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Titanium heater vs glass ?

Postby MPKS92 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:41 am

Which is best, Titanium vs Glass? I am finishing up my DIY background and almost ready for water in my new 125gallon tank. It will be housing several Msobos, Yellow labs And some chipokae's along with few catfish. I plan to purchase two heaters just not sure if I shoould use titanium or glass. I have looked at the reviews and seems rena and visa therm seem to be some of the better choices, but not alot about the titanium heaters. Any suggestions with experience highly appreciated. Thanks MPKS92 8)
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Postby fmueller » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:51 pm

Unless you have fish that bash heaters around - Oscars come to mind :D - there really isn't much difference. I am using both in different tanks, and have had great ones as well as duds with both. One type of heaters that has never failed me yet is the Hydor external heater. I am using a 300W on my 125G and love it!

http://www.fmueller.com/125g/technology/the-heating/
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Postby Dj823cichild » Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:35 pm

I have a glass one in my Oscar tank it works just fine :thumb:
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Postby benny71 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:43 pm

I'm currently using Marineland Stealth Pro (shatter proof) heaters on all of my tanks and I really like them.

I've dropped fairly heavy rocks on them on several occasions and they still work.

They have a temp dial at the top that lights up green when the temp is OK and red when they are heating...Personally, I love this feature, because I always know that the heater is plugged in and working. I had a really close call awhile back and my tank wasn't heated overnight and the temp dropped big time.

And they also have a safety shut-off, so if you forget to unplug it while doing a big water change, the heater won't burn up or bust like my last glass heater did. :oops:
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Postby PfunMo » Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:33 pm

The material it is made of is of less importance than the way it is made. If it has the control mechanism inside the tube it is very prone to failure. Due to the limited space and being inside with the heat, the controls are a weak point. The first cause of failure I find is the points sticking. This can be avoided by making bigger points and adding a capacitor to lessen the arcing. Second cause is water getting in the heater tube. This can be avoided if the tube is fully sealed with no moving parts running through the seal. Breaking happens and I think metal will stand up better than glass. For these reasons, I am switching to a Via-Aqua heater. It is somewhat higher to buy but should last at least twice as long as it has none of the problems I listed. At about $35-42, I think it will be worth it. I find it to be a very nice heater but only time will tell how well it lasts.
This is the control box with top removed:

Image

There are several sources, of which this is one.
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Postby fmueller » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:33 pm

PfunMo wrote:I am switching to a Via-Aqua heater. It is somewhat higher to buy but should last at least twice as long as it has none of the problems I listed. At about $35-42, I think it will be worth it. I find it to be a very nice heater but only time will tell how well it lasts.


Personally my experiences with the Via-Aqua Titanium heaters have been very positive. I have two 300W models in the sump of my 240G, and after more than 5 years they still do a great job. Unfortunately others seem to have been less lucky. The reviews of these heaters are probably worth reading.

Image
Via Aqua Titanium heater with external sensor and external controller.
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Postby PfunMo » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:10 pm

I just read through the reviews and they seem to fit my profile of most reviews. They are high on sentiment but low on facts that tell a person anything of value. To tell us they stopped is not much help if they can't really put some facts into their thinking. Pretty much the same reviews could be put on any product we bring up. When I find obvious design errors on many of the heaters I've used, I'm ready to try something else. If/when It fails, I will be willing to say more than it died. The best of stuff dies so what does that tell us that we can use?

There are some people who can tear up an anvil. When they don't say what tore up the anvil it leaves the review pretty worthless. It still just gets us back to taking the best shot and living with it.
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Postby pretty-nifty » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:48 pm

Whatever you get, they are definitely cheaper online! (than an lfs)
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Postby fmueller » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:24 pm

PfunMo wrote:To tell us they stopped is not much help if they can't really put some facts into their thinking. Pretty much the same reviews could be put on any product we bring up.


In short, the reviews tell you that you got yourself a great deal if your Via Aqua heater lasts beyond the first year, but if you are considering to buy a new one, factor into the cost that there is a good chance that the heater will not last that long and be a complete write off.

I am still quite fond of the Via Aqua heaters, but I had one fail in the first year. When I buy a brand new heater I expect it to last longer than one year, and frankly, if it fails I don't give a hoot why. I am simply dissatisfied. Still, there can always be one lemon, and I might give the manufacturer the benefit of doubt and order another one of the same model. However, when another user (whose opinions I respect) posts that he had two of the same heaters fail in the first year, I am thinking the manufacturer has a quality control problem. This is not to say that all their heaters are bad, but the quality they put out is not consistent.

As it happens, the Via Aqua heaters are made in China. That does not worry me in itself - some Made in China stuff these days is as good or better than Made in the USA or Made in Germany. However, Via Aqua has a warranty policy under which you need to pay for shipping of the faulty heater to the manufacturer as well as for shipping of the new heater from the manufacturer to you. Only if you do that, they will replace the heater. Considering shipping costs from the USA to China and back, that means you can get a new heater here cheaper than what it would cost you to receive a replacement heater under warranty. Obviously this renders the warranty useless.

I think those are useful facts for a prospective buyer, even if they don't touch on the technical workings of the reviewed product. :)
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Postby PfunMo » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:39 pm

I consider warranties right up there with much of the things sellers try to lead us to believe. Only rarely do I consider warranties worth buying. To me knowing that a heater failed only tells me one user was dissed. To be relevant, I would need to know what percentage of heaters failed. I expect all heaters to have some number of failures. Some of the reviews posted are not even for the titanium heaters but for a stainless steel heater. How much reliable information can we get from somebody not knowing or caring about the difference?
It all gets back to who do we trust to take care of us. Ourself or somebody we never met who says they care?
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Postby fmueller » Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:21 am

PfunMo wrote:To me knowing that a heater failed only tells me one user was dissed. To be relevant, I would need to know what percentage of heaters failed. I expect all heaters to have some number of failures.


Actually, I agree with that. But what we need to further improve the review section is not people spreading the word that posting reviews is useless, but we need more people to post more reviews. The more data we have, the more statistically relevant the review section is going to be!
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Postby krfhsf » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:37 am

I have only used the via-aqua titanium heaters not the new stainless ones. When they fist came out 6-7 yrs ago I had a couple of 50-100 watters go bad. Mine always stuck off. One of our local club members had one stick on and lost a tank full of w/c trophs. Over the years I have bought 8 more. I have not had any problems other than they seem to go dead after 5yr's(stuck off). I like the titaniums and will buy more when I have the money.
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Postby newcichlidiot » Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:18 pm

Seems to me a consumer is more apt to write a review when they have had a failure than when the product is working as expected. So I would take the &issed off consumers with a grain of salt.
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