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Unread 02/25/2005, 10:35 AM   #1
Steven Pro
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Aquarium System Stealth Heater

Anyone used or heard anything about the new Aquarium System Stealth Heaters? I always like the old Visi-Therm's and have been intrigued by their ads for this new model.


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Unread 02/28/2005, 11:24 AM   #2
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I guess not too many people have used one of these yet.

I did find one thread about them,
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...stealth+heater
It does not look too promising.


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Unread 02/28/2005, 11:49 AM   #3
TANGBOY5000
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We discontinued carryng them, too many returns. Try an Ebo-Jager or the new AGA heaters if you're limited to the LFS for your heating needs.


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Unread 02/28/2005, 11:52 AM   #4
AJP
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I have one in my tank. The reason I bought was it is made of plastic and not glass. For me that seemed like it was less likely to break. I have been very happy with it. Heats to what I set it to.


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Unread 02/28/2005, 12:29 PM   #5
ScooterGuitar
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I hated mine. Takes way too long to heat up. 100w model wouldn't keep heat in 15g of water! I too like the standard old Visi's.


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Unread 12/23/2006, 01:58 PM   #6
Kathy55g
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I am a big fan of the Stealth. 100 Watt heater heats my 20 gallon tanks perfectly, keeps the temperature stable, and does not attract larvae with that annoying light (I breed clownfish and raise the spawn). Reasonable price, and I can get them at the pet store. Unbreakable.

I have heard that there are problems with this line, but I have not seen them. Never had one fail on me.


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Unread 12/23/2006, 03:49 PM   #7
yama63
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I think there is a life time warrenty on these heaters. I just ordered on we will see


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Unread 12/23/2006, 05:17 PM   #8
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no good imo, it stuck too many times threw it away. i am going to try finnex controller. I have not query it yet, maybe no good also.


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Unread 12/23/2006, 06:31 PM   #9
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I have used, and liked the Hydor Theo heaters. They are also shatterproof.


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Unread 12/23/2006, 07:37 PM   #10
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Question Shatterproof?

Quote:
Originally posted by Secondgen
I have used, and liked the Hydor Theo heaters. They are also shatterproof.
Did you notice that these heaters float when their suction cups lose their grip?

When my "shatterproof" heater floated, its hot end stuck out of the water with the thermostat end underwater. I came back from vacation to find that it had burst into pieces with fragments sticking to the inside of my refugium cabinet. Thank God for GFI!

Let me know if they have since added weights to their heaters.


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Unread 12/26/2006, 10:44 AM   #11
Herndog
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New AGA heaters

Quote:
Originally posted by TANGBOY5000
We discontinued carryng them, too many returns. Try an Ebo-Jager or the new AGA heaters if you're limited to the LFS for your heating needs.
The new AGA heaters are Hydor remarked AGA. I just had a 300 Watt AGA and when I pulled it out because my tank was getting real warm it had condensation inside the tube. I returned it to Petco. Yes I know Petco charged double the price for it than online. I haven't bought a replacement yet cause I want a known good heater...

Mike


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Unread 12/03/2008, 09:45 AM   #12
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Bringing this old thread back to life. I found it by googling "Problems with Stealth Heaters."

I sold them for a couple of years, and quit when I started getting returns for various problems - sticking on, not coming on, and the worst one - stray voltage.

I just removed another one (sold ~3 years ago) that was tossing 39 volts into the water. That explains why the guy's tang had bad HLLE despite a good diet and good water quality.

I have a few more of these in service in tanks we maintain and was looking to see if there was any sort of recall on them, or if there were more widespread problems.

When I first started encountering problems and had stopped carrying them, I brought it to the attention of a Marineland (now UPG) sales rep and he told me it was the first he'd heard of any problems.

They do have a lifetime warranty - so I have been able to return defective ones to my distributor regardless of when they were purchased. I'm contemplating taking them ALL out of service, regardless of any obvious problems, but it may take a bit of convincing for the distributor to take them all back - so I'm researching to give them a viable reason to accept them back - as well as to let UPG know.

