Is A Heater "a Consumable"?

Discussion in 'Heaters' started by lilirose, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. lilirose

    liliroseValued MemberMember

    I just received a 100w Chinese heater intended for a 90 liter (20 gallon) tank.

    The instructions say "Aquarium heater is consumable, we suggest to change the heater after you've used it for one year."

    I know there are expensive heaters that have lifetime warranties.

    I do not want to take the risk of the heater malfunctioning in a year's time and freezing or cooking my fish and plants.

    Should I return it for a more expensive one, or is this "par for the course" with all aquarium heaters and I should just buy a new one in a year even if the current one still seems fine?
  2. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

    My first thought was, "no, they're not consumable. I've never heard of anyone eating a heater."

    Sure, heaters wear out, but after a year? Erm... I've had heaters I've used for years, not even expensive ones. However, I have heard horror stories of heaters glitching and not turning off, leading to cooked fish. Some can even explode.

    The manufacturer may just be saying that to cover themselves in the event it fails in a year or later. Then they can say, "well, we did tell you..."
  3. By-tor

    By-torValued MemberMember

    In my mind, things do "wear out". Especially electrical devices that are around a wet environment. I have never had a heater malfunction. I do believe that replacing these things would be good just for the sense of security.
    I have a Ehiem Jäger 150 that I use in my 46 gallon. It's a really good heater in my opinion. Temp. is always right on the money. I will probably replace it after the two year mark. To me it's worth the $30.00 every two years to make sure everything is up to par.
    I am the kind of person though who replaces my car battery every three years weather it needs it or not. I blame it on my OCD.
  4. CindyVBPets

    CindyVBPetsValued MemberMember

    I don't know of any lifetime warranties but that's just a CYA for that company.

    I finally went with this one and love it. Various reasons why I couldn't use the others...inaccurate, ran too high, or didn't fit my tank and were finicky like the Fluval E. Fluval made me MAD. Everone was getting "low flow" errors so they finally started telling people to put in on a 45 degree angle which is not in the printed instructions. And NEVER horizontal which is how I needed it for my 20 L. Didn't even fit vertically or at 45 degrees for that matter. And who wants to see the entire back wall covered by a heater?

    Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater for Salt Water and Fresh Water, Digital Submersible Heater with External IC Thermostat Controller and Thermometer, for Fish Tank 5-120 Gallon
  5. OP

    liliroseValued MemberMember

    Just for the record, "consumable" would be defined here is "something that gets used up or needs to be replaced regularly", not "something that you eat." :) For example, toilet paper is generally considered to be a consumable, as are AA batteries.

    Also, the Aqueon Pro brand of heater supposedly has a lifetime warranty (this is according to reviews- Amazon gives it one year like every other heater, so that's a little confusing).
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  6. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

    Yes, I know... I was joking. And telling the truth, as that was my first thought. I tend to lean towards sarcasm before seriousness.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  7. Coptapia

    CoptapiaWell Known MemberMember

    If they’re recommending that you replace it after one year, that sounds to me like there’s a good chance of it failing after that. An aquarium heater should last a lot longer than one year, so I wouldn’t go anywhere near that one.
  8. OP

    liliroseValued MemberMember

    I already own the one that recommends replacement after a year, and I didn't know that it recommends that until I opened the packaging and read the manual. I haven't put it in the tank yet though (it's for a new setup). Do you think I should return it and get a different one, or just go ahead and use it and have a backup on hand?

    I tend to run my tanks on the low side of the needed temperature range, so having it fail to heat would not be a huge disaster. However, having it fail and cook my fish would be another matter! Not sure how common overheating is, though.
  9. BottomDweller

    BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    My tanks are mostly temperate tanks but I use heaters on one just to make sure the temp doesn't drop too low. I also have a couple of tropical tanks requiring heaters. I have had one juwel heater overheat the tank and kill 1 fish I suspect before I caught it. I have also had 2 cheap heaters I bought before I knew better which have both ended up overheating tanks, though fortunately did not kill any fish. I think it is pretty common for heaters to fail as they get older.
  10. WTFish?

