What brand heaters do you suggest?
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:18 AM   #1
driftwoodhunter
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What brand heaters do you suggest?


I hope I can afford to replace the heaters in my tanks this year - I had so much trouble out of the ones in my two 29g tanks. They never would get the tank temps above 72-ish, even when turned all the way up. The heater I had in the 40B was worthless. The only heaters that work well are the ones that came with the 125g tank I bought from a coworker - I don't know what brand they are. One just looks like a solid stainless steel tube.

I do have an Aqueon Pro that I love and has always heated steady and true, but Petsmart doesn't sell them any more. I think they have some kind of repackaged/replacement just like the Aqueon Pro, but I don't know how well it works.

So what brands do you suggest? Just for convenience sake, I really like those that have dials or scrolling bars that show what the temp is set at. Most of mine now only have a knob that turns, with no indication of what setting you're turning it to (no numbers, etc)

Let me know what you have & why you like it! Thanks!
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:34 AM   #2
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I hear good things about the Eheim Jagers.

I use a Thermal Compact heater personally.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:16 AM   #3
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just got an eheim jager 150w for my 40B and like it a lot. easy to set and nice and solid.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:12 AM   #4
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I use a ViaTop 300W. Never let me down.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:48 PM   #5
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Ehein Jager.

I have more of them than I can count in the fish room. Solidly built, reliable performance, and they've been around for decades. Used to be called Ebo Jager before Eheim bought the product and Ehem does carry some respect in the hobby on their own.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:55 PM   #6
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I should've added that they certainly aren't the cheapest heater you'll see. But I can't think of one piece of equipment with a greater ability to destroy a tank all by itself. Lights fail, pumps fail, things clog, etc, etc. But if a heater sticks in the on position and it's a one-heater setup, you're done. Nothing is a 100% sure thing. Nothing. If you need 200W, buy 2 100W Jagers.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:59 PM   #7
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Heard good things about yager, I have also had good luck with the digital ones from aquatop, I have one 450 running my 125 set at 82 tank has never dropped below 81

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Old 10-08-2012, 03:51 PM   #8
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I have had so many heater failures that kill fish, I no longer go by the ads and reputation. I now have done so many autopies on failed heaters that I have a list of features I want.
One is it has to be small enough to not cook fish and those are hard to find for a 29 and still have the features I want for reliable operation.
I find controls are the most likely item to fail so I want them out of the heater tube so they have space to build them without the size limit. This also means a temperature sensing probe that measures the WATER temp rather than reacting to the temperature inside the heating tube. Moving the controls out of the tube lets them do a good job sealing the heating tube as there is no shaft moving which makes a seal prone to leaking. There are a number of no-name products out now that fit my specs but I have found one which seems to last well.
It also has to be priced so that I can choke and buy them for 11 tanks!

My choice:
https://www.petsolutions.com/C/Aquar...m-Heaters.aspx

My only complaint so far has been due to the digital controls getting EMI from my light ballast. It made it cycle until I moved the heater away from the ballast.
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:18 PM   #9
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PLantedRich, that looks very much like one of the heaters that came with the 125 I bought from a coworker - except for the black plastic on the bottom. It also has the sensor and digital controller. It looked a bit complicated to me so I use the second heater that came with the tank, a more "normal" looking heater that I know how to use - lol. I do like the idea of not having to stick my arm in the water to make adjustments though, and the external sensor. I will give that some serious thought for all the tanks.

I have been looking at websites and was surprised to see the no-glass Aqueon Pro is still available. I thought when Petsmart stopped selling it, it was because the manufacturer had stopped making it. I see it and the Jager are head-to-head on cost, and they both cost less than I expected. I do like how you can calibrate the Jager (or so a youtube vid says & instructs).

