Heating a 125g tank --TROUBLES--

Discussion in 'Heaters' started by Suave, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. SuaveValued MemberMember

    SO. I have a 125g tank.. I have 5 heaters in it.. YES, FIVE HEATERS.. 3 300watt Aqueon Heaters, and 2 250watt Stealth Pro Heaters.

    Why so many?
    because I originally started with the two 250watt heaters.. but not much heat. So my dad thought, why not buy another heater? maybe we dont have enough power in there? so he bought a 300watt Aqueon heater. eventually we had another in there and just yesterday we got our third aqueon heater in there.. so thats a total of 5 heaters. now i am SURE that most of those heaters are unneeded..

    But the problem is we cant get the heat up past ~73 degrees. Even when all the heaters are turned up to the MAX which on the heaters is around 88 i think..

    Now you know when you look at a heater underwater? and you can see it sort of distorting the way the water looks directly around the heater? well only ONE of them is doing that, so i think only one is working.. and its not even one of the new ones. its one of the old stealth heaters.. idk if this means only one of my heaters is working but ya...

    what should i do?

  2. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    A couple of questions...

    How long have you been trying to heat the water? 125G is a fair amount of water to heat, and will take time. My 100W Jager heater took about 30hrs to heat 16G to 27C (80F) from a start of about 20C (68C), but now remains constant.

    What is your ambient temperature around the tank? Water thermal conductivity is generally pretty high, and will cool off quite quickly, especially with a large surface area (evaporative cooling)

    Also, what type of thermometer are you using? I would only use a glass one (not the stick on ones)

    What is your water flow like? If the water is not moving all around, then only the areas directly around the heater(s) will be warm.

    With all that said, you could test each heater by putting it in a bucket of water with a glass thermometer and heating the bucket, if the temp doesn't rise, then the heater is not working.

    And as a last point, are the heaters calibrated properly?

  3. cm11599psWell Known MemberMember

    What about your thermometer? If your thermometer goes this low, then put it in a glass of water filled with lots of ice. The temperature should read 32F.

    Do you have any covering over the tank? A cover would retain heat.

  4. SuaveValued MemberMember

    Ok wow, thanks for the quick responses. now i will attempt to answer your questions.

    How long have you been trying to heat the water?
    The tank has been up for probably 8 months now. new heaters were bought at least a month apart. the newest being added yesterday more than 24hrs ago

    What is your ambient temperature around the tank?
    We have our thermostat set for 69F daily. although in the room that the tank is kept, it is usually slightly warmer.

    Also, what type of thermometer are you using?
    I am using a digital coralife thermometer

    What is your water flow like?
    I use a Rena XP3 canister filter that filters the water back in on the right side of the tank. and on the left side of the tank I have a Marineland Penguin Submersible powerhead 660R it says 'measured flow 170 GPH' on the box. that on is pointed directly to the other side of the tank

    I put the thermometer in a cup of mostly ice and a little water and it read:
    23.1 Fahrenheit
    Celsius -5.7
  5. SuaveValued MemberMember

    right side of the tank with the filtered water coming in and heater #1 on the top

    middle of the tank with heater #2 in the middle

    left side fo the tank with the powerhead on the left, heater #3 on top, heater #4 on the left side..

    heater #5 is currently being tested in a small tank.

    and i missed one of your questions. the tank is not covered completely.. id say maybe 40-50% of the tank is covered on the top. its an acrylic tank so it had square holes cut in the top when i got it. never bothered covering them up completely
  6. navyscubaWell Known MemberMember

    Reading everything Sounds to me like first the heaters are set on the first few inches of water. What this means is that heat rises so been almost at waterline you will lose heat faster and easier, Second the tank is not completely cover like you said so your heat is escaping. I always set up my heaters close to the bottom (2"-3") or vertical or diagonal. I see you have a few marineland Stealth heaters there. Well just to put you up to date they have a problem. They keep heat within 4 to 5 degrees below or above what you have it set up to. So if I was you I would email customer service at marineland and let them know you have a few of their heaters and the product is not the job and that you wish to exchange it for a visitherm or other heater.My advise don't get Sthealth pro heaters either.
  7. brokenwingWell Known MemberMember

