Aquarium Heaters for your Tropical Fish Tank
Heaters are no more expensive than any other small electrical appliance. Remember, heaters are using up electricity only when they are heating. Thermostats do not use up any current; they only conduct it or cut it off.
The warmer you keep your tanks in relation to the room temperature; the more electricity will be required. If you are concerned about the cost of electricity, keep your tanks in the warmest part of the warmest room – but not near a radiator – and maintain your tanks at the lowest safe temperature of 72° to 73° F.
Incidentally, it costs no more to operate a large heater when a small heater in the same size tank. The larger heater will simply heat up that much faster and shut off that much sooner. Many people are under the misconception that a heater gives off only the temperature at which the thermostat is set while heating. This is not so. A heater, once it starts heating, gets as hot as the resistance wire will allow, and stays at that high temperature until the thermostat shuts it off. Then it loses all its heat to the water. A heater does not feel hot to the touch while it is heating, because it is rapidly exchanging its heat with the water. The same heater in air becomes too hot to touch within seconds.
A test light can be wired to a heater, provided you know how to make the hook-up. If the test light goes on when the thermostat and heater are plugged in, turn the temperature control down until the light just flickers off. If the light fails to go on, turn the temperature control higher. The point at which the light flickers on or off is where thermostat is set for room temperature. A thermometer in the room will tell you what the room temperature is. From there it is a simple matter to turn the thermostat up or down.
If the light goes on and fails to shut off when the thermostat contact is broken, it is usually evidence of the failure of a condenser, which should be removed. The heater should then function normally. A new condenser should be put on as soon as possible, rather than operating without it. The absence of a condenser puts a strain on the contact points.
If the test light fails to go on, check the male plug and the contact points first; then look for a break in the element, or a black spot, which indicates a burned area.
Occasionally the points become so coated with carbon that they fail to make proper contact, or constant arcing may build up a high spot, preventing the contact from breaking properly. Fine sandpaper used carefully will remove those spots and return the unit to proper operating.