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FAQs about Marine Aquarium Heating 2

Related Articles: Heater Impressions (Reviews) by Steven Pro, Marine System HeatingColdwater SystemsControllers

Related FAQs: Heating 1, Heating 3, & FAQs on: Rationale, Heating Methods/Gear, Heat Controllers (Fans et al.), Measuring/Thermometers, Heating Troubleshooting/Repairs, Makes/Models by Manufacturer, & Chillers, & FAQs on: Fans For Cooling, Chiller Rationale/Use, Selection, DIY, Installation, Maintenance, Troubleshooting, & Water Temperature

Is that over-bright color, too vigorous behavior due to too high temperature?

Temp concern 7/26/05 What is considered a big swing, ( sorry for the dumb question ) temp at current is 77.8 degrees.  A time factor is involved here, Heather.  A five degree swing in eight hours isn't good.  In my opinion, no more than a 5% swing in 24 hours.  Keep in mind, the water temp where our fish come from is relatively stable, there are no swings.  James (Salty Dog)> thanks for the quick response and help :)

Re: temp concern 7/26/05 Thank you James You don't even know how much help you have been. :) Now on to a different question what do you know about the "red footed conch" snail, food, temp  habits, etc. ? Thanks again.  <Heather, do a Google search on the Wet Web Media, keyword, "conches", and go from there.  James (Salty Dog)>                               Heather

Saltwater/Reef temperature 6/2/05 Management of SW reef aquarium temperature in San Diego, CA: I've been reeding WWM, best single hobby information source on the net as far as I can tell!  <Thanks!  Glad you think so.> Anyway, I'm gearing up to do a SW reef tank, taking lots of baby learning steps about the various techniques to run a healthy tank. I have three related questions.  <Kudos on your patience and looking before you leap!> What should I expect the natural temperature swings of an otherwise unregulated tank to be in San Diego?  <This is hard to say, since it depends heavily on your lighting, the temperature that you keep your home, the number of submersible pumps, air movement, etc., as well as how you manage your proposed outdoor sump.> How do these compare to allowable ranges for SW reef tanks, generally.  <IMO, 80-82 is the ideal range, perhaps a bit lower for fish only and a bit higher for reefs.  Avoiding large sudden swings is the most important goal.> Finally, the placement of my aquarium would allow me to build an outdoor sump through a nearby wall, holding approximately 200 gallons.  The appeal is size as well as a convenient way to pop a lid and harvest and dispose of Chaetomorpha.  How concerned should I be that this might turn into a heat exchanger for my aquarium?  Joe Kraska  <An outdoor sump will definitely affect your temperature control strategy, but could be used to your advantage.  In the winter, the sump could be kept covered and well insulated to retain heat and in the summer the insulation and cover could be removed to improve heat dissipation.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

- SW/Reef Temperature, Follow-up - Well, I'm realizing this is a difficult subject to have an opinion on. I guess I was hoping to get a hint about what kind of cooling or heating I might need in San Diego, given the hottest few days in Summer, or the coldest few days in Winter. This part of my house is fairly well insulated, and doesn't swing in temperature as much as it might, because one whole wall is entirely retaining wall against soil, and two other walls are the same at half height. But thinking about this, and when one is running a reef tank, I'd guess that at 5-6 watts per gallon, maybe simply shutting down the fans an the halides might heat the tank sufficiently on those "chilly" outdoor 55 degree days. And if it gets too hot, extra fans can kick on, and perhaps partial lighting shutdown in an emergency? I'm planning on a programmed controller of some kind. Anyway it sufficient to "wing it", at least at first, on temperature control, using fans alone, in this climate, in a well insulated home do you suppose? <Have lived in San Diego, and know first hand that you'll need both a properly sized heater for the tank as well as at the very least fans. If you run high intensity lighting - for instance metal halide - you will almost certainly require a chiller. Most San Diego reefers that I know will not run without a chiller when most homes don't have central air conditioning. Fans often are not quite enough alone to get past the high temperatures of summer.> Joe San Diego, CA <Cheers, J -- >

Buoyant Heater Warning!! Dear Crew, <Paul> I appreciate the great information that you have provided me and now I believe I can contribute some useful information in return. <Okay>  I'd like to caution everyone about using the new aquarium heaters that are made from clear "unbreakable" plastic materials. I acquired one of these heaters that was imported from Italy. The heater I had acquired for my refugium was very buoyant. When its rubber suction cups come loose, the heater floats to the water surface with the bottom end sticking out of the water. The exposure of the heater to air will cause overheating. <Yikes! What a design defect!> Apparently, the heater floated loose when I was away on vacation. When I came home, the heater had overheated and exploded with plastic particles adhering to the walls and ceiling of my refugium cabinet.  <Yeeikes!> Luckily, the GFI circuit had cut power from the heater and from the pumps that circulate water between the refugium and the main tank. Otherwise, I would have had to clean out not only my refugium but also my main tank as well. I hope that this is news you can use. Regards, Paul <Thank you for sending this along. Am glad you had the GFI and that no one was hurt, your place didn't burn down. Bob Fenner>

The heat is turned up! Hi guys, <Hi Joe> I have a 55 gallon tank with 260 watt power compacts, 2 MaxiJets 1200, a Rio 800, and an Eheim 2026 filter. The temperature of my tank peaked at 83 today and then goes down to about 81-82 during the night. I think this is too high of a temp. What can I do to lower the temperature with purchasing a heater? <?>  I have a glass canopy on the tank also. There is usually a nasty film on the surface which won't go away. Can this be causing the heat to be trapped?  <Most definitely>  I read about fans blowing onto the surface but how would I go about doing this. What size fan and how do I install it?  <Do you have a hood? If so, then you need to cut a hole at each end of the hood, one for the fan and the other for exhaust. The 4" box fans they have at Radio Shack will work. > I can't tell if my perculas are false or true?  <They appear false to me, the trues are usually a brighter orange. Go to the Drs Foster & Smith site and go to the live fish area, they have pics there of both. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks <You're welcome> 

The heat is turned up! - II "What can I do to lower the temperature with purchasing a heater. <?> "  I meant chiller not heater. Haha! I have a Coralife pc Aqualight fixture with two fans built in the top. I don't want to cut holes in the fixtures. <I wasn't implying that, Joe, I'm thinking you might have had a wood canopy.>  Is there a way to mount a fan on the side of the tank blowing between the fixture and the glass canopy. The fixture is about 2 inches off of the glass (I have the mounting kit). I am building a acrylic skimmer box and placing a powerhead in it for my AquaC Remora like they sell for 30 bucks. I only paid $ 10 bucks on supplies!  <There is if aesthetics aren't involved. Make a bracket out of acrylic to hang on the side of the tank and cut the fan hole in the acrylic. It should help quite a bit by blowing air over the tank. James (Salty Dog)> 

The heat is turned up! - III I was also thinking about getting one of those SCWDs on my filter return and removing one powerhead. The powerhead I would remove is 295 gph and the filter return is 250. Would this be a bad idea? Again, I want to do everything to lower the temperature without purchasing a chiller. <Joe, as long as you can maintain at least 10x the tank volume in flow rate, I would eliminate the heads you don't need. I would consider removing your glass top as long as you don't have jumpers in the tank. But, if you do that, make sure you have a GFIC on the circuit being used just in case the light fixture decides to go in for a dip.  James (Salty Dog)> 

The heat is turned up! - IV I just installed a GFCI after an occurrence at my friends house when water entered the power strip and almost got me! When you say 10x the tank size you mean 550 gph total an hour?  <Yes Joe, at least 550gph for a 55 gallon tank. James (Salty Dog)> 

Who's Reply to a Heated Question? Who's Replying Now? Thank you for your reply, <Wasn't me! (hehe seen rocket man?)> One question more, can I do more than guess of how much power an aquarium heater uses? <Sure can, because you can bet your electricity provider isn't> I can calculate the filter and light fairly easily. But the heater it doesn't stay all the time soooo...whether it's just one fish tank or a whole fish room with 40 tanks I've heard of pennies a month to 25 cents a day. I know it's a fuzzy question, my house could be colder than this house and varying from a Nevada summer to a Boston winter that could be quite a bit. Maybe some numbers I could crunch, like the average room temp of 70 degrees and a 10 gallon aquarium with a 50 watt heater would be about 2 dollars a month or 50 cents or whatever kilowatt hour that I could then convert to cash? Sorry to ramble on, can you give me a hand? And funny thing - for a fish room with many tanks, some people hype controlling the room's thermostat, some multiple heaters are the cheapest way to go, besides initial cost of buying all those heaters, central filtration aside. Any thoughts? <Determining the cost if it was run constantly is easy - contact your electrical provider and ask them how much they charge per kilowatt hour. Since kilo = 1000, 50 watts would be 1\20th of this quote, every hour. The best way to measure the actual kilowatt hours used (because as you stated, it isn't running constantly) would be to obtain a watt-hour meter, available from a hardware store, or at www.liveaquaria.com (and it's so cutely name the "Kill-a-watt meter). As for determining whether individually heating a tank or using an external air conditioner instead, it all depends on the amount of tanks, the building size, insulation, outside air temperatures, etc. As you can see, the problem with determining the costs will be the variables. I would use the meter on your house provided by your electrical company to determine this. On a small scale operation, individual heaters will be MUCH more economical. By the way, please use proper caps\punctuation when emailing us in the future, as this email will be archived for others to read>  Thanks again as I continue to research, Jonathan <Very interesting question, was fun to answer. For an absolutely great\hilarious book on electricity, I highly recommend 'There are no electrons' by Ken Amdahl> 

