Equipment Review and Discussion :: Heater FAQ

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Post Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:34 pm   Heater FAQ

Heater FAQ

Marineland Stealth and Stealth Pro heaters have been recalled. Details--> viewtopic.php?f=9&t=30242&hilit=stealth+pro

1. Do I need a heater for my turtle?
Generally speaking, yes.

2. Why do I need a heater for my turtle?
An aquarium heater will keep the water at a consistent minimum temperature. If your area gets cool at night or in the winter months, a heater is a must.

3. Will the heater shut off at a specific temperature?
If the heater has a built in thermostat (most do) or is connected to a controller, yes.

4. What temperature should I set my heater?
75-78(F) for adult turtles
78-80(F) for juvenile turtles
If you are keeping fish with your turtle, 77-78(F) is appropriate for most fish. Your turtle is more tolerant to temperatures than your fish so in this case set the temperature that's appropriate for whatever turtle lunch... I mean fish you are trying to keep.

5. How many watts should I get?
This is a tricky question. Different manufacturers have different suggestions, but the best answer is 3-5 watts per gallon.
The wattage you need depends on how many degrees above the ambient room temperature you need to raise the water temperature.

6. What if I have a 1,000,000 gallon/liter mega sized turtle setup?
You can use more than one heater in your environment. Spread them out to heat the large volume of water more evenly & efficiently.

7. Can I get a heater that is too many watts?
You really cannot have too many watts as the heater will shut off when the desired temperature is reached. That being said, get the largest heater that will physically fit in your setup. A higher wattage heater is more versatile; you can use it in larger setups as your turtle grows. Higher wattage heaters are often physically longer so check the manufacturer specs for dimensions.

8. Doesn't a higher wattage heater use more electricity?
No not really. For example, let's compare a 300W heater to a 100W heater. The 300W heater uses 3x the electricity while it's on but will run for 1/3rd the time. Comparatively a 100W heater only uses 100W, but will need to run for 3x as long. So, yes the larger wattage heater uses more power while it's running, but in the end they use the same amount of electricity. There are some minor variances in this, but overall the same amount of electricity is used to raise a volume of water +x degrees.

9. Is there a specific heater that's best for turtle keeping?
A reliable, shatterproof or shatter resistant heater is most desirable. Many of this forum's users prefer and highly recommend the Eheim Jager heaters. They are relatively inexpensive, have a very proven record, are shatterproof, can be calibrated and are fully submersible.

10. What about titanium heaters?
Titanium heaters are fine and work well. Many of the higher wattage models require a separate temperature controller or aquarium controller. Finnex makes a very good titanium heater.

11. Do I need a heater guard?
This really depends on your individual turtle and how curious they are about playing with the heater. Most people do fine without a heater guard. Shatterproof heaters have a better chance of being turtle safe. Heater guards can be purchased or constructed. A simple PVC pipe with plenty of holes for water flow makes a good heater guard. Make sure there is always plenty of water around the heater.

12. What's the difference between submersible and fully submersible?
Almost all aquarium heaters are submersible… meaning a portion of the heater body needs to be IN the water. Not all heaters are fully submersible. Fully submersible is when the entire heater and part of the cord can be under water. Check the heater manufacturers specs for instructions on how to use the heater. Eheim Jager heaters are fully submersible.

The exception is the inline heater. Inline heaters are external to the tank and get plumbed into your filtration (usually in the canister's return line). They work by heating the water as it passes through.

13. Are there any heaters I should not use?
Yes. Avoid any heaters that have a pre-set fixed temperature. Do not buy a heater where you cannot adjust the temperature.

14. How long should I leave the heater on?
Almost all heaters have a thermostat so you leave it on all of the time. The built in thermostat will turn the heater on when the water temperature is below the set point and off when above. The only exception are specialty heaters that require an external controller. These thermometer-less heaters are generally expensive and are marked indicating they need an external controller. If you can set a temperature on your heater, it has a built in thermostat.
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