Week 8: Tank temperature. Finding a way to trust your heater | 52 Weeks of Reefing #BRS160

http://brs.li/BRS160_Week8 It’s Week 8 of the BRS160 52 Weeks of Reefing, and this week we are going to talk about temperature control with a focus on stability. We will cover the different types of heaters, explain proper placement and demo a few different heaters accuracy and variation. We’ll also cover the temperature controllers, importance of calibration, chillers, fans and finish with our installation for the BRS 160.

There is a fairly big range that a reef aquarium and it’s inhabitants can survive in, commonly anywhere from 76 to 83 degrees. The biggest advantage to running higher temperatures is increased metabolic rates which can increase coral growth which is something most of us find desirable.

Pretty much all of us will need a heater to maintain a stable temperature in the tank. Even in warmer states you probably frequently use an air conditioner to cool your home and even if you don’t you probably have some particularly cool nights in the winter. In either case your home will be cool enough at some point that you will likely need a heater.

There are four basic types of heaters common to the aquarium industry; bi-metal thermostat, electronic thermostat (both with external and internal temp probes), and heaters with no temperature control that require a separate external controller.

Cooling the tank is a little bit trickier. Maybe it’s hot in your home, you have a lot of equipment or lighting on the tank or you have very little evaporation all of which can cause the tank to overheat. The best way to keep the tank cool is to remove the offending equipment or replace it with more efficient equipment so you just don’t have to be concerned with this.

The next best way is to increase evaporation by making sure the surface of the water is breaking with a powerhead of some type and aiming a fan at the surface. This can be done on both the tank itself and sump.

If that still doesn’t do it you are going to have to consider a chiller. I honestly try and avoid chillers at all cost because they are expensive, take up a ton of room and require a lot of power which you might not have available near the tank. A chiller is more or less an air conditioner so it also adds heat to the room and can’t be cycled on and off constantly because it would be bad for the compressor. You will inherently have a larger temperature swing each time the chiller turns on and off which I also find undesirable.

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52artigas says:

I need  a heater good enough for my 120 tank with sensor and controller, any ideas?. I t will be difficult to have 2 heathers , that aren’t  enough or a 3rd, it will be too much.  Cobalt , maybe in the future?.

Glen Gingras says:

What overflow box would you recommend for a 30 gallon reef tank?

Lovebetta says:

I have small and big size of neo cobalt in my 91g Red Sea Reefer, I set the small to 77°F and the big on to 88°F, the temp goes to 77.6°F to 78.5°F do you consider this OK. Ty

Maurice Thomas says:

Where is the best location to place heater in the display tank?

Patrick Tucci says:

Why did you guys test these heaters at close to 90* F? Using equipment outside of the expected operating parameters isn’t likely to yield stable results. If most reefers keep their tanks between 78-81* F, why would a heater manufacturer put the extra R&D into making sure their heater is just as stable at 90*F?

A better test would have been to test these heaters within normal operating temperatures, between 78*F and 82*F. Unless… you guys already did that, and they all had fairly similar performance.

Luke Stringer says:

There are not many sumps out there to buy, Help!!

Michael Jearey says:

the heater is like a light bulb, the heating and cooling is what kills them over time.
if you want to make it more reliable you can use an undersized heater so that its always on and a cold plate that has no need for a compressor to turn on if the temp becomes too high.. these in combination. (for proof just look at the oldest working light bulb, it is never turned off) it worked for me for 3 years so far

Sum1stolmypants says:

Definately would pay for a better quality heater!

chris pollard says:

I have a 29 BioCube any helpful hints

Evan Kamien says:

YES to high quality thermal regulation components for reefs!! Your videos are on point.

epond83 says:

Has any one thought about using a sous vide cooker? Very precise and plenty of watts. Only down side is not submersible and limited depth it needs to be in the water.

Ken says:

FYI guys: I’m curing 5 pounds of dry Fiji rock in my Fluval 5 gal nano. With no other heat source than the return pump and ambient temp (very stable) the tank went between 73.2 f.
and 77.1 f. Just willy nilly no rhyme or reason and no way to control. The more seasoned Reefers here probably aren’t surprised, but this caught my attention. I understand that 5 gals will change it’s parameters much faster compared to 50 gals. Just passing on my experience. Keep those reefs alive in our homes and their homes too.

Striper Seeker says:

I didn’t see you covering a method to determine the wattage requirement for a heater. How do I know if I need a 100w or a 300w?

Dennis Younger says:

just something about the rapid fire info he gives I find it hard to watch more than a few minutes.

miwhitetailhunt says:

I would also like a quality heater that last. It seems I am constantly going through heaters no matter what the brand. I had an eheim last a long time but the fluctuation in temperature is one reason I will not be getting one of these again. Hope you guys can bring us one in the not so distant future.

Jonathan Huse says:

How much did the BRS160 vary in temp with this heater config?

bysmith240 says:

Need a reliable heater source!!!

Jonathan Richard says:

Why did you put two heaters into the tank? was one just a backup if the other failed?

GrupoPrecosa says:

great vídeo agree temperature highly important

telly coleman says:

Will you ask Cobalt to make a 300w please. I have money and will give it to them

Levi Burns says:

I read that for my 55gal, I would need around a 200w heater.. is this accurate? I want to run a 150w neo-therm. the price is around 60-$80 and that is super cheap considering they are so accurate and dependable, and most of all, low profile. I can hang it in the back of my tank, and due to the flat black finish, it almost disappears.

Waxy Parsnips says:

Just watched your video about the ReefKeeper Lite.. What happened to your enthusiastic tone of voice? It sounds much better to have enthusiasm when trying to convince people to buy your product! None the less, I’m seriously looking into one of these kits.. So sick and tired of buying new heaters for them to malfunction or quit working at the worst possible time! However, Because I’m not in the Reef aspect of the hobby (Freshwater) I will stick to the “Lite” version of this system. Thanks for the great tutorials !



hawkeyes123 says:

Hi, i’m currently in the process of upgrading my tank, i’ve bought a neptune apex for it, and i’l have a look at the cobalt and finnex heaters you showed. but what i would link to know is what would you recommend setting as the primary Temperature control, the Apex as Primary and the Internal on the Heaters as Secondary or the other way arround with the internal heater one as primary and the Apex as secondary?



Finger 4K Zombie says:

How do you like the D.C. Return pump ?

livewireaquatics says:

It would be a great thing to have a heater that you can count on for many size aquariums. I also would be willing to pay for a quality made heater that will last me years.

motleymess says:

We need a support group for those who’ve suffered from dysfunctional heaters…

Darren Monk says:

what is that calibration thermometer called? as I have 3 different readings and would like to know the true temp.

Mark Lowe says:

Such a cheap piece of gear why risk it. Good tips.

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