Heater still heating above set temp.
I have a new 55 gallon reef tank set up that is having what I perceive to be temperature problems. I am currently using a 250 watt Marineland Visi-Therm submersible heater and we have an air conditioner in the room that keeps the air temperature around 72 degrees. I have been monitoring the temperature with a Vernier probe and a laptop, as well as an standard alcohol lab thermometer (I’m a high school chemistry/biology teacher). At night the temperature stabilizes right under 78 degrees where I’d like it to stay. The heater kicks on and off all through the night as one would expect to keep the temperature stable. The trouble starts during the day, when the lights (I’m currently just using my HO t5s until I get this figured out) kick on.
It’s as if the heater’s thermostat doesn’t compensate for the change in thermal input. Even though the temperature begins to go up, the heater continues to kick on.
<Do you actually feel (as with your hand on the glass tube of the heater) that it is actually on/heating?>
It will continue to kick on and off until the temperature is way over the set point, stressfully so. I have unplugged the heater before and the tank’s temperature actually drops, even with my lights on. For example, today the temperature was stable at 77.8 degrees when the lights came on. eventually the heater drove the temperature all the way up to 79.7 and it was still coming on when I unplugged it to let the tank cool back down.
<Mmm, good test.>
I plan on installing two fans into my open back canopy so that I can eventually use my metal halides, but for now I wouldn't think I would need them. I just need my stupid heater to realize when enough is enough! I’ve been keeping freshwater tanks for many years, but I’ve never noticed this infuriating variance before. Any suggestions? will the heater eventually “settle down?” Should I bite the bullet and invest in a temperature controller?
<The controller is an excellent idea, always... w/ systems of valuable (expensive or affective domain) cost... but I would return this defective product for a new one... Contact Marineland re if necessary, or have your source (retailer, etailer...) do so for you>
Some extra detail about the system in case you’d like it. It’s a 55 gallon with a 20 gallon sump/refugium, NW-110 reef octopus skimmer, 2 HO t5s, 2 150w metal halides (not currently in use), 2 Hydor Koralia 750 powerheads, around 90 lbs of live rock, clean up crew of 3 Astraea, 3 Ceriths, 3 Nerites, 20 Nassarius, 4 scarlet hermits, 1 peppermint shrimp, 1 skunk cleaner, 1 lonely Discosoma (taking it slowly!) and 4 blue green Chromis.
Thanks in advance for a great resource and excellent help,
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner (an olde H.S. chem., physics and bio. teacher)>
Re: Heater still heating above set temp. 8/16/12
I just wanted to send you a follow up. I called Marineland. The representative that I spoke to told me that the thermostats on these heaters operate within a range of +/- 2 degrees F around the set point. In other words, the water temperature must drop two degrees below the set point before full on, and it must rise 2 degrees before full off. I actually confirmed with the representative that a heater set at 77 could get down to 75 at night and up to 79 during the day and the heater would be operating under expected parameters. That hardly seems good enough for a reef system!
<Agreed... one degree swing above and below is what I'd engineer>
4 degree temperature swings? Stress city! It looks like I'm in the market for a temperature controller.
