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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1147

> From: Adam Weingarten <javablue at concentric_net>
> Subject: Substrate Heating
> I'm about to set up a new 72 gallon tank and I was considering if it would
> make sense to heat the substrate in some way.  I don't like the idea of
> substrate heating cables because having live wires in my tank just doesn't
> seem like the safest thing in the world. Ihave read up on the udea of using
> a ugf with a heater in the uplift tubes to destibute the heat. I was
> confused about this alternative because I failed to see why the heat goes
> down into the subtrate instead of merely going out up the tube. Are there
> any other ways of heating the subtrate that are generally accepted?

Another form of substrate heating that may or may not be approved by the majority of
people on this list, is a heating pad placed underneath the aquarium.  The ideas and
theories of substrate heating have been hotly debated as to whether any form of heat
is helpful.  If one accepts heating the bottom of your tank as a good thing, then a
heating pad may be a nice addition.  Some people do not beleive that an even heat
across the bottom of the tank will accomplish what heating coils do.  I like the idea
of a heating pad (like reptile tanks, or electronic pads) underneath the tank.  It
doesn't get wet or have any contact with the interior of your tank.  If your tank
explodes or breaks, all sorts of electronics are screwed at that point, so what is
the difference of one extra line?  If the heating coils benefit a substrate by
increasing chemical reactions in the substrate, then a heating pad would do the
same.  If the current produced by thermal rise of hot areas is your goal, then I am
not sure a heating pad would work so well.  But then again, when water goes up, water
must come down from somewhere, so current would still happen, just not the same way. 
I have wanted to put heating pads underneath my tank for a while, I just haven't
gotten around to it.

Jennifer Glover
Waldorf, MD, USA