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What size heater for 160 litre tank?


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Turns out getting a crack in our new 65 litre tank was a good thing, we've decided to upgrade to an even larger tank - 160 litres apparently. Its an Aqua One, not quite sure what model, my husband is sorting it out. But what size heater does it need, we bought a new heater for the 65 litre tank, I think it was 200 watt, will this be sufficient for the new 160 litre tank??

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Wok said:

Just remember 1w per litre of water

SG said:

Ahh.. thanks Wok - didn't know there was a "rule" as such.

You should look at it as a "basic guideline" more than a "rule"

Suphew said:

If you were thinking of buying another I would do it anyway, far safer to have two heaters in a larger tank incase one fails, plus helps spread the heating out a bit if you don't have a lot of water movement.

So true.. as there are so many variations and conditions to consider.

Heaters are (basically) rated to bring a certain volume of water to a certain temp and hold it there under the control of the thermostat.

A large tank in a consistantly warm living room would possibly have no probs holding its temp.. with the right heater/s.. but the same tank in a cold house, or out in a garage, would possibly struggle to maintain the temp.

Anyone... no matter who they are, or what size tank they have, should expect their heaters to be working pretty hard over the winter, and many rely on heaters that have not been checked or replaced for years.. so as Suphew points out.. having the two heaters in there is your insurance policy.. as if one fails.. then the other can take over.

When considering heater size you should aim for something slightly above the borderline.. as a small heater in a large tank will almost be on constantly.. whereas a large heater in a small tank will cook it if anything goes wrong.

It is still amazing to see people who spend countless hundreds on tanks and fish.. but yet fail to spend that few dollars on an extra quality heater :)

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Thanks Bill.. I wasn't really taking it as a rule, but that was the only word I came up with at the time.

So, using the "basic guideline" the heater we have is a 200 watt heater, and we have 160 max, so that should be sufficient. The tank is in the lounge, which is usually heated throughout the day.

This tank is a little different than the ones I've had before. Instead of the water being sucked through the filter and trickled out along the width of the tank, its sucked through the filter, filtered then exits via a pipe at the opposite end of the tank. Which made me think I should put the heater there. But there is nowhere to put the cord out that end and if we did it this way, the hood would not sit correctly on the tank. Might have to experiment with this, I suppose I could do modifications?

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:) Trust Wok to say something funny..:)

OLD... "Who.. ME..?"

Heaters have got to be the most neglected thing in most tanks, and I have visited countless homes where the owner has complained their tank temp won't stay stable.. or reach the right heat.. but yet they have the correct heater installed.

We get the situations where the heater is installed in an "upright" position, and is often stuck in a corner behind a rock or plants.

A heater in this situation is highly inefficient.. as the rising heat from the heater is constantly switching the thermostat on and off.. as the heat "around" the heater is saying that the temp is ok.. but in fact the far end of the tank is often quite a bit colder that the surrounding area of the heater.

Single or double heaters should always be placed as horizontal as possible for the best heat dispersion, and the lower you can fit them.. (without touching the gravel etc).. the better... as heat rises.

Fit single ones centrally in the tank.. (if possible).. and if using two, fit one at either end on the back.

Using the filter flow to distribute the heat is always good.

If the "second" heater is just a safety net in case the first one fails.. then set the temp slightly lower on it, so that it will only come on if the main one fails to maintain the temp.

Many think that a large heater will increase the power bill.. but this is not always so.. as a larger heater (in the right conditions).. will be on far less than a small heater that is fighting to maintain the right temp.

Heaters should be checked periodically for stability of temp.. plus any undue leakage as the seals get old... plus any crustations caused by gravel contact should be removed carefully after switching the heater off and allowing it to cool.

A good habit to get into is the "back of the hand test"

Just place the back of your hand against the glass and you should be able to feel any loss of temp. This takes a bit of time to learn.. but if done every day while feeding it soon becomes easy to "feel" the right temp.

Bottle feeding mums always used to test the temp of the milk on the back of their hands :)

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I have an AR980 and have the heater near the filter where it gets sucked in so the warm water gets spat out the other end of the tank and warms it. I'm not too sure if its the best idea but then again as you said you are limited as to where you can place the heater in the Aqua one tanks.

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Oh man, do I have a lot to learn or what?

So what you're saying Bill that the heater operates better horizontally NOT vertically?? This contradicts the operating instructions that came with the heater! :-?

However, I've never had any problems in the past with heating, although my tanks have never been this large..

Land_lubber, never thought of that!

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So what you're saying Bill that the heater operates better horizontally NOT vertically?? This contradicts the operating instructions that came with the heater!

We are always told to follow the instructions.. so it may be that your heater is designed to work in an upright position.

There are still a few heaters around that are not meant to be fully submersed.. (don't know if they still sell them.. but..) and in this case they are almost always fitted vertically with the top out of the water... but I thought these were discontinued.

There's also ones that fit in the filter unit.. and I don't know how these are fitted.. but the above is for the general run of the mill type heaters.

Here's someone else with heat probs..

Richms post (today) in Technical (Hydor Inline Heaters)

Heat loss is a function of tank area and ambient temperature

If you reduce the tank area exposed to the cold room, you will decrese the power needed. I have a 300 litre tank and have had to put 700 watts of heat in it because its long, tall and thin, and the room is bloody freezing, still sinks to 23° overnight when the room gets to 7° but I figure its cheaper to heat the tank then the whole house like I did last year, since we are not really using the lounge as much.

Which is basically what I was explaining above.

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