Sooooo...

If anybody else has had problems with their Stealth, please add to this thread.

And if you have a Stealth, and it appears to be working OK, but you're seeing unexplained HLLE in tangs or angels, or have had any other behavioral anomalies, you might want to test your tank for stray voltage using a multimeter, just in case.

Thanks for any additional input.

Jenn


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Unread 12/03/2008, 10:11 AM   #13
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I use 2 Stealth 200 watt heaters on my 90 gal. I like to fumble around a lot with my sump equipment and I'm sure I would've broken several glass heaters by now. I've heard some people complain about not having an indicator light to tell if the heater is working. I'd rather rely on the thermometer for that though. I've had them for about a year w/ no problems.


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Unread 12/03/2008, 10:16 AM   #14
JennM
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FWIW I have the same complaint and so do customers about the indicator light (or lack thereof). I've "caught" a few heaters going bad when I've noticed the light never seemed to go out, and with the Stealth, you can't tell unless your thermometer tells you something is wonky or you touch the heater.

My main concern is the stray voltage issue. Most people can figure out on their own if the temperature isn't right - too high or too low. Most don't even know how to check for voltage and a heater that SEEMS to be working (more or less) is causing all kinds of problems in fish that are sensitive to voltage present in the water - which we don't feel to the touch. You'd feel amps, but not volts.

Often by the time we're summoned to assess a problem, it's too late - fish are either damaged beyond healing by the HLLE or they wig out one day and plunge their heads into a rock ... I've seen that happen a couple of times. My theory is that the voltage confuses them - interferes with their lateral line organ and otherwise screws up their "navigation" system, or just the stress from the constant electrical interference finally causes them to "go crazy".

Jenn


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Unread 12/03/2008, 12:32 PM   #15
Randy Holmes-Farley
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I just removed another one (sold ~3 years ago) that was tossing 39 volts into the water. That explains why the guy's tang had bad HLLE despite a good diet and good water quality.

FWIW, I'm quite skeptical of your comments, and somewhat surprised that you so freely admit your commercial biased viewpoint and that you are starting this old thread back up in order to try to get monetary compensation for heaters that may have displayed no issues at all.

I do not think it is clear that induced currents and voltage cause HLLE, but even more so, I'd be surprised if heater design will impact induced currents that much. Any flow of electricity through wires will induce voltage and currents in nearby seawater. How many other brands of identically sized heaters have you monitored for induced voltage in the exact same setup that you have tested these stealths? I presume that you are not talking about a true current leak as that is easily monitored by whether a GFI is triggered in grounded seawater.

Further, if the heater is in a sump, there won't be any induced voltage or current effect in the main tank. So if you see problems with fish in such tanks, you might look for other causes. Steven, the OP of this thread, wrote a nice article detailing all of the possible theories:

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-06/sp/index.php

From it:

"Stray Voltage and Ground Probes:

Of all the theories regarding MHLLE, this is the one that I have the most trouble believing, and, after subsequent readings by David Kessner, it would appear my gut impression turns out to be correct."

I just ordered 2 of the 250 watt for the same reasons others did: too many broken glass heaters in the past. Hopefully they'll be fine, but I do not use the controls on them but rather use them with a temperature controller.

FWIW, I'll compare them directly for inducted voltage to a similarly sized Visitherm I have and see if there is any difference. Since I do not believe that induced voltage from a heater is something that will change as time goes by (assuming the wiring pattern inside the heater does not get changed around somehow), it should be a suitable test of at least the first part of your hypothesis.


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Unread 12/03/2008, 12:39 PM   #16
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I have been using two 200 watt for 2 years and they work fine. I will be buying another 250 watt.


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Unread 12/03/2008, 02:10 PM   #17
JennM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Randy Holmes-Farley
[B]I just removed another one (sold ~3 years ago) that was tossing 39 volts into the water. That explains why the guy's tang had bad HLLE despite a good diet and good water quality.

