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Re: Heat Cables

Hi Chin:

I bought the PetWarehouse heating cable (15W) for my 29g two months 
ago when I moved. It is made by AquariumLandscapes, and I too was 
worried about a thermostat. I called the place and the very 
knowledgeable tech support/owner reminded me (as Ivo has, see below) 
that the purpose is to create a small heat differential to generate 
microcurrents. So I depend on my thermostat to do the whole-tank heat 
regulation, although I think Ivo's suggestion of a timer would be the 
first thing to turn to if I'm worried about afternoon overheating. 
I'm in Southern California, and the temp is incredibly stable except 
for a few hot afternoons. BTW, AquariumLandscapes recommended at 
least 4 inches of substrate throughout; I've got about 2.5 inches in 
front of the tank and 4 in the rear.

As to its construction, the coil is covered with a light blue casing 
similar to an extension cord. What the third prong is grounding isn't 
clear to me, as there are no exposed elements nor an obvious chassis. 
It is hard to lay out as nicely as one would like with the hardware 
that comes with it: you can do as I did and hold it in place with 
substrate as you're covering it up or you could attach a few more 
suction cups with plastic or nylon ties. Not exactly a Dupla setup.

Does it work? I'm very pleased with it so far, but it's hard to make 
a comparison with how your tank was doing before you broke it down. 
The roots had taken a beating when I moved; while pruning last night 
I noticed very nice root growth and healthy stems near the substrate. 
I get the feeling that the substrate (fluorite) is cleaner and the 
plants are doing better and the fish even have a trace of a smile on 
their faces, but I may be overinterpreting. Certainly for a 
non-CO2-supplemented tank with a ten-dollar heater and an eclipse2 
filter, it's pretty lush.

in awe of this list

At 3:48 PM -0500 2/5/01, Chin See Ming wrote:
>Hello Ivo:
>You mentioned that you are planning to install substrate cables.  Might I
>inquire what cables you are thinking of using?  I too would like to use
>cables in my upcoming new 50 gal tank (I started small with a laterite
>based, CO2 augmented 7 gal).  However, the commercially available models all
>seem to require compromises.
>No cables that I can find are low voltage; all are 120V.  I believe (I may
>be wrong) that a low votage model would be safer.
>Pet Warehouse carries a grounded (three prong) model but does not appear to
>come with a thermostat.  M3's can be fitted with a thermostat but I cannot
>tell whether it is a 3 pronger.
>Can you share what you have discovered?
>Chin See Ming

Ivo Busko wrote:
>The idea is to keep the cable always on, and let the
>thermostat in the submersible heater to control the water temp. The tank
>will be in a basement family room where the ambient temperature is quite
>stable. If it turns out to be necessary, in the peak summer days I can
>add a timer to the cable heater to cycle it off at the afternoon hours.

>As I said, I don't think a thermostat is a good idea. If the water is
>warm, the cable will switch off and its purported benfits will be gone.
>They must be on for most of the time. And the purpose of the cable is
>not to heat the aquarium, it is to heat the substrate. Better leave the
>heating job to two devices instead of one.
>What is the purpose of the third prong in a cable heater ? Where it is
>connected to ? It would only make sense if it where connected, that is
>exposed, to the water itself, to act as a grounding probe.