallon FOWLR tank with two damsels; three turbo snails; two cleaner shrimp, an astrea snail and one chocolate chip starfish (part of the subject of this mail).<Sounds nice> We read up all about them (chocolate chip starfish) on your site before getting him and decided that he'd make a great addition to our tank despite the delicateness of his care.  We take great care of our tank: the Flu-Val is cleaned twice per week; the water is changed twice per week (three gallons each change) and the substrate is vacuumed at the same time as the water changes to remove detritus and any leftover food that might contribute to nitrate levels.  The tank is replete with UV Sterilizer, skimmer, two power heads and giant piece of dead coral for hiding places. <Sounds like you have maintenance down> All that said, we take great care of the tank and keep a VERY close eye on the water parameters.  Because of all this, we felt we'd get on great with the starfish and so far (he's about a week and a half into the tank) he's doing extremely well:  He's all over the aquarium, eats like a small horse and has great colouring.  He even seems to be getting on well with the shrimp. <Good to hear, just keep a close eye on him, they are delicate as you stated earlier> Now to the question.  My partner and I live in San Francisco where we don't have (nor do we need) air conditioning.  The temperature never gets bad enough to warrant A/C use but the room temperature obviously fluctuates with the weather because of the lack of A/C.  As I've said, I keep a very close eye on all the tank water parameters and I've noticed that temperature seems to fluctuate a few degrees during the day (especially with the absolutely BEAUTIFUL summer weather we've been having - you know the kind of days that make you happy to be alive). <Nope, I'm in Chicago, goes from freezing to 95 within a week> For example, yesterday it started out at 77.1 degrees and finished up the day at 81.7 degrees (That happened over a roughly eleven hour period) and obviously what goes up must come down so by midnight the temperature had returned 78.8 degrees.  This morning it was back 77.2.  The variances don't seem like much to me and it's still within normal parameters (at least that I can find) but I'm concerned Chip.  The temperature tends to only fluctuate a few degrees and it's always in the upper direction. <A 3 degree swing is starting to push it a bit> I have a 250W heater that keeps the tank nice and balmy at 77 degrees all through the night.  But during the day, the temp in the tank adjusts up to room temperature which usually goes above 80 degrees.  I know from the FAQs and articles that Chocolate Chip Starfish are extremely sensitive to most parameters and I'm worried that this might be too much for him but can't find anything that confirms or denies what a bad shift in temperature is.  Again, right now he's fine with his moving and his eating and just general good nature.  But these changes do worry me.  I can control all the other parameters and they are as solid rocks (knock on wood) but I can't control the weather (yet :).   So I guess my main question is what is an 'extreme' temperature shift for a starfish?  Are the temp fluctuations going to be detrimental to him and if so do you have any suggestions for stabilizing the temp?  I've thought about putting a fan pointed at the outside of the tank to dissipate some of the heat from the glass, but that's obviously very difficult to control and I'm afraid it'll drop too low for him not to mention putting a great load on the heater.   Any ideas would be extremely helpful. <3 degrees is about as much as you want for fish, and probably pushing it for the more sensitive stars, however the answer is quite simple, just run the tank warmer.  80-81 degrees is quite normal for reefs in nature and your star and fish will have no trouble handling it.  I run my tank around 82 and everyone seems happy.  If you are worried about overstressing the heater I suggest running 2, which also gives you redundancy if one should go out for ultimately a minimal expense.  Just remember to try to make the temperature increase as gradual as possible> Many Warm Regards, Dennis <And to you> <Chris>

