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Old 20-04-2003, 06:20 AM
 
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Default Substrate Heater

"Craig Brye" wrote in message ...
Is anyone currently using a substrate heater? I've read some interesting
articles on them, and I'm considering using one on my next big project.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?


You can read all the theory all day long by those that SELL the stuff.

I cannot see any practical differences. Perhaps, only perhaps some
subtle ones on initial start ups but I can fix that by adding peat and
mulm to my gravel in the beginning.

Some folks keep their temps rather cool in the house, this might be a
benefit there. My plants did fine even with a temp diference of close
to 10F.
Tropica found that heating cables did not produce an optimal flow for
optimal growth of plants. Being the largest aquatic plant grower in
the EU, I'll tend to side with them along with my own experiences
which go back to the late 1980's with cables.
If you have warm temps, above tank temp, then when the temps go up in
the summer, the cables will not be used, so for 2-4 summer months, you
will not even use the cables unless you have AC.

Cables will NOT HURT, but I think they are a waste, an expensive one
at that. Buy something for the girlfriend, the kids etc, it'll be
money better spent.

Another question I have is on the substrate itself. At what point does a
person need to worry about messing with the substrate (vacuuming, stirring,
etc.). I've had my tank for about a year now and haven't really done much
with the Flourite substrate. I do, however, vacuum the gravel, but only the
very top debris.


That's fine, about all you ever need to do. I'll vacuum the entire
contents out of a messed up tank on ocassion ot a few sections or use
this to seed another tank.

If you use Flourite/onyx etc, you don't need any cables, gravel+
laterite you might get some better growth in the beginning(6months).

Regards,
Tom Barr