Suppliers and Advantages of Titanium Aquarium Heaters
As most of us know there are a wide variety of submersible aquarium heaters available to buy, normally aquarists will purchase the standard units where the heating element is enclosed in a glass or plastic case. Another option on the market that is now widely available is the submersible titanium heater.
Standard heaters are more in the price range of most people, but they do have their disadvantages. They have to be submerged to the recommended water level (normally there is a line on the glass tube to act as an indicator), if the water drops below that the tube can blow, or at least overheat, this could mean a premature death for your fish, and it will definitely kill off the heater.
- Remembering to turn off the heater before removing it from the aquarium is often overlooked; I have done it myself on numerous occasions.
- After constant use a build up of scale can accumulate on the heater, not only is this unsightly, it can lead to total failure of the heater.
- Some of the cheaper heaters can sometimes be made to fairly low standards; this will reduce the lifespan of the heater to months rather than years.
- In salt water setups the heater will corrode at a quicker rate than tropical set ups, especially on plastic sheathed heaters, yet again the life span will be reduced.
- Temperature fluctuations can alter the specific gravity, and the ability of the water to absorb oxygen, this will induce stress related illnesses to your fish so it makes sense to have a reliable, high quality heater in your aquarium.
As the heating device in the aquariums is a vital piece of equipment, upgrading your heaters to the titanium models could be a good move, titanium heaters are widely used in ponds and have proved their worth, so why not introduce them to your tank. Titanium heaters are virtually unbreakable, they will not shatter if they are knocked while the element is hot, but if they are dropped from a height then they can break up.
There is no glass being introduced inside the aquarium, the outer casing is completely metallic, this reduces another hazard from the fish. The heat radiation is far superior to standard submersible heaters, plus there is less oxidation on the immersed casing, this means that there will be less corrosion occurring, especially in salt water set ups. Most of the standard submersibles will only be produced up to 400 watts; titanium heaters can go up to 800 watts, because of this the larger aquariums that have been running two heaters would only need to run one.
The main disadvantage has to be the price you will have to pay to purchase one of these, short term it may seem a lot, but in the long term it will end up cutting your running costs eventually. The price of the titanium heating probe compares with standard models but most of the titanium heaters will require a separate thermostat control, this is where the extra cost comes into it.
The controllers are not difficult to use, they have been designed to be very user friendly. Many will have led displays that are very easy to read and the controllers will often monitor any temperature fluctuations that occur over a 24 hour period. The heating elements are constructed from titanium and include top quality components to give precise temperature control, and as mentioned above in the controllers there will be a built in sensor that will cut the power if the element is exposed to air while it is still plugged in. Once the element is back in the water, and has cooled down, the power will be restored to carry on with normal operation.
- Finnex produce a range of titanium heating tubes priced at approx.17 pounds (34 dollars) for the 300 watt version, prices then rise to approx. 25 pounds (50 dollars) for the 800 watt version. These tubes are compatible with different makes of controllers; always ask that they are compatible with the controller you are going to buy. This company do market their own controller which is priced at approx. 15 pounds (30 dollars), but it is a basic unit but it does the job. It can be used with the 300, 500, and 800 watt heating tubes. They simply plug into the controller and setting the required temperature range is achieved by means of a dial on the front. With this controller there is no display screen for fast viewing.
- Aqua medic also produce a range of controllers that are compatible with the finnex heating tubes, these are a bit pricier but are of a higher quality, along with added features. It has a twin display unit for fast viewing so that maximum and minimum temperatures can be noted. All temperatures are set by means of touch sensitive pads on the front, giving more control for accuracy. Price wise a controller for a 300 watt heater will cost you 45 pounds (90 dollars), and the highest rated controller for a 800 watt heater will be on the market for approx. 60 pounds (120 dollars). This does seem a lot of money, but for piece of mind I reckon they are worth every penny.
- Aqua heat do an all in one unit which you can purchase for approx. 14 pounds (28 dollars), the only drawback with these is that they are only available in 200 or 300 watt versions. Temperature control is set by means of a small dial on the front of the unit, but they are sold with a year’s warranty.
We must remember that when setting the temperatures required for our aquariums, the lighting units above the tanks can affect the water as larger lighting systems or metal halide lighting does give off a lot of heat when in use. This should be taken into account.
Always check which size of heating tube you will need to run for the size of your aquarium, the larger the water volume, the larger the heater required.