busted heater

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busted heater

Post by jp11biod »

Can anyone guess at what happened here? I have no idea how long it was split like this. It was still working but not like it should have been. It is an aluminum Aqueon 200W
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Re: busted heater

Post by bekateen »

Wow! I've never heard of aluminum heaters cracking!
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Re: busted heater

Post by jp11biod »

its not aluminum-- it is one of their thermo-plastic Pro series thermometers-- still interested in what might have caused the split
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Re: busted heater

Post by Viktor Jarikov »

I've no clue other than poor design / material choice for the heater encapsulation and/or workmanship.
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Re: busted heater

Post by Shane »

I have had so many cheap heaters bust, break, and leak that I eventually collected them all up and threw them out. I was concerned not only for the fish... I was also positive I would eventually get electrocuted.

I replaced them all with Eheims and have been very happy. The Eheim heaters are very expensive but, to me, I'll pay extra for the safety factor. Another thing is that the costs of tanks, lights, and filters have dropped massively in the last few years giving us a little more room to splurge on a quality heater.
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Re: busted heater

Post by jp11biod »

Good points
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Re: busted heater

Post by Bas Pels »

Apart from the personal savety issue - I heard in Sweden people are supposed to unplug heater before getting their hands wet, which would solve this problem nicely - it is always possible to calculate the needed capacity of a heater, and use two heater of half this value.

A square meter will loose 6 watts per degree celcius temp difference over it. That wil make a tank of 25 C, in a 20 C room, of an external surface of 3 square meters (a 150 *50 *50 cm tank is 2.75 sq meters) require a constant heating of 3 * 6 * 5 = 90 watts Normally one would use a 200 watt iheater in cuch a case. But now you take 2 cheap ones.

Imagine a situation where 1 stops. The other still has the capacity of keeping the tank heated. In the other case, where one keeps heating, the heating will be 10 watts too much. The temp will raise to 25,5 C, which will not be a problem. You can easily take a month before finding the problem.

A 200 watt heater would, in such a case, have heated the water to 200 / (3*6) = 200 / 18 = 10.x over the room temperature. That would have been over 30 C, far too hot for most fishes which we keep at 25 C.

But this does not address the personal safety issue.
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Re: busted heater

Post by jp11biod »

Shane-- do you refer to the Ebo-Jaeger by Eheim?? Their cost seems to be right in line with the other mass-producers.
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Re: busted heater

Post by Narelle »

I have heard of it more with glass heaters than plastic ones, but typically this is caused when the heater is on when you do a water change and it get exposed to air. I believe it can also happen if the heater is unplugged but immediately removed from the water. I was taught when I was an aquarist in the public aquarium industry that you should always let it cool a little while before exposing it to air (via water changes or removal from the tank) to prevent it from exploding like this.

The advice here is interesting because it contradicts things I've been taught and experienced. Not everything I've absorbed over the years came from work, so I can't say that I haven't picked up any misinformation on my end.

I know its not uncommon to keep two heaters running together, but somewhere along the way I was told that the point most likely to fail on all-in-one heaters like this is typically the thermostat, so its best to just use a single heater following the manufacturers' recommendations. The thought being that it would be bad for the longevity of the device if it is on too long, but also bad for it to be switching on and off constantly. A thermostat failing is of course one of the worse things for the fish, since the heater may not switch off and heat endlessly depending on how it fails. But I don't know if this is a valid concern, I don't remember where I picked up this tidbit. I can't say I know a whole lot about the way aquarium heaters are designed, specifically.

I have had horrible luck with Eheim glass heaters, actually, so I am surprised to see them recommended so highly. I love the brand for everything else, but will never buy another of their heaters. I've had multiple have the thermostat fail and overcook my tanks endlessly, with one failing right out of the box.
I would prefer to stick to a titanium heater for everything if I could (I use a Finnex titanium heater with a separate external thermostat in my 150g), but that's out of my budget for most things and they're not really designed for smaller tanks to my knowledge, so I use Fluval E-series or Cobalt Neo-therm/Easy Therm heaters for the rest of my tanks. I've been using those three types pretty exclusively for at least 5 years? and have been happy with them, no complaints.
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Re: busted heater

Post by Lycosid »

Are there any heaters that "fail-to-off"? I know that the standard bimetallic strip thermostats are set up so that they are permanently on when they fail, but are there heaters that go off when the thermostat fails? Given that cold is less immediately lethal to many fish than heat that seems safer.
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Re: busted heater

Post by Shane »

I did some looking around online and, most definitely, the price of Eheim heaters has dropped very significantly since I last bought one several years ago. I am curious if they have moved to off shore manufacturing. Their website says, "Made in Germany" with the quote marks implying maybe final assembly is in Germany?

I remember when this happened to Marineland. I have numerous bio wheels over 20 years old that function perfectly. Someone contacted me and said the filters were junk. I bought three new bio wheels, and sure enough, they were all in the trash within just a few years. Meanwhile the filters I bought in the late 90s continue to function. Turned out Marineland had out sourced production.
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Re: busted heater

Post by bekateen »

