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SubscribeHeater problems
Small Fry
Posts: 7
Kudos: 11
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Registered: 24-Nov-2013
male usa us-florida
So my heater in my 55 decided it didn't want to shut off. My thermometer goes up to 88 F, I don't know how much higher the temp actually got before I found it. It took a good 5 or so hours for it to cool down after I unplugged the heater. My question is, what kind of damage was done to the fish, some of them have some white spots on them but it doesn't look like ich, and I have a Red tail shark in the tank and it was acting fine until after the temp went down and now it's acting strange and not eating? What should I look for and is there anything I need to do now? The tank normally stays at 78 degrees F
Post InfoPosted 18-Jan-2016 03:12Profile PM Edit Report 
Mega Fish
Posts: 1246
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Registered: 27-Sep-2003
female usa
If it only got up to 88 (likely since with the heater constantly on it wouldn't have much chance to cool), the damage likely isn't permanent as long as none of your fish suffocated while the dissolved oxygen was lower due to the high temperature. However, with such large swings of temperature comes a large amount of stress for our gilled charges, so they would be more susceptible to the regular types of diseases. Your red-tail shark should get better after he gets more comfortable again. And look into the white spots, see if you can figure out it it's a bacteria, fungus, or parasite, and treat accordingly.

Post InfoPosted 18-Jan-2016 11:30Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
Posts: 5108
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Registered: 28-Dec-2002
male usa us-colorado
What type (brand, style, size) is it. If you are familiar (comfortable) with electricity most are easy to take apart, clean, reassemble and reset.

If it is relatively new, you could take back and exchange it for another.

The proper way to set one up, is to install it in the tank and then wait at least a half hour, before plugging it in. Then turn the thermostat down (setting it for a cool temperature) and then rotate the knob slowly till the light inside it comes on. Wait an hour and the water will come up to the setting and go out. Then adjust the thermostat till the light comes on again. Keep doing this until you have the light going out at the desired water temperature.

Generally speaking, you should allow 5 watts for every gallon of water. If you keep the room the tank is in at 70 degrees or less, then you may want to increase the heater size to something larger or else it will stay on for prolonged periods of time struggling to maintain the tank at a specific temperature.

A 55 gallon aquarium would then require a 275 watt heater. Because of the size of the tank, ideally, you would have two, 275 watt heaters, one at each end of the tank.

Do not let the water level drop below the recommending markings on the heater or the instructions. That will cause the heater to stay on as it is also trying to heat the air around it.

Things to think about when purchasing a heater for an aquarium.


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 18-Jan-2016 20:27Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Small Fry
Posts: 7
Kudos: 11
Votes: 0
Registered: 24-Nov-2013
male usa us-florida
Thanks for the input. I already bought a new, higher quality heater to replace it. The original was cheap because it came with the kit. I had a small heater that was in my 10 gallon stored away so I used it until I could get a new one and believe it or not, the little one was keeping it at 78. Thanks Guys
Post InfoPosted 19-Jan-2016 02:07Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Mega Fish
Posts: 929
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Registered: 13-Sep-2007
male usa us-california

From what I've both personally experienced with erratic heaters as well as working in biology labs, is that there is always room for things to idly go back to normal and there is room for things to go nuts.

What is most important is that you stay vigilant over the next week or so in watching the tank bot visually and checking the parameters. A 10 degree F jump in temperature could be fine for some organisms, but it could also be devastating depending on how quickly it happened. Other things to consider (not only in watching the fish) is that drastic changes in temperature and then drastic decrease can be harmful as well to the beneficial bacteria that have colonized your tank. Some bacteria could have been stunted or killed while others could have taken the heat and just gone crazy with their reproduction. I've done some culturing from bacterial swabs in my aquariums in college. While they tended to be pretty hardy strains I've found, at this point we don't really know what your temperature reached and how it affected everything.

Please let us know how things are settling down and how the fish are doing since you've replaced the heater and the temperature is (hopefully) more consistent.


\\\\\\\"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure\\\\\\\"
Post InfoPosted 21-Jan-2016 21:39Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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