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I have an Eheim Jager 50W heater in my 12 gallon long aquarium. It used to be able to keep my tank warm, but now it doesnt seem to be able to maintain steady temperatures. It used to be rock solid at 78, now it fluctuates wildly, and the light is always on, so its always working. Do these things loser power after a while? I've had it for about 2 years now. What are other people using in their 12 gallon longs?
 

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What it really sounds like is the heater controls are beginning to go and it is giving you wrong answers!
The heater coils are just different forms of a wire wound or coiled inside the tube. Some wrap around cardstock,some around ceramic but all pretty much the same idea. This part can't usually be opening in a way that can work but not well. It's kind of okay or broken. So that part is not likely to reduce the heating.
But then this coil is fed power through different types of controls. Some reasonable, some junk. Jager are on the good side. When these controls get funky, like electronics do, They can do lots of weird things. I've not looked at AJager lately but it could be that it was overheated at some point. Some heaters advert that they shut down when out of the water. This is true but what they don't mention is that it may also never work quite right again!
When some heaters overheat like if they are run while not in the water, the bi-metal spring plates can distort from the heat. Once bent they no longer open and close the contacts right.
The LED light is not always in the right place in the circuit to tell you if the coil is really powered. Sometimes it is only the light getting power.
Time for a new heater?
 
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