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Re: re heating cables

> I have found that the cheapest and one of the easiest ways to heat the
> plants from the bottom is not from heating cables, but rather to pump heated
> water through some tubbing and have that burried in the gravel.  I have a
> tank that has been up for over a year and my plants do well with this
> radiator method.  I wonder how many other people out there have done
> something like this.  You can tap right into the pump that you use for
> filtration.


I've set up my planted tank with a very similar system. I put an old UG 
plate covered with a 1/2" foam layer under the substrate. The foam is to 
prevent the fine-grained laterite/sand/crushed vermiculite mix at the 
bottom layer of the substrate to clog the plate slits. I divert water
from the output of the canister filter through a drip irrigation
mini-faucet into the UG plate riser tube. This setup is basically a 
very simple gravity-fed pump. Water flows into the raiser tube at a 
rate of about 5-10 gal/day. There is no supplemental heating of this 
water, so the system just keeps the substrate at the same temperature 
of the tank. The tank stand has a full suporting surface, not just the 
edge frame, so the tank's base glass is relatively well insulated from 
room temperature. It wouldn't be difficult to heat the substrate water 
provided a *very* low-power submersible heater could be found and put 
inside the riser tube. The tank is about 7 months old and doing well. 
It remains to be seen if this system will help the long term stability.
Anyway, it was so inexpensive to assemble that I thought it was worth 
a try.

Btw, shouldn't such mechanism prevent, or at least delay, the development 
of foul substances that may eventually cloud the water, as explained by 
Cathy Hartland in her recent post ? With a substate circulation system 
most of the substrate material is continuously exposed to "new" water.

-Ivo Busko
 Baltimore, MD