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[APD] Who here uses cable heating?

Who here with a heavily planted tank uses cable heating?

I've never tried a heavily planted tank without cable heating so I'm
wondering if it is really required for my next tank... (this would make it
easier on the wallet to buy that Eheim I've got my eyes set on).

When I installed my current 200L tank with cable heating I got explosive
plant growth.  However, at the same time as I installed the cable heating, I
also installed a pH controlled CO2 system, rich substrate, increased
lighting etc. so can't tell which item or combination of items caused the

Does it really make a big difference? I have heard that it mainly lets you
keep the tank and plants going for longer but doesn't have a "day-to-day"
impact on plant growth.  It does, through the slight water flow in the
substrate it creates, bring nutrients to the roots as well.

One of the reasons I ask (besides trying to slim the new tank budget down!)
is that if you look at pictures of really nice planted show tanks on sites
like the Aquatic Gardeners Association, there is usually a description of
the tank and the equipment used.  I don't remember ever seeing a description
for these tanks that included cable heating. They talk about CO2,
substrates, filtration but not cable heating.  

However, from all I've read (Dupla, Dennerle, George Booth etc) I would lean
towards the idea that cable heating is beneficial for the plants and is
worth installing.

Several questions:

- Is it beneficial? Is it necessary for lush growth?
- If so, does one absolutely need a temperature controller connected to it
or can one leave it on all the time? The heating I have in my 200L is
connected to a temp controller that also controls the main tank heater and
gives priority to the cable heating.  But it costs over US$ 200 here!
- If not, should one put in a rich substrate anyway? Or will that not be
very useful without cable heating under it?



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