Who Is Using Alternate Heat Sources?

Weasel1960

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In @revhtree post Q - of day he recently asked about water heaters. @Mical indicated a local LFS used waterbed heaters on their sumps. I searched the forums and couldn’t find anything so wondering if anyone has any experience with using a water bed or reptile tank pad type heaters under their sump? We had a K-size waterbed for years, heater always kept it warm with no issues. Any body use other non-conventional heat sources?
 
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Ron Reefman

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I'm in SW Florida, so I have very little need for extra heat... maybe 10 to 20 days a year. But I see no reason for any kind of external heat source to be an issue. In fact, I like the idea rather than having an in the water heater!
 

Mical

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In @revhtree post Q - of day he recently asked about water heaters. @Mical indicated a local LFS used waterbed heaters on their sumps. I searched the forums and couldn’t find anything so wondering if anyone has any experience with using a water bed or reptile tank pad type heaters under their sump? We had a K-size waterbed for years, heater always kept it warm with no issues. Any body use other non-conventional heat sources?

Just a note: It was a local reefer (an old timer) who had his tanks on waterbed heaters. 3 large tanks 100+ gals and he had waterbed heaters below his sumps.

So currently I'm experimenting w/a 300w waterbed heater under my 120 sump. So far what I'm seeing - it takes just over 90 mins to go from 78 - 79 deg whereas my 2 finnex heaters took approx 40 mins or less. With the waterbed heater it takes it takes over 5 hours to cool back down to 78 where the pair of finnex take just under 3 hours. I haven't calculated the exact amp draw because I have other gear on that powerbar (EB8) but the Temp graph is showing the WB heater runs like 3-4 times per day where the pair Finnexs run 8-10 times.
 
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Weasel1960

Weasel1960

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Just a note: It was a local reefer (an old timer) who had his tanks on waterbed heaters. 3 large tanks 100+ gals and he had waterbed heaters below his sumps.

So currently I'm experimenting w/a 300w waterbed heater under my 120 sump. So far what I'm seeing - it takes just over 90 mins to go from 78 - 79 deg whereas my 2 finnex heaters took approx 40 mins or less. With the waterbed heater it takes it takes over 5 hours to cool back down to 78 where the pair of finnex take just under 3 hours. I haven't calculated the exact amp draw because I have other gear on that powerbar (EB8) but the Temp graph is showing the WB heater runs like 3-4 times per day where the pair Finnexs run 8-10 times.
So how do you have it under sump? On insulation? Attached to glass? What about cord under rim? pictures? Sounds plausible and if it is a similar sized heater likely more efficient because it is using the sump itself to store heat, probably why it took awhile to bring the temp up. Am following this so please provide updates.
 

Mical

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I'll get pics up - (I'm not at home currently) The heater is 24"long X 12" wide and its on a sheet of Refectix Insulation then the sump sits directly on the heater/pad. Power cable comes out the end to the WB temp controller then is plugged into my Apex. Thermostat is internal to WB heater. ->
 

Perthegallon

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I'll get pics up - (I'm not at home currently) The heater is 24"long X 12" wide and its on a sheet of Refectix Insulation then the sump sits directly on the heater/pad. Power cable comes out the end to the WB temp controller then is plugged into my Apex. Thermostat is internal to WB heater. ->
Are you not worried it’ll break and you can’t remove it?
 

Ippyroy

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Following. I like this idea but would be nervous to move to an unproven method. This seems like it would work though. Is the sump acrylic or glass? Also how complicated would it be to replace when it fails?
 

Mical

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Following. I like this idea but would be nervous to move to an unproven method. This seems like it would work though. Is the sump acrylic or glass? Also how complicated would it be to replace when it fails?

My sump(s) are acrylic and if I ever have to replace it it's just drain the sump, slide it out, slide new one in. The initial idea that got me going on this is one less electrical piece in the tank. And waterbed heaters have a history of lasting for many years.
 

Dr. Jim

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My sump(s) are acrylic and if I ever have to replace it it's just drain the sump, slide it out, slide new one in. The initial idea that got me going on this is one less electrical piece in the tank. And waterbed heaters have a history of lasting for many years.
I know you said you have acrylic, but if glass, wouldn't you be concerned the hot surface on one side and cooler water on the other could result in it cracking?
 
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Ippyroy

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My sump(s) are acrylic and if I ever have to replace it it's just drain the sump, slide it out, slide new one in. The initial idea that got me going on this is one less electrical piece in the tank. And waterbed heaters have a history of lasting for many years.
My next set of questions. Is the sump itself getting warmer? Mainly the sides, or is the heat getting transferred to the water? How warm does the water in the sump getting compared to the DT? Are all levels in the sump the same temp?
I really like the idea of a waterbed heater. I just have a few concerns. Thanks for doing this. I could see someone making something like this specifically for aquarium use.
 

Ksull72487

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I don’t use Alternative heat sources but my place is all electric heat in an area which can get to -20. Oversizing the heater has been my main rule of thumb by a lot. I like to run my place at 68 cooler side. I found that if you only need a 50 watt heater and you use a 200 watt heater with a decent controller the temps don’t budge and when it does come on it comes on for a short period. The titanium ones cool down fast which is why I like the quartz. They’ll emit heat after shut off.

