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Re: Undergravel Heater -- Getting to the bottom

Charles Kuehnl made a lat of interesting comments about
heating cables and I want to offer a couple of further

> Scott continued: 
> "Its occasional use seemed to push up into the water
> column stuff from
> the gravel that "collected" during the off periods".
> Isn't that what it is supposed to do?  I thought that the
> idea was to
> get that stuff (Dupla calls "decayed matter") up into the
> column where
> it could be dealt with by the wet/dry filter.  The OA
> book says that the
> reasoning behind heating cables in the substrate was to
> overcome what
> they hypothesized was the cause of the failure of their
> first test
> aquarium after 11 years of operation.

My remarks were (are) not necessarily at odds with OA
(_Optimum Aquarium_).  I think Dupla's intention is that
the currents be gentle and relatively constant.  In my own
case, the build up would be for the better part of a year
when the cable did not run at all, and then the release
would occur in the late fall when it started cycling on
again.  It would be nice if I could get all of the heat
from my lamps away from the aquarium but that is not as
easy as it sounds, even if you use fans -- high light tanks
use a lot of watts and the preponderance of that energy is
given off as heat.

Although OA talked about "low heat" cables, their's were a
whole different ballpark from, e.g., Dennerle's.  I think
George (and I risk missinterpreting his comments again) has
suggested that the cable heat should be high enough to
generate temperature differentials in the substrate.  Very
low wattage cables might not do a good job of that even
thought the low(er) wattage might allow them to run longer.
 Anyway, even very low wattage cables would not help me in
the summertime since I don't need to add *any* heat to the
tanks.  In fact I use AC and a room fan, in addition to the
hood fans, in the summer to keep the tanks from getting too

One last point on a more personal level. Charles mentioned
me within a group of other aquarists whose aquatic
gardening accomplishments far exceed mine.  I'm flattered
but embarrassed to be mentioned along with such folk.  I
hope I haven't overpresented my own case.  I have many of
the same questions that others have and occassonally I get
some helpful info and even some answers.  When I think I
can add something that might be helpful to others like me,
I post.  Those other people that you mention. . . compared
to Tom, for example, I don't know diddly squat about
growing or avoiding algae.  And Tom and George, for another
example, have tons more experience with heating cables. 
But I hope what little I have to add to the disscussion
might be helpful.

Scott H.
Who has never had a tank running for 11 years straight.  I
haven't even lived in the same place for 11 years straight. ;-)

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