Buying the Betta Thermal Compact Heater
A week or so ago I picked up a second-hand project aquarium, I’m not a big fan of used heaters so I went straight out to buy a new one. This turned out to be a smart decision as the one that came with the tank seemed to have water inside it.
Anyway, I went down to my local aquarium shop and had a look at the range of heaters they had on offer. I came across these Betta heaters, I’ve never had one before and they were very reasonably priced, usually, I would opt for an Eheim every time, but they were out of stock, so I thought I’d give this one a go.
These heaters come in a variety of sizes and the amount of water they heat is clearly displayed on the box. It seems they are not quite as efficient as some other heaters based on this, but in general, they seem to match up with most common brands.
I opted for the 200 Watt heater which is rated for 100 to 200 litres of water. My little project aquarium is on the high end of this, but I’ve always been of the mindset that its better for the fish to get a little chilly than to be cooked, should something ever go wrong.
Unboxing the Heater
Once I got home with this new bit of kit, I immediately went to open it up and see what was inside. Opening it up I immediately noticed that it was well packaged. The heater had two foam protectors around it to protect it against any damage whilst it was in the box. This was reassuring as I have had heaters arrive previously that were just rattling around in the box.
This one also had foam at the top and bottom, so I can be pretty confident here that the heater was not damaged on opening. The heater itself seems of good quality and also had a plastic cap fitted to the bottom which can stay on in the aquarium, in case it drops off the side of the tank, handy.
The heater comes with a small instruction booklet, but as with most aquarium heaters, it’s pretty easy to figure out. There is a numbered dial on the top to set the temperature to the desired level, and a plug to power it. It also came with 2 plastic clips with attached suckers to stick it to the side of the aquarium.
Setting the heater up
Setting this heater up couldn’t be easier, the dial on top of the heater is easy to adjust and to set your desired temperature. I keep my aquariums at 26 degrees and this suits all my fish fine, so I set it to 26 and fitted it in the aquarium. I was quite happy with the fitting, the rubber suckers held the side of the aquarium well and didn’t drop off.
This is another thing I’ve had issues with in the past, my Eheim heaters drop off the side of the tank regularly. Then it’s just a case of plugging it in, providing the aquarium is full. This heater doesn’t mention anywhere that it has any safety function to cut off the heater’s power if the water level drops.
So, if you’re using one you will need to ensure that it is switched off before water changes. This should be common practice with heaters but most higher-end models come with this safety feature built-in. Set temperature, submerse, plugin, job done. Easy.
How is it doing?
Once I had set the heater up and plugged it in, I stuck a digital thermometer in the aquarium so I could keep an eye n how it was doing. I had set the temperature gauge on the heater to 26 degrees celsius, the aquarium was at around 23 when it went in, so I left it a while to do its work. When I returned a while later, the heater was ‘off’ (not heating) but the temperature was at 25 degrees according to my accurate thermometer.
So this was slightly out. I had a quick look at the heater and adjusted the dial to 27, the heater came back on and continued to heat the water. After a while, the aquarium was at a steady 26.3 degrees and has remained so since.
It seems that there could be a slight issue in calibration on this heater. As I found the temperature to be around a degree out based on the temperature set on the heater itself. This was a problem that was easily rectified though and once I had adjusted the heater it has kept a pretty stable temperature all week. I have checked it regularly and the temperature has not swayed by more than 0.3 degrees, which is pretty good for a heater at the lower end of the price range.
Overall I am pretty happy with this little heater. Whilst it isn’t quite as efficient as some others with regards to power ratings, it certainly does its job and does it well. It could do with being more accurately calibrated and it would certainly benefit with an auto cut off if the water level drops, however, I imagine this would have a large effect on the price.
In summary, a happy purchase, it has kept my aquarium at a steady temperature and at £19 it didn’t break the bank. I would definitely be happy to recommend these heaters to anyone setting up an aquarium on a budget, or anyone for that matter. A decent little heater at a decent price.
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