<A good idea in any case... I think Sanjay Joshi's article/s on such are posted on the Net somewhere... Bob Fenner>
Marineland Stealth Pro Heater
Need your EXPERT advice on heaters for nano reefs :-) 01/11/09 Are there any new heaters out there that will really keep a 6 gallon reef at a consistent decent temp? I was into reefs for about 12 years - got out of it for a while - recently got back into it with a friends 6 gal nano cube. The heater she gave me will not keep a consistent temp and goes anywhere from 78 - 84 plus degrees. Your EXPERT advice on heaters would be appreciated :-) thank you! <I've always been a fan of the Hydor products. They make this mini-heater that I've used myself. I don't know if it would work for you, but it worked for me and I like it. http://www.petco.com/product/102429/Hydor-Mini-Aquarium-Heater.aspx They also make other heaters that haven't disappointed me. Best, Sara M.>
Re: Need your EXPERT advice on heaters for nana reefs :-) 01/12/09 :-( That's the one I have.... the temp is swinging really bad... will check my thermometer... <Hmm... strange... have you tried a second thermometer? Thermometers are notoriously inaccurate.... try 2 other thermometers. They don't have to be for aquariums necessarily... can be the cheapo outdoor ones from Home Depot even. Just anything you can dip in water will work... Sara M.>
Heater Malfunction FYI 1/8/09 Hello, I wanted to write to you guys about my heater issues. I purchased 2 Hydor Theo heaters 300 watt and 400 watt. Both, after several weeks developed condensation and one ( 400 watt ) was stuck on and raised my aquarium to about 86 F. <Yikes!> I have since purchased 2 Rena smartheaters. Thanks for all the great advice you all have given! <Thanks for sharing this with us. I personally prefer the Visi-Therm Heaters, never had a problem with them. James (Salty Dog)> Ed
Heater Question 9/20/07 Greets WWM Crew! Bear with me, I just submitted a ? re: circulation but was wary of asking too many questions on separate topics so I decided to submit my heating question in a separate e-mail. I have a 300w RenaCal Top Light Excel submersible heater working in a 55g FOWLR. (Detailed specs are 30 lbs Live Rock, 1.5'' live sand, Rena Xp3 canister filter, 2 MaxiJet 1200 powerheads with one Maroon Clown and 2 Domino Damsels) The tank is currently running at a stable 80-82 degrees...however in order to achieve this I had to set the heater dial to 72 Degrees. <This is quite common apparently. I don't think I've ever had a heater with numbers on the dial which I could rely on.> When I was setting up the tank, I let the heater fully adjust to water temp for approx 10 hours before powering on, but noticed it was attempting to heat the tank above its set temperature. I have been content with this until recently when I began to be concerned that although temps in the tank seem stable, this large gap between setting and actual temp maintenance may be a problem. <See above, a lot of heaters are like this. Sometimes they do get worse to the point that they're just always heating and never turn off.> Would shutting off the heater mid day on a weekend when I can keep an eye on temps be a good idea to try and let it re-adjust? <I don't know of any way to fix heaters with this problem.> Is this a common issue with heaters? I have read some FAQs regarding the tendency of heater inaccuracy, but I become increasingly concerned with my large gap, and the brand itself after my less than glimmering experience with Rena Powerheads. <I've been frustrated with heaters for years. I've never found a brand of heater which hasn't been at least a little inaccurate (or that didn't become inaccurate within <1 year). At this point, I've resigned to routinely replacing my heater every year (just like my lamps).> Thanks in advance, much appreciated once again. Jay <Best, Sara M.>
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>>
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>>
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> The Heat Is On. Or Is It? Or, Should It Be? (Titanium Heaters) Hey Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member today!> Just a quick question.. I recently purchased a Jalli titanium heater for my reef tank. I looked all over the net for info on this heater, but see barely anything. Do any of you have any experience with this heater or know if this is a good product? I was told by my LFS that this is a very good heater. Thank you. Chris <Well, Chris, I do not have experience with this particular brand, but I have used one of the other brands out there (Won Pro Heat II), and was not particularly impressed by it. The thermostat constantly displayed the wrong temperature, for one thing, and the heater seemed to go on for no apparent reason! (not good...). I have heard about similar problems from friends who have tried this brand and a couple of the other titanium models out there. Granted, my experience was with the earlier models, back in 2001, when they just appeared on the market. Perhaps the manufacturers have ironed out the kinks on these. One thing that I will say is that they are tough! It may be a bit of an assumption on my part, but I think that most of the "titanium" heaters out there may be made by the same foreign manufacturer, with some slightly different components. The ones I have seen look quite similar, and the complaints I have heard about poor performance are also similar! I 86'd mine for a good old Ebo Yeager- those green sticks may not be as "sexy", but they sure get the job done! I certainly don't want to discourage you from trying the Jalli, but it may or may not be that different from the unreliable ones that I am aware of. You may want to post on the WWM Forum to see if any fellow hobbyists use these heaters. Stay cool (er, warm...)Good luck! Scott F>
