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I know you want budget friendly, but I'd do a Apex controller. By the time you buy a power strip, multiple timers and a cheap heater controller you might as well get an Apex. I got my Apex jr off craigslist for $100. Best aquarium purchase I've made yet.
 

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It is a controller . Plug heaters into it , set it ,set heaters higher than that and it will keep temp at what it is set to .Has alarms for low or high temps . The instrucs are easy . Think of it as a master thermostat for heaters..... Hope that makes sense .
 

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I simply want to know if my heater fails. A temperature alarm would suffice
It will suffice but will be too late once the heater fails. For me, all my failed heaters were stuck on and not off, boiling my tank. I used to own a full APEX on my reef, great investment but I assume more then you need. Look into a reefkeeper lite, its around $130 and can control up to 4 items whether timer, temperature, or random (wavemaker). I use a reefkeeper 2 (old school) on my 3g pico and it gives me peace of mind.
 
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