Tank Overheating With Many External Pumps - 04/25/06 Good morning all, <<Hello!>> I've spent at least a couple hours every day looking over the problems that others have had, and this has helped me beyond words in setting up my new 150 gallon tank. <<Mmm, yes...not repeating other's mistakes...>> So, first I just want to say thank you for taking the time to help all of us! <<A collaborative effort...you're quite welcome>> I've been battling a problem with my external pumps overheating my tank.  My water temperature reaches 85+ degrees in the winter time when the ambient room temperature is 64. <<Wow!>> I have an office fan blowing cool air on low from behind the canopy to keep the temp at around 79 degrees. <<Sounds fine...I utilize fans and a small chiller to maintain my tank at around 80F in the winter, and around 83F in the summer>> Yesterday, we finally broke the 70 degree mark outside, and our house heated up to around 78 degrees.  I had to use both office fans on high to keep the tank below 84 degrees, and that's without my halides! <<Does seem excessive>> I know that 84 degrees is tolerable by many animals, but this seems to be an excessive amount of heat exchange when it's coming from just the pumps, and 20 degrees of heating without lights or a heater makes for a huge hurdle going into summer.   <<Indeed!>> Here's some info about my tank:  Dimensions: 48x24x30 (LWH) Canopy and stand are made from MDF and 2x4 constructions. The canopy has an open back for more air flow, and 4 Ice Cap variable fans in the canopy top exhausting any heat in the canopy.  Ebo Jager 250-Watt heater - removed to determine that this was not the cause.  Pumps: - Blueline HD70 - 1750 Gal/Hr - 290 watts (Panworld 200PS-MD70R) - Closed Loop at the rear of tank to 1" spray bar with 1/2" tees. - Blueline HD30 - 590 Gal/Hr - 90 watts (Panworld 50PX-MD30R) - AquaC EV180. - Iwaki WMD 40RLXT - 1080 Gal/Hr - 1.9 Amps (218 watts?) - Tank return tee'd off to two SQWDs so each corner of the tank has random flow towards the reef. - Dolphin AmpMaster 4000/3000 - 3000 gal/hr through 1.5 inch pipe -1.21 Amps (140 watts?) - Closed loop at the bottom of the tank, 1.5" tee'd into (2) 1" pipes the go to opposite ends of a spray bar with 1/2" tees. True flow is probably about 2000 gal/hr because of the way it's plumbed. Lighting: - (3) 95 Watt VHO (custom hood lacks room for 46.5 inch bulbs) (2) 50/50, (1) Actinic - (2) 250 Watt HQI Ice Cap reef pendants with (2) 10K bulbs (halides not being used yet) Chiller: - Pacific Coast 1/4 HP Chiller (not used yet, because I don't want to mask the problem), it's rated to cool 150 gallons about 20 degrees. This won't be big enough if I'm using it for my pumps & halides during summer. <<I'd still give it a try before going "bigger">> Sump: - Sump - 25 Gallons (a little small for the evaporation rates I'm getting which is approximately 3 - 4 gals/day. <<May seem like a lot for this size system, but is not excessive...contributed to by the fans...low relative humidity in your house/area>> So, a lot of info for an implied question. <<Mmm, yes...and no real "clues" that anything is abnormal regarding your equipment/setup>> Is this a normal amount of heat given my pump selection? <<Is a lot of pumps...some heating would be expected, but generally not to the extreme you describe>> Are any of these pumps known for heat issues? <<As compared to some others...no>> I've tried plumbing my AmpMaster 4000/3000 with 2" PVC and not use the Blueline 70HD, but with 2 spray bars in different locations it was nearly impossible to achieve the flow rates I was hoping for, because of all the Tees & 90 degree elbows. <<Understood>> I've cleaned all of the intake screens, and I've positioned the pumps so their exhaust is not impeded.  None of the pumps seem hot to the touch, more like a warm cup of coffee. <<Hmm, curious...what about the impeller housings?>> Any ideas would be of great help, <<I think first you have to isolate the source causing the problem.  Shut down all but the return pump and see if the water temperature falls.  If it does, fire up the other pumps one at a time and evaluate each pump for its heat exchange/transfer capacity.  If you find the offending pump, perhaps it is an aberration and fixing the problem will be as simple as changing it out with another (gee, it's easy for me to spend your money <G>), or maybe scrutinize the plumbing for something that may be contributing to excessive heat...like excessive head/back pressure.  You're only/best option at the end of the day may be to fire up that chiller>> Thank you! -David <<I'd be interested to know what you discover.  Regards, EricR>>
Tank Overheating With Many External Pumps II - 04/26/06
Thanks Eric for your quick reply, <<Quite welcome David>> I have checked all of the impeller housings, and they all seem to be clear. <<Okay>> I started shutting down the pumps individually and waited several hours to see if I could isolate the problem.  I found that the Blueline HD70 was probably the biggest contributor with a temp drop of around 5 degrees. <<a lot>> I went back to reading WWMedia about plumbing pressure rated pumps, and I came across an article from Mr. Fenner explaining that these pumps want to push rather than pull which makes sense, but it got me thinking about the plumbing.  I have more bends and elbows on the intake side than the output side, and now I'm flashing back to a problem I was originally having which was cavitation on the intake vinyl tubing I originally installed. It was completely cutting off the intake flow after a few minutes of operation. <<Ahh...maybe on to something here...have to think starving the pumps would certainly cause a rise in temperature>> Now I'm planning on replumbing the intake to 1 1/2" from the bulkhead like this: 1 1/2" Bulkhead fitting---Ball Valve---barbed nipple---spa-flex---barbed nipple---Union--1 1/2" to 1" threaded reducer---Blueline. This will give me more to draw from, and get rid of the elbows. <<Much better my friend...with one observation.  Unless you have the valve here to allow removing the pump (for service/replacement), I recommend you place your valves on the "output" side.  If the valve is there for servicing the pump, then I would place it as "close to the pump" as possible>> Anyway, thanks for putting me on the right track with isolating the problem, and thanks to everyone there for your collaborative efforts! <<Have no doubt you would have figured it out...but you're very welcome>> Just a quick side note:  Don't mount this pump on the backside of your stand, because there's a lot of low-end vibration that resonates though the cabinet and even the floor like an electric raiser on a bass drum. <<Very true>> Also, to further minimize the vibration from these pumps, go to a computer store and buy a gel-filled mouse pad that would normally go under your wrist to keep it straight when using a mouse.  I put one of these under the pump, and voila!!!  Nothing but a quiet fan. <<Indeed, I even use vibration dampening pads under my submerged pumps...this, combined with a 'short' run of spa-flex or flexible vinyl tubing at the pump inlets/outlets can make a world of difference.  EricR>> -David

