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In tank heater effectiveness at cold ambient temps

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by ShadowMac, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    How well would an in tank heater work if the ambient temperature dropped to 50-40 F? lower?

    I'm considering moving a quarantine and grow tank to the garage, but it gets very cold in the winter and the garage is not heated. Would the heater be able to keep up? would two heaters? over sized heater?

    Is this a bad idea?
     
  2. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    You'd need around 12 times the amount of gallons in Watts, which you can devide by using more heaters. You'd probably also need a substrate heating system.

    8 times the amount of gallons in Watts will raise temperature around 25 F over ambient temperature

    A tank with a closed top is mandatory so the heat keeps inside.
     
  3. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    The Vast Northern Wastelands... Not Fit For Man Nor Beast...


    Hi Shawn,

    It is actually hard with standard aquarium heaters to maintain steady temperatures in aquaria with varying ambient temperature environments.:)


    Once upon a time I lived in cold places, none of such desolation as the frigid wastelands you inhabit… :eek:


    What I found is that if you can devise some separation, some enclosure, a tent, one of those cheap greenhouse things Harbor Freight sells. Even hanging blankets or painters drop cloth (having a ceiling of some sort helps).


    Obviously I am assuming appropriate care and caution with electricity and heaters…:rolleyes:


    Space heating of some sort to raise the ambient temperature, those small ceramic heaters 1500-2500 watts or so work well, better still are those small oil filled electric heaters (they look like radiators).


    As Dutchy pointed out a top on the tank is a good idea. Blankets, towels or such wrapped around the tanks are good idea, I use these and painters canvas drop cloths here as I have quite a few outdoor tanks.


    I use the drop clothes and horse blankets to drape over the tanks during the cool whether, it does occasionally get down into the teens and 20’s here. Take care with any lighting and electrical wiring.:)



    Biollante

     
  4. nazrm

    nazrm Prolific Poster

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    Last year I had one of those oil-filled heaters under my aquarium 'cause the room temp was 6 degrees celcius. (basement) Really helped, but the in-tank heater was also working hard to keep the temp stable. (did not have glass lid, it was open)
     
  5. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Closed top would almost be mandatory. Think of how when you boil water it goes much faster with a lid on it. Otherwise you're just dumping the heat into the garage and the water will evaporate out of the tank. You'll probably even see the vapor floating up out of the tank and over the sides if it's cold enough and that much evaporation will probably wreak havoc on your water chemistry. It's not know as evaporative cooling for nothing...

    Acryllic will hold the heat a bit better than glass. Also, if you have a sump system, you could try putting the sump inside the heated space. If the sump made up a large portion of the water volume, say 50% or more, you may not have too much trouble keeping up as the main portion of water will be in a heated space. A side benefit would be that all of your major electrical "stuff" would be inside and hopefully more neatly arranged and less likely to get tripped over, spilled on, frayed, etc. You could then run a space heater in the garage in a plastic "tent" as mentioned above.

    -
    S
     
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