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Re: Low Voltage Undergravel Heater Plans

Harold asked;
>Does anyone have any experience with low voltage heaters
> over the long term and what benefits do you see

Substrate heating is probably low on the list of items that will
contribute to your success with growing plants. I've had my DIY system
in for almost 2 years but determining what benefit it's been is not
easy.  I think you have to read the arguments for substrate heating
and decide for yourself if it makes sense. 
BTW if your system is heating the substrate then you are creating

>Are high voltages better than low voltage?

Low voltage is just a necessity in DIY systems because of the low
resistance of the wires used. I guess keeping the voltage as low as
possible is a good idea from a safety standpoint although I don't
think substrate heating systems are particularly dangerous.  One
disadvantage of lower voltages is that high current low voltage
transformers are harder to find.

>Any other comments?

I put in the substrate heating because conceptually it made sense to
me.  Also while I could change lighting and filtering after I setup my
aquarium, substrate heating is something I couldn't add but I could
turn off if I had it. Finally a DIY substrate heating system is easy
to install and are relatively inexpensive. (Mine cost &25) If I had to
pay $400 for a commercial system I certainly wouldn't have installed

Jim Spencer
Sayre, PA

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