Temp Swing! Hey crew, <Scott> I'm stumped!  I don't really expect you guys to fully diagnose my issue because of all the factors involved but here goes.  The problem is temp swings from 78 to 80 - 81 degrees during the course of a day.  I have a 55 gallon seahorse tank.  I have a slightly oversized sump with a Mag 9.5 inside the sump as a return.  I have a Hydor inline 300 watt heater that has truly been great.  It's been cycled and very stable and consist for about 3 - 4 months.  At one point my skimmer crapped out, and I purchased a My Reef Creation MR1 with a Mag 12.  That's the only change I made to the tank. All of a sudden temp started rising one day. <Mmm, think about this... isn't the gear listed... as it runs continuously... what doesn't? The lighting and ambient, diurnal temperature changes...> Wasn't a terribly hot day outside.  The heater wasn't kicking on from what I could tell.  I thought it might be the addition of the Mag 12 which was at first placed inside the sump.  I plumbed the Mag 12 outside the sump but still had the temp swings. Next I thought the heater might have malfunctioned so I unplugged it for a few hours.  Still the temp rose.  I thought maybe the digital thermometer was bad or the battery was going but the strip therm on the side of the tank read the same.  I've tried keeping the light off, no luck. Most times it makes it through most of the day and then around late afternoon the temp raises. I am truly stumped.  I know a simple solution is getting a chiller.  I just have no reason why all of a sudden the temp would raise.  My concern is for the pair of ponies.  From what I read (Seahorse.org) the species of seahorse I have don't care much for temps above 78. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Scott (Sorry for the long email) <No worries... here at all likely, the daily swing of 2-3 degrees F., even with this species is not a problem. I would not necessarily buy/use a chiller, but might change the "lighting period" to more in the evenings, off during the midday hours... as the season warms. Bob Fenner>

Temperature Swings - 03/17/06 Hello from Tennessee, WWM crew! <<Back at ya from South Carolina!>> I have a few temperature questions for you guys (and possibly  gals).  I've recently slowly (few days time) lowered my 95 gallon reef tank temps from very low 80's to the high 70's (78-79 to be more  exact).  I've read dearly about temp swings in the FAQ's, and I know a lot is subject to situation, but I'm asking for my situation since I am having trouble applying other situations in the FAQ's to mine.   <<Um...ok <grin>.>> Last night around 12:00 my temp as per Coralife digital thermometer was 79.3 F, glass suction cup thermometer said 79.0 F, close enough. <<Agreed>> This  morning at 8:30 digital read at 78.0 as well as glass thermo.  Is this too much of a temp swing given the time period? <<Not at all, quite typical really...and perfectly fine.  My tank typically swings about 3 degrees in a 24-hour period.>> I don't know at what time it bottomed at 78.0 so I don't know how fast it dropped. <<Probably within a few hours after the lights went out.>> In your opinion, what is the least amount of time that it is acceptable to drop 1 degree F? <<Hmm...speaking for myself here, a drop of 1-degree Fahrenheit over the course of an hour should not prove detrimental.  But keep in mind, any deleterious effects may be a result of more than temperature swings.  In other words, if the tank is already stressed from other factors (poor water quality, fish bullied by other fish, malnutrition, etc.), then a rapid change in temperature of even one or two degrees may manifest in ways it wouldn't if the tank were otherwise stable/healthy.>> Also, which should I trust more, glass or digital?  The digital and glass have disagreed many times at the higher temps by as much as a degree. <<Use whichever you like best (I prefer digital for ease of use).  The "exact" reading is not so much important as monitoring the changes...it's the same logic as that applied to the inexpensive "swing-arm" hydrometers.  Of course, you could always shell out the bucks for lab-grade hardware.>> The  digital is also infamous to me for jumping up and down rapidly example:  showing 80.5 F and then showing 80.0 two minutes later. <<Is likely just that the digital-thermometer registers the change faster then the other.>> The probe is  installed in the Megaflow overflow part of my tank. The tank is heated by a 250 Watt Visi-Therm Stealth in the sump, set to 79 F (give or take), and was functioning last night before lights out @ 12:00 a.m.  Should I remove it from the sump and place it in the main tank? <<I wouldn't>> If so, what would be an ideal location? <<Where it is is fine/my preference for all such hardware.>> Near the overflow?  With a powerhead pointed at it?  Or with one of the return nozzles from the sump pointed at it?  Mid-tank on the back, or is it OK to put it on  the side? <<Just leave it in the sump.  My only recommendation would be to replace the 250w with two smaller 150w heaters for redundancy/safety.>> I apologize for all the questions, but I am a firm believer in  creating a great place for my fish to live comfortably with minimal, if any changes, and I need some advice.  Thanks for all your help and for tolerating my many questions.  It is greatly appreciated, as is your  website and FAQ's. <<No worries mate...am happy to assist.  Regards, EricR>>