Killer Via Aqua Heater! Last night, I went to feed the pods in our refugium and got a shock - literally! You could feel the electricity (pain through your fingers). The culprit - a less than one year old Via Aqua Stainless Steel heater. Rust had leached out of the end cap (a gob about an inch wide) and it was shooting electricity through the sump!!! $100 worth of Copepods we added last week that were flourishing one day earlier were all dead, along with the Amphipods! Luckily the refugium was running off a powerhead and not yet connected to the new tank!!! <Yeeikes!> A few questions: 1) We removed the heater (of course) complete with it's attached "rust ball" and changed the water out. The pods are definitely dead (most floating). The Caulerpa and Chaeto look fine. Do we need to change out the mud substrate before we attach it to the main tank because of the rust and whatever else may have leached out of that <expletive deleted whaa!> piece of junk - Via Aqua heater? <I would leave these as is. More likely than not ferrous metal has "settled out"... I would however add a pad of "PolyFilter" in your filter flow path> 2) Do you know the Via Aqua manufacturer or website (we couldn't find it). Not that it will do any good, but we would like to inform them of this mess. <I do know the company... Commodity Axis: http://www.commodityaxis.com/Home.aspx> 3) We are going to trash our other Via Aqua Stainless heater too and would like to warn your other saltwater readers about this potential disaster waiting to happen!  Thanks in advance! <Please do contact the company, mail them your heaters.... you could very well save other people's lives. Bob Fenner> 
Re: (Killer!) Via Aqua Heater - S/S NOT for Saltwater Use! Hello all. Just to clear something up I read on a post today about the Via Aqua Heater rusting out and giving a shock. The Stainless Steal heater is not for use in Saltwater tanks (in the US). It says so right on the web site, and I would hope it is printed on the box as well. The Titanium heater is for saltwater use. I am not a friend/employee of the company or anything, but I would not want someone to make a decision about purchasing or NOT purchasing this product based on improper usage. Have a good day! <Ah, yes... Bob Fenner> 

Broken heater Dear Crew,  I recently lost a bubble tip anemone and all the mushrooms in my tank as a result of a broken heater in my sump.  The glass was shattered and it was still plugged in so I am sure that I sent an electrical current through my tank.  While I am not positive that this caused the deaths, it is the only thing that changed in my tank.<Sorry John, without a doubt this caused the deaths. I strongly suggest using a GFI where you plug your equipment in to eliminate this possibility in the future.>  Since the anemone died I now have some ammonia in the tank.  I have done a 30% water change and am going to do another 25% tonight.  My question is, could or did the electrical current that killed ( I think) my inverts also kill the bacteria that I need to break down the ammonia?  Should I expect another full blown cycle or should my 1 year old tank with 150lbs of live rock be able to handle the mini cycle I am getting from the die off? <Dave, its hard to say.  I certainly would monitor ammonia levels daily for a while.>FYI my tank is a 110 gallon with a 20 gallon sump.  I use bio balls in the sump. Other filtration (besides the LR mentioned above) comes from a EuroReef CS8-2 skimmer and a Magnum 350 with fresh carbon that I mainly use for extra circulation.  I'm pretty diligent in keeping the Magnum clean.  I like the extra flow and it is a convenient way to use carbon. <David, can I suggest using Chemi-Pure rather than carbon?  I've done some tests on carbon relating to excessive algae growth due to the phosphates present in activated carbons (especially coconut shell carbon). I have found that Chemi-Pure has the least effect.  It also creates a crystal clear blue/white water along with other benefits.> there are 4 150 GPH powerheads in the tank, and my main pump runs at 800 GPH. Altogether the flow is about 1750 GPH.  Lighting comes from 4 110watt VHO's and a 260 watt PC.  Finally, I also have about 2" of live sand on the bottom of the tank.  All rock and sand has been in the tank for at least 12 mos. <Good luck with your problem Dave.  James (Salty Dog) Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

Heater Question Hello, Even the best heaters on the market claim a +/- 1 degree F resolution. For example, Ebo Jager is +/- 0.5 C, or +/- 1 F. The Won Brothers Pro Heat II heater also has the same resolution. Thus, the heater should hold the temperature to within a 2 degree range. Now, most reef experts say that a tank's temperature should not vary more than 1-2 degrees in a day, or things are getting dangerous. However, even the better heaters only barely meet the high end of that recommendation. Therefore, my question is: How can this recommendation be right? Shouldn't the recommendation be "The time-averaged temperature shouldn't vary more than 1-2 degrees in a day"? Because if you consider a moving average of the tank temperature over a period of about 3 hours, the temperature certainly stays within a 1 degree range 24/7.<Jonathan, your correct in your thinking.  No need to worry.  James (Salty Dog) P.S. Sorry for the complicated and question Thanks, Jonathan Cox

Heating an aquarium? - 11/17/04 So, my tank is 55 gallons, the sump is in three compartments, 1st is the skimmer part (kind of the actual sump) about 10 gallons, the next is the refugium about 10 gallons, next is the exit out to the main tank with a pump about 3 gallons.  Anyway, I have put the heater in the refugium part (ok?) now, <Should be fine. Curious as to why you would think it shouldn't be placed there?> should this heater be 200 watts or only 50 watts cause its in only a 10 gallon area? <Is the heater responsible for heating the total of all gallons in the aquarium? From what I can tell you have a 55 gallon tank with another 23 or so underneath, correct? So, now you need to ask yourself is this heater to heat the entire volume of the tank? If the answer is yes, then you need about 5 watts (my personal preference) per gallon. So in your case, you would need to heat 75 gallons (I rounded the numbers a bit), so 75 gallons times 5 watts per gallon equals 375 watts of heater to efficiently heat 75 gallons of water. Understand where I came up with the numbers here?>  And would 200watts be too much for a 10 gallon area. <If a heater works properly it would be fine. However, if the thermostat were to malfunction it would easily overheat the tank in a very short amount of time.>  Would the heater heat that area too hot for a refugium and its Chaetomorpha and worms and such? <See above answers.> I have a euro reef skimmer and it recommends that is should be 6-8" of water, what if I have say 9-10" would it not work well. <Not sure what you are asking> Also, how high should the intake pipe be, to the top of the container, or up into the neck? I should probably ask euro reef, huh? <I do think that would be a better place to ask as I am slightly unfamiliar with their product. Plus, why wouldn't you want tech help from the manufacturer first? In any event, I hope I was able to help shed some light on your issue and help you gain some understanding regarding heating an aquarium. Thanks for participating in the greatest underwater community....WetWebMedia. ~Paul> anyway Thanks Mark

Thermal question I am moving to topsail, NC....however, there is no place for my tank in this person's house....he does, however, have a downstairs that is not insulated.....would it be possible, if I spent the right kind of money (but not too much), to keep it down there for about two months....I am assuming it would not be that hard to heat?  I could buy 3 or 4 heaters for the tank....a digital thermometer....would it even be possible?  any advice or suggestions would be great..... <Actually, most places in NC aren't "that" cold. Should be able to get by with five or so watts per gallon... if it were mine, I'd also stock a "thermal blanket" (such as those sold for water heaters) to aid in insulation. Bob Fenner>

Re: Thermal question I was thinking of putting 3 nice heaters in the tank....putting one on 78, one on 76, and one on 74... and purchasing a digital thermometer.... any particular brands you suggest for heaters? <Ebo-Jager and the new Aquarium Systems products. Bob Fenner>

Ebo-Jager & Eheim Hey Bob!  I was having a discussion with some people about heaters and naturally the subject of Ebo-Jager came up.  They were my favorite heater until a year or so ago.  The design changed and I also got a bad case of them, four of the 24 250 watt units I purchased were defective right out of the box.  Anyhow, I mentioned that I hoped one day soon someone like Tunze or Eheim would make and market a titanium heater and this other guy said he thought Eheim made Ebo-Jager.  I had never heard this and wanted to ask you.  I didn't find an Ebo-Jager website, but Eheim's does not mention Ebo-Jager at all and the few Ebo-Jager heaters I have laying around don't say anything about Eheim on them either. <Hello Steven! Do know the company traded hands a year or two back... but I don't think it's part of Eheim... not listed as their products... and am out in HI currently, otherwise I'd look up in one of the Buyer's Guides who to contact, call and ask. Bob Fenner> <<Oh, Gwen Loiselle has just told me that Eheim does indeed own Ebo!>>

- Heater Placement - Hi Crew.. Being the summer months, this may be a strange time to ask about heating, but I was wondering if I could move my in-the-tank submersible heater inside of my Remora skimmer (the last chamber) without any problems. Has anyone heard of this being done? <I have heard of it, yes. You can do this, but you do want to check from time to time to make sure the heater's suction cups haven't come free and the heater element is resting against the acrylic side walls. As you might guess, a problem like that could cause big trouble.> I have a 40gal tall zoo/shroom garden and want to eliminate as much clutter from the tank as possible. It's a beautifully simple setup on a custom pedestal stand, so adding a sump is not an option.. Thanks in advance once again!. ~Blair <Cheers, J -- > <<RMF would NOT do this... too likely to have troubles should the water pump fail in the skimmer...>>

Reef tank Hots, or Not so Hot Hi Bob <Gary> I have a short question with regards to the best temperature to keep a Reef tank at.  So many people say different things.  I have both Corals and Fish in my tank and I all seems to be fine, but I would like to know if my temperature that I have my tank at is correct.  I currently have the water at 75.2F.  Some people say that this is to low.  What would you say. Hope to hear from you soon. Kind regards Gary <This is actually quite a "challenging" question. You and I have heard much higher temperatures recommended for general reef set-ups... some folks advocate mid eighties F and there are proponents of even warmer water! I am much more akin to suggest moderation here... and can present the principal advantages to both ends of the spectrum. At higher temps. most all life (fishes, invertebrates, algae, vascular plants...) that folks keep does grow faster (not always better however), looks more "vibrant" is more active... at lower temperatures the opposite of the previous is so... but "things" that go "wrong" do so much more slowly at reduced metabolic rates, livestock lives longer, tanks are easier to maintain... Sorry for going on and on... the short answer is I would/do keep my tanks in the mid to upper 70's F. Bob Fenner>

- Setting Dual Heater/Chiller Controller - How are you Gents... <Fine, thank you.> Thanks for reading... question is regarding my temp control. I have a pacific coast chiller 1/4 HP with its own built in digital temp control... and my 500 watt Gen x titanium heater also with its own temp control (dial) the heater also has a temp probe that is supposed to be submersed... I want to hook both of these units up to my 3 digit dual stage medusa controller... my question is since all items have their own temp control built in what do I set each one on... <Set the heater and chiller to full on, and let the medusa regulate between the two. Alternatively - and especially if you want a margin of error - set the heater just below the low point on your Medusa, and set the chiller to just above the high point of the Medusa, and this way if the Medusa fails, you won't be without heating or chilling.> and also being that the medusa has a temp probe to be submersed do I need to use the one on the heater...? <Either way, and especially if you want the heater to "work", then yes, all temperature probes should be in the water.> thanks for your time guys.... <Cheers, J -- >

Heater Question hi, I was wondering what sort of watts for my heater should I be getting for my 4 ft tank? <Hi, Ryan with you.  I'd recommend at least 3-4 watts per gallon of water in your aquarium, although with more flow, I'd recommend 5 watts per gallon.  If you use a sump, don't forget to factor that in to the total water volume!  Good luck, Ryan> thanks

