[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Newbie Design (week 1 update)

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!



Waveform Technology
UNIX Systems Administrator