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[APD] Rookie w/ Substrate heating questions

Hi all,
    I've been reading through this digest and all the
archives like crazy the past few months. I feel like
I've read almost every single post :). Thanks to all
the information I have read from the experts on APD
and theKrib, I have set up a pretty decent plant tank.

    Anyway, I just installed some diy substrate cables
following the instructions on www.thekrib.com. These
are high wattage (170watts on my measly beginner
10gal) and are controlled by a temperature controller.
My question has to do with convection currents. From
Mr.Booth's page, it makes sense that a high heat
density is required (I went overboard with my tank).
But, even with high heat density, it seems like most
of the heat will be conducted through the gravel. Does
the substrate have to be very porous for there to be
meaningful convection currents? Thanks in advance,

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