Is it me, or is it getting WARM in here? >Hi, hope all is going well there.  >>Well enough, thank you. Hope all is well with you. >I have a question about heating. I have a 75 gallon SW FO tank. I am currently using one 300 watt submersible Ebo-Jager heater which seems to be doing fine.  >>Good thing. Know that they are known to get stuck in the on position, poached fish can be the end result, especially at 4W/gallon. >I recently read an article in a magazine that suggested that in larger tanks 2 smaller heaters should be used (1 on each side of the tank) to have heat distributed more evenly.  >>This is only one reason to split heating duties, but no less valid than any others.  >Is this really necessary for a healthy tank? >>It depends on whether or not you've had a heater either go out completely or get stuck on. >It seems with 2 smaller heaters that the length of the heater would not extend far enough down in the tank to do a good job.  >>I thought you said you use a submersible. The best manner of setting up a submersible is horizontally, low down in the tank so as to make use of that nifty little property of heated substances - they rise. This is actually a method of circulation for many folks with planted systems (under-gravel or under-tank heaters). >Please let me know what you think. Thanks, James >>I've always much preferred to split heating duties. The chances of one heater going bad are more likely than both heaters going bad. If one gets stuck on, and it's not sufficient wattage to get the tank warm enough to poach, then the other remaining shut off will save the day. Vice versa also works, because one heater should be able to keep the water just warm enough. So, my method is to create a situation where I've got two heaters totaling no more than 4W/gallon (2W/gallon each). I will situation them far from each other, for instance, one in the main and one in the sump (if there is one present), then start calibrating and set the temperature where I want it. It is by no means *absolutely* necessary, but as I said, if you've ever had a heater disaster, it seems a small inconvenience compared to the possible losses. Marina

Is it WARM in here? Hold up a minute there, mate.. >Thanks for your advice.  >>Most welcome. >You recommended 4 watts per gallon.  >>No, no. I recommend no MORE than 4 watts/gallon. I'd go with 2-3 watts/gallon, or you run a real risk of cookage.  >In a 75 gallon tank, do I figure the whole 75, or about 65 because of rocks and substrate taking up space? Thanks again, James >>Figure according to real water volume. If displacement accounts for a total loss of about ten gallons, then I'd go with a total wattage of 130W-195W (or, for practicality purposes, 150W-200W total), UNLESS! Unless you live in a very cold climate (Oh, Canada!), like the Arctic, or the Antarctic, or Maine. Marina 

Marine Set-up Questions Thanks for the advice on drilling my tank. I got my wet dry set up and running. I got a few questions that I couldn't find in the FAQs. My first question, are there any advantages/disadvantages to placing the heater in the tank or in the sump? <The tank provides more steady, evenly dispersed heating... and is a real bonus location should the pump/circulation mechanism to/through the sump fail... But heater/s in the sump are far less conspicuous and less-easily broken> Second, I want to use diatomaceous earth in my aquarium. Should I buy the swimming pool or food grade? <Mmm, you don't want to "add" DE to your tank... perhaps for use in a designated filter... either source will work for this> And finally, I probably need to replace my compact fluorescents (it's been about 6 months).  Are there any differences between the various brands for the bulbs?  <Some... best to chat over this issue with folks on the various marine aquarium BB's> I noticed some people selling no brand name bulbs on eBay which are even cheaper than www.thatfishplace.com or any of the LFS. Thanks for your help. Thomas <Yes... worth investigating here. Lamps are actually made by very few companies on this planet... and relabeled by many others. Bob Fenner>

Saltwater Pond in SoCal? Dear WWM Crew,  <Sean>  First, and foremost, thank you for staffing such an incredibly informative site! Between WWM and ReefCentral I've been able to answer countless questions over the past three years that would still be mysteries without you... On to the topic -- I'm evaluating the feasibility of adding a saltwater pond to the 1000+ Gal reef system I am in the process of installing.  The indoor portion of this system will consist of a 575 Gal display tank in my office, and approx 500 Gal of refugium/grow out/sump volume. The pond I am considering is roughly 12' x 8' x 4' deep, or ~3000 Gal. The two would be plumbed together via the 200 Gal sump.  <Okay>  The display will have roughly 6500 GPH of flow, and I was planning on the same amount of flow to the pond/lagoon via a separate pump. My idea is to keep SPS coral in the display, and run the lagoon as a large FOWLR section of the system.  <So far...>  My area of greatest concern is around temperature.  After researching this for the past two months it seems that a gas fired heater and heat exchanger would be the most economical way to keep the system warm in the winter months. Unfortunately, I am having trouble sizing this. These systems are rated in BTU/hr, but I can't gauge my requirement without local (to SoCal)  pond anecdotes on temp in Koi/Shark setups... specifically, I'm curious to know what fluctuations folks experience in their ponds that are NOT heated/cooled. I've found a good deal of information on your site, but no specifics as to average seasonal  pond temps in this region.  <And so a bit more info. on historical temps in the area would help... but a rough guess... 100-200 BTUs... There may well be a better long-term thermal regulation mechanism in the way of plumbing a recirculation line through a line that would through an exchanger and your gas-fired water heater... with a thermostatic mechanism to set the temperature. Bob Fenner>  Any help you can provide in that area would be GREATLY appreciated.  Regards, Sean

Heating Questions (4/1/2004)  Hi Bob, I'm setting up a 120 gal fish only tank and want to buy a titanium heater.  <Michael here. Titanium heaters are great for durability>  How many watts per gallon do I need for this tank with this type of heater. I have read conflicting information regarding these heaters. One web site said that these heater's get very hot and can stay on longer than glass heaters so you only need 2 watts per gallon. This seems very low. I was thinking of buying the 300 or 350 watt heater. I live in Minnesota and keep the house around 70F year round.  <3-5 WPG is general rule of thumb, 2 is a little low. 350 should work fine for you, just set the dial to the desired temperature. 70F ambient temperature won't put a massive load on the heater>  I will also be using a 260 watt power compact light about 3-4 inches above the tank with an egg crate covering the tank instead of a glass top, I can't stand the lime build up on the glass tops. <Never thought of that...wonder if the evaporation would increase> Thanks for the help, Larry from the frozen tundra.  <Nice and sunny here! M. Maddox>

More on heaters (4/2/2004)  Thanks for our prompt reply, <Anytime> I have a few more questions about heaters. I checked out the pro heat titanium heaters at the usual mail order company I do business with and they have stopped carrying them do to many returns and customer complaints. Have you heard of any problems with them? <Haven't used them personally, but I haven't heard of any problems. Might want to ask in the WWM or reefcentral forums to get a consensus> I checked with other mail order stores and they have reported no such problems. If there are problems with these titanium heaters I may buy the Silica power glass heaters with an IC controller made by Azoo. They come in 300 and 500 watts. Have you heard of these heaters <no personal experience with this brand either, though I have had good luck with Aquarium Systems Visi-Therm and Ebo-Jager heaters> and would the 500 watt heater be too much for my 120 gal or should I go with the 300 watt. <If they have a temperature control dial then they shouldn't be too hot unless it malfunctioned and got stuck in the "on" position> I will not be using a sump for at least 1 year and my tank top will be an egg crate. Thanks again, Larry, defrosting in Minnesota.  <Hope I helped. M. Maddox, sweating in his tank induced warm, humid bedroom>

DOH!  Well, Now Ya Know!  >Another difficult question for you (sorry), I took my heater out of my pre-mixed water for a minute and put it back in while it was plugged in. >>Doh!  <smacks forehead>  Well, when we do it (and many do), we only do it ONCE.  Now you know.  ;) >I noticed that the heater light wasn't turning off and the water was cold so I took it out and noticed that the glass was broken at the bottom and the wires were exposed. I am now replacing with a titanium one. >>Cool. >My question is, is my water still ok? Nothing to leak out of the heater, i.e. mercury or various metals etc? Thanks in advance. >>Should be, but filtering through fresh (and well-rinsed) carbon and/or PolyFilter (brand name) would eliminate most all concerns.  I don't think there's anything that would be of any real worry.  Glad you didn't get shocked!  Marina

- Light and Heat - Hello WWM crew. First off thank you for all the great advice over the past year. Depending on who is reading this you may or may not recognize the email address. I have finally completed the exodus of my 7 gallon "Nano" to a 34 gallon tank, with a 10 gallon refugium. I set up my 34 gallon tank about a month ago. I moved all my inhabitants from a 7, and a 10 gallon tank to much roomier confines, this past weekend (little over 3 week cycle time). NH4- 0, NO3- 0, NO4- 0. PH- 8.2, SPG- 1.025. The dimensions of the tank are 20"L, 19"W, and 23"Deep. Almost a Cube. I run a Emperor 280 for Mechanical filtration, a protein skimmer (Cant remember the brand, I bought it 4 years ago, but its a good one.. spent $225 on it, the label has since worn.) I get good amounts of "gunk". Its a hang on, I really don't have room for a sump. I have one Rio 600, and one Rio 200 Power head for current, They along with the skimmer out, and the filter out provide good current, but I would not say that the Current is super strong. I live in Fresno California, so the winters here are cold ant the summer hot. Temperature regulation on my smaller tanks was easy. This one though is seeming a little harder. I keep my heaters set at about 80 degrees F. this is due to the higher summer temps. easier to heat than to cool. I added a 175 Metal Halide to the 2 32w PC's I already had. my Hood is open in the back, and there seems to be good air flow for the hot air to release. I started running the PC's 1 hour before turning on the Halide and leaving them on 1 Hour after turning off the Halide with the Halide being on for 11 hours. with the PC's on the entire 13 hours. <That's a lot of light.> in the morning when before the lights come on I am at 80 degrees. But right around when its time for the Halides to go off I have noticed getting temps at 84 degrees. with the following critters would I be best only to run the halides for say 8 hours? <Or perhaps even less.> and the Pc's 13 hours? <I wouldn't light any more than 12 hours.> I don't have the money for a chiller. The halide is 8" from the water surface, there is no glass cover, and the compacts are 6" from water surface. Its a 12k Halide, would a 10k put off less heat? <Probably not.> would it still be enough of the "right" kind of light? 1 LT anemone (had one year, and its the centerpiece of the tank 2 Ocellaris Clowns (I think mated since they share the anemone with out any fuss) 1 Toadstool a few small rocks with various Ricordea Mushrooms 2 frags of xenia (5-6 small stalks), small frag 2" diameter green star polyps Fairly good size 5" diameter pipe organ coral Clean up crew of snails and crabs Coral Banded Shrimp Camel shrimp all but the xenia, star polyps and some of the mushrooms have been in my tanks for at least 6-8 months. I have not seen any real health change with the rising temp, but its only been about 5 days. <You are on the edge of trouble - a couple of degrees more and you will see the effects.> The xenia seems to retract at the end of the day, but not until the last hour or so. and the anemone also recedes a little, but it always did that at the end of the day, he only closes up completely about once ever couple months (I think this is due to a couple day lapse in water changes by my part, I usually do them about every 10 days... if I wait more than 14 he tells me its time..:) Basically is a four degree flux as bad as I have heard from some people? <It's not in your or your tank's best interest.> and is 84 really to hot? <It is about as hot as is practical - much more than this and you will start to lose livestock.> would a decrease in Halide time give enough light for my corals and still reduce temps? <You'll have to try and see... halide lighting over tanks of this size tend to heat the tank no matter what. You might want to experiment with some well-placed fans blowing over the tank or sump's surface to see if you can bring the temperature down.> one last thing, My Girlfriend has just gotten into the hobby she absolutely Loves Ostracion cubicus, or yellow boxfish. We found one at the LFS last night and put it into a 20 Gallon tank that has been Cycling since before Xmas. Right now its the only inhabitant, (damsels went back). its about an inch long. if that. LFS had him for about 3 weeks, and he is very active in his new digs. My worry is his size. I told her that he gets big, and the LFS told her it would take at least 2 years to outgrow the 20 gallon... is this true? <Depends on how much it is fed.> If so that's ok, because by then I will have a nice big tank for him. at least a 175. I am using an Emperor 280 filter that was on a tank recently broken down... (never stopped using actually. there is some macro algae on it and he seems to be munching on it with fervor. The LFS told us he has been eating Mysis. What would you suggest he be fed? <Mysis... really anything meaty is preferred - if it eats algae, that's not a bad thing.> She is going make the Tank into a FOWLR system, are there if any tank mates she could add in the future until he outgrows the tank? like grammas? gobies? firefish? starfish? shrimp? <I wouldn't add more than one fish from this list - the shrimp will likely become food.> thanks again Aaron <Cheers, J -- >

