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Bioplast and other undergravel heaters

Chad asked:
"Has anybody here used the undergrave cable heaters from bioplast? I
saw them on the AZ page and was thinking about trying them out."

I haven't tried them but the question has reminded me of my search for
cables a couple of years ago.  They were harder to find than they are
today.  And the price range is pretty broad.  Monolith Marine Monsters
( http://marine-monsters.com/ ) sells some for a relatively low price.

Pet (no S) Warehouse sells some upper class ones with much heavier
siliconE rubber insulation and a ground wire that wraps around the line
wires inside the outer insulation.  Like the M3 units, these are
110-120 Volt, so plan on getting a GFCI as well as a remote thermostat.
 Or you can mortgage your house and hunt down the Dupla outfit, which
runs on a low voltage transformer.

The Bioplast substrate heaters look an awful lot like something you
could put together for a couple of bucks and a trip to Home Depot for
some drip irrigation tubing and a few plastic fittings.  To put it
another way, the Bioplast seems like a lot of money for a bunch of
tubing and some fittings from Home Depot.  If you don't want to go
electric under the gravel, you could try (I think I read this
originally as Karen Randall's idea) putting a heater into a tube on a
UGF plate to induce a slight water flow through the gravel via

The problem I have with substrate heating is this: given the heat from
all the lights, and the higher room temperature during the summer (I
move the house thermostat up to 78 degrees during AC season), I can't
possibly put more heat into my tanks without overheating them.  So the
cable heater is off during the summer.  I could crank up the heater if
I cut back the lights or increased the AC, or added more fans to the
lights, but that seems a high price and/or a lot of trouble for
substrate heating in the summer.  The plants don't seem to mind whether
the substrate heater is on or off.

I can tell you that substrate heaters are much more efficient aquarium
heaters than other types--or so has been my experience.  Lighting
levels, potasium levels, and things like that seem to have tremendously
larger impacts on the plants than the use of substrate heating.

Scott H

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