Heater selection - 9/9/03 Hey everyone, <Hi> Any recommendations for submersible heaters? I had the Pro-heat Titanium or the Ebo-Jager in mind, but they both seem to have negative reviews. <Either is a fine choice. We use the Visi-Therm at the Monterey Bay Aquarium as well as the two you state above. I personally use Ebo Jaeger on 5 different tanks!> Are there any other manufactures that u could recommend? <I think the three mentioned above are more than adequate.> Thanks again for everything. <Our pleasure. -Paul> Jeremy Pineville, LA
Learning how to help yourself - using 'Net search tools 10/5/03 (AKA Anthony sounds off again <G>) Hi guys. I was hoping that someone might be able to shed some light on a forum topic that no one seems to quite know for sure. EBO-JAGER HEATER TS 150 WATT are they totally submersible or not? I know it is a simple question but I and a few of the other fellows on the forum are not sure. I will add though that one of the experienced people on the site has told me they are and I'm leaning to that side of the fence (so to speak). Thank you. Cheers. Mike <Mike... I almost want to apologize for seeming brusque. But, I'm not going to... and I may well be, with the hope of using your FAQ to help you (and others) to take just a moment of thought to learn how to help yourself. I take it from your intelligent tone and language that you are an adult. You also have a disclaimer in the sig of your message that bears the mark of an adult user. To the point, you ask a simple question and indicate that you've had a discussion at some length on the forums. You now query us and are willing to wait for a reply on a consumer product. Did it not cross your mind to simply use any of the dozens of internet search tools (Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc) to find the manufacturer's site or any one of their legitimate vendors to answer your question immediately and authoritatively? Rather than waiting for an enabling reply from us... or novices on the forums bantering back and forth. Let me assure you, I'm not miffed with you or anybody that transgresses so... just simply dumbstruck that competent computer users that know how to tie their own shoes and feed themselves will pass the google search tool on our page with the link to e-mail us rather than help themselves. In this case... I got the answer (yes - submersible) in 3 seconds... two of which it took me to type the words "Ebo-Jager TS heater" with three fingers. Some people would say queries like this are folks begging to be spoon fed. Others would say that the reputation for WWM to return fast replies is an enabling vehicle for such behavior. Others still would say that I smell strongly of garlic at times. All three of those things may well be true. For me, I shall pray that I learn more patience in time. For you, I have every hope that you succeed in operating your trouser zipper without injury for a lifetime. In shared admiration of the sea. Anthony>
Graceful reply from a student of life 10/7/03 Anthony... I wanted to apologize for the simple question....But as well, I am not going to. <no need to my friend. Really just a matter of helping you/yourself to help yourself> I will though thank you for your clear concise answer to my simple question in the end. <grazie> Over the last 6-8 months of researching and Google searching and contacting manufactures, I have found some things are simply asked, but one may fear the repercussions of such simple questions because of the personal opinions one must have to sort out. <'tis very true... and happens with nearly all Net resources including our own here of course. When researching, we can temper this by gathering up enough opinions (assuming an authoritative answer is not available from the source/author/manufacturer, etc)... and simply make an informed decision based on an intelligent consensus. This will usually level out the influence of opinion in most matters> I know that in most cases there are no hard, steadfast, black and white answers for most things except for what seems to be working consistently in long term by others. <true with many aspects of our hobby/trade... there are many ways to skin a catfish, so-to-speak> I am confident that these Ebo-Jager's are entirely submersible. <yes... as per the manufacturers statement> But with that, I know that others are not (at least not until now and I will get over the spanking I have received in asking this). I look to all of you at WWM