Heat Problems (12-9-03) I have a 150 gallon tank with live rock/live sand, which I set-up a month ago. I have MH and VHO's (which are not running yet). I have a CPR 294 with 2 Protein Skimmers and 2 RIO 1400 Pumps. I'm using a Velocity T4 Return Pump. In addition, I have a 57W UV (not running). Heaters are not plugged in.  I have 3 4" fans pushing air out the closet (in-wall tank). The temp will not go below 82.5. I don't want to buy a chiller. Would moving the filtration to the basement (directly 8 feet below) allow the temp to cool a bit?<This may help but I doubt it would be worth the trouble.  What type of lighting are you using and also how far from the water is it.  You should be able to get away with this temp as long as it doesn't go any higher.> Also, If I add a refugium to my set-up, and then I get a Clown Trigger (small), Radiata Lion Fish (small), Eel (small), and panda puffer (small), do you expect any problems with my set-up? (Except for the current heat issue?)<You should be ok depending on what type of eel you get.  I would recommend either a snowflake or a zebra as they are smaller than most others.  The puffer and trigger also will need a bigger tank in down the road a ways.  Cody>

- Ich & Kerosene Heaters - Hi. Two questions, if you have the time. I have recently set up a new salt water tank, going great, except for some ich.  I got a cleaner shrimp and he seems to be keeping it under control. I want to try this before I catch all the fish and return them to the QT, and let the system go fallow. Is this ok? <In the interim, sure... but there's really no guarantee that the cleaner shrimp will actually keep things under control. In the long run you very well may end up fallowing the tank.> I really do not want to resort to chemicals if I don't have to. <I don't blame you, but this may be what's necessary if the fish go back to quarantine.> I have not done any fresh water dips as of yet.  I am not sure how to raise the pH to 8.3. <Baking soda.> My fresh water pH adjuster can only get it to 8.0 and then not for long.  Beside I have no idea what the chemicals that raise the PH will do to the fish.  Only two fish have a couple of spots on them and they keep going over to the shrimp. He is not eating all the white spots but spends a lot of time on the gills. Neat to watch. They are not breathing rapidly or acting strange such as darting, scratching, or hiding, they eat well.  I am not sure what made the ich appear. <Hmm... under the worst-case-scenario, the parasites have dropped off to breed in your sand bed. They'll be back.> I have no temp fluctuations as I use two heaters it is always 78F day or night even if the basement gets cool. Ph 8.3, alk high (I know get a better test for that), ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, calcium?, LFS is having trouble getting this test kit for some reason.   I did quarantine each fish for 4 weeks, and let the tank cycle for 6 weeks with 45 lbs of live rock, before I added my first inverts and corals.  Anyway I read your ich pages.  I am a little confused, some say let the system go fallow, and others recommend what I am doing. <Personally, I think cleaner shrimp can get overwhelmed, not be able to get everything and the problem blows out into epidemic proportions. Do keep an eye on things and keep that quarantine tank ready to go.> Lots of opinions about it though. <It will always be thus.> The big question though is this.  I heat my basement (this were I keep the tank) with a kerosene heater, as it is much cheaper than running my electric baseboard heaters. Is there a danger in this, and if there is, what is it, and what should I look out for? <Egads, there is most certainly a danger of primarily carbon monoxide which can kill you. It has no odor and can build up in an enclosed space like a basement. If I'm not mistaken, kerosene heaters aren't meant to be used in enclosed spaces. There are other toxic byproducts of combustion that should be worried about, but those will only make you sick - CO will kill you. So yeah... there are issues with using this in your basement not just for your fish but for you as well.> Is there a test kit I should be using? <There are electronic CO detectors, I would plug in at least one of these.> I cannot afford to upgrade my whole house heat as that will run into the thousands of dollars, last quote I got was 8 grand and some change. <Then get some big heaters for your tank.> Thank you very much in advance Craig B. P.S.  Is there a web site where I can download a log book designed for salt water tanks? To use with Word. <I've not seen any products like this, but I'll refer you to Aquarium Journals who makes a log book for keeping track of such stuff. http://www.aquariumjournals.com Cheers, J -- >

- Heat Solution in Event of Power Loss - Just a quick suggestion. <Sure.> During loss of power (electric), aquarist loose the heater function... my suggestion is to use hot water bottles...(Rubbermaid one's)... stick em in the tank... this should work right..? <At least for a little while, but if the hot water is generated by electricity then there would be trouble. It's a good suggestion, but I also suggest wrapping the tank in blankets to help slow the heat loss in the first place.> Jess <Cheers, J -- >

- Heater Problems - I was wondering if any of you have had any experience with the titanium heaters that are digitally controlled. <Yes, I have one on my fish tank, but not  Rena Cal.> I've got a 300 watt Rena Cal excel in a 90 gallon FOWLR tank. Here is the dilemma, I've had some temp issues and some could be based on my heater. Two nights ago I came in from work and the tank had jumped up to 84. My wife had turned the heat up in the house way to high, but what gets me is the fact that the heater is set at 78 and it was on when the tank was reading 84. This morning the temp is at 76.4 and guess what, the heater is not on. What's the deal with this? <Could you be mistaking the power light for the 'on' light? My heater has two - green for power, and red to indicate when the heater is heating.> Could I possibly get better performance out of something like a 500 watt digitally controlled titanium unit? <Hard to say - don't know that a lack of wattage is the issue here. Need to keep an eye on it for sure. Cheers, J -- >

In The Dark (Fish Response To Sudden Darkness) Heya guys...Scott F. thank you for all your recent help regarding chiller and canary wrasse etc etc.... LIFE SAVER. <Glad to be of service!> You haven't heard from me in quite a while.. I hope things are doing well. <They sure are, and it's nice to hear from you again! Scott F. back with you!> My problem (if one at all) is that my newly introduced (after a stay in QT) yellow tang (2")is acting a fair bit skittish after main MH light goes out and leaves the two actinic fluor's on. To put it simply (sorry I'm very, very tired), he is acting normal when all the lights are on (MH + actinics), swimming normally so and so forth. But as soon as the MH goes off he is pacing up and down very fast. Zipping in and out of everything he can find (not scratching or anything the likes off *touch wood*... haha) like he has had a dozen cups of black coffee. <I've seen this behavior before in tangs and fairy wrasses. It's kind of unnerving to see!> Other tank occupants are 2 canary wrasses, 1 ocellaris, 1 fire goby, and the yellow tang. Water parameters are excellent amm nitrite nitrate 0 ph 8.4 temp 24.9-25.2 deg C no more no less salinity 1.022 kH 5meq/l calcium 420ppm Constant Poly Filter and carbon use (wow what great stuff) <Yep-I wouldn't run a tank without them!> actinics are on at 10 am MH on at 12 noon MH off at 8pm actinics off at 10pm Tank is 40G +15G sump but am upgrading very soon... Lovely HUGE skimmer producing around a cup of DARK smelly gunk a day... go Australian made!!:-) <Oy! Oy! If it cranks out dark gunk- it's a winner in my book!> I hope that I haven't missed anything. <I think that you hit all of the parameters. Everything seems to be in line. What you are likely seeing is simply a fright reaction on the part of the fish from being plunged into darkness after a day of full intensity light. This would never happen in nature. I guess if you put yourself in the fish's place, you can understand what this must be like for them...Of course, it's probably an individual thing...Some fishes simply can adapt to this dramatic change better than others...I guess a possible way to overcome this would be to be to employ some lower wattage fluorescents (like actinics or blue tinted NO bulbs) to provide a little "twilight" time for the fish before complete darkness. Not a perfect system, but something that is worth a shot. Perhaps, in time, the fish could be "weaned" from the "twilight", but only time will tell...Give it a shot! Regards, Scott F.> any ideas.. suggestions. person experiences... or anything at all thanks very much for a simply wonderful site.. I couldn't get by a day w/o it almost :-) keep up the good work all help greatly appreciated.. Garth.. from Australia down under! P.S recently bought a Tronic heater (Hagen).. and all I can say is wow.. I am so very impressed. I have used many heaters before. from Ebo's to Chinese rubbish.. and these are the most accurate I have ever used.. just passing it on.. great heater.