Clarification on heating please?  3/14/06 Hello crew, <Hi Debi - Tim answering your question today!> I wrote earlier about the possibility of losing my first fish due to what the LFS says was a temp spike from 79 to 84 overnight <I would be somewhat skeptical about this - I have a similarly sized aquarium and my temperature varies considerably during the day (as a result of my MHs) but I have not yet lost any fish as a result thereof. Whilst obviously not desirable, a single temperature spike should not bring about fish mortality, especially as your 100W heater will not have been able to effect an overly rapid change in temperature in my opinion and experience>.  I am having trouble figuring out what to do now and what heater to use as I have tried the Visi-Therm Stealths and returned two already because of overheating. <I have only ever used Visi-therms but have no experience with their Stealth range - are you submersing this heater fully? Also ensure that you have adequate water flow across the heating surface - but not directly from you external pump/sump return as this will be cooler water than in the aquarium and may therefore result in excess temperatures.> I am trying to use two 100W heaters for my 46 gallon.  Well, the fish died yesterday and so now I am really concerned about what to do before I put in more fish. <I understand. Though consider that your LFS might have sold you a sick fish that would have died in any case.> I have read everything that is on your site concerning heating and something that one of you advised someone on has me confused, the is the excerpt: "I even now suspect the Ebo Jager I just bought as the temp over shot in another tank this morning while at the same time the heater overshot in my quarantine tank... rather than risk the health of the Flame Angel I decided to place it in the 55 gallon main tank where the conditions are/have been (knock on wood) stable. I would have preferred to not do this yet but here I am at work and not at home to unplug/reconnect or get another as necessary. What could be going wrong? <I don't know... are you setting these at a reasonably low initial settings? Allowing a few tens of minutes for the thermostats to adjust before plugging in initially?>" I hate to sound dumb but I don't understand what is meant by the advice given to set a low initial setting and how can a thermostat adjust if it isn't plugged in?  Mine were set for 79 and 77 degrees when the tank overheated, three times, several days apart, with all outside influences being the same each time. <I must admit I do not fully understand that advice myself, though what is undoubtedly meant is to turn the thermostat too low initially, submerse and turn on the heater then wait around 20-30 minutes for the water temperature to stabilize - this is not the same as when the heating light switches off, but when your thermometer remains constant (I assume that you are using a separate thermometer to measure water temperature? - if not, then you really do need one!) then gradually increase the thermostat every 20-30 minutes (keeping the heater submersed at all times) until the water temperature stabilizes at the desired temperature.> In between they would hold at around 80.  I don't think the LFS will allow many more returns and I am just at a loss as to how to get this problem solved now.  Any help would be appreciated. One more thing please, I have read here that the Stealths and the Ebo-Jager are both quite good but when I look up review on the Ebo I find that they are now made in Germany and not nearly so reliable as they once were, so I am inclined to try to stay with the Stealth unless you have better suggestions just don't understand about initial settings and tens of minutes, etc. <Germans make great quality products - I would personally not be concerned!> Also, I am considering that something to control the heaters aside from their own thermostats might be the way to go, but with only a 46 gallon I don't want to spend many hundreds for a full blown elaborate controller.  Do you have any reasonably priced, around $100 or less, suggestions for something like that? <I do not think that you need one - I have had a single 150W heater in my 46G and never needed anything else> Thanks for your help now and earlier.  The site is wonderful, I have become addicted to it and feel I am learning so much. <A pleasure.>

Heater Positioning - 2/28/2006 Hi Folks, <<Hi Johnny.>> Quickie for you, Can submersible heaters be positioned vertically? I read that they need to be positioned horizontally to prevent the heater switching off too early due to inconsistent heating. None of the manufacturer's instructions mention this. <<I position all of my heaters vertically, in a high water flow area.  Shouldn't be a problem.>> Johnny. <<Lisa>>

Temp Variation Question  - 02/25/06 I am seeing change of about 2 degrees (between 77.5F and 79.5F) in a 24 hour period in my reef tank. Heater set at about 77.5F. Room temp is never higher than 72F. Is this acceptable or must I figure out away to reduce the variation? <Likely not much of a problem here. There is at times this and more variation in a short while near the surface depth of the world's reefs. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Kent

