Marineland Stealth Heater Issues
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Old 02-13-2010, 06:32 PM   #1
snafu
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Marineland Stealth Heater Issues


on the one day i didn't unplug my heater during a water change, my new stealth pro heater casing cracked open, melted and started to smoke. their claim is that the heater should shut off if left out of water (one of their selling features and printed right on the box). my experiences with stealth heaters is now pretty dismal and i probably would NOT recommend them to anyone. i'm probably batting close to 50% now on stealth heaters. each time, i've had to pull out a 15 year old visitherm (glass) to use in its place. i own many glass ones and have yet to have an issue on a single one, so i'm still pretty positive on them. although, i'd now be a little leary even about the new glass ones since they have also been recently redesigned. i'm wondering if anyone else has had similar issues (themostat stuck on) with these heaters?

marineland had replaced an older stealth (used to be called visitherm stealth) with this one (stealth pro with new LED indicator) when the thermostat stuck on. my experience with their customer support was very positive. they asked me to provide some manufacture date code on the heater and they promptly sent a new one. i'm hoping they will provide similar customer service this time around. i'm now pretty disappointed with their products, and i don't want to have to keep worrying about the heater failing again.
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:54 PM   #2
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I'd be interested too...my stealth heater cracked open. I didn't realize it until I saw bubbles coming from it.
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:05 PM   #3
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I'm 100% satisfied with Marineland heaters. I do expect that some day one or another will fail. Until there will be anything 100% durable, there is always a possiblility that will fail.

You have a lifetime guarantee with Marineland heater, so what else do you expect ?
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:22 PM   #4
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i expect better reliability than 2 out of 4. for that matter, i would consider 1 out of 100 to be pretty poor. i wonder if this is a workmanship or design issue.
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Old 02-14-2010, 02:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snafu View Post
i expect better reliability than 2 out of 4. for that matter, i would consider 1 out of 100 to be pretty poor. i wonder if this is a workmanship or design issue.
If the two out of four came from the same manufacturing lot, that would explain things tidily.
But... That still doesn't excuse people pulling heaters out of a tank and leaving them plugged in for any length of time expecting no issues.
They are engineered to be run under water.
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:52 AM   #6
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Hmm...although I'm satisfied with my 5 Rena Smart Heaters, I was going to order a Stealth Pro because of the electronic thermostat. Can it be still stuck?
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Old 02-14-2010, 06:52 AM   #7
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the two out of four were from different lots, since they were different models of stealths. one was an older visitherm stealth; the second was a stealth pro. the older stealth failed with a thermostat 'on' condition and was completely submerged the entire time. the new stealth also failed with a thermostat 'on' condition when removed from water with a breach of the case. the heater out-of-water safety is one of the five key selling points for the stealth pro. i completely agree that not unplugging the heater when not in water is generally a big no-no. since i mainly use glass heaters, i make it my standard operating procedure to unplug heaters during water changes.
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Old 02-14-2010, 07:14 AM   #8
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I have seen a couple posts now with Marineland Stealth heaters failing and it makes my quite nervous. I use them nearly exclusively, and have a total of 5 currently in use (15W, 15W, 25W, 50W and 75W). I have not had one fail yet, and a couple of them are around 2-3 years old. I use them primarily because they can be mounted horizontally, which makes them easier to hide in the tank, and less likely to be exposed while doing water changes.

None of mine are the new style Pro (LED) models, is it possible there is a design flaw with the newer models?

The only heater I have ever had fail was one of the little cheap Tetra 25W heaters, it stuck open and cooked one of my wife's bettas. (Water was nearly 100F when I checked it!).
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Old 02-15-2010, 04:35 PM   #9
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update: i called marineland this morning, and per their usual good customer service they will be sending out a new heater. in this case, they are interested in receiving their old one to inspect. for future reference, the customer service number is as follows:

1-800-526-0650 - (Marineland Customer Service)

my suspicion (with the caveat that i have no idea how these things are manufactured) is that there are voids in the epoxy fill that when heated to high temperature cause expansion and cracking of the case. when further exposed to air, the can smoke and smolder like mine did. just a hunch...

its probably a great idea to either unplug or keep the heater completely submerged during water changes as you would any glass heater. i'm also willing to bet the lower power heaters (<100W) have less issues than the big ones.
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