Learning how to help yourself - using 'Net search tools 10/5/03 (AKA Anthony sounds off again <G>) Hi guys. I was hoping that someone might be able to shed some light on a forum topic that no one seems to quite know for sure. EBO-JAGER HEATER TS 150 WATT are they totally submersible or not? I know it is a simple question but I and a few of the other fellows on the forum are not sure. I will add though that one of the experienced people on the site has told me they are and I'm leaning to that side of the fence (so to speak). Thank you.  Cheers. Mike <Mike... I almost want to apologize for seeming brusque. But, I'm not going to... and I may well be, with the hope of using your FAQ to help you (and others) to take just a moment of thought to learn how to help yourself. I take it from your intelligent tone and language that you are an adult. You also have a disclaimer in the sig of your message that bears the mark of an adult user. To the point, you ask a simple question and indicate that you've had a discussion at some length on the forums. You now query us and are willing to wait for a reply on a consumer product. Did it not cross your mind to simply use any of the dozens of internet search tools (Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc) to find the manufacturer's site or any one of their legitimate vendors to answer your question immediately and authoritatively? Rather than waiting for an enabling reply from us... or novices on the forums bantering back and forth. Let me assure you, I'm not miffed with you or anybody that transgresses so... just simply dumbstruck that competent computer users that know how to tie their own shoes and feed themselves will pass the google search tool on our page with the link to e-mail us rather than help themselves. In this case... I got the answer (yes - submersible) in 3 seconds... two of which it took me to type the words "Ebo-Jager TS heater" with three fingers. Some people would say queries like this are folks begging to be spoon fed. Others would say that the reputation for WWM to return fast replies is an enabling vehicle for such behavior. Others still would say that I smell strongly of garlic at times. All three of those things may well be true. For me, I shall pray that I learn more patience in time. For you, I have every hope that you succeed in operating your trouser zipper without injury for a lifetime. In shared admiration of the sea. Anthony>

Graceful reply from a student of life 10/7/03 Anthony... I wanted to apologize for the simple question....But as well, I am not going to. <no need to my friend. Really just a matter of helping you/yourself to help yourself> I will though thank you for your clear concise answer to my simple question in the end. <grazie> Over the last 6-8 months of researching and Google searching and contacting manufactures, I have found some things are simply asked, but one may fear the repercussions of such simple questions because of the personal opinions one must have to sort out. <'tis very true... and happens with nearly all Net resources including our own here of course. When researching, we can temper this by gathering up enough opinions (assuming an authoritative answer is not available from the source/author/manufacturer, etc)... and simply make an informed decision based on an intelligent consensus. This will usually level out the influence of opinion in most matters> I know that in most cases there are no hard, steadfast, black and white answers for most things except for what seems to be working consistently in long term by others. <true with many aspects of our hobby/trade... there are many ways to skin a catfish, so-to-speak> I am confident that these Ebo-Jager's are entirely submersible. <yes... as per the manufacturers statement> But with that, I know that others are not (at least not until now and I will get over the spanking I have received in asking this). I look to all of you at WWM as my sole teacher <truly flattering, in all sincerity, but let me encourage you to always consider other sources for perspective too to make your decision based on the consensus> from all the research I have done, I have found yours to be the most consistent and well delivered. <thanks kindly... it is a collective hope/aspiration> As I speak from personal experience, out of all the equipment assigned to a given task in an aquarium or any water related activity, the heater is the primary instrument that could potentially bite back. Even with a GFI. I have been told by people that have not given me any reason to trust them <hmmm... this is another "not so unclear" aspect of application. GFIs are life-saving and necessary. It is a matter of physics and statistical fact. And short of the inevitable and rare QC defects of mass production (fractions of a percent)... a properly installed GFI does exactly what it promises> other than the fact that they want to sell me something that the Ebo's are submersible, but most were a little unsure of the max line marking. <good point... and one to actually heed in fact. Regardless of any mfg claim that such instruments are fully submersible or not... you can help yourself and extend the working life of the product by installing it such that the epoxy sealed cap is slightly above water (reducing wear on the product)> I wanted to ask you this question because yours is the bottom line answer I trust. Anthony, I can tell by the initial response (and others of yours that I have read) that you do at times get frustrated and I feel for you at times. But this question was important to me. Thanks again.....I do appreciate everything all you guys do. Mike <and I truly appreciate your grace and understanding in response my friend. Indeed... we do get frustrated... or for me, rather, disappointed seeing intelligent and competent folks blessed with skills and resources that they do not use. A matter of unrealized potential in man. Indeed, it is too lofty of a philosophy to apply to most (all) queries/concerns that we handle... yet it slips through at times. Wishing you peace and long life. Anthony>

Sump design spec.s, heater, sand Hi, Am building a 125 gal. reef with 55 gal sump below, will divide sump into 3 chambers, first area for water to drain into and skim, 2nd area for my live sand bed, 3rd for return pump and heater. What height should my baffles be, 1/2 of tank height ?<As tall as you can make them, and still leaving enough room in the sump to hold all of the H2O if the power fails,  Should they be different heights? Remember some skimmers (Euro Reefs) require a certain set height on the baffle to maintain a perfect running height in the skimmer> I'm assuming the distance apart should be #1- wide enough to accommodate skimmer and pipe comin in, #2 As wide as possible for sand area, # 3 wide enough for the heater and the return pump.<Correct> What wattage heater can you recommend?<depends on how cold your ambient winter temp will be in the house and how fast your water is moving, 200 watt should be more than enough> Should my thermometer be in heater<Separate is better> (#3) chamber<In the last chamber> or in display tank?<no> The main tank will have a 1/2 live/1/2 regular sand bed with live rock, can I do the 1/2 and 1/2 sand for sump or does it need to be all live sand?<1/2 & 1/2 will be fine for both. Eric> Thanks, Louie

-Mounting fans in canopy- Dear Crew I just received my MH/PC retrofit. I also bought 2 Ice Cap fans.  My question is this: What is the best way to place them?  One at each end of the fixture? Across from each other?  What? <One on each of the long ends, one blowing in, one blowing out. Good luck with your new lights, and enjoy the new found heat! -Kevin> Marion

Heater selection - 9/9/03 Hey everyone, <Hi> Any recommendations for submersible heaters?  I had the Pro-heat Titanium or the Ebo-Jager in mind, but they both seem to have negative reviews. <Either is a fine choice. We use the Visi-Therm at the Monterey Bay Aquarium as well as the two you state above. I personally use Ebo Jaeger on 5 different tanks!>  Are there any other manufactures that u could recommend? <I think the three mentioned above are more than adequate.>  Thanks again for everything. <Our pleasure. -Paul> Jeremy Pineville, LA

-Fried heater- Hi,  I am hoping for some advice.  I had a catastrophe happen today.  My lights flickered and I heard a popping noise and then saw smoke.  The heater in my 38 gallon salt water aquarium blew up. <Ouch, never fun.> It broke the glass cover and came apart in the tank. <Is your plug a GFI? If not you may want to either change the plug to one or buy one that plugs in. These devices will shut down the circuit if it suddenly draws too much current, like when a heater fries. Check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gfcimarines.htm for more info.> I believe all my fish are dead.  They're laying on their sides gasping.  My question is, would this electrocution kill the coral and live  invertebrates as well?  And how do I tell? <If something dies it should be exceedingly apparent, the tissue will peel off, it may turn black and necrotic, I suppose it would depend on what's dying. This was not a good situation for the inverts either so you may have more loss.> Also, before buying new fish, do I need to wait a certain amount of time,  and do anything to the water? Do I need to replace the gravel or rock? <Do a large (50%+) water change.> Are there toxic substances inside the heater that may have been released into the water? <Absolutely, run a few Polyfilters.> I read a post about a broken thermometer, but I didn't see anything about electrocution of the salt water.  This was terrible.  I purchased a new heater and cover.  The man at my local fish store was busy and didn't have time to help me out. I would be ever so grateful for any help you can give me.  I am just sick over this. <You're lucky you were home, this could have started a fire. Good luck, and check out GFI's. -Kevin>   Thanks,  Julie

- Fried Heater Follow-up - Thanks,  I already have a GFI's in my house. <But was your tank plugged into it? Having them 'in the house' is of little use unless it is house wide, or you are directly plugged into it.> But, some good news,  my fish didn't die. <Ahh, good.> They, I guess, were stressed, I replaced the bacteria and made sure all my levels were ok, and during the night they got up and started swimming!!! I'm glad I didn't flush them.  Just in case any else ever asks. But thanks, Julie <Cheers, J -- >

- Dante's Inferno - Hey Crew, <Hello, JasonC here...> I have a 150 gal reef tank and I need a little help from the masters. My tank gets really hot when the lights come on (has reached 90 degrees). I am running 2 96 watt actinic and 2 96 watt (10000 k) day lights.  I have found that opening my canopy helps greatly but the parental units say that it is too unsightly. Any ideas about a cooling method? <Blowing a fan across the surface of the water in addition to a fan or two in the canopy that would evacuate the hot air out of the canopy... those should help considerably.> I thought about a fan or two, but what would you think would be the best course of action, because my  Margarite snails are turning into that nasty smelling mush substance that everybody hates. <Try the fans first... if that doesn't work, you might have to resort to a chiller... 90F is not good.> Thanks, Ryan <Cheers, J -- >

Tank Temperature Is Killing Me And Almost My Fish!!!!!! As you can guess from receiving an e-mail from me with the subject line Tank Temperature, I am having trouble maintaining an acceptable temperature in my tank.  I have a 55 gallon tank with a few fish and several easy invertebrates such as a fighting conch, snails, and blue-legged hermit crabs.  I have a Fluval 304, an Aqua-C remora skimmer with a Maxijet 1200, and a second Maxijet 1200 for counter-current versus the Fluval's return.  I have two 150 W Tetra heaters, with one being on each end of the back of the tank for what I am hoping is uniform heating.  My lighting is two of the generic 18 inch fluorescent bulbs.  My problem is that I live in southeastern Pennsylvania, its hot, and my air-conditioning is broken.  It is going to take me about 6-8 months but I am going to try and get central air as I know you would be wondering why I don't get the air conditioner fixed.  The inside temperature in my house is not bad at 76-78 degrees, obviously with the windows open, but the temperature in my tank is 82-84 degrees. <this is an acceptable temp for tropical critters... as long as it doesn't get higher, I wouldn't worry too much> I have checked both temperatures with two thermometers so it is accurate.  My heaters are set at 75-76 degrees so I am assuming the extra heat over room temperature is coming from the pumps and lights.  Does it sound reasonable to you that a Fluval and 2 Maxijet 1200s could cause the temperature in the tank to be 4-8 degrees higher than room temperature? <most definitely> I read on your site that I could blow a fan on top of the water to cool down the tank via evaporation but will need to change my lights as I have the two 24 inch hood that the two 18 inch bulb fixtures  rest on.  Do they make special fans for the standard florescent light fixtures <Look at blowing a small space fan across the top of the water. Electronics stores sell muffin fans that can be installed in hoods (usually used in computer applications> as I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on MH or other fancy lights just to get a fan on them.  I read on your site that chillers are expensive to buy and expensive to operate not to mention put out more heat into the room for me to deal with.  Could you help get my tank under control by recommending what to do. I would love to know if I need to buy new light fixtures with fans in them, buy a chiller and deal with the bill (how much does it cost a month to operate approximately), or investigate my three pumping mechanisms if the elevated tank temperature over room temperature is not normal.  You can tell I am desperate as I hate for my fish to be uncomfortable!!!! <82-84 sounds fine, tropical waters often reach these temperatures in summer months. I really wouldn't be too worried... perhaps try running one of the pumps on a timer so it isn't constantly heating the water.> Thanks for your help!!! Amy <best, Chris>