as my sole teacher <truly flattering, in all sincerity, but let me encourage you to always consider other sources for perspective too to make your decision based on the consensus> from all the research I have done, I have found yours to be the most consistent and well delivered. <thanks kindly... it is a collective hope/aspiration> As I speak from personal experience, out of all the equipment assigned to a given task in an aquarium or any water related activity, the heater is the primary instrument that could potentially bite back. Even with a GFI. I have been told by people that have not given me any reason to trust them <hmmm... this is another "not so unclear" aspect of application. GFIs are life-saving and necessary. It is a matter of physics and statistical fact. And short of the inevitable and rare QC defects of mass production (fractions of a percent)... a properly installed GFI does exactly what it promises> other than the fact that they want to sell me something that the Ebo's are submersible, but most were a little unsure of the max line marking. <good point... and one to actually heed in fact. Regardless of any mfg claim that such instruments are fully submersible or not... you can help yourself and extend the working life of the product by installing it such that the epoxy sealed cap is slightly above water (reducing wear on the product)> I wanted to ask you this question because yours is the bottom line answer I trust. Anthony, I can tell by the initial response (and others of yours that I have read) that you do at times get frustrated and I feel for you at times. But this question was important to me. Thanks again.....I do appreciate everything all you guys do. Mike <and I truly appreciate your grace and understanding in response my friend. Indeed... we do get frustrated... or for me, rather, disappointed seeing intelligent and competent folks blessed with skills and resources that they do not use. A matter of unrealized potential in man. Indeed, it is too lofty of a philosophy to apply to most (all) queries/concerns that we handle... yet it slips through at times. Wishing you peace and long life. Anthony>
In The Dark (Fish Response To Sudden Darkness) Heya guys...Scott F. thank you for all your recent help regarding chiller and canary wrasse etc etc.... LIFE SAVER. <Glad to be of service!> You haven't heard from me in quite a while.. I hope things are doing well. <They sure are, and it's nice to hear from you again! Scott F. back with you!> My problem (if one at all) is that my newly introduced (after a stay in QT) yellow tang (2")is acting a fair bit skittish after main MH light goes out and leaves the two actinic fluor's on. To put it simply (sorry I'm very, very tired), he is acting normal when all the lights are on (MH + actinics), swimming normally so and so forth. But as soon as the MH goes off he is pacing up and down very fast. Zipping in and out of everything he can find (not scratching or anything the likes off *touch wood*... haha) like he has had a dozen cups of black coffee. <I've seen this behavior before in tangs and fairy wrasses. It's kind of unnerving to see!> Other tank occupants are 2 canary wrasses, 1 ocellaris, 1 fire goby, and the yellow tang. Water parameters are excellent amm nitrite nitrate 0 ph 8.4 temp 24.9-25.2 deg C no more no less salinity 1.022 kH 5meq/l calcium 420ppm Constant Poly Filter and carbon use (wow what great stuff) <Yep-I wouldn't run a tank without them!> actinics are on at 10 am MH on at 12 noon MH off at 8pm actinics off at 10pm Tank is 40G +15G sump but am upgrading very soon... Lovely HUGE skimmer producing around a cup of DARK smelly gunk a day... go Australian made!!:-) <Oy! Oy! If it cranks out dark gunk- it's a winner in my book!> I hope that I haven't missed anything. <I think that you hit all of the parameters. Everything seems to be in line. What you are likely seeing is simply a fright reaction on the part of the fish from being plunged into darkness after a day of full intensity light. This would never happen in nature. I guess if you put yourself in the fish's place, you can understand what this must be like for them...Of course, it's probably an individual thing...Some fishes simply can adapt to this dramatic change better than others...I guess a possible way to overcome this would be to be to employ some lower wattage fluorescents (like actinics or blue tinted NO bulbs) to provide a little "twilight" time for the fish before complete darkness. Not a perfect system, but something that is worth a shot. Perhaps, in time, the fish could be "weaned" from the "twilight", but only time will tell...Give it a shot! Regards, Scott F.> any ideas.. suggestions. person experiences... or anything at all thanks very much for a simply wonderful site.. I couldn't get by a day w/o it almost :-) keep up the good work all help greatly appreciated.. Garth.. from Australia down under! P.S recently bought a Tronic heater (Hagen).. and all I can say is wow.. I am so very impressed. I have used many heaters before. from Ebo's to Chinese rubbish.. and these are the most accurate I have ever used.. just passing it on.. great heater.
