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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for info from folks who run large systems. What do you run for heaters?

Background - Building a system when the new Tsunami gets here. 410 gallon tank with large sump - the total system volume will be roughly 500 gallons. House is normally kept at 70 degrees on average.

I've searched the forum, but most discussions are pretty old and center around smaller systems, which is to be expected. When I read reviews on Amazon, it seems like every single heater has the "cooked my fish" review or "Shocked me, would not buy again" review. Add to that the fact that most stuff is unavailable these days, and I'm having fun. I'm willing to spend the money, but I'm seeing reviews that indicate it may not be worth it on some of these heating options.

Last question: Does anyone have experience with any PTC heaters?
 

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I use two of these in my 450gal + 100gal sump: Catalina 800 Watt Titanium Heater with Controller. Haven't experienced any problems.
 

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I second the titanium heater with temperature controller. Switched to a 600 watt one on my 265 gallon earlier this year after having issues with 2- 300 watt heaters from Eheim. Couldn't keep them in sync, one was always coming on even when the temp was good. After constantly playing with them and hoping the tank wouldn't overheat while I was away I got the titanium one. Works perfect and I dont have to worry any more.
 

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There's not a heater on the market that hasn't had it share of problems. Another thing I adopted was if I wanted 600 watts of heater. I would use 2, 300 watt heaters. I had a 800 watt heater that failed. Went to the basement during an extremely cold spell and the fish were laying on the bottom. The water was 60 degrees. So now if 1 fail, I would still have 1 doing a little something.
 

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I am also a giant aquarium lover, also set up it last year. I found a comprehensive guide where you can find a lot of choices review for aquarium heater by Mrfishkeeper You can choose easily the best pick for your 500-gallon tank. Please share what you have picked for yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I actually wound up going with two Aqueon Pro 300w heaters. One in the front of the sump set high, and one near the return pumps set at the actual desired temperature.

I also have two huge return pumps sitting submerged in the sump running all the time heating the water.
I also have two huge 36w UV sterilizers on the return lines heating the water.

So, I went with small heaters, and two of them, to prevent the possibility of any one thing failing and being able to elevate the tank temperature enough to cause real problems. Tank runs 79 degrees no problem.

There is a valid argument for temperature controllers. The idea would be that you plug the heater into the temperature controller and set the temp controller high, then if the tank gets to hot, the temperature controller shuts off the power to the offending heater. It protects from overheating. I decided to not go this route for a couple of reasons. First was that all this gear was pretty hard to get hold of at the time, so I was really limited on options. Local big box had the Aqueons. The second was the fact that the temp controller I did look at had an under-temperature alarm. So this means that if it never reaches temperature, an alarm starts going off. If I had run it as described, it would have had a constant "Everything-is-working-as-intended" alarm. Fishboy & Ken - this doesn't happen when the temp controller is used alone to just drive an element that does not have it's own thermostat. This also removes the redundancy and associated extra safety of the second thermostat.
Incidentally, Fishboy75, I found the Eheim heaters you mentioned for extremely cheap on the web. Like $14 each. The general consensus was that something had happened some years ago to the quality of the once-renowned heaters and they had become very undependable. Your experience seems consistent. Also, they are 42 miles long :D
 
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