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Re: Cheap substrate heating?

>Date: Sat, 12 Jul 1997 11:10:23 -0500 (CDT)
>From: Kin T Tam <tamx0004 at tc_umn.edu>
>  How about taking some silicon air line and
>have that in the substrate, then hook up a small (really small) powerhead
>or something to circulate water, and wrap some of the air line around our
>so many flourcent light balasts.  

Think about what would be going on here.  Let's say that the water in the
tubing did pick up some heat from the ballasts (it should since the
ballasts typically run at 150 F or so).  So the heated water in the tube
begins to heat up the gravel.  To heat the gravel, the water in the tubing 
has to give up heat.  In a very short distance, the water in the tubing has
given up all it's heat to the gravel and becomes the same temp as gravel.
Over a very long time, the gravel around the first part of the tubing gets
very hot and gravel downstream gets cooler and cooler.  This does not
produce a very even heat density in the gravel.  Too hot in one section,
not hot enough in some sections, not hot at all in the last sections. 

You would probably want this to be a sealed system. Pulling aqaurium water
in would bring detritus and clog the tube.  And dumping the water back into
the tank might heat the tank too much IF all the heat was not transferred
to the gravel.  I suspect the silicon tubing is a pretty good insulator. 

And, of course, you would have a problem with brown algae build up unless
you used sterlized water and somehow kept it sterilized. 

How would you control the heating?  Hopefully, the on-off cycle of the
lights would just perfectly balance the heating of the gravel so the tank
water would not get too hot. 
>We would be able to heat the substrate
>and cool the balast at the same time!  All this for a fraction of the cost
>of a substrate heating device.

And, boy, won't that be exciting when the tubing springs a leak, wets down
the ballasts and causes a fire!  Cool. 

George Booth, Ft. Collins, Colorado (booth at frii_com)
Need info? http://www.frii.com/~booth/AquaticConcepts.htm