Black sea cucumber burn   2/10/06 Dear Mr. Fenner,     While reading your article at wwm.com re: sea cucumber, you mention masking the heater to prevent disturbing them.  Could you be a little more specific? <Yes... mostly the use of "sleeving"... at the simplest, plastic pipe over the unit/s, that is/has been drilled with numerous holes> Our black sea cucumber recently burned itself on the Visi-therm heater and eviscerated ( we believe ). <Yikes...> There were sticky strings in the water and a brown patch on the cuke that later came off.  None fo our other livestock were harmed.   <Fortunate> I believe the cuke is regenerating, and I would like to prevent any further harm to it.  I have looked on the web and called my local store regarding some form of heater guard without success.  My husband is handy if given some direction.  Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter. Respectfully, Amy Smith <Mmm, folks/companies have made these over the years, but they were never very popular... log sorts of designs principally... I'd fashion your own if you can't remote these heaters... as to a tied-in (plumbed) sump/refugium. Bob Fenner>

Keeping A Reef Tank Without Losing His Cool! (Water Temp. Range)    1/25/06 Hey Crew <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I keep hearing how other folks tanks keep the temperature in the mid 80's and the coral is just "loving it". Some keep their tanks at 80 degrees. I talked to a diver in Florida and the temperature in the keys is around 86 degrees, which is where I get my Gorgonia.  Most of the literature so far recommends keeping the temp between 76-78F.  I keep the temp in my tank at 77 degrees give or take .5 degrees.  What is considered the best temperature for a reef tank? Thanks. <A great question. While I usually try to steer clear of generalities in reefkeeping, I'd agree with you that your chosen temperature range is a good one for most of the animals that we tend to keep in our systems. For most of us, temperatures above 80F are not a good idea. For one thing, the oxygen carrying capacity of the water is reduced at such higher temperatures. In addition, metabolic processes (including waste production) happen at an increased rate in higher temperature water, placing an additional burden on your filtration system. Finally, many studies have revealed that these higher ocean water temperatures may be linked to bleaching events and other possible long-term health problems in corals. In the end, you're correct to use a more "manageable" water temperature. After all, our aquariums are not natural reefs, and are more sensitive to environmental fluctuations and other stressors not found in the wild reefs, with their infinitely larger volume of water! Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Water movement and heat problem   1/20/06 Hi crew, <Linda> I am trying to set up additional circulation for my reef tank and need advice.  I'm trying to keep powerheads out of the tank because they seem to add a lot of heat.  I'd prefer not to use a chiller because of noise and space. <Good reasons> Here's the situation: I have a 75gal Oceanic Reef tank.  I have both 1" and 3/4" holes in overflow going into a 30 gal sump below with in-sump refugium.  I have a Gen-X 40 pump returning from the sump, but can't have it on all the way because the overflow doesn't drain fast enough. <Yes> I had 3 powerheads in the main tank but have a real heat problem so took them out. I have 2 250W MH lights with 2 fans.  I also have a PC light over refugium on reverse cycle and a fan over sump that runs full time. We built a PVC pipe system that we had planned to use with the sump return but haven't because of low flow.  The PVC branches into 3 pipes that are spaced out across the back (one on each end and one in the middle).  Each pipe hooks over the tank and then splits into two loc-line spouts, so there are 6 nozzles total. Our thought was to hook up another external pump to this and have it simply recirculate the water (intake to pump to return pipe system).   However, when we did this - we hooked it up to a MAG 36 (my husband thought the bigger the better!).  Well, it was TOO loud and the intake (2" PVC that came out over the back and down to the pump) seemed to not be enough.  It also sounded like there was air that was increasing the noise. So, will our plan work?  Is there a problem with air because of the intake going up and over the tank? <Not this... perhaps a leak in that line, or its placement (too near the surface)> ( my husband added a T at the top so I could clean the tube easier.  There is a cap on it but that might be an issue.) <Definitely>   Is the MAG 36 to big? Would a smaller pump be quieter? <Likely and yes>   Is the brand Quiet Pump any good? <Mmm, is a good pump... initially... Very quiet, but "temperamental" in terms of long-use... tends to have its cooling through-put in the volute get clogged, leading to early death of the pump... Their use history has been... dismal>   Should I chuck it all and deal with powerheads instead?  HELP! Thanks, Linda B. <Mmm, I'd trade the existing pump in for something smaller/else (see WWM re pump selection) and fix the intake plumbing (do away with the Tee...). Bob Fenner>