New reef set-up questions - OZONE usage 7/4/03 Hi Anthony! <Cheers to Greece.> Since my Remora skimmer is not designed to work with ozone , I have decided to start my reef without ozone. Have you seen reefs being successful without the use of ozone? <More often than not, yes.> In case I do not use ozone, is it worth to buy an ORP monitor? <Yes! very much so... and excellent measure of water quality in general.> From the reading I have made so far, it seems that it is a good tool to check every moment your system's overall well-being, and take the appropriate actions when something seems to go wrong. <Quite correct.> My heater is not 200W, as I wrote in my previous memo, it is 150 W. I am thinking of buying an extra heater of 100 Watts and place them both in the sump. <Very wise.> Will the total 350 Watts  be enough for the 270+70 liters of my tank + sump ? <Hard to say... depends on the interior ambient temperature and any fluctuations... but I suspect it will indeed be enough.> Best regards, Thanassis  <Kindly, Anthony>

Temperature control Hello, <Hi Bill, Don here today> I have a 58g oceanic rr system that's got an oceanic sump (for up to 75g tank) with a 96 watt SmartLite PowerCompact by custom sea life running for lighting.  I also use a Prizm protein skimmer.  I'm having some algae problems and notice that my  temp is fluctuating daily between about 78 degrees and 82.  What's a good way to mount the lighting above the tank so it doesn't get so hot, and also to allow circulation between the tank and the lights?  Should I take the glass off of the top of the aquarium? <I would, you can replace it with 'egg crate' which is the white plastic grating used in overhead lighting. You might try a small fan directed over the top of the sump to help with evaporation (which equals cooling).> Thanks for all the help, <No problem, Don> Bill

Lifeguard heater modules Is it possible to use two of the heater modules together with one canister filter, or would this be to much pressure for the pumps to deal with? If it is to much to use two on one filter, should I shoot for using two filters and two modules? I'd rather not, but gotta do what's best. <Good question. I would use a larger wattage heater first here (likely there are up to 300 watt units that will fit), and if you need to use two, set them up in parallel (not series) to save on induced resistance. And after located after the canister filter of course. Bob Fenner>

Re: lifeguard heater modules What do you mean by setting up two heaters in parallel? James <Running water through a "tee" to each module separately, rather than (in series) one after the other... Bob Fenner>

Sump melted by heater? >Hello to all at WWM: >>Good morning, Marina here. >This might sound like a silly question but here goes. I currently have two 200w Visi-therm heaters in my sump. I have always been concerned if the suction cups did not hold and the heater actually was laying directly on the acrylic can it in fact melt the sump? Always wondered......never asked until now.  Thanks a million, Gene >>If the sump is acrylic, and the heater were to become stuck in the 'on' position, yes, it could happen.  Is it *likely* to happen?  Not very likely at all.  But, if really concerned, then you could simply slip them into a sleeve of PVC, with many holes/notches cut into it, they won't usually be sufficiently hot to melt PVC.  I would like to suggest spacing the heaters, though, to help reduce temperature differentials.  I like having one hidden in the tank, and one remotely located (the sump).  

Thermostats for Fans, Chillers, Heaters Hello guys, Can anyone tell me where I can find an adjustable thermostat with a submersible temp probe that I can Connect my cooling fans to. THX, Wayne. <Sure Wayne! Surf over to one of our fine sponsors and look at the single and dual stage therms for heaters and chillers. The single stage will run either a heater or chiller and the dual stage runs both a heater and a chiller. Either will work for your application, just plug in the fan instead of the chiller. They are a bit spendy, but worth it!  Make sure you tell them we sent you! Have FUN! Craig> The Heat Is On. Or Is It?  Or, Should It Be? (Titanium Heaters) Hey Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member today!> Just a quick question.. I recently purchased a Jalli titanium heater for my reef tank. I looked all over the net for info on this heater, but see barely anything. Do any of you have any experience with this heater or know if this is a good product? I was told by my LFS that this is a very good heater. Thank you. Chris <Well, Chris, I do not have experience with this particular brand, but I have used one of the other brands out there (Won Pro Heat II), and was not particularly impressed by it. The thermostat constantly displayed the wrong temperature, for one thing, and the heater seemed to go on for no apparent reason! (not good...). I have heard about similar problems from friends who have tried this brand and a couple of the other titanium models out there. Granted, my experience was with the earlier models, back in 2001, when they just appeared on the market. Perhaps the manufacturers have ironed out the kinks on these. One thing that I will say is that they are tough! It may be a bit of an assumption on my part, but I think that most of the "titanium" heaters out there may be made by the same foreign manufacturer, with some slightly different components. The ones I have seen look quite similar, and the complaints I have heard about poor performance are also similar! I 86'd mine for a good old Ebo Yeager- those green sticks may not be as "sexy", but they sure get the job done! I certainly don't want to discourage you from trying the Jalli, but it may or may not be that different from the unreliable ones that I am aware of. You may want to post on the WWM Forum to see if any fellow hobbyists use these heaters. Stay cool (er, warm...)Good luck! Scott F>

When good heaters go bad! OR..... Aquascaping anyone? - 4/15/03 Salutations to all,     Well, My Tank is nearing its completion. <Glad to hear and congratulations! A very rewarding adventure is about to be had. Paul at your service.>  55 Gal bow front corner tank 20 High sump DSB and Fiji live rock.  I have a four inch sand bed and now that the live rock (60 lbs) is curing in a trash can I need to know how to support it in the tank.  That is a lot of rock!  Should I make pvc supports or just sit it on the sand bed? <Either way. Most times though, with that much rock and depending on how high you build your structure, you will probably need to glue them together or employ a PVC frame. Anthony Calfo has a great book that broaches this subject and many many more. Check it out. www.readingtrees.com >  Is there any consensus on which is preferable? <Aesthetic symmetry is the key. What would look better to you? See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aquascaping.htm>     The second question is about heaters.  If I put two heaters in the sump, how will I know when one is bad? <Well, that is a good question. Sometimes damage is obvious (physical), sometimes the light will stay on for hours, and hours turn to days so the temp slowly rises. Sometimes there will be no light on at all for days while the other heater light may be on frequently to adjust for the lack of heat output from the other heater. Wow, good question! I never put much thought into that, as I have never had one go bad. (cross my fingers)> I can foresee one breaking and not being noticed and then the other breaking and then I'm out of luck. <Could happen> How is this better than using one heater? <The other thought process is having the total wattage of the tank's heating needs spread out over two to three heaters in that they all work in conjunction when heating to the set tank temperature, but if one were to go bad, it would be only a third of the total wattage for the tank's heating requirement. Therefore it would only be able to slightly affect the temperature as it is way underpowered in its heating ability by itself.> Should I set them at slightly different temperatures and then if one goes I would notice the temp difference? Any thoughts? <Not necessarily. See the above thought> Thanks again for a great website, You do realize that I could be finishing my bathroom remodeling project, but instead I am always reading on this website or at least that is what my wife is always yelling LOL <Heheheheh> Bryan Flanigan <Thanks Bryan.>

Storing Heaters - 3/28/03 I live in Florida and don't need my heaters (2 Ebo Jager 150 watt) in the summertime.  They are set on 77 degrees but never come on due to the fact that the tank stays a steady 80-81.5 degrees. <Set them to 79 to keep from too drastic of a fall (sic)> Should I leave them in there or would it be better (prolong their life) if I took them out and stored them during the summer months? <I would leave them in there unless you need more room. Good just in case the temp falls for some reason, or if it gets too hot in the tank (due to heated ambient room temp) and you decide to blow a fan over the top of the water for cooling.>  I didn't know if they were like TVs -- when you leave them sitting off for months on end they tend to not last as long. <I don't believe this to be the case. Again, up to you though. I would leave them in.> Thanks for your advice! :) <The pleasure is all mine. Paul> Elizabeth K. Birdwell

Crab Boil Hello guys... <Hi Mario, Don here today> It finally happened.  After 2 years of clear sailing, something has finally gone terribly wrong in my reef.  My siphon overflow stopped overflowing (these things are constant trouble IMO).   <I don't believe that anyone here will disagree with that> Luckily, I have a float switch that stopped the return pump from the refugium, so the tank did not overflow.    Unfortunately, my heater is in the refugium and the temperature sensor is in the main tank.  Without circulation between the two tanks, I came home to find the main tank was about 76 F and the refugium was HOT... well over 120 F (that's as high as the thermometer goes.)  I can't describe how terrible it was to walk in to the smell of cooked seafood (actually smelled sadly delicious).   <So sorry to hear> I had about 35 lbs of live rock and some Chaetomorpha in the refugium.  Should I junk the rock or do you think it's still got some life to it. Keep in mind, this stuff cooked for probably the better part of a day. I have put it in a big Rubbermaid to re-cycle, but if you think this is futile, I'll just trash it.   <You are on the right track and the rock will be useful in the future, 'restocking' with beneficial life over time.> Luckily, the reef itself seems unscathed.   <Indeed, the aquarium angels were with you> To anybody reading this email I can say two things: 1) put your temperature sensor and heater in the same tank and 2) siphon overflows are an accident waiting to happen.   <Well said> Thanks for this opportunity to vent and share my sad story with somebody.  You guys are the closest thing to therapy I have. <Well, as long as the topic is marine aquaria, I will try to help, just don't start me on that meaning of life stuff <G> > -Mario