FWIW, I'm quite skeptical of your comments, and somewhat surprised that you so freely admit your commercial biased viewpoint and that you are starting this old thread back up in order to try to get monetary compensation for heaters that may have displayed no issues at all.
WHOA - wait a minute please, sir. I think you have completely and totally misunderstood my intentions here.

Yep, I'm a retailer, not hiding that. I am NOT seeking monetary compensation - at least not for myself.

What I am seeking is to remove and replace what I have found to be a brand of heater that has an unusually high failure rate, with another brand of (hopefully) more reliable heater, AT NO COST to my clients who bought the Stealth heaters.

I AM able to do this with ones that have already failed, simply by returning them to the distributor, with an explanation of the problem.

I *could* pull them all and send them back and lie and say they were faulty but I really don't want to do that because that's dishonest. At the same time, I feel compelled to do *something* because I've seen these heaters fail on too many occasions to leave others in service in good conscience.

I'm not a scientist. I don't play one on TV. I'm a hobbyist, and I've been in the retail end of the hobby for 8 + years now.

As for arguing the voltage issue, say what you will - I don't have the science to back up my anecdotal observations but based on what I've seen over the years I've come to some conclusions concerning voltage and illness, in particular, HLLE, and also anecdotally when what I believe to be the problem or source is corrected, the symptoms reverse if the fish aren't too far gone (ie scarred) to recover. Sometimes they regain their health except for the scars, but pitting and further fin and lateral line erosion stops.

In the instance I referenced, my client called me to say "all his fish were dying" - which was more than a bit of an overstatement. When I arrived, his yellow tang was wedged into a crevice in a manner that was not what I'd consider to be normal behavior. The client thought the fish was dead - but it was still breathing.

Customer also reported his GFCI had tripped earlier in the day and it took several attempts to get it to stay on - but he admitted he did not investigate the "cause" of the tripped breaker.

Upon testing with a volt meter, we found 39-41 volts in the water (the reading fluctuated back and forth). We unplugged the heater, reading was a steady 2 volts. Coincidence? Methinks not. Installed a new heater (different brand), and the reading stayed consistent at 2 volts.

The tang was left in the tank after discussing options about what to do with it. I actually expected it to be deceased the next day. It was up and about the next day, and after following up, I hear it was fine as of yesterday (the incident happened on Nov. 21).

This is not the first time I've seen problems arise with this brand of heater. This is not the first time I've seen problems arise with a short in a piece of electrical equipment causing voltage in a tank, which resulted in some sort of fish malaise. Is it science? No. It is observation from many years in the trade, and having deal with all sorts of equipment and failures thereof.

So if you don't want to offer any personal experience, don't. I didn't ask the question to make a fast buck, I simply asked it so that I could approach my product vendor to see if I could replace potentially faulty items with new ones, without costing my clients any money. If you want to hang me for that, then go for it.

Given the amount of Stealth heaters I've seen go bad over the last few years, I'm actually kind of surprised they weren't recalled. IMO they should have been.

If anyone else has any experience to impart, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks,
Jenn


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Unread 12/03/2008, 02:57 PM   #18
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I've sold them since they first came out and can say I've had very few return. The Visi-Therm it replaced had a much higher return rate. The couple I've personally used ( I usually use titanium heaters on controllers) have been fine .


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Unread 12/03/2008, 03:01 PM   #19
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I've had some issues with Titanium heaters too... Won (which I hear the problems have been corrected with - this was a few years ago) and Pacific Coast.

The good old Ebo Jagr is hard to beat... I've been trying some Aqueon heaters (made by the former All-Glass Aquarium) and they seem OK - but they are glass - so that doesn't help the klutzes among us or folks who keep Cichlids that like to throw their decorations around...

Jenn


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Unread 12/03/2008, 03:07 PM   #20
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The problems I've usually run into with the controllers that come with the Ti units is that they just stop working. I've never had a problem were the Ti heating element ceased functioning and I use them with other control devices.