My electric water heater is dialed in. You have two heating elements one on bottom one on top for an even tank temperature and quicker rebound. The only issue I see with under tank heaters is that the surface temps might run cooler. It’s hard to know then again probably depends on tank size and volume. If you have a heater issue. Up the Watts. I’m using a 200 watt in a 13.5. That 50 watt probably cost more money to run as it was on a lot. The 200 watt much less as it’s on less frequently to maintain the temp.

Their is a sweet spot for this stuff. That’s for sure. Some people oversize their ACs. Well yeah sure it’ll keep things cooler at the cost of high humidity. With heat you want short run times. So an 800watt heater sounds like it’ll cost more than a 500watt. Initially yes. But the larger one is gonna achieve the temp faster and likely cycle less. I think a waterbed heater could work! But it’s an experiment. No doubt.
 
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Mical

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I know you said you have acrylic, but if glass, wouldn't you be concerned the hot surface on one side and cooler water on the other could result in it cracking?

If I had a glass sump I think I might put something between heater and sump but that is an unknown...
 

Mical

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My next set of questions. Is the sump itself getting warmer? Mainly the sides, or is the heat getting transferred to the water? How warm does the water in the sump getting compared to the DT? Are all levels in the sump the same temp?
I really like the idea of a waterbed heater. I just have a few concerns. Thanks for doing this. I could see someone making something like this specifically for aquarium use.

The heat is getting transferred to the water. The first time heater reached 79 degrees I took readings in sump and in DT and it was .1 deg off (according to Hanna Checktemp1) Sump was 79 deg via Hanna & Apex & temp in DT was 78.9.
 

HuduVudu

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In @revhtree post Q - of day he recently asked about water heaters. @Mical indicated a local LFS used waterbed heaters on their sumps. I searched the forums and couldn’t find anything so wondering if anyone has any experience with using a water bed or reptile tank pad type heaters under their sump? We had a K-size waterbed for years, heater always kept it warm with no issues. Any body use other non-conventional heat sources?
 

laverda

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I don’t use Alternative heat sources but my place is all electric heat in an area which can get to -20. Oversizing the heater has been my main rule of thumb by a lot. I like to run my place at 68 cooler side. I found that if you only need a 50 watt heater and you use a 200 watt heater with a decent controller the temps don’t budge and when it does come on it comes on for a short period. The titanium ones cool down fast which is why I like the quartz. They’ll emit heat after shut off.

My electric water heater is dialed in. You have two heating elements one on bottom one on top for an even tank temperature and quicker rebound. The only issue I see with under tank heaters is that the surface temps might run cooler. It’s hard to know then again probably depends on tank size and volume. If you have a heater issue. Up the Watts. I’m using a 200 watt in a 13.5. That 50 watt probably cost more money to run as it was on a lot. The 200 watt much less as it’s on less frequently to maintain the temp.

Their is a sweet spot for this stuff. That’s for sure. Some people oversize their ACs. Well yeah sure it’ll keep things cooler at the cost of high humidity. With heat you want short run times. So an 800watt heater sounds like it’ll cost more than a 500watt. Initially yes. But the larger one is gonna achieve the temp faster and likely cycle less. I think a waterbed heater could work! But it’s an experiment. No doubt.
The major flaw in your plan is, if your heater were to stick on it would be a disaster for your animals. You would be suffering with 2 50 watt heaters on sepwrat controllers. I personally have four 300 watt heaters with 2 set for 77 and two set for 78. All 4 are on 2 independent controllers set for 76.5 and 77. That way 2 come on if the temp drops to 77. The second two come only if the temp continues to drop. Im protected from any one heater failing on or off this way, as the often do.
 

laverda

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Acrylic does a decent job of insulating and would hinder the transfer of heat from a WB heater. I would also be concerned about it creating pressure points on the bottom of your sump since they are not totally flat.
I have friend the uses a gas hot water heater on his large out door system.
I use 4 conventional aquarium heaters which I feel are the least reliable products sold in the hobby.
 

Mical

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Acrylic does a decent job of insulating and would hinder the transfer of heat from a WB heater. I would also be concerned about it creating pressure points on the bottom of your sump since they are not totally flat.

I use 4 conventional aquarium heaters which I feel are the least reliable products sold in the hobby.

Both of my sumps are flat bottomed & WB heater lays flat below it on a pad of Reflectix Insulation below the heater. As mentioned above it is working just don't have more than a week of history on it. I'm picking up a Kill-A-Watt in near future to compare amperage diffs between WB heater vs 2 Finnex heaters.
 

Ksull72487

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The major flaw in your plan is, if your heater were to stick on it would be a disaster for your animals. You would be suffering with 2 50 watt heaters on sepwrat controllers. I personally have four 300 watt heaters with 2 set for 77 and two set for 78. All 4 are on 2 independent controllers set for 76.5 and 77. That way 2 come on if the temp drops to 77. The second two come only if the temp continues to drop. Im protected from any one heater failing on or off this way, as the often do.
This is true. I’m not protected if it cooks and 200watts will surely fry the tank of this size.

My main issue was space, Nano. Which is why I opted for one heater. Auto Aqua has a Smart Temp Sensor which will kill the heater I have considered buying. My biggest fear would be it sticking rather than not coming on. But ideally you are correct your way is the best option.

Stray Voltage was another one.
 
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