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I'm setting up a round 3g acrylic tank to set up on the counter in the kitchen and I'm going to put a couple small plants and 1 betta in it. I was thinking of getting a mini heater just to keep the temperature constant. It wont need heated more than about 3 or 4 degrees at most as the house is insulated pretty well. I'm looking for something that will turn on and off as needed, I've read about some that need unplugged if the outside temp gets high, and is pretty small. The tank will be right in the middle of the kitchen and I got a round one so it looks nice from any side. Any suggestions? Seems like most of the small ones have a wide range of reviews on them.
 

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Heaters are probably the worst equipment we have for failures. The biggest problem with the failure is that it can kill all the fish. That can happen faster in the smaller tanks.
My method for small tanks is to build one in some fashion to fit the need. A heat pad for turtles might be one place to start for what you describe. Laid underneath and plugged into a temperature controller can work well.
I find the ready made small heaters seem to be worse than the larger and they are terrible!
 

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In my opinion you will be doing yourself a favor to stay away from the tetra aquarium heaters with the single setting at 78 degrees. I think @PlantedRich is giving you good advice.
 

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I've had a marina c10 compact heater for small betta setup that's been up and running for about 5 years. It's taken quite a bit of abuse over the years as well. Even if it were to fail now I would rate it highly.

I also like the design of the cobalt neotherm heaters though it seems to have mixed reviews.
 

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I made my last fish stew with one of the "preset" small heaters but I don't remember the brand.
Not too many things that can top waking to the smell of dead fish! A 50 watt that was working when I went to bed, killed all the fish in a ten gallon before I woke up.
 

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Cobalt aquatics makes an Easy-therm heater in 25w that has a settable thermostat on it. I have used them in all my tanks that needed a heater and have never had any failures. That's not to say one couldn't/wouldn't fail - just that I haven't ever had any issues. With any heater, make sure you start at a much lower temp than you think you need and work up - the temp indicators on the thermostats are rarely accurate.
 

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Cobalt aquatics makes an Easy-therm heater in 25w that has a settable thermostat on it. I have used them in all my tanks that needed a heater and have never had any failures. That's not to say one couldn't/wouldn't fail - just that I haven't ever had any issues. With any heater, make sure you start at a much lower temp than you think you need and work up - the temp indicators on the thermostats are rarely accurate.
I just replaced my Tetra heater with the Cobalt. I hope it's a good brand.
 

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Cobalt aquatics makes an Easy-therm heater in 25w that has a settable thermostat on it. I have used them in all my tanks that needed a heater and have never had any failures. That's not to say one couldn't/wouldn't fail - just that I haven't ever had any issues. With any heater, make sure you start at a much lower temp than you think you need and work up - the temp indicators on the thermostats are rarely accurate.

I got this one for my son's 5 gallon betta tank. Looked like just about the smallest heater available that appears to be fairly reliable based on reviews. Also one of the smallest ones with a real thermostat.
 
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