I used to buy a variety of metal covered heaters with external thermostats and independent temp probes, but I found them to lose reliability within a couple of years. Since 2016, I've been buying only Fluval E series heaters; today, I have 18 in use currently. None have "broken" on me. None have completely failed. But I have encountered two possible issues:
  1. the thermostat control switch can "stick" in one direction, meaning if you try to change the temperature setting, you can in one direction (e.g, up) but you can't in the other (down). I've found if I take the heater out of use and unplug it for a time ( e.g., a few days), the functionality is restored. Although obviously a flaw and undesirable, that is not an issue if you aren't changing the temp.
  2. The second issue I've had is that occasionally when I switch off the heater(s) in a tank during water changes, occasionally the heater's thermometer display will stick at the cooler temp after restart, so heater continues to heat but display doesn't change. This is more worrisome as it could overheat the tank, but so far it never has. I suspect mainly this is because I buy underpowered heaters when possible and put two in the same tank. If one fails and sticks on, it's not hot enough to cook the tank, and the other heater cycles normally and switches off (the odds of two failing at once are really low). I've found that the defective heaters in this case will reset if I turn power of and on again after running a while. To date, this type of behavior has never occurred in any of my heaters while in continuous use. It occurs only after I switch the heaters off and on again within an hour.
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Re: busted heater

Post by TwoTankAmin »

I have come to believe that heaters are the least reliable equipment we use. I have used a variety of brands and pretty much had one or more failures in all of them. I have had two fail stuck full one. One boiled a breeding colony of L236 and about 35 of their fry the other boiled a discus pair and turned tetras to mush balls,. I also have an old Ebo-Jaeger in use reliably for over 15 years. When my Emperor 400 died, I replaced it with a new one. It was on the tank for about 2 minutes before it got reboxed and sent back.

I do have one heater brand that has not yet failed, the Hydor inline. I use these with my 3 canisters. One had been running for almost 18 years if memory serves me.

On tanks with my pricier Hypans I use Azoo Micro controllers. They are no longer offered and were made in China. I have 10 of them. My first 2 cost $23 each from FosterSmith. My next 4 cost me $12.50 each when FS became Live Aquaria and they had them on clearance. My most recent 4 cost me $52.50 each. All have done fine and are easy to use. However, the are in C not F. The 800w model H have is no longer offered anywhere.

I set the heaters in the tanks a couple of degrees above the desired temp but not too high for the fish to handle. The controller is set to the desired temp. The heaters can stick on and not boil a tank, the controller can fail and not turn off the heater, but the heater should stop a degree or two higher. I have no protection against a heater not working at all for any reason.
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Re: busted heater

Post by kvnbyl »

I have had 12 Eheims of various sizes that have been going for 10+ years. I have resolved this year to replace them all, 2 at a time. I don't use the thermometers in the tanks as the only heater control. I learned the hard way as many people have when 25 baby Multis fried. i felt awful and this is when I switched. I use commercial Thermostats from Jehmco. they are solid-state and work great :). I have the tanks arranged so the tanks of the same size are close to one another. this way I can use 1 master thermostat for 3 or 4 tanks of similar size and with heaters of the same wattages since the controllers will handle 1500 watts. The thermometers in the tanks are still set at the correct temp in case the master thermostat fails, none have yet. Honestly, the best fix was having another zone added to the furnace for the aquarium room. We are close to 27 cents a kilowat hour up here
On another note where have tank and equipment prices fallen?
Not in the northeast. they haven't gone up a lot but have definitely not gone down. We should be so lucky Tanks above 75 gallons can be difficult to find, at least this is what I have been told. A major retailer in the area (not one of the chain stores) took two weeks to find me a 90 gallon
There seen to be fewer sizes available too, I had a 120 XH (60x18x24) fail and was told they have been discontinued because of reliability issues. I ended up having to Mickey Mouse a stand and a 75 gal. i will probably get the right stand for the 75 as this looks like hell. the double whammy here is that I have 4 more of the same tanks. The manufacturer says they weren't selling well, so were discontinued but someone at the manufacturer told me the real reason was reliability. they were good enough to honor the lifetime guarantee though,( was like pulling teeth)and sent me a check (when i would rather have had another tank)
(another gripe coming) Why is particle board so popular for stands as it is so damp-sensitive? Would you really put a half ton tank on wood fibre?
The store (chain ) near me sells particle board tanks for 150's seriously?
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Re: busted heater

Post by Shane »

On another note where have tank and equipment prices fallen?
I can remember 20 years ago saving for weeks to pick up an extra 20 Long. I can now walk out of Petco with 5 20 Longs for $100. A 10 gallon costs as much as a pint of beer with a small tip. Even outside the chains, I just ordered two custom tanks (30x18x6) for under $100.

For many, many years I used fluorescent shop lights from Home Depot in my racks to save money. Now I can buy smaller, more efficient LEDs on Amazon for a comparable price. Not that long ago we only saw LEDs on very, very expensive reef setups.

Heaters and filter prices are also down, but I say that with a caveat as moving production to Asia has made things less expensive and less reliable. That said, I can get a 55 gal rated sponge filter on Amazon for $6.

I can not speak to the prices of very large tanks, but given far lower sales and much higher shipping costs I doubt we will ever see a 125 at $1 per gallon.

As to stands, I am using steel racks from Home Depot. There are several makers, but heavy duty units that can hold several aquariums are still under $100 and they look great.
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Re: busted heater

Post by TwoTankAmin »

My first AquaClear 100 aka 20 cost me under $10, That same filter today is cheap at under $25 if you can find that price. Plus the quality is not as good either. The plastic is now also thinner than it was when I bought my first one.

There has been a trend of conglomerates which have pet divisions to buy a lot of the brands. The first thing these big companies do is work hard to make more profit from the same products. They do this first by making them cheaper and second by raising the price.

The one thing I can say is that the older I got, the more important I considered how much any given piece of equipment could reduce my work load. I clean my AC filters and non-Poret sponges weekly. I clean my Mattenfilters every 2 -3 years, maybe more. :d
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