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Re: heating Cable

> My question is really for those who posted saying they had tried them
> and saw no real benefit, and anyone else out there who might have an
> opinion.  Do most of you guys tear down your tanks every few years or
> stir them up constantly and never see the end of tank syndrome Horst
> Kipper did in the 2,500+ gallon tank?  Or have any of you gotten through
> that extended period Kipper and Horst mention as their stumbling block?

I don't tear down a tank with cables anymore than one without cables but
it's only to change the aquascape, nothing to do with the health etc of a

I've never needed to do anything to a cable system if they were set up
correctly from the start.

I started off thinking all these goodies and extra gadgets meant the tank
would be better for plants/fish. Nope, not true.
It took me awhile to get over that issue. I had it bad( a chronic
medical/aquaristic condition referred to as _Gadgetilingus_).

 Fortunately I set up a number of tanks for clients with the $ to buy these
gadgets (They also got infected but not from me) and got to see the tanks
over a few years.  
> If you have looked around at the sites people here refer to, you will
> find some of the most beautiful planted tanks around.  Clearly, Scott
> H., James Purchase, Tom Barr and George Booth really know how to grow
> aquatic plants (far better than me I would add).  But has anyone, except
> George that I am aware of, really tried this the way Dupla proposed?

I recall the tank I set up for a client was 100% Dupla, the cables, lights,
filter was a Tunze in a sump, pH controller, Reactor, CO2 system etc.

The tank was custom, the stand as well. After about 7 years we switched him
to flourite. He's much happier these days.

Another person called me up to redo a tank. He had a full blown Dupla system
as well. The guy who set his tank up had used .5 to 1.0 mm sand and 2-3 mm
and 5-7mm sand layered. After about 2 years or so these layers had fused
into one.
The substrate was compacted badly. Considering the success with the other 4
large flourite substrates I'd added to other tanks, he sold the cables.
His results were also much better. He's been happier since. I guess it's
been about 8 years since the first tank was set up with 100% flourite.

> In the section on heating and in one of the appendices of "The Optimum
> Aquarium" (OA) they specifically mention the need to correctly ventilate
> the lighting so that it does not add heat to the tank which would
> naturally keep the cables from coming on.  They also mention using a
> very low wattage cable so that they are on most of the time to provide a
> more constant and gentle flow ("as slow as possible").  There is also
> say this low of a wattage heater might necessitate the addition of a
> secondary heater cable or another heater to provide auxiliary heating
> during the colder months of the year.

So please precisely describe "as slow as possible" ? I call it not having
any cables at all, diffusion is fast enough I'd argue.
> 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.

Well the roots should remove the "decayed matter". The only thing a wet/dry
will do is convert the NH4 into NO3 fast. Not much else except add O2 if the
tank is too low(below the air's level) or if the plants are not producing
much O2 etc. It allows large bio loads to be added with less chance of

So if there's too much NH4, then either there's not enough plant mass, not
good plant growth due to light/CO2 or nutrient deficiencies, of over feeding
the fish , too many fish for the tank's size etc.

There's simple plain reasons for that one. What they are saying does not
make since to me. Sounds good at first but if you think about _what_ these
filters, plants etc do...........

> OA also mentions the use of 2-3mm gravel in conjunction with the heating
> cables as a way of preventing the stuff from getting down there in the
> first place.  Without the cables being on most of the time I do not see
> how the settling of decaying matter would be prevented.

Well detritus/mulm does build up under there. As much as most tanks.
Larger particles sink. Only extremely small/light particles are light enough
not to be affected as much by gravity at those slow velocities to be moved
up and out of the substrate.
I've seen the "brick effect", but I blame the owner and the sand size
itself, not the cables. If you prune and pull up the roots every few months
and replant, this does not occur. Some folks use chopsticks and poke the
gravel around. The heating cables themselves can "bake on" some deposits

> I am sure that Dupla would like to sell a lot more sets of heater
> cables, transformers and controllers and that there are lots of ways to
> DIY a similarly functioning setup.  It is obvious that George Booth's
> method produces good results and apparently has kept his tank(s)
> producing good growth for many years.  I have a small army of MTS in my
> 10 gallon that, judging by the numbers of them I occasionally see, must
> be stirring the substrate up something awful.

They(MTS) do not go down that deep, maybe an inch or so. These will do
little to turn a substrate over, it is the deeper portions that need the
disturbances. The top layer gets disturbed all the time.

> And my unfortunate
> occasional neglect has necessitated a few re-plantings, but this tank
> has only been going about 18 months.  Yes you can vacuum, but I have not
> figured out a way to get deep cleaning without messing up roots,
> particularly with Gloss everywhere.

Lightly "fluff" the gravel/plants with a vacuum. Don't pull up roots etc.
I've done that on gloss many times with zero issues.

Flourite BTW holds Gloss down much better than Profile, 2-3mm sand, etc.

If you like cables, and have the $ go for it. It will not HURT a tank.
It _may_ help is the best I can say about cables, I will not waste my time
using them. I gave them a long time shot.
Comparing them(sand/laterite plus cables to flourite/onyx sand) alone is
night and day for me and several others that had them in the past for a few

I can do everything I want or need to do without them. Having them does not
improve my tanks any more than I can tell. Considering I have not used stick
heaters except in one tank for almost 8 years now at home, I find no "cold
feet" effects on my plants using flourite etc.

Some folks believe their tanks are effected by this.
I measured a 8F difference. I did not see it in terms of growth.

Now, I will say I have not used them over the long term with flourite. I
simply have not found a need to improve the growth, the tanks do great
without it. Just like my tanks also do great without limiting PO4 or iron
Just watch your plants, they will tell you what to do.

I will take a parting shot: if I spent 3000$ on a tank, I'd better be able
to justify my gadgets and believe my tank runs better. I still think you'll
get the same results using a reptile heating pad. I cured my self of
gadgetiligus, it often attacks your back account the worse:-)

Tom Barr

> Charles Kuehnl