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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all

Going to be adding a single 800w Finnex titanium heater for xmas. Does anybody use a double failsafe ie: the heater can be bought with its own digital controller or withoit. Would that be a waste with an Aquacontroller to regulate temp and AND use the digital timer if for say the temp probe goes haywire.

Or do I just simply get the tube heater and use the aquacontroller and not waste the $37 and get it with both?

Also getting 3 new Phoenix 14k 250w bulbs for the fixture. Cant find a better bulb for the color I think in a DE 250w bulb.

Scott
 

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I like to run two heaters for redundancy in case one fails. A word of caution on the Finnex titanium units...I used a bunch of them on our holding and prop tanks...80% of them failed with-in a year.
 

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Oh...and I run everything via my Apex controller these days. I like the Ranco controllers if you're going to go that way, but it adds a lot of cost...I've heard of the Neptune temp probes failing, but I don't think it's a major issue or common occurrence.
 

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Warning: Long post :)

Does not using the controller on the heater mean that it will run in the "on" position 24/7 when it's plugged in and receiving power? If so, DEFINITELY get the controller for the heater. You want the heater to know when it's supposed to turn off, and set that a degree or two above the tank temp. My heaters are set to ~81-82 degrees, and my ReefKeeper Lite is set to hold a temp of 79.5 degrees. Should the outlet get stuck on, the heaters will most likely not get the tank above 82 degrees. Even still, I replace heaters within 1-2 years.

I really don't like the idea of you using one heater. It's great to use one pump instead of three, etc, but heaters really suck in terms of reliability. Heaters always fail, no matter how expensive they are or how "good" the brand of the heater. Using multiple heaters and running them on an aquarium controller is the safest way to keep the temp steady with the least chance of killing the tank. The idea is that even if your controller outlet gets stuck on, the heaters will turn off at their set point. Even if one of your heaters still doesn't turn off by some crazy fluke situation, 200w of heating power being stuck "on" is much better than 800w of heating power being stuck "on." I know I'm not telling you anything new, but it's always worth saying again and again. Redundancy for heaters is something that can make an otherwise horrible situation only "a little bad" instead.

Now, let me tell you what happened to me the other day on my tank, lol. I got home from work and I checked my tank. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DEGREES. :/ In reality the tank was like 72 degrees. :( What happened is that my temp probe had failed. Because the controller thought the tank was way over it's programmed temp, the heaters weren't turning on and the cooling fan was running non-stop. Luckily all of my corals seem to be fine and I had a back-up temp probe on-hand because I knew the Neptune temp probes were only good for a couple years at best before they failed. (This was my second Neptune temp probe.)

So, moral of the story. Controllers are great, but temp probes from any manufacturer can and will fail when you least expect it. Have a backup probe on hand if at all possible. Use multiple heaters, because if one should fail, hopefully it won't affect the tank quite as much as if one huge heater were to stick in the "on" position or something. Lastly, replace heaters on a regular basis, because they all go bad.

So yeah, I'd advise against one big heater. If you do, though, please make sure it's designed to turn off at a certain temperature and not just run 24/7, because a huge heater stuck in the "on" position would quickly nuke a tank... :(

Oh, one last thing. What do you mean by "timer"? Do you mean set it so that the heater can only be on for a certain length of time? I think that would be an added measure of protection, but keep in mind that in the winter, you could possibly run into a situation where the probe needs to be on for long periods of time.

Love the Phoenix bulbs for 250w DE halides. Pretty much the best looking DE blue bulb. You should see my Radiums on the HQI ballasts I'm running them with--looks a lot like the 14K Phoenix bulbs, but the colors pop in a whole new way. It's pretty crazy.

Ok, I'm done. My hands hurt from all this typing... :p

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So by "timer" I meant controller. The Finnex can be bought with or without their own controller that is digital. The heater itself needs to be used with a controller.

I have always used multiple heaters, and like you guys mentioned they all fail at some point. I have limited room under my stand and having 2 or 3 heaters using 2-3 outlets with my dc8, it limits it with 2 powerheads and 3 ballasts and actinic lighting.

This spring 2 of 3 heaters fried on at like full blast and made a nice variety of stew out of most of my coral. Point being it is easier to keep an eye on 1 functioning heater vs. 3.

So if I run a controlled Finnex through my Aquacontroller it would serve as a dual purpose redundant like option controlling heat.

Thanks for the advice though! Phoenixs are a must have and the heater I can ponder a touch yet.

Joe that post was so long I had to run outside for a cigarette break quick halfway lol
 

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So the Finnex controller is like the thermostat for the heater. Cool. Definitely go for it. That $40 or whatever will probably pay for itself in a hurry if your controller were to malfunction someday and leave the heater on.

Also, you can eliminate multiple outlets for heaters on your DC8 by using one outlet connected to a small power strip. I am currently running three heaters off of one outlet on my RKL by plugging a power strip into the outlet. A little white trashy, but it works. :D
 
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