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Re: Newbie Design (week 1 update)
- To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
- Subject: Re: Newbie Design (week 1 update)
- From: Bill Wichers <billw at waveform_net>
- Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 14:38:16 -0400
Substrate Heating - I know this is a can of worms. I have read about the
expensive way, the DIY way, the BioPlast way. I know that it supposedly
helps. I haven't really seen any controlled experiments showing how much.
We've actually gone a few months now without anyone bringing up substrate
heating, which is probably a new record for the list ;-)
What I am mainly wondering about is whether BioPlast works, and whether
anyone has successfully done total DIY for a ~120g tank? I am a little leery
about sticking homemade electric wires in a tank full of water, and the
expense of the commercial products is way too restrictive. If it's really
important, makes a noticeable difference, and I can do it for under $100, I
can probably add the money to the budget.
I doubt the Bioplast works, provided I am remembering correctly that it is
the system that circulates warm water. The trouble with such a system is
that the tank water will cool the water in the heating pipe well before it
has a chance to circulate very far. I don't think such a system is capable
of creating large enough temperature differences between itself and the
tank water, and I don't think it could maintain much heat over the length
of the undergravel tube either.
I think you will need to look at one of the electrical systems for
undergravel heating. There are the newer high-voltage systems that I think
are a bit scary, and the low-voltage Dupla and DIY systems. You can
probably DIY a low-voltage system for under $100. Fair Radio Sales of Lima,
Ohio has a suitable transformer and enclosure that together are about
$30-40, and there are lots of sources of suitable wire (even me! I have
lots) that, depending on size and type, will cost you maybe $20-50. I have
been recommending teflon-insulated stranded wire (preferably type EE or
equivalent) for the undergravel part, and UL style #3239 silicone insulated
wire for the tank lead-out wires. Construction isn't very difficult.
There is a lot of debate about if such a system is worthwhile or not. IMHO
there is a benefit in the long-term. George Booth's site has a lot of info
on substrate heating, I suggest reading the info there (his site is linked
from http://www.thekrib.com). If you want to try DIY email me and I can
offer some sources of parts and recommended assembly methods.
Thanks again for everyone's help. People from this list have been the best
source of information so far.
Someone here has probably tried just about anything you can think of, so
there is a lot of collective first-hand experience here. The price of
new-setup advice is usually pictures of the completed setup, so make sure
you post some pictures that we can look at when you have your tank up and
running. Everyone always wants to see what's been talked about!
UNIX Systems Administrator