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Re: UndergraverHeater -- Getting to the bottom

Will Phantom, unmysteriously asked:

> . . .im thinking of adding an undergravelheater, only my
> aquaruim store said 
> I shoudnt use it because if it broke I had to tear down
> my whole tank and he 
> never noticed any growth improvement
> How do you all think about it ?

An substrate heating coil will tend to be more efficient
than tube heaters since it releases heat at the very bottom
of the water column and relativley evenly across the bottom
the water column.

George Booth has reported improved plant growth with the
use of such heaters.  Others have reported no significant
improvement.  If it improved things in my tank, the
improvements were less than than the effects of numerous
other factors such as light levels, nutrient levels, water
temps, water currents.

There isn't much to break in a typical substrate heating
cable so long as you don't damage the wire while poking
around in the substrate.  But it's true you would have to
do a major tear down to replace one.  However, if you had
one and it stopped funcitoning, you could always unplug it
and use tube heaters without any tear down.

My tanks have excess heat during most months of the year
due to room temps and lights, so my cable only ran during
about 4 or 5 months of the year, and then, only during the
evening.  It's occassional use seemed to push up into the
water column stuff from the gravel that "collected" during
the off periods -- okay inthe winter but not too good in
the fall after being off all spring and summer.  Mine isn't
broken but it's unplugged.

Hope that helps you decide,
Scott H.

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