Hiding heater behind wall at back of tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Edmonton, Canada
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I'd like to conceal the heater in my (planned but not built) 5 gallon tank. One thing I thought of is to build a little 3" high wall (out of styrene perhaps) at the rear of the tank to pile substate up against. The wall would be parallel to the back face of the tank and maybe 2" away from it. Then I could lay an Ebo-Jager 50W heater down in the substrate-free "trench" that the wall provides. I would position the intake for my HOB filter right at the tip of the heater to ensure good water flow around the heater. As long as I kept the trench from filling with anything I don't see why this wouldn't work. Comments?

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 03:56 PM
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Two things...

Most heater manufacturers discourage horizontal placement of heaters. I can't come up with a good reason why not, unless you bury them in the substrate...

Adding a 2" trench will take away substrate space in an already tiny 5.5 gal tank... need to weight it against the uglyness of a heater.

Otherwise, I don't see why it wouldn't work...
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 05:47 PM
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Water circulation is going to be the biggest hurdle, I think. I did something similar with slate on my 20. The heater is vertical, the intake is right next to it, and the results are mediocre. It works, but I notice a slightly lower temp in the tank than when I supplement circulation with a powerhead over the top of the heater.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Shouldn't water temperature variance be improved by placing the heater right next to the filter inlet? On my 10 gallon I have the heater right next to the inlet; when I changed the heater to this location I made no adjustment to the temperature setting and the tank maintains the same temperature as when the heater was on the opposite side from the filter. Anyway, Wasserpest's comment Re cutting into my tiny substrate volume by trenching out a "heater ditch" is valid - I think I'll stick with vertical heater mounting and hide it as best as possible with plants and wood. One thing I don't like is the look of a heater leaned over at an angle (necessary with longer models). It upsets my desire for order! Both the Via Aqua Titanium and the E-J 50W units are long and might require such mounting. The Hagen Tronic in my 10 gallon is nice and short. Perhaps I'll go with another Tronic...

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 06:05 PM
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Location: Enfield, Connecticut
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Would a flat "Stick On" heater on the outside be better? One of those iguana heat pads. You can't get more energy efficient than that. (Mine heats my water and my whole tank. The lowest temp you can get with most electronic secondary controllers is 70F.)

20Gal. Long (Green-House) and 55Gal. Tall (Primary Tank)
4 Fire-Belly Toads, 2 Fire-Belly Newts,
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 06:33 PM
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I really like the heating pad idea if you can find one that fits the dimensions of your tank. Only drawback would be the cost, considering you would need a separate controller (~$40).
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