If you can't take the heat, stay out of the tank.. 2/17/03 Thanks Phil!<No problem man!> That heater thing... I have no problem adding more heaters, but where? I figure the 350 in the sump of the wet/dry....can I put more than one in there and have them accurately assess the temps or should I just get a controller for heat/cool and put the probe in another part of the system and let the two heaters run in the same sump? <If you go the route of more than one heater putting them on one controller would be best and they can be place near near each other!  A dual controller is rather costly at Pet Warehouse I believe it's nearly $200.  But of course it's up to you.  If you want to do two heaters w/o a controller they need to be IMO placed at different ends of the tank.  If they are together they may overheat one area and under-heat the other.  Hope this helps!  Phil>

Temperature Control Hey Guys!!! Thanks for all the help in the past!. Anyway that you know of to stop your powerheads from spitting bubbles every now and then.  Religiously, my power-sweep and aqua clear powerheads throw bubbles into the tank.  Tried with and without pre-filter sponges, makes no difference.  Any suggestions?? <No. It usually stops after awhile. Some do this more than others.> Also what's the best kind of thermometer to buy??  My tank is always 84-86 range.  I cant get it any cooler.  I don't think is a big issue as long as I keep it consistent....right???  I live in New England and its about as cold as its going to get here.  I don't want to invest a ton of money, as well as dealing with the noise of a chiller.  I cant understand why the temp is so high.  I'm going to check the thermometer first for accuracy.  I have a stick-on variety.  Its about 2/3 up from the bottom of the tank.  I do notice the temp raising from 82 to 84 when my lights are on.  Should I be concerned??  And with the higher temps should there be any parameters I keep a close eye on!?!?! All fish are doing fine, eating and healthy!! Thanks, John - Cape Cod <84-86 is too warm John. Use a fan set on the water surface to bring that down to 79-80F. Use a good quality thermometer, not the stick-on kind, they are not accurate. Good ones cost a little $. The fan will need to be on when the lights are on.  Craig>

Fans, heat, chillers Craig Thanks for your prompt reply, I am based in the UK so the weather is not as warm as in some parts of the USA.   Regards Paul Williams <Ventilation fans should work well for you Paul. You likely have weather like I get, liquid sunshine! I'm in Washington State, on the coast, a marine environment, much like the UK. Do have fun!  Craig>

Trigger meals/crabs, UV timers Hello and thanks for all the advice,   1.  Is there any type of hermit crab that you can recommend that might have a chance in a fish only tank with a clown trigger (about 6" long)?  It's a 180 gal tank and the other fish in the tank are relatively peaceful (angels, tangs).  I'm looking to put something in the tank to help clean up. <Not really. Too much likelihood that even a large specimen would eventually become a toy, meal> 2.  Since I've turned on the UV filter the tank is running a few degrees warmer than I would like (80 -81).  Would you recommend putting the UV filter on a timer, if so, how long would you run it for per day? <Continuously. Not worth having, using otherwise. Look for other areas to reduce heat if you consider this a problem. Bob Fenner> Thanks for all your help.   rob stein.

Marine system temperature Bob, thanks for the help. <You're welcome> Do you have any suggestions on what else to do to try and lower the temp a couple of degrees?  I have a CSR CY-294 trickle filter which has two skimmers (each uses a rio-1200 pump).  I had though about turning one of them off, or putting one or both on a timer (especially since the load on the tank is very light -- only four fish -- and the skimmers to not produce that much foam / waste between them).  Otherwise, the only other devices I have in the filtration system are an Iwaki RLT70 pump and a canister filter with a .25 micron cartridge and some activated carbon). As for lighting, I use two fluorescent bulbs (normal output, not VHO).    <You could turn off one of the skimmers and see if this changes the temperature... or change your lighting to be off at mid-day, on into the night when the air is cooler... or more overt activity, like leaving the hood off, blowing a fan across the top of the water...> Given that the tank is overfiltered (if there is such a thing)-- in that the filtration system I'm using is rated for up a 500 gal. tank and turns the tank over 6-7 times per hour -- do you think it is a problem to keep a fish only tank at 81 degrees. <Not much. I would leave it as is myself unless you have some cooler water livestock> From what I've read on this site and your books, stability is more important than the precise temp (and the tank only varies about 1 degree per day).   <Yes, this is so> To the extent that the higher temp can lead to a reduction in oxygen (through more bio-activity), I'm wondering if the excess filtration (especially going through two skimmers and a large trickle filter combined with good surface agitation) offsets the increase in temp? <Aeration is even more important> Thanks for your thoughts and help. regards, rob stein <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Titanium heaters what your opinion on titanium tube heaters for saltwater? <A nice thought... but the American market has only seen very low quality imports from Asia with these products. Anthony>

Heater wattage Dear www.WetWebMedia.com Crew, If I have a 40 gallon tank, how many watts should my submersible heater be? <I would use a 200 watt unit.> Thanks, Ann <You are welcome. -Steven Pro> Heaters. . . I need to purchase a new heater for my 160 gallon acrylic. I would like to get your opinion on which heater to buy (can't afford the really expensive ones!) in the middle cost range and if I should by one large enough to heat by itself or two smaller ones. I had a bad accident happen not too long ago with a heater malfunctioning and causing the tank to skyrocket to 97 degrees.  <Ouch>  Thankfully, only one of my fish died but the others were traumatized. Unfortunately, it was my FAVORITE fish that died. Anyway, any hints on avoiding the same mishap in the future would be appreciated. Thank you! :) <Hello Elizabeth, I sorry to hear about your loss. I would go with two smaller heaters rather than one large one, this will provide some protection in case one fails. I have had good experiences with the Ebo-Jaegers, and one other brand, but I cannot remember the name off the top of my head. Let us know what brands you are considering. I would definitely go with something that is fully submersible. We have some FAQs on related topics at the following link. Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/heatingf.htm >

Re: Heaters. . . I took your advice and checked in to the Ebo Jager heaters. Very good reviews and very reasonably priced. I called Marine Depot and asked them what wattage I would need for my 160 gallon acrylic. They suggested purchasing two 150 watt heaters since I live in Florida. I like to keep the tank at 80 degrees. The wattage they suggested seems a bit low to me. Do you share their opinion or do you think the wattage is too low? As always. . . thanks so much for your help! :) <Evenin' Elizabeth, it sounds low to me too; you want about 3 to 4 watts of heater per gallon. Math is not my favorite subject so you may have to help me out. 160gal times 3watts divided by 2heaters, factor in your lowest temperature in Florida, average home temperature, and that acrylic is a better insulator than glass, and that equals... UGH, I might go a little higher and turn the heaters down if it gets too hot. BTW, the other brand that I could not remember that has yet to give me a problem is the Rena. Hope this helps, Gage> Temp question hi bob <Hi Mike> hey, I got a question regarding the temp. of my 50 gal system that I've just set up (like 2 days ago)... the temp. reads 80F and I was thinking that it is too high, cause I've heard that it should be around 75 ideally. I have a 150 watt heater in the tank, and I was thinking that maybe its too hot in the house (I live in Arizona)... well what do you think? do you think you can give me some advice, id appreciate it so much, thanks a bunch. mike Higgins <Anywhere from around 76-80 is fine, depending on what you are going to keep. If it gets above 83 or so just put a fan blowing on the surface of the water to cool it down a bit, slowly. My tanks are set at 80F constantly. There is much more on temp, heaters and evaporative cooling on WWM. Do check it out! Craig> 

Submersible Heater Mr. Fenner, I was reading your article "Temperature Control For Aquarium Gardens" and in it you have a picture of "Submersible heater with cable to with-in gravel area." I was wondering where I can get more information about this and also "An innovative commercial cable heating system using warmed water from a conventional submersible heater and lift to move warmth amongst the substrate."? (The picture of the innovative commercial system is missing from your article so I could not see what you were talking about.) Any help will be appreciated. <Oh, this is a BioPlast unit (imported from Germany if you can find it... otherwise, it's not that hard to fabricate something of this nature (with an airlift or powerhead on one riser, the other side over a submersible heater) of PVC if space allows, thinner tubing under/within the substrate if not. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Nelson Whelan

Heaters & Stocking Hi! <<Hi, JasonC here...>> I hope all is well with you. . . <<And you as well.>> I'm hoping you can give my your opinion on a couple of things. <<I will certainly do my best.>> 1) I currently do not run a heater on my tank (180 gallon) because it has not been necessary (summer time here in Florida). However, we are beginning to see changes in our temperature and seasons are changing and I know that this is a perfect time for ich to raise its ugly head. Should I add a heater before there is a definite season change and get them acclimated to it slowly? <<Well... no need to really acclimate the tank or fish to the heater. What you will really accomplish is stability... so, if the temperature outside falls low enough that it might normally drop the temperature of the house and the tank, the heater will offset this by keeping the temperature regulated. So... if you can get the heater to run at about 80 degrees, you'll just be keeping things 'normal'.>> If so, how should I do this -- better to have the heater(s) in the tank or the wet/dry? <<Where ever you have space and aesthetic tolerance - I personally don't like the look of wires draping the back of the tank, so I would put it in the sump - it is a personal call. The effectiveness of the heater wouldn't change either way.>> I'm desperately trying to avoid ich -- it happened last season and I just wanted to get your ideas on how to avoid it. <<Stability goes a long way to avoiding these types of outbreaks.>> I normally keep the tank at 80 degrees. It fluctuates about 1 1/2 degrees during the day due to the lighting. Also, if you agree with adding a heater would you add just one (if so, what wattage?) or would you add two smaller ones (if so, what wattage?) <<I would add two, for redundancy's sake, in case one breaks or goes bad... I think you're looking in the 350-500w range? Will depend on the manufacturer.>> 2) I currently have the following fish in the tank now (180gl): 1 Naso Tang (7"), 2 Small Yellow Tangs (1and 1/2"), 1 maroon clown (4"), 1 small clown trigger (2"), and 1 Lime Green Australian Wrasse - Supermale (Thalassoma lutescens)( 7-8"). I was thinking of adding one more fish unless you think I'm at my limit. I was thinking of adding a Half Moon Angel -- what is your opinion of this fish and would you think that he would be a good addition to the tank? I don't currently have an angel and have always wanted one. <<The Half-moon Angel [Pomacanthus maculosus] is a real beauty, but also a large fish when full grown. I'd love to recommend one, but you may find the need for an even larger tank than you have now in the no-so-distant future. Read over the following pages as there are some other good Angel selections that won't grow nearly as large: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/ >> 3) One more question and I promise that's it! It's regarding my wrasse. . . I've had him for about 7 months now (he was the last addition to the tank -- the others have been with me for about a year) and he has done exceptionally well -- very active, healthy eater, gets along well with the others. However, he has a habit that he's doing more and more of and I know it's a characteristic of wrasses (I had a Rainbow wrasse that did it in the mornings) but I'm wondering why and if it's normal that he does it so long? He has a sandy spot on the bottom of the tank that he will usually just "rest" there quite often. It used to be that he would do it right after he woke up (kind of like he was taking his time and still "sleepy"). But now he does it at different intervals during the day -- mostly after he eats in the evening but periodically throughout the day too. He's still very active -- flashing on the rocks, swimming and exploring, but I've noticed that he "rests" quite a bit more than he did at first. He acts fine and eats fine so I'm wondering if this is just normal behavior since my other wrasse did it somewhat too? <<I think it's normal and most likely indicative of feeling more comfortable in the tank.>> Should I be concerned? <<I wouldn't be.>> Do you know why they do this? <<Uhh... they like to take it easy every so often - watch the world go by... probably a whole handful of reasons, but still... no worries.>> Thanks for listening and for giving any advice you can. You are very much appreciated for sharing your knowledge with us beginners! Thanks again! :) Elizabeth K. Birdwell <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: New hobbyist The Hagen Heater is 300W and I have one. <Mmm, should be enough for the 125 gallon... but another 150-200 watt unit in addition would be helpful, and a good back-up> I also have another question about the Lionfish. It looks like on one of his side fins there is a area of light grey. It looks weird. There is also a little spot of the fin missing. There is also light grey spots developing on others. What does this mean? <Likely nothing... these fishes do show such variations. Bob Fenner>

