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>While reading the current post about substrate heating I thought of
>something that would possibly be good to try. Take a standard
>ungergravel filter and put a heater in the stack (may have to oversize
>the stack some) then connect the top to a powerhead and reverse the
>flow. Seems to me that this would a) reverse the flow of water in the
>standard rugf systems, b) heat the substrate first and heat would 'rise'
>to the top c) keep the organic crap in the substrate to a minimum. The
>drawbacks that I see are a) the heater may cause damage to the stack
>(like melting) the water aggitation may reduce the heat causing the need
>for a larger heater to be used.
This is a variation on an already tried and true, inexpensive set up. You
don't really need powerheads or oversized uplift tubes. The small 7.5W
non-thermostatic heaters fit in normal size uplift tubes without any
problem at all. They create a very slow current in the uplifts (like heat
going up the fireplace chimney) which moves water slowly through the
substrate. This _does_ work... I've measured the temperature difference in
the substrate between tanks with and without this system in the same room.
It obviously doesn't heat the substrate to a temperature HIGHER than the
rest of the tank, but does solve the problem of "cold feet" in a cold room,
which I truly believe is the biggest advantage to substrate heating.
There are other simple methods that also help alleviated the stratification
of cold water in the substrate. But this one does work well.
Aquatic Gardeners Association