Are there any 'smart' aquarium heaters?

shelleyd2008
Member
I was wondering if there is such a thing as a 'smart' heater for an aquarium (thermostatic?).

I raise birds and use a reptile thermostat on a homemade incubator; this 'reads' the temperature and turns the heat source on or off as needed.

We use wood heat in the winter and have central A/C for the summer, but depending on where in the house I place a tank would greatly impact the temperature of a tank. Something that was self-regulating would work wonders.
 
WendysJungle
Member
I've never actually had an aquarium heater that didn't read the temperature of the water and turn itself on and off accordingly. Otherwise the thing would just keep throwing out heat until it boiled the fish. Or are you actually looking for something that would both heat and cool, like a heater/chiller combo??
 
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shelleyd2008
Member
No, I wasn't sure how they worked. Do you set them for a certain temperature or is it at a certain setting? A temperature-regulated heater would shut off when the temperature reaches the temperature it's set for, whereas one that is run by a 'setting' would heat until it reached that setting, regardless of the temperature.

For example, 2 of my egg incubators are identical except for their thermostats. One heats to the temperature it's set for (so if the room temperature is high, the incubator will still shut off at 100 degrees), whereas my other is set to a setting (it turns off when it reaches the setting, regardless of the temperature).

The first one is very reliable, summer or winter. Heck, I could probably keep it outside if I so choose. The other has to be watched, mainly when the weather gets cold, to see if the thermostat needs adjusting...it is very influenced by the room temperature where the other one is not. I don't have a problem with the one that has a digital thermostat, it is always between 99.5 and 100.5 degrees.

So I'm wondering if the aquarium heaters are set for the temperature (heating to 75 degrees and 'reading' the water temperature) or set for the setting (heating to setting #4 regardless of the water temperature). I hope that makes sense
 
rollo1411
Member
Most of the heaters that I'm aware of are temperature regulated. I wouldn't buy one that wasn't, although I'm sure there's some out there. Wendy is right about boiling the fish!
 
WendysJungle
Member
I believe they all heat to a certain temp by reading the water temperature, unless there are some super-cheap ones out there somewhere I haven't messed with. The better ones (usually fully submersible) either have the degrees printed on the dial or give you a certain point on the dial that is a set temperature. Mine, for example, has a dot on the dial that will heat and keep the water at 78 degrees, and moving one click in either direction will raise or lower the set point by about two degrees. Others I have seen (cheaper) will adjust to whatever the temp is of the initial water you have put in the tank, and then you raise this temp by adjusting the dial a click or two at a time and then waiting (time depends on tank size) for the water to heat, taking the temp, and the adjusting again until you get the temp you want. Once you have the temp you want, you don't mess with the dial anymore, and the heater will go on and off to maintain that temp. You have to watch this kind a little more closely after a water change.

Both types of heaters may need to be adjusted if the room is particularly cold, and of course your water can overheat independent of what your heater is doing if your room is too hot or your tank is too close to a heat source (so near your fireplace is NOT a good location for your tank!).

Just remember, for ALL heaters, when you do water changes always turn off your heater 15-20 minutes before removing any water from the tank, and then let the heater sit 15-20 minutes in the new water before plugging it back in. If you don't do this, you can end up with disastrous results (take it from one who knows!).
 
Jaysee
Member
shelleyd2008 said:
I was wondering if there is such a thing as a 'smart' heater for an aquarium (thermostatic?).
Rena smart heater
 
Virt
Member
The standard aquarium heater uses a bi-metal strip, the strip uses different metal on each side, one expands/contracts with heat faster than the other, causing the strip to bend and close a set of contacts, turning the heater on, this is why you hear them 'click' on and off.
Its not super accurate but accurate enough for most tanks.
There are other models that use a separate temperature sensor (usually a thermistor) and are a little more accurate.
 
Sharkdude
Member
The "Smartest" heater I know of is the Fluval E series. They have flow detectors and three different color lights. If the tank water gets two degrees above the set temp it turns red and below it turns blue. It comes with a pretty hefty manual with all the cool things it does. I got two 300w in my 125. They are the best heaters I have.

I had a Rena Smart heater until it French fried some fish....
 
Jaysee
Member
Sounds like you didn't get such a smart one. I am considering getting them because they replace the filter intake on the XP canister, essentially making it an inline heater. I'm not sure if I'm going to need heaters in the new place....
 
Virt
Member
Yeah the inlines look good, no ugly heaters in the tank, if you keep your pumps running during water change or if it has a flow switch then you don't have to worry about turning them off either
 
Jaysee
Member
I keep everything on a powerstrip, except the lights so that I can flip a switch and turn everything off at once and still see.
 

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