Heating Questions (4/1/2004) Hi Bob, I'm setting up a 120 gal fish only tank and want to buy a titanium heater. <Michael here. Titanium heaters are great for durability> How many watts per gallon do I need for this tank with this type of heater. I have read conflicting information regarding these heaters. One web site said that these heater's get very hot and can stay on longer than glass heaters so you only need 2 watts per gallon. This seems very low. I was thinking of buying the 300 or 350 watt heater. I live in Minnesota and keep the house around 70F year round. <3-5 WPG is general rule of thumb, 2 is a little low. 350 should work fine for you, just set the dial to the desired temperature. 70F ambient temperature won't put a massive load on the heater> I will also be using a 260 watt power compact light about 3-4 inches above the tank with an egg crate covering the tank instead of a glass top, I can't stand the lime build up on the glass tops. <Never thought of that...wonder if the evaporation would increase> Thanks for the help, Larry from the frozen tundra. <Nice and sunny here! M. Maddox>
More on heaters (4/2/2004) Thanks for our prompt reply, <Anytime> I have a few more questions about heaters. I checked out the pro heat titanium heaters at the usual mail order company I do business with and they have stopped carrying them do to many returns and customer complaints. Have you heard of any problems with them? <Haven't used them personally, but I haven't heard of any problems. Might want to ask in the WWM or reefcentral forums to get a consensus> I checked with other mail order stores and they have reported no such problems. If there are problems with these titanium heaters I may buy the Silica power glass heaters with an IC controller made by Azoo. They come in 300 and 500 watts. Have you heard of these heaters <no personal experience with this brand either, though I have had good luck with Aquarium Systems Visi-Therm and Ebo-Jager heaters> and would the 500 watt heater be too much for my 120 gal or should I go with the 300 watt. <If they have a temperature control dial then they shouldn't be too hot unless it malfunctioned and got stuck in the "on" position> I will not be using a sump for at least 1 year and my tank top will be an egg crate. Thanks again, Larry, defrosting in Minnesota. <Hope I helped. M. Maddox, sweating in his tank induced warm, humid bedroom>
Heater Question Hello, Even the best heaters on the
market claim a +/- 1 degree F resolution. For example, Ebo Jager is +/-
0.5 C, or +/- 1 F. The Won Brothers Pro Heat II heater also has the
same resolution. Thus, the heater should hold the temperature to within
a 2 degree range. Now, most reef experts say that a tank's
temperature should not vary more than 1-2 degrees in a day, or things
are getting dangerous. However, even the better heaters only barely
meet the high end of that recommendation. Therefore, my question is:
How can this recommendation be right? Shouldn't the recommendation
be "The time-averaged temperature shouldn't vary more than 1-2
degrees in a day"? Because if you consider a moving average of the
tank temperature over a period of about 3 hours, the temperature
certainly stays within a 1 degree range 24/7.<Jonathan, your correct
in your thinking. No need to worry. James (Salty
Dog) P.S. Sorry for the complicated and question Thanks,
Buoyant Heater Warning!! Dear Crew, <Paul> I
appreciate the great information that you have provided me and now I
believe I can contribute some useful information in return.
<Okay> I'd like to caution everyone about using the new
aquarium heaters that are made from clear "unbreakable"
plastic materials. I acquired one of these heaters that was imported
from Italy. The heater I had acquired for my refugium was very buoyant.
When its rubber suction cups come loose, the heater floats to the water
surface with the bottom end sticking out of the water. The exposure of
the heater to air will cause overheating. <Yikes! What a design
defect!> Apparently, the heater floated loose when I was away on
vacation. When I came home, the heater had overheated and exploded with
plastic particles adhering to the walls and ceiling of my refugium
cabinet. <Yeeikes!> Luckily, the GFI circuit had cut power
from the heater and from the pumps that circulate water between the
refugium and the main tank. Otherwise, I would have had to clean out
not only my refugium but also my main tank as well. I hope that this is
news you can use. Regards, Paul <Thank you for sending this along.
Am glad you had the GFI and that no one was hurt, your place