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Heating Cables

> From: IDMiamiBob at aol_com
> I'm confused about this whole heating cable thing.  Perhaps this is partly
> just a conflict of approaches between differing schools of thought.  I read
> on this list that UGFs are bad because they cause a current across the roots,
> which reduces something, maybe it was the develpment of root hairs.  But
> others are fighting with heater cables in the hopes of generating current
> flow through the substrate.

My impression on UGF's is mostly the same problems you'd have with keeping
them in non-planted tanks, plus that you can't vaccuum them as often
because of the plants growing, and you can't keep exotic things
(laterite, etc) in the lower part of the substrate because it gets
sucked under and out.  But on the positive side, they do circulate the
nutrients through.

> And why cables?  There are heaters designed to fit to the underside of the
> tank.  This seems a lot easier to me.  They should be just as efficient t
> generating convection in the substrate..

That is an age-old question (well, for this group anyway) and is
answered by George Booth in the FAQ
(http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~aquaria/Faq/plant-cables.html).  The
cables create alternating zones of hot and cold, which build up a slow
convective circulation of water.  An under-tank heater cannot apply
enough heat to local areas for that to be effective (but an under-tank
heater might be useful for plants that need "warm roots" such as

Any and all information on heating cables is subject to much
speculation, as its effects are mostly long-term, and (IMHO) a distant
fourth after high light, CO2, and proper fertilization.

   - Erik

Erik D. Olson					         amazingly, at home
eriko at wrq_com