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John Caddy wrote:
> Arizona Aquatics carries a different kind of substrate heating system
> that appears plausible. It uses a powerhead to push conventionally
> warmed tank water through tubing that runs under the substrate. See
> their substrate page. Does anyone have experience with it?
I did this many moons ago with PVC tubing under the gravel. IMO, the warm
water method doesn't get warm enough to cause enough flow to happen.
As the water passes through the line it loses heat as well. I used big 1/2
PVC and CPVC to do this and if you use smaller tubing or lower flows this
will be even more of a problem, especially on a big tank/long lines.
Cables/pads don't have this issue to contend with. Heating is much more
even. That's a big one for this method.
The cables that I bought(dupla/sandpoint), used(other folk's), built(DIY)
did do better. Cables are hard to say whether they help or not but I felt
the warm water approach did not cut the mustard for the idea to work well.
The cables did better IMO.
The reptile heater mats are good as well and dirt cheap if you got to have
cables or heat etc. Just stick em on the bottom of your tank get a temp
controller for 15-25$ or so and your done.
If you want to test the usefulness of cables/pads etc just turn them off and
see what happens.
I do not use cables or heated substrates anymore on my own tanks but still
maintain one that does.
FWIW, I have removed a dupla set up on one tank and replaced it with 100%
flourite. The owner is quite happy and has been for about 18 months now.
Flourite does not need to be plugged in:) Set and forget.
If you got have some heat, do the retile pad or a DIY cable set up. That's
the best bang for the buck. The commercial units are pricey. I did a nice
DIY'er for about 20$(no controller but they can be had cheap as well). If
you can find the cable size you need....that's the big issue. Reptile pads
are dirt cheap as well. I have not seen or heard a good enough argument to
say a cable versus a pad will do better somehow than another. Personally
having tried both over some time, I can't say there's a difference either.
The warm water approach is the most doubtful and often requires a more
complex system for your tank than say a reptile pad which is outside your
tank. Hydroponic places sell warming mats that can go inside your tank as
The ambient temperature is the big issue for using cables or other forms of
heat. If you set the temp to be 80F what happens when the summer temp is
averaging 85F? They shut off. If you want to use them I would suggest having
a maintained temp in your house. That's what George does:)