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Any opinions or advice on heaters is appreciated!

What would you recommend for low-tech 29- and 75-gallon tanks? I feel like my cheap heaters from Wal-mart are struggling in our relatively cool house, especially when the furnace heat is turned down to 58 at night.

Are all heaters created equal, or does brand matter? How about placement inside the tank -- where is the most efficient spot? And is it better to have two medium-sized heaters or one big one?

I'd love to have one of those streamlined all-black ones -- they seem wonderfully inconspicuous, but might not be in my budget. And -- in your opinion -- do they work well or not?

Thanks, everyone!
 

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Put heaters in high-flow areas so they can get more even distribution throughout the tank, i.e. under your filter outlet or next to a powerhead in the corner.

I'd get two - if your tanks are big enough (which they are), multiple heaters provides more even heat distribution and can save your fish if one fails (if it's one big one, it could cook the tank or freeze it).

I've used MarineLand Stealth heaters and RenaCal heaters and both are great. IMO, RenaCal are more aesthetically pleasing because they're lower-profile and all glass. The MarineLand Stealth heaters are encased in black plastic so they're shatter-proof.
 

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I really like the aqueon pro heaters (they have a little red light when heating, and a green light when the water is at temp). I've had several of various sizes and never any problem with them. They are black shatter-proof plastic as well.

Two smaller heaters is better than one large. The other benefit as mentioned by Guyver is that it is better to have 2 in case one fails. More time to notice and prevent disaster.
 

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I am a huge fan of titanium heaters, they work very well and you can get away with just have one for each aquarium, most of them are very accurate, the one I am using in my 180 gallon only varies 1 degree. I like them better than the traditional style heater because they seem to be more accurate, heat better and more efficiently. Most of the better one will come with a temperature probe attached to the unit as well. The unit in the picture does no have a temperature probe, but is similar.


 

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I really like the aqueon pro heaters (they have a little red light when heating, and a green light when the water is at temp). I've had several of various sizes and never any problem with them. They are black shatter-proof plastic as well.

Two smaller heaters is better than one large. The other benefit as mentioned by Guyver is that it is better to have 2 in case one fails. More time to notice and prevent disaster.
+1 for the Aqueon Pros. They look nice and conspicuous too
 

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Cobalt.

Total tank water x 5w = total heater wattage to bring the water temperature to ~15℉ above the room temperature.

v3
 

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I don't use heaters unless I have fry in the tank. My house is kept at about 68-70 degrees during the day and at night it drops to 60-62. My tanks hover around 74-78 degrees , may drop a couple degrees overnight. In nature there are normal cycles of daytime warming and nighttime cooling. Most fish and plants we keep as aquarists come from shallower waters where this change is most evident. Most fish will handle a 2-5 degree drop in temps overnight fairly well.
I have yet to find a heater or a CO2 tank in or near any of my ponds around my property. Nature works pretty well on it's own.
 
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