Re: Circulation versus Higher Temps Thanks, Jason, for your prompt response! And, my sincere apologies to Anthony, as watching the NFL highlights and hearing the name "Drew" Bledsoe must have messed me up! <<Oh well...>> I am sorry that I failed to mention the temperature. It is 82F to 83F during the day and seems to remain fairly consistent during the night, with perhaps a slight decline as evidenced by my readings first thing in the morning. I should mention that the temperature would approach 84F in July and August before I added the Rio 1700. The fish seemed to behave fine which would support your consistency theory. When the temp would get that high, I would have a fan blow over the sump which seemed to drop the temp by a degree or two. <<Yes, the fan-plan works well... I do this myself as well.>> OK...please tell me if this is the correct approach. I will continue to run the Rio 1700 and monitor the temp. If it nears 84F, then I will use the fan to take it down a notch. But, I do not want the temp to drop too much too soon as this could be harmful for the fish. <<This might just require that you keep the heaters pumped up to 81-82 so that things stay nice and warm... or perhaps 'consistent' - that is the buzz word of the month.>> Thanks, Mitch <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Temperature Hello Anthony...thanks for the reply.  <very welcome> I have ordered the meds you recommended however the 2 suspect Chromis' perished last night, the other 6 seem unaffected. I will administer the meds in either case. I am more concerned that perhaps my temperature fluctuations triggered or can be a trigger for future disease outbreaks.  <it is a common catalyst but can easily be corrected with various fans/heaters in concert for an extra margin of safety> My display tank is a 135 (72x18x24) gal running on three 175W halides and two 55W PCs. I live in Los Angeles where the recent 2 weeks have brought on a heat wave of 100+ temperatures. I used a big cooler filled with ice over a 40 ft coil of 1 inch tubing attached to a RIO 3100 pump for fast circulation to keep the temperature in control.  <wow... interesting. Helpful but precarious I suspect to harness with consistency. In truth, the cycles of fluctuation are worse than the prolonged heat especially if the tank doesn't exceed 84F. If so... just maintain very heavy aeration and ride the warmer temp out to a gradual decline after some weeks. Much better than a rollercoaster with ice> My work has an endless supply of ice that is free....works great!!!! However the huge cooler sitting next to my display is an eyesore. Since the air temperature has decreased to the mid 80s now, i have since removed my cooler apparatus. <excellent> But now my temps climb as high as 88 degrees and falls to around 82-83 at night.  <wow...> My lights go on at 1pm where the temp steadily climbs until they go off at 12AM. To combat this I have installed 3 hood fans next to each halide bulb....it works well too...but only enough to bring down the average temp of the daily fluctuations. Now it cools to 78 degrees at night and climbs to 84 maximum during the lighted hours.  <just plug the fans into the same timer as the lights so you don't overcool at night> Is this acceptable?  <nope... a very dangerous swing indeed> Do reefs in nature go through temperature flux during the course of a normal day?  <by and large, absolutely not. Of course there are shallow lagoons that see some fluctuations... but reefs are extremely stable... some areas have the same temperature down toward 75feet! (rare but true)> I am confident that once we reach mid 70 temps that I won't have this problem until next summer. Any advice? Best Regards, Dennis <I'm hoping the timed fans can keep you closer to 84 and spare the need for ice. Kindly, Anthony>

Re: Water Quality Hello Anthony, <cheers!> I will try to perform the 80% water change and I will be very careful adjusting the levels. Do you think an 80% is enough or should I perform another 80% a week after? <one time should be enough, my friend> I am planning to have in my tank only a mated maroon clownfish, how long do I have to wait to introduce the couple to the tank? <I would use another test fish first after 2-4 weeks. Mated pairs are not easy to come by. Test with a cheap hardy fish first> I already bought a Boyd Chemi-Pure filter bag, do I need also to use the PolyFilter or with the Chemi-pure is enough? <they work differently... use both if possible> Yesterday night I did test the water parameters and everything looks fine => PH 8.4 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 40ppm The Prism skimmer has a lot of algae in the surface where the water is constantly returning to the tank. It is red and some green. Should I remove it or it is helpful for the water that is coming back to the tank? <no harm to leave it if you like> Again, I don't know how to thanks you for all your help. Best regards, Rodrigo. <the pleasure is ours. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Water Quality Anthony, One last question. I was taking a look to the BOYD Chemi-pure description and they mention that fish thrive and grow luxuriously with no water change necessary using real seawater or the better imported mixes. Is this possible? <it is a great product, but an awfully misleading marketing ploy. I disagree> I live in San Francisco so there are a lot of places where I can get real sea water. Do you think is good idea? <natural seawater can be just plain dangerous. It is very inconvenient to use and has tremendous limitations (pollution, natural plankton, disease, seasonal variations, etc).> If not, is there a specific salt mix that you recommend? <I strongly recommend Instant Ocean for a very consistent and reliable staple> Thank you, Rodrigo. <best regards, Anthony>

Queen angel not eating Thought I would let you know what was causing the lack of appetite behavior, apparently my AC was slowly on the outs, when it quit working, I checked the water temp, 87F!  <Doh!> Needless to say after adding ice to bring the tank back below 80, these fish started pigging out again! Thanks for your help <yowsa.... hopefully the drop in temperature was gradual (2-3 days?). A sudden drop in temp can be worse than the drop of the high temps. Please be very alert for an ich outbreak in the next week and be prepared with a QT tank if necessary (do not medicate in the main display). Best regards, Anthony>

Increased Temperature Hello there, I just finished putting in a new return pump, a Mag-Drive 9. It's in the sump, a 10 gallon. I'm very excited and proud of myself as this is the first time I've ever worked with PVC and plumbed anything for my tank. All is working great so far, no leaks, thanks to the suggestions on the Chat Forum here. <Congratulations!> My question concerns increased temperature. Before installing the pump, the tank ranged from 77F-80F everyday. After installing the new the pump, and removing one of the powerheads (no longer needed with the increased circulation), the tank is now 82F. I am currently seeing how lowering the air conditioning in the house will affect the tank. But I don't want to lower it too much (my current electric bill is over $222!!! and I am making minimum wage, almost). Will the current temp of 82F have much of a negative effect on my inhabitants? <No, but I would not let it get any higher.> I have a 3" brown Acropora, a colony of yellow polyps, a pink carnation, green open brain, mushrooms, bubble tip, and two flower anemones...one yellow tang, Kole tang, and 4 damsels...~55lbs of LR, 55g tank with built in corner overflow, AquaC Urchin...the ball valve is about 3/4 of the way open as this is the most I can open it b/c the overflow can't handle much more. What would be a possible solution, besides returning the pump? <The best thing to do would be to mount this pump externally. That way the pumps heat is vented into the air instead in into your water.> Thanks a bunch, Randy M. Yniguez, MA <Talk to you later, -Steven Pro>

Heaters again Good Evening, Back with a heater related question. Searching the few pet stores in the area I came across the Hagen "Tronic" heater. Wondering your thoughts on this particular heater? <I like most Hagen products, but have not used their heater.> A few questions. Hagen lists 150 watt is good up to a 45 gallon tank. If I'm looking at a 55 gallon tank should I go with the 200 watt unit? <That would be my recommendation, approximately 3-4 watts per gallon.> Fully submersible? <Of course, never use anything but for saltwater.> Heater completely in the tank? <That or the sump.> My other option was the Ebo-Jager 150 watt. I would have to order the Ebo-Jager online, (it's half the price that I would be paying for the Tronic plus shipping). Is the Tronic a better heater or are they about the same. <Ebo-Jager has a reputation for making one of the best heaters on the market.> (for some reason I just like the look of the Ebo-Jager and I can get away with the 150 watt). <Get a 200 watt unit regardless of brand.> Thanks again, Dave <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Heater question Good Morning, <<And good afternoon to you, JasonC here...>> After about 15 years and a slight boiling (children claim they didn't turn it), figured it's about time to replace the heater. <<Sounds like a good plan.>> (Currently a 30 gal tank, with plans to upgrade to a 55 ga. ) Figuring about two watts per gallon, would a 100w heater, for a 55 ga, be to small or should I go with the 150w? <<I'd go with the 150w - a 100w heater could heat a 55g tank but it would on more often that the 150w, which may/could wear it out more quickly.>> Some at your site recommend the Ebo Jager Heater. (interesting that you can dial a temp). <<Interesting but not entirely accurate. Is still a decent heater.>> Is it considered one of the best or are heaters pretty much the same? <<They are among the better heaters, but do stay away from the ultra-inexpensive models. Their cheapness has a direct correlation to their quality.>> Anything specific to look for in a heater for a marine tank? <<I would pose this question on our chat forum where you could get a broad range of opinions on this subject: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk >> Any to stay away from?? <<Models with exposed metal parts and/or non-fully submersible.>> Great site, been spending the last week reading, and a waiting Bob's book and the New Marine Aquarium by Paletta to arrive. <<I do believe you will enjoy these both.>> Thanks again, Dave
<<Cheers, J -- >> 

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