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Unmarked heaters?

captmicha

CCA Members
The specs have worn off some of my heaters and I bought a bunch and can't remember which is which.

How can I find out what size tank I should be using them for?
 

FishEggs

CCA Members
Staff member
You can get a Kill a Watt energy usage monitor to see how much electric its using and figure it out that way.

Best thing to do though is get a new heater.
 

JLW

CCA Members
I was going to suggest using a meter to determine how much current they were pulling, a Kill A Watt is probably the simplest. They run about $25, which is probably more than a heater is worth. I suppose you could also put it in room temperature water, and see how quickly it raises the temperature, and figure it out from there... a watt is really a watt-hour, and a calorie is the amount of heat to raise a litre of water 1 degree... You can convert from calories to watt-hours, measuring it and all that, and get a rough estimate. But...

As others have said, getting a new one is your best bet. Heaters have a very, very finite lifespan. Unlike most devices which simply don't work when they wear out, heaters tend to work too well when they wear out: they get stuck on. Average, consumer grade heaters should really be replaced about every 12-months (depending on usage), and I would never consider buying a used heater. You run a real risk of frying your tank using one that's so old the stamp has worn off.
 

captmicha

CCA Members
I'm going to get new heaters bc you guys are right, but also get a meter and test them every so often to help stay on the safe side.
 

Freakgecko

CCA Members
If you’re concerned, you can also buy a thermostat to plug into the heater, so that should the water get past a certain temperature, it kills the power to the heater, thus eliminating the concern of a heater wearing out and staying on. I know there is any least one that is aquarium specific, but I haven’t gotten into that stuff just yet. Plan to soon
 

JLW

CCA Members
There's several controllers available. The best solution would be to get an Apex, but ... most of you guys are too cheap to spend more than $5 at the auction, let alone $800 for an Apex. 🙃

Devices like the Inkbird, the AutoAqua, and even the controller from JBJ all get the job done. You just set them to turn off at like 84°, set your heater to 80°, and it gives you 4 degrees of wiggle room. They range in price from about $30-80, and you're gonna get what you pay for. Keep in mind that they can, too, fail. Probably the most common way is their probe: they use a little probe, like a remote meat thermometer, that sits in the tank. It can fall out of the tank, in which case, it'll measure the room temperature, not the tank....

Of course, you also have to worry about the heater getting stuck on, and not knowing because the controller is now controlling it.... So watch your temperature.

There's no way a meter will tell you if a heater is about to fail or anything. They all work with a simple strip thermostat inside... eventually, these fuse, and the things get stuck on. It happens unpredictably. The more the device switches on and off, the more likely it is to happen -- and also if it just plain stays on for long periods (which runs contrary to the advice of multiple heaters: if you have multiple heaters that stay on longer than a single large one, they're more likely to fail).

Oddly enough, and I've never had this explained to me... but the technology in the heater isn't so different from that in an older home's thermostat, or if you just bought an older style thermostat. Yet, I've NEVER had a home thermostat fail .... Has anyone?
 

Becca

CCA Members
Staff member
There's several controllers available. The best solution would be to get an Apex, but ... most of you guys are too cheap to spend more than $5 at the auction, let alone $800 for an Apex. 🙃

Devices like the Inkbird, the AutoAqua, and even the controller from JBJ all get the job done. You just set them to turn off at like 84°, set your heater to 80°, and it gives you 4 degrees of wiggle room. They range in price from about $30-80, and you're gonna get what you pay for. Keep in mind that they can, too, fail. Probably the most common way is their probe: they use a little probe, like a remote meat thermometer, that sits in the tank. It can fall out of the tank, in which case, it'll measure the room temperature, not the tank....

Of course, you also have to worry about the heater getting stuck on, and not knowing because the controller is now controlling it.... So watch your temperature.

There's no way a meter will tell you if a heater is about to fail or anything. They all work with a simple strip thermostat inside... eventually, these fuse, and the things get stuck on. It happens unpredictably. The more the device switches on and off, the more likely it is to happen -- and also if it just plain stays on for long periods (which runs contrary to the advice of multiple heaters: if you have multiple heaters that stay on longer than a single large one, they're more likely to fail).

Oddly enough, and I've never had this explained to me... but the technology in the heater isn't so different from that in an older home's thermostat, or if you just bought an older style thermostat. Yet, I've NEVER had a home thermostat fail .... Has anyone?
Actually, yes. Our thermostat at the house needed replacement not long after we moved in because it was the ancient dial type and didn't seem to be working right.
 

captmicha

CCA Members
There's several controllers available. The best solution would be to get an Apex, but ... most of you guys are too cheap to spend more than $5 at the auction, let alone $800 for an Apex. 🙃

Devices like the Inkbird, the AutoAqua, and even the controller from JBJ all get the job done. You just set them to turn off at like 84°, set your heater to 80°, and it gives you 4 degrees of wiggle room. They range in price from about $30-80, and you're gonna get what you pay for. Keep in mind that they can, too, fail. Probably the most common way is their probe: they use a little probe, like a remote meat thermometer, that sits in the tank. It can fall out of the tank, in which case, it'll measure the room temperature, not the tank....

Of course, you also have to worry about the heater getting stuck on, and not knowing because the controller is now controlling it.... So watch your temperature.

There's no way a meter will tell you if a heater is about to fail or anything. They all work with a simple strip thermostat inside... eventually, these fuse, and the things get stuck on. It happens unpredictably. The more the device switches on and off, the more likely it is to happen -- and also if it just plain stays on for long periods (which runs contrary to the advice of multiple heaters: if you have multiple heaters that stay on longer than a single large one, they're more likely to fail).

Oddly enough, and I've never had this explained to me... but the technology in the heater isn't so different from that in an older home's thermostat, or if you just bought an older style thermostat. Yet, I've NEVER had a home thermostat fail .... Has anyone?
Do they make models for multiple filters? I can't heat the entire room as it's open, but use individual heaters per tanks. I have a bunch of tanks so am not sure how feasible a thermostat would be.
 

DiscusnAfricans

President
Staff member
What temperature do you keep your house? You may not need to heat all of the tanks. I have unheated tanks in the open part of my basement that stay around 70 and the fish are fine.

I've seen some controllers that will run 2 heaters, but haven't seen any that run more than that.

I thought my house thermostat failed once, then realized it was powered by a battery that just ran out...
 

JLW

CCA Members
All of the ones I've seen have a single probe for the tank, and a single outlet for the heater (and sometimes a chiller).
 

FishEggs

CCA Members
Staff member
I've seen one that was for 2 heaters but it was still only 1 temperature probe so it couldnt be used for 2 tanks.
 

DiscusnAfricans

President
Staff member
All of the ones I've seen have a single probe for the tank, and a single outlet for the heater (and sometimes a chiller).
As Matt said, I've seen them with 2 plugs, but you're right that there's still only one probe, so it was just designed to control multiple heaters within the same tank.
 
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