New tank temperature  - 01/09/2006 Hello <Hi there> Thanks to your website my old marine tank of 200 L has a new lease on life! For 5 years the long dead skeletal rock has been fighting a losing battle with hair algae; but since I started removing the bio balls it has now started to grow coralline algae! :) <Yay!> The hair algae was so bad that even my snails had about 3 inches of it growing on their shells. But it's gone now. Eventually the livestock in this tank will be moved to a 357 L tank with 50 kg of live rock (enough?). <Likely so, yes> Please lend me some advice on the following information. This tank is currently undergoing it's nitrogen cycle. It smells really bad. Nitrite level is 5ppm and ammonia level is 0.25ppm. It has a built in trickle filter into which I put Ehfi Substrat and about 4kg of live rock rubble. Eventually I plan to remove the Ehfi Substrat. The aragonite bed has some areas where the water can't flow because I have some really big pieces of live rock and they are the base for the other live rock. (problem?) <Nope> My main concern is the temperature of the water. The temp in the house is currently around 23 degrees but I can't get the temperature of the tank under 26 degrees. At one stage last week it reached 31 degrees. <Too high...> I haven't even put the heater in yet????? I wonder if it is the pumps. <Likely so... next, the lights> I am running 3 pumps. One Oceanrunner 2500 for the skimmer, one Eheim 1260 as the return pump, and one Eheim 1262 for flow in the main tank. <It's not the Eheims...> If I take one of the 2 Eheim pumps out, I'm sure the flow would not be adequate. Your advice is much appreciated. <I'd turn off the skimmer pump and see what happens... replace it, or contemplate getting/using a chiller. Bob Fenner>

Optimum Temperature  - 01/09/2006 Hi Crew,  <Hello>I have a question concerning the temperature in my aquarium. It is currently 82 degrees with the halides on and a degree or two less when the fluorescents are on  or only the moonlights are on. Is this okay for my tank? It is 330 gallons with plenty of circulation and filtration. So far none of the current stock (2 brittle stars, 12 green Chromis, 14 hermit crabs, 15 Nassarius snails, and 13 turbo snails) have showed any signs of stress. If the temperature is too high, what are your suggestions? <The fish you are keeping are quite hardy where temperature fluctuations are not going to bother them too much.  Recommended temperatures range from 76-79 degrees. James (Salty Dog)>

Heat from lighting - 1/3/2005 Dear Crew, How can I tell if my light fixture is getting too hot inside the canopy? This is my setup: 58 gallon glass aquarium with glass cover & wood canopy. I have a Coralife power compact AquaLight with 2- 96 watt bulbs sitting directly on the glass top - it has one fan I am concerned that the light may become too hot when the wood canopy lid is closed. it is an oceanic canopy that has the rear panel cut out, there is about 4.5 inches of room (depth) inside for the light. Is this a typical set up or do I need to add an additional fan inside the canopy? <If the bulbs are in their original fixtures, and the water temperate is not significantly affected, I would not be overly concerned here. If temperature escalates in the summer, consider running the tank open-topped without the glass cover. Best regards, John> thanks Kim

Hot Hot Heat(ers)!?  12/5/05 Hi,  <Hello Scott> I'm confused about the size and type of heater I should purchase. I am setting up a 500 gallon tank (all my plumbing will be in the basement) to house 2 smaller sharks, as well as a few other species of fish. Researching heaters has got me a bit frustrated. All of the higher wattage heaters are titanium, do you feel this will have any effect on the sharks?  <No>  What would you recommend for type and size?  <I would go with four Visi-Therm 250 watt heaters and control all three with a temperature controller such as a Ranco single stage controller. A rule of thumb is two watts per gallon.>  As for heaters Also does it matter if two heaters are located in the wet/dry sump? <No> I've read Scott Michaels book on Aquarium Sharks and Rays, but it did not specify much on heaters (I think at one point he recommended two 200 watt heaters for "large" aquariums (400 - 600 gallons). For some reason I would think one would need a bit more wattage for a large tank.  <I agree, as above, two watts per gallon.> As always I certainly appreciate your time.  <You're welcome, James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Scott 

