Best Heater/Controller System Setup?

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Dstelter27

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Hey everyone!

I am still in the research phase in preparation for my very first tank and am a little overwhelmed with how to set up a relatively reliable heating system without spending more than $125 or so on heating.

The tank will be 25 gallons, so 100w heating requirement. In adding layers of redundancy, I plan on using two heaters (wattage will depend on system below) with a single (probably Ink Bird) controller (second controller may be outside the budget). I am primarily struggling with how best to set up the system itself to avoid catastrophic failure while also saving money where I can. So here are the primary options as best as I can tell from my research:

1. Connect one heater to the controller; have the heater manage the tank temp while the controller acts as a fail safe (so set controller thermostat to higher temp than internal heater thermostat); use second heater solely as a backup in case first heater fails in “off” position.
2. Same as #1, but use the controller as tand the heater thermostat as a fail safe (set heater thermostat higher than controller thermostat).
3. Connect both heaters to the controller and use the controller thermostat to maintain tank temperature

The issue I see with #2 is that the controller thermostat will be the electronic that gives out first from cycling on and off, leading to a more expensive purchase of a new controller. The issue I see with #3 is that if the controller fails and then the heaters fail (higher likelihood since everything is always in use), I’ll have a much bigger issue.

Any thoughts on what may work best for my situation (want built-in redundancy without breaking the bank (relatively small bank, in my case))?

Thanks for the help!
 

blaxsun

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With budget in-mind, if you want complete redundancy this setup would work:

* Inkbird 306A
* 2x Eheim Jager (or equivalent) 75-watt heaters

You set the Inkbird to the desired temperature range and the Eheims to 1 degree higher and lower. This way, if one of the heaters fail - you have enough to heat the tank. If one gets stuck on, the Inkbird will kill it. If the inkbird dies or both heaters die you're screwed, but this is an unlikely scenario and in any event your budget precludes anything more.

I run 3 heaters (also BRS) with my setup - and it's 100% bulletproof. The only downside is that it required an expenditure of $1,200 with the Neptune Apex.
 
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Geebs19

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Agree with @blaxsun. Get 2 and connect them to the inkbird. I run the BRS heaters so with those you have to have a controller. I would t run a heater now a days without a controller.
 
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EricR

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I'm running 2x Eheim Jager TruTemp 100 watt heaters into CHEAPEST InkBird 306T in 40 gallons and been working fine for me. (I'm actually using the Eheims to regulate temp and the InkBird just for fail-safe emergency overheat shutoff of both heaters)

InkBird 306T is $30 on Amazon, just look for the one with coated probe if worried about steel probes rusting. It's not as good as the 306A that others mentioned -- most notably the lowest on/off differential is 1 degree (but I'm not using it for that).

PetSmart online has perpetual sale on the Eheim heaters -- 100w at $26 for pickup in store. (Used to be cheaper but seems like it's creeping up a few dollars every so often)

*NOTE -- the Eheim glass heaters are pretty long so check that first if you go that route
 
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