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Can't get above 77 degrees

Discussion in 'Heaters' started by DaveofTN, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. DaveofTN Valued Member Member

    Ok, my latest thought/dilemma of the week. I have a 55 gallon long with an Emperor 400 and air bubbler. Glass top. Room temperature is low 70's. I have put the heaters positioned horizontally exactly in the middle of the aquarium on the back wall.

    I bought a cheap 200W tetra dialed heater and at the supposed 78 degree setting, the tank was only 77 degrees. I turn up the heater all the way, was still 77 degrees.

    So...I take it back and get another...same problem.

    Then, I go to lfs and buy a marineland stealth 250W, remove the tetra heather, set the new one on 78 degrees...tank is still 77. I put the heater on 80 degrees...still 77.

    I have used a professional cooking probed thermometer as well as a tank thermometer to verify.

    Any ideas? Would it be wrong if I keep increasing the heater temp to get to the 78 degree mark?

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2010
  2. Red1313 Fishlore VIP Member

    Are there any drafts around the tank?
    How long have you given it to try and raise the water temp?
    going by this "Choose a heater of about 2-½ watts per gallon if the temperature in the room where the tank will be won't fluctuate more than 10 degrees either way. If it will fluctuate more than that, go with 5 watts per gallon." The stealth should be large enough to handle the size of tank...
    <head scratch>

  3. DaveofTN Valued Member Member

    No drafts around the tank, and the glass top is fitted pretty exact.

    The only thing I can think of is the Emp 400 is cooling it since it has such a high waterflow and on top of that, the bubbler is contributing to the problem.

    However, my stealth heater has an indicator light, and at 80 it's staying Green/"Water Temp Ok" quite a bit.

    In another thread, someone mentioned cool spots. When I get home tonight I am gonna really check all areas of the aquarium. Maybe my usual spot that I test is just a cool spot.

  4. funkman262 Well Known Member Member

    Maybe try two smaller heaters on either end of the tank to help heat the water better and more evenly also.
  5. DaveofTN Valued Member Member

    Hmmm, I could do that and just take the heater back and swap with 2 smaller ones since I've only had it for like 2 days.

    What wattage would you all recommend in my case? (2) 150's?
  6. funkman262 Well Known Member Member

    Actually, I was just reading another post that suggested that you can't replace a 200W heater for 2 100W heaters. 2 150W heaters might work but I'm not sure. I only use one and have no problem so hopefully a more experience member can give you more info on that.
  7. DaveofTN Valued Member Member

    Unless someone tells me differently, I think I will first I will do what I said and test all parts of the aquarium. Then, I am gonna try putting the heater in a 5-gallon bucket and seeing if it gets to the proper temp. If it does, then I know I just need to maybe get another 200W heater.
  8. Craig-D Valued Member Member

    I have the same model heater that you do. My stealth heater's thermostat is two degrees off (so much for their guarantee it'll be off by no more than 1). To get my tank at my preferred 76 degrees, I have to set the heater to 78. That said, I have a 29 gallon Biocube where the farthest water from the heater is only 24" away. If your 55 gallon is rectangular, a single heater may not be the best solution for you because of the distance from one side of the tank to another. Did you take the temperature of all regions of the tank? I'm betting it's at the set temp nearest the heater. Instead of a single 200W heater, may I suggest two 100W units placed on either side of the tank?
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2010
  9. funkman262 Well Known Member Member

    That was my suggestion but I don't think that's what's typically recommended. I think you're supposed to get 2 heaters, each one rated for the size of the tank, and run them at either end of the tank. This way, each one is doing less work but I think the idea is that if one fails, the other should be able to keep the temperature fairly high. Therefore, a single 200W heater can't be replaced by 2 100W heaters.
  10. DaveofTN Valued Member Member

    I will first test the heater in a bucket and make sure it's working, then buy another 200W. I will make sure to post on the result.
  11. crazedACD Valued Member Member

    I'm having this exact issue, but with the stupid Tetra heater. My old heater died and I needed one quick, so I picked up the biggest they had at Walmart for my 55g.. (says for 30-60g), and it does not keep the tank above 74 by itself (when I add an inappropriate 50w heater it does). I'm returning it soon I think...I hope I don't have the same problem with a new heater.
  12. Nutter Fishlore VIP Member

    My money is that there simply isn't enough water circulating around the heater to distribute the heat throughout the tank. The heater heats up the water immediately around it & then it shuts off. Move the heater so that it isn the direct flow from the filter or an airstone. That should solve your problem. Putting it in a bucket to test won't do much for you, there's no circulation & the same thing will happen.

    The suggestion of using two heaters is still a good one but I'll bet that is not the problem.
  13. funkman262 Well Known Member Member

    Darn, why didn't I think of that?? Makes perfect sense. Great advice.
  14. DaveofTN Valued Member Member

    Well, I added my old Tetra heater to the setup and my water is now fine. It's sitting at 80 degrees right now, but the marineland stealth is set to 82. So, I think the temp is still off with it. Even when I put a temp probe right next to the stealth it reads 80. I put the stealth in a bucket and the bucket only got to 80 degrees as well. So, I think it might be miscalibrated (it does have a cheap plastic dial after all).

    Oh well, my fish should now be happy, all I care about.
  15. Fish_Man Valued Member Member

    Heaters are such a pain sometimes... one advice is not to get the renal cal excel heater.. I've had problems with it in the long run where the heater would never match the thermometer.... I think the best is to get ones that you can recalibrate the heater easily incase of any temp change