Reef keepers might not keep checking the temperature all the time, temperature to aquarium livings is just like air to human, you won’t pay attention until it goes wrong and makes damage. If you never have the experience of broken heater before, congratulation, but believe it or not, non device won’t be broken, just time matters, means your heater will get broken soon or later.
If we can’t prevent and predict the heater gets broken someday in future, how can we to deal with it?
SETUP CORRECT MULTIPLE HEATERS HELPS TO AVOID OR DECREASE DAMAGE.
Method 1: Backup another heater with the same heating capability
For example, if your tank size is 300 liter and heating requirement is 450 ~600W, then get two 500W heaters and have them work as backup for each other. Setup the 1st 500W work at 25C/77F and the 2nd 500W heater work at lower temperature, like 24.5C/76F. While the one of them gets broken, your tank temperature won’t be lower than 24.5C/76F, unless both heaters get broken at the same time. By doing this, you must make sure a 500W heater is capable to heat up your tank in different environment,* otherwise 2 heater might work at the same time to fly your fish immediately.
Note: 1 liter water requires 1.5 ~ 2W heating capability to your tank.
Method 2: Replace heater with 2 or more small ones.
The same tank, size is also 300 liter, but plan to have a 600W heating system. With this method, we suggest you replace one 600W to become two 300W heaters. Setup all the small heaters work at 25C/77F. While one of the small heaters gets broken, the rest of them are working still, it slow down the temperature drop and allow you to have more time to replace the broken one. By doing this, will also reduce the thermal shock to the aquarium livings, especially while these small heaters are located in different corners of tank.
Method 3: Replace plus backup
Tank size is 300 liter still, the heating requirement is 450 ~600W, then you could use the replace method to build a 900W small heaters system, but these heaters are configured with different working temperature as backup also. 900W could be divided into (300W + 300W) as main working heaters + 300W as backup heater. Setup 1st 300W works at 25C/77F; 2nd 300W works at 24.5C/76F; 3rd 300W works at 24.3C/75.7F. while the 1st or 2nd 300W get broken, your tank still have 600W working capability. This will bring your tank several advantages, includes energy saving, reduce thermal shock to livings and guarantee the temperature of tank.
If you don’t have any budget concern, we strongly recommend go for method 3 “Replace plus backup”, since it helps energy saving, reduce thermal shock to livings and the best thing is no longer worry about the heater get broken someday. With enough budget, an aquarium control operating as failsafe to cut power to any heaters and send mobile alert make a foolproof system.
If you don’t want to pay lots of money for it, method 1 “Backup” will be a good choice, since temperature is guaranteed.
If you already have small heaters, or plan to build a larger tank later, method 2 “Replace” will save money and reduce the thermal shock effect to the livings in your aquarium tank.
A warm remind, the numbers above the methods are just samples to make easy reading and understanding. The exact numbers based on your tank should be well calculated and estimated. Take these into consideration,
- Water volume
- Heating demand in Walt
- Available heater on hand
- The temperature range you expect
- How much time you have while heater gets broken
- Thermal shock in your tank now
- Always choose a “stay off” heater while broken to avoid over heating, especially you don’t have an extra controller to monitor the temp
- With enough budget, an aquarium control operating as failsafe to cut power to any heaters and send mobile alert make a foolproof system