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Thermometer Madness

Discussion in 'Saltwater Tank Equipment' started by Copingwithpods, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. CopingwithpodsNew MemberMember

    Been slowly building up my tank to be as stable as possible on a budget.

    ATO and temperature controller checked off salinity issues and temperature swings.  

    My gripe with my current one is the inability to read it at night while doing a quick fly by and the inaccuracy.

    While setting up the controller I realized I had to calibrate it first. I used the coralife and a stick thermometer to give me a good range. But this proved troublesome as some of my coralife thermometers were off by as much as 5 degrees! This was tested against an army of infrared, alcohol and digital thermometers that were all within 1 degree (6 total coralife therm tested 2 were brand new)

    So started my quest for a good thermometer I could use as a quick visual check of temp Pera meters crosschecked with the controller. Always good to have 2 points of reference right?

    My requierments:
    Easy to read
    Accurate to atleast 1 degree

    Surely thought I, there must be a somewhat affordable aquarium thermometer that meets my simple standards, oh but how wrong I was. Seems as though there are 2 routes. The expensive all in one controllers like the apex or the run of the mill 10-20 dollar meters. No middle ground unless you dip a toe in the meat thermometers or lab grade stuff ($$$).

    I looked into the meat thermometers and they have sub $50 ones with led touch displays, 1 degree accuracy, temp memory displayed in graph form on screen, high temp warnings and low temp warnings. Heck I even found some that will text you these warnings. This is just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to the features some of these have.

    "well just buy an apex" I hear the millionaires scream from their yachts as they warm their homes with burning piles of money. And yeah that would be nice, but for a cheap tank build its like swatting a fly with a tank round. Besides it be nice to have some middle of the road products to double check your more expensive products with.

    Maybe my Google kunfu isn't what it used to be but I couldn't find a single thermometer that one would consider aquarium specific and hobby grade enough to do some of the things we all want a simple thermometer to do. If it's out there, I'd love to hear about it as it has so far eluded me.
  2. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    I don't obsess over the small stuff so My vote is: Plain old liquid 'stick on the side' thermometer. And a flashlight if you can't see in the dark....
    And 5 degrees off?? That's not an error, that's a broken thermometer...
  3. WraithenFishlore VIPMember

    I doubt anyone here actually tests their thermometers. Get a good, glass with mercury alternative thermometer and stick it in a plastic cup with distilled or rodi water in it. Make sure the thermometer is capable of reading down to -40. Place this into the freezer. Once frozen, remove the entire thing and check it in an hour. It should read 32f or 0c. The reason you dont check immediately is because the freezer is colder than 32f and this can affect the thermometer. Some water in mostly ice is usually around 33 degrees.

    Now you have a verified working thermometer! Use this to check against the other thermometers. Now you can adjust for imprecise thermometers. Get a label maker and mark those. E.g. 74 = 76.3

    The problem generally isn't that the thermometer is bad, it's just set incorrectly at the factory, and you usually cant fix that.
  4. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    There ya go.
  5. CopingwithpodsNew MemberMember

    It's not su much obsessing as much as it is shock that there isn't any middle of the road aquarium specific thermometers out there. With decent features. I'm just trying to streamline my daily checks making it as easy as possible for myself so even on a busy morning when I'm late to work I can quickly glance at my tank and know everything is good to go.

    I didn't think I was asking for too much with a small, backlit digital thermometer but I guess that isn't the case.

    I own 2 glass types and in a small nano tank they are just too distracting in the display. I can see how others with bigger tanks can get away with it though. Also read a lot of horror stories of those exploding in tanks via glass failure or live stock tampering so I am very reluctant to place one in my tank.
  6. WraithenFishlore VIPMember

    I use a small digital, but that isn't easy to see in the dark. However, I have a heater that displays current and set temperature at all times. There are heaters that also do this with the temperature and controller about 6 inches away from the heater so they aren't in the tank.

    There are also standalone heater controllers that would do what you want for far less than an apex.
  7. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    My digital thermometer is a pain in the butt. It won't stay where it's supposed to in the tank. Cords are too short. Display unit keeps falling off the side of the tank. That little glass guy has been with me for years and taken a lot of abuse. Still works perfectly. I just like simple. No cords, no stupid wires, suction cups, digital garbage that fails or breaks, and it was a fraction of the cost. Sadly, this type of liquid tank thermometer is hard to find now days...
    Ooooh, never mind, I just found it, 3$ from Petco. Best thermometer I ever used! I'm ordering more!!
  8. CopingwithpodsNew MemberMember

    I use this stuff


    It's a double locking velcro from 3M, holds like 15 lbs and will not come off on its own. I have some in my rc cars that is over 3 years old and still works like new. It's what I used to hold up my ATO the thermometer and the controller.