Turn Your Heaters Off When Doing A Water Change!

RSababady

I learnt this rule the hard way - getting carried away with hovering the tank bottom, I managed to get the water level down to half....... my heaters were exposed to the air i.e. 22 degrees centigrade, switched themselves on and burnt out as the were not immersed in water.

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The instructions on me heaters state very clearly "Automatic safety shutoff protects damage to the heater when running dry"...... and yet now what I have is a heater that stays on all the time and yet does not give off any heat. On top of that the paint has disappeared from the heater and exposed the thermostat.....
Off to the shops to spend another 35€

So remember - TURN YOUR HEATERS OFF WHEN DOING A WATER CHANGE!
 

TwoHedWlf

No. I'm not going to turn my heaters off when doing water changes. I rarely do the 90% water change that would be required to expose my heater.
 

THE HABITAT

I turn my entire tank system off by flipping the surge protector switch to avoid any disaster ...I have them on all of my tanks
 

BHK3

No. I'm not going to turn my heaters off when doing water changes. I rarely do the 90% water change that would be required to expose my heater.

Do you have your heater lying horizontally at the bottom of the tank? I have mine vertically like the OP and even a 25% water change would expose some of the heating element.
 

JamieXPXP

that was actually the only good advice a pet store gave me lol. although I was never told why I need to do it
 

Coradee

I too I learned the hard way, though not just a burned out heater, I got an electric shock from a faulty heater so I'd urge everyone to switch everything off before putting their hands in the water, better safe than sorry
 

TexasDomer

Laying heaters horizontally (if they can go this way - some can't) lower down in the tank can prevent this.
 

RSababady

Do you have your heater lying horizontally at the bottom of the tank? I have mine vertically like the OP and even a 25% water change would expose some of the heating element.

Its vertical -as in the picture in the first post of this thread.

I too I learned the hard way, though not just a burned out heater, I got an electric shock from a faulty heater so I'd urge everyone to switch everything off before putting their hands in the water, better safe than sorry
Sorry to hear that....... Glad you survived as water and electricity are a real bad mix
 

TwoHedWlf

Its vertical -as in the picture in the first post of this thread.
Then lay it horizontal, problem fixed.
 

Harlequin

Aaaaand don't forget to TURN ON again. Not that I ever forgot that
My 2p ...
 

Fashooga

I turn my entire system off, regardless if it's a 25%, 50% or even 80% water change. The only thing that is on is the light...so I lied, not the entire system but the ones that involves water touching the stuff...get my drift?
 

TwoHedWlf

I turn my entire system off, regardless if it's a 25%, 50% or even 80% water change. The only thing that is on is the light...so I lied, not the entire system but the ones that involves water touching the stuff...get my drift?

I turn off my wavemaker, otherwise it starts sucking air at about 25% empty and makes all kinds of noise. Everything else stays on.
 

clk89

I turn my entire system off, regardless if it's a 25%, 50% or even 80% water change. The only thing that is on is the light...so I lied, not the entire system but the ones that involves water touching the stuff...get my drift?

I do the same thing everything is off while I do the water change.
 

THE HABITAT

Like I said I turn everything off through my surge protector strip and I have a cheap Walmart corner of the room light that has the tall base pointing up and another stem to put it behind your chair for reading...I plug that in and face it toward the tank I'm working on...never play in your water with anything plugged in that is connected to your tank...it irritates one time u could panic from a shock and pull your entire tank down or worse get stuck from the electric current
 

RSababady

Then lay it horizontal, problem fixed.
Apparently horizontal position is not completely desirable - 45 degrees is optimal.

I have been looking at external heaters that are attached to the water flow from the filter. Do you have any experience with external heaters?
 

2211Nighthawk

Then lay it horizontal, problem fixed.
Not all heaters are sumbersable.
 

KO_

I once swapped heaters, and didn't swap the plugs. (I thought I did) I plugged the one I removed back in leaving the one in the tank unplugged. Result? Cracked glass top and a really cold fish tank.
 

TwoHedWlf

Apparently horizontal position is not completely desirable - 45 degrees is optimal.

I have been looking at external heaters that are attached to the water flow from the filter. Do you have any experience with external heaters?
No, I've looked at them a few times, but it seems they don't get very good reviews. None of the good brands seem to make them.
 

