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>>>>Where do you get the rheostat from? Do you put the heat tape
under the bottom glass? Assuming that, do you need then to cover the
heat tape with insulation or anything else? Also, is there a specific
length that one must have for these, and can one connect two or more
pieces together for aquariums which have a reinforcing brace down the
middle of the bottom?>>>>
I got the rheostats from the same place as the tape, Bush
Herpetological Supply. But, that place Scott mentioned has them too. I
didn't check for which was less expensive.
I have tanks by AllGlass that have a little space between the bottom
glass and the actual bottom. In other words, the frame extends a tiny
bit beyond the bottom glass. Also, my stands are wood frame style and
have holes in the middle, so there is air flow all around the tape,
except for where the frame is. Actually, now that I think, I do have
one tank stand that's solid wood and the heat tape is there too; the
tank is the same AllGlass type described above though. So, none of my
tanks have a direct glass-tape contact. I have never, in over 20 years,
had one crack from doing it this way.
The heat tape comes in a big roll, so you pick the width you want (11"
in my case) and have them cut the length you want. There are places at
intervals where one can cut the tape to size. I have a 2 ft one and a 3
ft one for my two tanks. If your tank is 4 ft long, ask for a 4 ft
piece; they sell the tape by the foot. Personally, I wouldn't bother
with trying to cover every square centimeter of the bottom by piecing
the tapes together. Each tape requires two connections and they are
kind of ugly, sticking out the side of the tank, so keeping those to a
minimum (of 2) would be a priority (for me). As for the hanging wire
that goes from there to the rheostat, I kind of tape it to the tank side
and place furniture nearby so it looks less obvious.
Hope this helps.