Should you treat your heater as a consumable?

Taxus812

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I have been reading post and reviews about heaters. The horror stories of the failures are just awful.
Most seem to be after at least 6 months of use.

As new reefer should you just consider your heater a consumable and replace them lets say every year ?
 

redfishbluefish

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It's a fact of life.....heaters eventually die! They go in one of two ways....stuck ON, or no longer come on. The dangerous one is stuck ON if you're just running the heater without a controller. The No Longer Come On is partially covered by running two heaters.

As far as Stuck ON failure, you need to run a controller. Two good choices are an InkBird or a Ranco (or if you have one of the aquarium controllers). The one additional point about either one of these controllers is that you need to also pick up a waterproof sensor. Now you're set to go.

I leave my heaters in until they eventually stop working, and typically get many years out of them. My choice of heaters are the Eheim Jager's....note that they are long, so make sure it will fit.
 

malacoda

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Depends on A) the level of risk you're comfortable with and B) how closely you're able to monitor your system.

In regards to B, if you use a system controller and keep a spare heater on hand. Treating it as a non-consumable and using it until it dies should be fine. When your controller alarm goes off, just replace the failed heater with the spare.

In regards to A, if you're not using a controller and remember to check your tank temp regularly, treating as a non-consumable should be fine. I treat it as a non-consumable. On my 24g I check my temp each morning when I feed the tank. After 3 months I had a heater fail. Ambient room temp is usually ~70 F. So tank only dropped 1 or 2 degrees. Just put in the spare and was good to go. (BTW, the replacement heater ran for 2.5 years until I swapped it out with a new one and put it in the closest as an emergency spare.)

If you're not in the habit of checking temp daily, treating as a consumable and replacing every 6 or 12 months will give you a slight margin of safety. Still not a sure thing though, as shown by the example above.

Another option would be to run two heaters. If one fails, the second will maintain the tank temp until you discover the failure and replace the one that failed. This would allow you to treat heaters as non-consumable and run them until one dies.

In this situation, some folks use two heater that are a size smaller than recommended for their tank. I don't know why. It just puts stress on the second heater if one does fail, increasing the chance of it failing too before you notice the initial failure. And regardless of whether their both the proper size or undersized, they'll still shut off at the desire temp.

As for the stuck ON issue: totally agree with redfishbluefish. A temperature controller is not that expensive (compared to the cost of the fish and coral that will depend on it), and is the only real safeguard against a heater getting stuck on and cooking a tank.
 

ca1ore

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Assume you mean disposable …..

I use multiple, redundant heaters so can mostly run them to failure. I do keep a couple of new ones on hand just in case. FWIW, I've actually had a quite low heater failure rate (1 out of 10 in the last decade).
 

GatorScott

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I have been reading post and reviews about heaters. The horror stories of the failures are just awful.
Most seem to be after at least 6 months of use.

As new reefer should you just consider your heater a consumable and replace them lets say every year ?
Agree with everyone. I can speak from experience. I had a heater malfunction that never even turned on. I live in FL, bought a heater before I new I didn’t need it but left it in the tank because it had a temp display so I could see my tanks temp without the heater being on. Long story short 2 year older heater magically got stuck on and my tank was like 85* before I new it. Lost sooo much. Luckily fish survived and some how my Nems didn’t die. But any coral above zoa was toast.

So yes!!!!! If I ever need a heater I will 100% replace it Jan 1st every year.
 

Cory

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I dont worry about overheating heaters because the maximum temperature is only 78-82f if both of my heater stuck on (dependant on room temp). I sized them this way on purpose.

Eventually i want a dedicated room with an electric air heater keeping the temp where i want it. No more heater failures.
 
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