2211Nighthawk

I once swapped heaters, and didn't swap the plugs. (I thought I did) I plugged the one I removed back in leaving the one in the tank unplugged. Result? Cracked glass top and a really cold fish tank.
Oh who was it that did the same thing except the plugged in one was on an ice cream pail. It melted the pail, and fried the heater.
 

AvalancheDave

I think the heaters that automatically shut off may still end up scorched because there's still a lot of residual heat when the water is suddenly removed. When I unplug heaters I'm often surprised how long I have to wait until they cool down enough to be removed.

I have a wet/dry with a baffled vertical compartment for heaters. It stays full of water even if the water level in the rest of the filter or the tank drops. I use a powerhead and some tubing to pump water through the filter during a water change. That's great until I turn off the powerhead and it siphons water out of the heater chamber...

Heaters are such a pain in the butt.
 

RSababady

No, I've looked at them a few times, but it seems they don't get very good reviews. None of the good brands seem to make them.

Very true. None of the brands I trust make them either. The one I found is made by Hydor :

I have never used any of their products - and like you said there seems tome a lot of negative reviews on them. However, I am still going to give one a go, as I like the concept of the water coming into the tank from the external filter being of the right temperature as it enters the tank. I will probably have to set the temperature slightly higher then the desired tank temperature as the warmed water will mix with the tank water to give the desired tank temperature.

The other thing I like about this type of flow heater is that it will not be producing a "hot point" around any one specific point in the tank. I have measured the temperature in my 450l tank in different spots and the water immediately around the heater is around 2 degrees centigrade higher then the water in the center of the tank. This is not a question of water circulation in the tank, but one of the water in contact with the heater element always having to be warmer then the water a couple of centimeters away from the heater. Not that I have ever seen a fish burnt by a heater, but some of my plants do get damaged by the heaters when they touch them.

Will definitely come back with a review of the flow heater once I start using it.
 

GetFreshedAquariums

Heaters don't turn off when they are out of the water. I had a heater out of the water once and when I went to crab It to turn it off, it burnt the out of my hand. I've also had a heater explode because it was out of water
 

TwoHedWlf

Heaters don't turn off when they are out of the water. I had a heater out of the water once and when I went to crab It to turn it off, it burnt the out of my hand. I've also had a heater explode because it was out of water

Some do claim to. Not sure how exactly they do that, I presume it's a high temp cutoff based on the glass temperature.
 

GetFreshedAquariums

Some do claim to. Not sure how exactly they do that, I presume it's a high temp cutoff based on the glass temperature.
Ok, I didn't know that. They probably just use the same sensors for when its in the water except they don't turn back on once its reached max temp.
 

RSababady

I have discovered something new. I had a Tetra heater (the one that burned out). It did not have the overheat protection. Newer models do, but I decided to by JBL (330W) heaters for my main tank. I find three things interesting with theses JBL heaters:
  1. There is a minimal water level - this is the level that ensures that the thermostat provides the right cut of temperature - i.e. the temperature set on the thermostat. This makes me think that if the level of water goes below the minimum level, then the thermostat will cut off the water temperature at the wrong level (probably too high - oooops). In addition there is a cut off control for the heater overheating - i.e. the thermostat does not work or the heater is not immersed in water when switched on.
  2. The JBL instructions clearly state that the heater is totally submersible to a depth of 100 cm (3 feet), as opposed to the Tetra which claims to be submersible but without clear insight as to how submersible and to what extent.
  3. The JBL instructions recommend that the heater be installed vertically for ease of use, however they also state that the heater can be used in any other position as long as it is not covered by gravel.
Very German if I may - clear cut and straight forward
 

Hill Dweller

Aaaaand don't forget to TURN ON again. Not that I ever forgot that
My 2p ...
Urgh, I did forget once... poor Betta spent a very chilly winter night. Lucky I realised as soon as I woke up because he was all slow-motion which was very out of character for that fierce little action man.
 

Prism

Don't have a heater on my tank at the moment.
I will while winter, buts its ok now. Its getting too hot, instead of cold.

I always turn off filters, and heaters.
Not lights.
 

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