Lockjaw -Too Hot to Trot! - 12/01/2005 Bob, <Actually, Sabrina with you today, as Bob is out of the country. My apologies for the lateness of this reply; seems like we're all a touch uncertain about a few aspects of your problem....> I may have a catastrophe in the making.... I have a 125 marine tank with fish only (no invertebrates). I recently did a water change and a few days later I noticed that the temperature was very hot. My thermometer only goes up to 86 degrees and it was way off the chart.  <Yikes.> I'm not sure how long the temp was at that point - maybe two days or so. Ouch!  <Very bad, depending upon that temperature....> I believe that one of my two heaters failed "ON".  <Very frustrating! I lost most of my stock one winter when my heater failed "off".... that sure taught me a lesson about having a redundant heater....> Like one of your other readers said, fish can't handle high temps and they also can't handle large temp swings <Right.> so I split the difference and placed zipper top bags of ice in the tank to bring it down to 86 degrees and then I let the tank "cool off" at its own pace until it reached the 75 degree level. It took about 24 hours before it got to 75 degrees (I hope that wasn't too fast).  <Too fast for my tastes - and should probably aim for more like 78 or thereabouts.> None of my fish are dead yet but I don't think that I'm out of the woods. Some of my fish are as zippy as ever - they are eating and swimming as they always have (damsels, small percula clown, powder blue tang) But....from bad to worse..... *My fox face is swimming slower than usual and is eating - but not as vigorously. *My Heniochus Butterfly (SP?) and large percula clown are moving very slowly. Their breathing is slow and their mouths appear to be "locked" -that is, they don't seem to be opening and closing their mouths at all, they are just open.  <Odd.... I'm not sure what might be the cause of this....> They also don't eat. <A very bad sign.> *My Hippo Tang appears to have bumped up against the faulty heater. He has a large black patch the size of a quarter on his side (behind is stomach).  <Mm, it would take a lot more than just bumping up against the heater to cause a burn - he'd have had to really lay against it for a while. This may just be from the stresses incurred from the temp swings.> He is hiding all of the time and is also not eating.  <Also bad.> <<None of this is surprising, however.  The rise in temperature is actually less stressful than the drop of more than 10F in a 24 hour period.  Prepare for disease to manifest, nitrifying bacteria to die off (would suggest having some BioSpira on hand if test results indicate a break in these cultures).  Marina>> He now likes to prop himself against objects to stabilize himself. The question is, what do I do now? I did a water change 3 days before the failure. Should I do another? <I would, yes.> How can I help the fish to recover?  <Maintain optimal water quality. Offer very high-quality, tempting foods. Watch the badly affected fish VERY closely for signs of bacterial infections (I'm concerned about the black patch on that tang, here).> <<I would actually forgo food for a day or two, observe.  Remember, a hungry fish is a healthy fish.  Marina>> Why do the fish have "lock jaw"? <To be entirely honest, I do not know.> I am a bit old school in that I have had great luck for the last 15 years with my under gravel filter. My question is, what about bacteria in the gravel bed acting as the biological filter? Are the "good bacteria" in my gravel bed still in tact or are they fried?  <They're probably still mostly unaffected. Be testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite must be ZERO, nitrate ideally less than 5ppm but certainly less than 20ppm.> Biologically speaking, what happens to fish when they get too hot?  <Their metabolism speeds up, ammonia becomes more toxic and damaging, eventually organs can "shut down".... ultimately, they can die. Marine fish especially are used to more constant, regular temperatures in their environment. Big changes, or sudden changes, can be entirely fatal to some less hardy fish.> Do fish regulate their body temp? How?  <No. Their body temperature will be that of their environment. They are cold-blooded.> Any other advice? <Just as above.... Maintain optimal water quality, monitor your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, salinity.... and, of course, temperature.... and observe these fish very, very closely for now.> Thanks much! -Mark <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

What Do You Think of These Heaters? 10/14/05 Steve, <<Querier is directing question to Steven Pro - no longer an "active" member of the crew, but active nonetheless!>> I'm a member of WMAS, and Adam Blundell (our president) referred me to you. I've been amazed at the number of opinions on different kinds of heaters on the utahreefs.com message board. I read your reviews, and I would just like to ask if the information in your review is still your current mindset. I see Visi-Therm deluxe heaters online, but can't seem to locate a LFS that carries them. What do you think of the new All-Glass heaters? Thanks! <<I have not tried the All-Glass brand heaters yet.  As to what heater I currently like, I don't have any strong feelings. I have been 'burned' by just about every brand out there. Right now, I am using mostly Ebo-Jager. But, I still recommend people replace their heaters every two years as a preventative. Sincerely, Steven Pro>>