Panic and stupidity could have been my undoing last night. I didn't expect this cold snap we're having now (it got to 37* last night and it's only 45* now). I realized my tanks had dropped in temperature and probably had been dropping for at least a day or two. I hadn't turned on my home heat yet (but I did last night! lol) and all my tanks were reading in the 62* - 64* range. I wouldn't have though about it except my fish in the 29 were sluggish. The fish in the 40 & 125 have been acting normal, I guess the larger water volume helped there. Last night I put the heaters back in - I took them out over the summer while doing tank maintenance - and plugged them right in. I forgot to let them sit a while first. Hey, it was 2:30am and I wasn't thinking! Anyhow they didn't shatter/break and this morning the temps are up to 70*. Since I only set my home heat to 64 I have to assume the heaters are doing ok. Hopefully the temps will continue to climb but not overheat while I'm at work until 11:00pm, I may run home at dinner to check. That's what I hate about the no numbers/no indicators on the heaters in the 40 and 29 - I have no idea what I have the heat set on!
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
I have had so many heater failures that kill fish, I no longer go by the ads and reputation. I now have done so many autopies on failed heaters that I have a list of features I want.
One is it has to be small enough to not cook fish and those are hard to find for a 29 and still have the features I want for reliable operation.
I find controls are the most likely item to fail so I want them out of the heater tube so they have space to build them without the size limit. This also means a temperature sensing probe that measures the WATER temp rather than reacting to the temperature inside the heating tube. Moving the controls out of the tube lets them do a good job sealing the heating tube as there is no shaft moving which makes a seal prone to leaking. There are a number of no-name products out now that fit my specs but I have found one which seems to last well.
It also has to be priced so that I can choke and buy them for 11 tanks!


My choice:
https://www.petsolutions.com/C/Aquar...m-Heaters.aspx

My only complaint so far has been due to the digital controls getting EMI from my light ballast. It made it cycle until I moved the heater away from the ballast.
Does the Viaqua hold a Temp setting in a power failure/brown-out?

My 3 large tanks have titanium tubes with controllers from when they were SW. The tube / controller combos cost in the area of $75 or $80 each. Two different controllers: Won and BlueLine. You would swear they were the same controller, but the Won goes back to a default of 72 when the power gets cut. The controllers have been rock solid for years now. Before these two Mfrs. I had Aquamedics and both got fried in the on/off cycle of the annoying power outages we get.

If you can spring for $40+ per tank, the the Viaqua sounds great. I have 11 tanks in the fish room now, will finish with 15 and the 180G in the den. As I set up another tank, I just wait for the Jagers to go on sale, set 'em and forget 'em.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:41 PM   #11
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Hydor in-line, I like that its out of the way and doesn't seem to reduce flow on the canister much if at all, only downside is they are expensive.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:16 PM   #12
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Yes, the Via Aqua does hold the set temp when unplugged or during power failures. Texas has now gone the way of California and deregulated the power industry so that each year there are more power failures or as they call it "rolling blackouts". Funny how if nature does it, it is called a failure but if policy does it, it is called something else!

I never trust the setting on heaters as many are just more a ballpark setting than what actually happens. The reason for me wanting the sensor out of the tube is to get a much more straight reading on the temperature. With the controls inside the heater tube, the controls don't actually read the water temperature but react to the temperature the water makes the temperature inside. That might seem to be splitting hairs but not if you think about it for a bit. If you turn a heater inside a small tube on, the air gets really hot, really quickly. Hot enough to burn your hand. Since that is way more than I want my water temperature to be, the heater has to transfer that heat to the outside water or shut down. Right next to that heater that gets really hot is the electronic controls. One big enemy of electronic components is heat. If you heat little micro parts like diodes, resisters, and chips over and over each time the heater kicks in, they fail more often. I like the probe out in the water reading the temperature. With the controls outside the tank in a box on back, they are not getting reheated each time the heater works. A 2X4 inch box can hold components that are still cheap as they are not micro sized but can still be added to as the designer sees fit. Restricting the controls to a tiny board to fit inside the tube really crimps the design as far as what they can use.

As far as I have seen, the Hydor only comes in sizes which I have found to be dangerous if the contacts stick so the heater stays on.
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