    The other problem i see is your using a coralife digital thermometer. I ordered one and took it right back out of the tank. It was close to ten degrees off. I would get a glass thermometer.
  8. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Uhhh, water doesn't get colder than 32 degrees F......
  9. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Actually Jaysee, if there is any salt present, then the freezing point also drops, but that's a different science lesson ;) :;laughing

    More than likely: either the ice was left in the cup, and the termometer was resting against the ice (which would have been about -4 to -6C, or the thermometer is faulty.

    As suggested - I would strongly recommend getting a glass thermometer.
  10. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Actually, water can drop below freezing without turning to ice, without salt. I can't remember the exact requirements, but it's an easy experiment. All that's needed is a car and a bottle of water. If you leave a bottle of water in a car overnight at certain times of the year when the temp drops just so, the water will drop below 32 without turning to ice. This is because under those specific conditions, there isn't enough energy added to the system for the water to make the change to ice.

    In the morning, carefully pick up the bottle, then give it a shake - the water instantly turns to ice!
  11. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    way off topic - but cool Jaysee.... pity my climate is too warm for such an experiment. :(
  12. leeishomValued MemberMember

    i agree on this.

    the heaters are not exposed enough to work to your satisfaction.
  13. SuaveValued MemberMember

    WOW thanks for the responses guys!! I went to my LFS today to get some filter media stuff and COMPLETELY forgot to get a new thermometer >.> Im so dumb. Anyways, I'll be moving my heaters tonight, and getting a new thermometer tmrw[:
  14. cm11599psWell Known MemberMember

    So then the water in your tank is probably8 or 9 degrees warmer then you think it is.
  15. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I can't believe no on asked this....does the water FEEL like it's 73?
  16. btate617Well Known MemberMember

    I would start with a new thermometer first.
    Like others said move your heaters towards the bottom of the tank.

    You honestly don't need 5 heaters in a 125 the tank really isn't that big.
    To give you an idea I used one 300W heater in a 125 in a basement that is usually around 65F in the winter. The tank was at a constant 78F with the one heater.

  17. SuaveValued MemberMember

    @Jaysee the water felt warm.. haha. but then again how am I supposed to know what 73degree water feels like?

    im so dumb......... anyways, new thermometers bought.. and the heaters have been turned down... i dont even want to say how warm the water was....
  18. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Oh go on, humour us, tell us tell us :p :;group

    Good to see you've got a good (and cheap) result out of this :;hf

    So does that now mean you have a whole lot of heaters you don't need?

    If so, well you've got the heaters, now you just need the tanks - does anyone sense MTS? :) :;laughing

    Actually, I'd definitely keep one or more of the excess heaters to heat your water at water changes ;)
  19. SuaveValued MemberMember

    it was running at 90degrees F


    and ya this means i have some extra heaters. but no worries. i have 2 20g tanks sitting around... haha, i also have a few smaller aquariums sitting outside, but i think the 2 20g shall do for now
  20. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    How many thermometers did you buy?
    If you got two or three (like I would ;) ) I'd put one in a bucket with a heater and make sure the heater is set accurately.

    Your tank is going to take a while to cool, and as we have no idea what you population is like, I would suggest taking one or two heaters out and testing them to make sure they are performing accurately (via the bucket of water method).

    I would let the tank cool naturally, so as not to shock the fish with a big swing in temp (i.e. by putting ice in), you could use fans over the top of the water as this would be gradual through evaporative cooling. And if you don't have live plants in the tank, I would turn the lights off until the temp comes down (fish won't mind)

    But by the sounds of it, so far so good, no-one has died, so I'd let the tank stabilise naturally. Once you're sure the heaters are at correct levels, put them back into the tank. They won't stop the tank cooling, but will stop the temp dropping too far (heaters have a thermostat and only activate when the temp gets low enough).

    Keep us informed.

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