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Unread 12/03/2008, 03:48 PM   #21
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True that - it's been the controller not the element on Titanium heaters. I see some out now with a removable controller so you can change the controller and not have to discard the entire unit - the early ones I used it was "all or nothing" no matter what component fizzed.

By and large, heaters have to be the weak link... over the years I've seen so many fail - many because of breakage or a crack - probably most have "died" that way. I loved the Stealth when it first came out because it did do away with the breakage risk. I could live without the indicator light in order to get more durability - I just find it odd that I've seen so many fail.

Other retailers I've spoken with either report a similar problem - or they don't pay attention to that sort of thing (ie: sell the customer a new heater and don't worry about it)... I'd rather be able to put a more reliable device in a client's tank, without them having to put good money after bad.

Jenn


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Unread 12/03/2008, 04:43 PM   #22
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I'd rather be able to put a more reliable device in a client's tank, without them having to put good money after bad.

I'm all for reliability, and true malfunctions can be a big concern. I bash truly bad products from big name companies constantly. But when you claim that induced voltage and current are malfunctions, and start attributing HLLE to this particular heater even when it appears to be working properly, I think it starts to become a rather strong and not well supported opinion.


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Unread 12/03/2008, 05:50 PM   #23
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I've read some of your product bashing Can't say I agree all the time, but hey - that's anyone's prerogative, right? I wasn't exactly trying to bash a product - just see if anyone's experiences were similar to mine. A client of mine just left the store - he's a home-based breeder of several species of fish, and I mentioned it to him and he's been shocked by some of those heaters - he was unaware they had a lifetime warranty - I suspect he'll be seeking exchanges on his bad ones, if not all of them.

As for the client I'm discussing currently in reference to what we found on November 21, well I can't say either way whether the heater was working properly as far as temperature goes - the customer broke his thermometer and I didn't have one with me when I attended to the problem. We've since supplied him with a new one along with a new heater. Still, in my opinion, a heater that's putting 39 volts into the water, is NOT working "properly" regardless of the water temperature.

We confirmed that the heater was the cause of the voltage by process of elimination. I've seen this sort of thing before - many times. Often a cracked glass heater will do this also.

There are plenty of articles pertaining to associations between HLLE and stray voltage. Again in this instance, I don't know how long the heater was emitting voltage, but with colder weather here, more heaters are coming on, that have not been on during our warm Southern summer and autumn.

I'm going to make my voltage tester available to anyone who suspects a problem with *any* of their equipment, and I'm going to have my service technician test all the tanks we maintain.

Jenn


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Unread 12/03/2008, 11:14 PM   #24
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The Cichlid Forum seems to rate the Stealth heater quite highly in its survey (http://www.cichlid-forum.com/reviews....php?CatID=701).

I prefer the Eheim Jager because:

1. It has an LED indicator.
2. It can be calibrated (http://www.boroniaaquarium.com.au/ne...514e6d836edb6f).
3. It can be set a couple of degrees higher than the controller’s set point for safety.

There may be an easy way to test for a causal relationship between HLLE and stray voltages:

1. Setup two nearly identical fish tanks.
2. Introduce a stray voltage into one.
3. Determine if there is a higher incidence of HLLE in one tank than the other.

To raise money for the experiment, perhaps we can sell aquarium heaters and make windfall profits by bashing competing heaters.


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Unread 12/04/2008, 02:09 PM   #25
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Oy vey...

I wasn't trying to bash the heater. I was trying to compare notes with others to see if they had encountered similar problems.

A single individual having a problem with a piece of equipment is an incident. Lots of people having similar problems with the same piece of equipment is a pattern and a product with a pattern of unreliability should be improved or removed from the marketplace.

In my line of work I've noticed a LOT of failures with a particular type/brand of heater. I used Google to search for any other comments on similar issues, and it brought me to this thread, so I posted some comments and asked for more current (pardon the pun) input. Nothing more, nothing less.

I'm still interested in others' experiences with the aforementioned product.

Jenn


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