Heater sticking protection and controllers 10/8/05 We have a 200 gallon reef tank and travel for work. After reading horror stories, I am worried about the possibility of a heater sticking on while we are gone. We put 2 heaters in the sump, one 350 watt and one 150 watt to try to ensure there would not be a problem.  <Good strategy. If one of these heaters stuck, it would take a while to overheat the tank. It would be a long shot for both of them to stick.> We thought about a dual controller for the heater and chiller... but then, what if the controller sticks on or off and all the heaters were connected???  <A controller is even better, and they are far more reliable than the thermostats inside the heaters. The possibility of a controller failing is remote. There really is no better solution. Also remember that if you set the heaters thermostats to come on a degree or two higher than the controller, you now have redundant control over the temperature and TWO devices have to fail for the tank to overheat.> Our house usually stays around 75 degrees (air conditioned in room with the tank/sump in an insulated basement that never gets below 68 degrees). With the heaters in normal operation, the tank does not exceed 84 degrees without the chiller (we keep the tank at 79 degrees with the chiller). My question is... should we ditch the 350 watt Titanium (Won pro) and go with 3 150s instead (or possibly a 250? and two 150s)? I love the digital display on the Won Brothers Pro... but don't want to fry anything if the wattage is too high. How can we calculate how much each of the different wattage heaters would raise the temperature in a worst case scenario? <Using a larger number of smaller heaters adds a safety cushion, but gets expensive. Here is a test for how fast any one heater (or any combination) can raise the tank temp: Turn all of the heaters off and let the tank temp drift down a couple of degrees. Read the temperature. Turn the heaters to be tested back on at a high setting (88 degrees perhaps) and let them run several hours during the day (while lights are on) and re-read the temperature. After the test, be sure to turn the settings back down on the heaters! You will probably find that the lower wattage heaters would take several days to overheat the tank.> Also, are we wrong about considering the controllers a hazard (it would be great to eliminate the 1-2 degree shift the chiller allows)? Thanks in advance! Peggy  <I don't think a controller is a hazard at all. Quite the contrary, I think it is a beneficial safety device. As for temperature shift, a daily range of 1-2 degrees is fine and is tighter than most of us can accomplish. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Pump heat 8/3/05 Hello All, Quick question. I have an Iwaki 30 RLXT on a 50 g tank with a 10 g sump. What kind of heat does this pump add to the water? Thanks Michael <Mmm, some... can be appreciable in systems with high thermal retention (acrylic more than glass, ones without sumps, with covers...), but not likely trouble by itself. Bob Fenner>

UV Question 8/2/05 Hello; <Hi there> I once sent a mail to WetWeb. I didn't receive a reply. Incase you recall that email and my name attached to it, I thought to add a humble apology. At that time I was relatively new (still am though) to fish keeping, but at the same time I didn't want to come across as unknowledgeable for some reason. I was likely tired and frustrated that evening trying to find answers on-line to my problems. So I may have "over-stated / emphasized" some need to establish a lack of ignorance on my part while asking questions. I likely did not come across well - so sorry. <No worries> I have been reading on WetWeb for several months. I wind up in your archive somewhere every time I have questions. Thanks for having that info available free to the public, and thanks up front if you have time to assist me here, please. <Welcome> UV Sterilizers: I've read through your UV info; but could not find info regarding over-sizing UV's and effects on temp. <Usually not a real issue... as the wattage described is not the watts added... especially with most modern units that are sleeved...> A tech aid at Dr. Foster&Smith recently told me that you cannot go too big regarding UV wattage. <Practically this is so> Also - they post a chart stating required flow rates for parasite kills. (btw - I have read your statements regarding UV's actual effect on parasites and the narrow range / requirements within which any benefit exists. I understand UV may not be an effective guard - and I do use HT / QT, btw.) <Ah, good... UV is a useful adjunct....> Even still I plan to purchase UV's, and to use this simple standard (running the Turbo Twist models): -- On QT / HT I'll run 9w UV in-line using a Hydor Prime-10 (80 gph) -- On all tanks less than 55 gal I'll run 18w in-line to a Hydor Prime-20 (155gph) -- For tanks 55 gal to 90, I'll use 36w and a Hydor Prime 30 (230gph) -- anything bigger I'll use 55w UV +,  and maybe a Filstar XP3 (350gph). My concern is if I use, say, an 18w UV with a Hydor Prime-20 on a 20gal / 30gal tank - or a 36w on a 55gal tank - (using the Hydors), then what would be the temperature effect of this over-sizing / low flow-rate attempt? <Almost negligible, as you will find> Will I need a chiller? <Not unless you need one already> I have an air-conditioned home; but in the summer my tanks always stay about 80 deg F regardless - so I'm concerned that  the larger UV's will only lead into chiller costs too. Thank You Scott K <These fluorescent UV lamps run quite cool. No problem. Bob Fenner>

Fatal Mistake 7/27/05 Hi guys,   <Hey, Mike G here this afternoon.> I just got back from a four day vacation and found that my reef tank had crashed.   <Ouch.> I lost my Xenia and a colt coral.  They appear to have completely melted away.   <Again, ouch.> I also have some mushrooms and star polyps. The mushrooms are bunched up tight and the star polyps won't come out. <Definitely a problem.> I didn't lose any fish.   <That's a good sign, and also helps to pinpoint the problem.> I suspect that my tank temperature may be the source of my crash.   <Agreed.> I forgot to leave the AC on and my tank temperature was at 95 degrees (F) when I returned (normally around 82 during the summer).   <Ouch, fatal mistake.> Would this alone be enough to kill off the corals? <Yes, it would. That is an extremely high temperature. Your tank should never go above 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Fish are much, much more resistant to temperature shock/high temperatures, so they pulled through. Your corals, however, were not so lucky.> Thanks for your help, <Glad to be there for you. Mike G> Eric

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: