Habitat - Indoor :: Nightmarish failure of Exo Terra Submersible Turtle Heater

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:05 am   Nightmarish failure of Exo Terra Submersible Turtle Heater

Pardon the fact that this is my first post, I've been lurking as I've set up my RES habitat over the past few weeks. So far it is a Waterland TurtleTub, basking area with a Powersun UV, filtration, aquatic plants and the Exo Terra submersible turtle water heater with two very small RES in it. My wife and daughter brought these home from ChinaTown thinking they were suitable for a bowl. I actually had a RES as a child so I do love them and figured just invest in a significant habitat rather than mistreating them or giving them up.

Anyway, this is our first family pet and I've had a bad feeling about safety since I got this thing going- I think the lamp is the big reason. As a kid you don't worry about it, but as an adult you realize what a significant fire hazard it actually is (even with the appropriate stand and ceramic housing). But we just had a MAJOR problem with our Exo Terra Turtle Water Heater- and I'm not sure what to do next. I'm not comfortable using this again, but concerned that living in the NorthEast the habitat water is going to be too cold now. I thought I researched it, and got the one that would be safe for turtles...but it almost burned the house down and electrocuted my family.

I wasn't home...the girls were (fortunately) in the same room as the turtles, when the unit made a loud popping noise and began to smoke. Wife's first reaction was to reach in and pull it out of the water (I know, I know...) and it burned her. She unplugged it, pulled it out, and it had gotten searing hot, covered with white spots (kind of like when a battery leaks) and had actually split open and had seared the side of the tub. I just installed this unit on October 19th.

Did we do something wrong? It was entirely submerged properly. We did run it continuously which I assume it's designed for. The only variable was that I did within the last week put the aquatic plants (frogbit and hornwort) so it's possible one of them floated into the unit and caused the combustion, but it seems unlikely. This seems like catastrophic internal failure to me.

What should I do?!? Is it safe to get a replacement? Is there something more reliable that will keep the water at 75-78 without starting a structure fire?
NotDickorHarry
 
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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:48 am   Re: Nightmarish failure of Exo Terra Submersible Turtle Heat

I was having trouble getting this pic to upload, but this is what happened...
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NotDickorHarry
 
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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:01 pm   Re: Nightmarish failure of Exo Terra Submersible Turtle Heat

Hope the wife is OK. Even though there was a malfunction, any water heater will be very hot out of the water. I have not used their heaters (not of fan of their stuff) but it's likely the heaters fault. File a claim and get your money back. And see if you can get damages. Visitherm heaters (also a black plastic heater) a few years ago had a similar problem. They were exploding and lead to massive recall.

I'd stick to Jager heaters or Aqueon Pro. Is your equipment hooked into a GFCI outlet?
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steve
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Post Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:50 pm   Re: Nightmarish failure of Exo Terra Submersible Turtle Heat

This seems like it could have been much more serious if no one was home. Harm to the animals at minimum, and possibly a fire.

Is it safe to leave these things on all day?
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:00 am   Re: Nightmarish failure of Exo Terra Submersible Turtle Heat

Most people have them plugged in 24/7. I suppose to can have it on a timer, but then that might lead to additional wear.
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:02 pm   Re: Nightmarish failure of Exo Terra Submersible Turtle Heat

I have left my heater plugged in 24/7 for the past 6.5 years. No issue. I have a tetra, though I am not happy with it. I don't think it's consistently keeping my water to temp, so I invested in an Eheim heater, which should be here by the 1st or 2nd of December. I would file a claim with the company, get your money back, and invest in either a Fluval heater and Eheim, or Aqueon. Those seem to be the most reliable brands from what I've read here as suggestions and elsewhere on the net. They also have the best reviews and highest customer service ratings.

I'm glad your family and turtles are safe. You are right....it definitely could have been worse! Take care!
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