    WTFish?Well Known MemberMember

    I too was like, “dang what are those Chinese eating NOW?” LOL
    I’ve seen a lot of things say that too. I bought an outdoor light timer that say not to use more than 90 days, what?? I guess they want to cover themselves.
  11. Cichlidude

    CichlidudeWell Known MemberMember

    I had some Chinese chopsticks at a restaurant that I could only use once.
  12. JayH

    JayHValued MemberMember

    An alternative is to use a separate controller unit. I recently bought an Inkbird ITC-306T though I've not put it to use yet. It has a temperature sensor you put in the tank and a control unit that allows you to set various parameters, like the target temperature and the hysteresis (how far below the set temp before the heater comes on). You then set the heater to maximum and plug it in to the controller. The controller powers the heater on and off as needed.

    This should relieve a lot of concern about overheating the aquarium since the control unit is outside the tank away from the heat. All the heater has to do is provide heat.

    The controller also allows for dual temperature settings based on time of day. I can't see how this would be all that useful in an aquarium since the temperature isn't likely to drop all that much in a few hours even if you do lower the setting.

    I went this route because I could get the Inkbird plus a couple cheap heaters for less than the cost of one higher end name brand heater.
  13. hanra85

    hanra85Valued MemberMember

    +1 for the controllers... I've been using the inkbird controllers on my tanks for years, they work great. And as an added bonus, in event of a possible heating failure, they cost far less than replacing all my fish and plants!:D

    And no, heaters should not be yearly consumables... I've got heaters that are 10 plus years still running strong. Advising yearly replacement is probably a liability/money grubbing thing. Much like recommending media be replaced every 6 months... Who in their right mind throws away their biomedia, mine's 15 years old, and at this rate (especially if I get any more tanks) my wife will be throwing me out before I throw that media out. lol.
    Long story short, no, they're no more a consumable than a filter or an air pump would be, buy a trustworthy heater though, they have the most potential to do the most damage if it fails.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  14. CHJ

    CHJValued MemberMember

    The world has changed from when every heater lasted years (not sure if the move from bolted to the rim, to submersibles has something to do with it). All aquarium heaters are some form of cheap junk designed to increase profits these days. These days if a heater lasts a year I'm a little surprised. Most go cold while only a few go crockpot. I have run them all.
    I even tried a very expensive top of the line reef heater "Made of unobtanium! External probe! Forever watched over and guarded by the Gods of temperature and time!" working off the idea that reefer gear was best in the world so using it in fresh is total overkill. Yeah, within 6 months I had 2 dead breeding pairs of Discus to go with the dead heater. More expensive is not always better.
    Right now I'm running the only ones I hadn't tried, Aqueon Pros. While I have lost a lot of money in fish to Aqueons, I hadn't tried Pros. I only got the pros for their lifetime warranty. Six months in none have failed. If they fail every year I will just exchange them, forever. So ignore brand and buy one with a lifetime warranty.
    To avoid "Crockpot" deaths when your heater fails, run 3 smaller heaters instead of one big one. This way if one goes cold your fish do not get cold, stress, and die, and if one goes crockpot the other 2 will shutdown hopefully preventing fish soup.
    Oh wait, I always forget my Hydor heaters (and I just got done talking about them). I have had only one of those fail and the rest have been running for 5+ years. So Hydor may still be good.
  15. hanra85

    hanra85Valued MemberMember

    I've been using hydor's inline heaters for so many years I can't even remember. They're pretty great from my experience. Got a few eheim jagers that I'm not quite as thrilled about their temperature calibration, as long as I know how much the difference between what the dial says and actual temp is for each heater I guess it doesn't really matter and then some cheapo tetra heaters in my quarantines.. pretty sure none of my heaters are less than two years while many are probably pushing 6 or 7 years. I always run dual heaters on a temperature controller in every tank and never once had a temperature related issue this way. Well worth the investment. Not sure I've ever had a heater actually fail, just swapped them for upgrades through the years. Maybe having multiple just keeps them from overworking individually prolonging them.
  16. DarkOne

    DarkOneFishlore VIPMember

    I have 5 Aqueon Pros running for almost 2 yrs. I have a few more that are over a year and a couple of the new version running for about 6-8 months. I also picked up a couple of Cobalt NeoTherms and a Finnex HPG to try out, both brands about 9 months old. No issues with any of them.

    I have a couple of Aqueon heaters (non-pro) and 1 had corroded filaments and contacts inside after about 6 months. I bought it from PetSmart and they replaced it, no questions asked. I also have a few Tetra HT10 50w preset heaters that I use in smaller tanks and for heating water in a 5g bucket.