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RE: Coils and boils

>Bingo. We had an "Almost Optimum Aquarium" (everything but heating coils) set up 
>for a few years and experienced the same symptoms after 18 months.  Besides 
>slower growth we also began to have algae problems (higher temperature discus 
>tank). Vacuuming gravel, replanting, etc would help for a short time but nothing 
>brought it back to its original state. 

I had one too. We used flourite though. No heating cables. Tank's jamming
better than the full Dupla with the coils/sand laterite. 

That temp thing and outside temp differences has always bugged me.

 If it's 90 degrees for most of the summer or if it changes around much the
cables are not going to do well especially on smaller tanks. They are not
going to be on at all at high temps -and at low temps they will cause too
much flow. Tank size is also a big issue as far as tank temp
movements/ambient temps movements. A 20 gallon will heat up much faster than
a 100 gallon tank. 

>Lesson: You need a certain heat density in the substrate to be effective and 
>that will vary with ambient water temperature. 

Read that one a few times.

>For more details on our experience, check out the "Super Show Tank" articles 
>archived in The Krib.  The part summarizing our experience with heating coils 
>and longevity is at 

Having had them for years (Dupla) and having used Sandpoint/built my own
from scratch (5 pairs) I will not use them for myself personally because I
have found something simpler that works better IMO.
Certainly better than sand alone though. Flourite by it's self has done the
best. I have fought this notion for a few years but have given into it even
going against my own RFUG's as a superior system. Owww. That hurt some.
Cables are a good method, but for the money, the extra hassle of
installation, the long term results, something else to plug in and hide, I
can't say I'd use them ever again.
Tom Barr

PS I have some Dupla cables for sale if interested BTW. 100watts all
included -250$