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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Looking into aquarium heaters
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:19 PM   #1
Dragon
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Default Looking into aquarium heaters

I've been trying to figure out how do heating this winter (it'll get to around 50*F in my basement where I store my batches).

I'm considering getting a large plastic tub from Walmart and an aquarium heater. I have a brewdemon 3 gallon conical that I brew 2 to 2.5 gallon all-grain batches in (I would need the water to come up about 14.5 inches to match the height of the wort in the brewdemon).

1) Will the large plastic tub (much cheaper) be good enough or will I need a cooler to make this work?

2) The aquarium heaters I am seeing on Amazon have a little dial where you can turn up the heat and the built-in thermometer goes down to 68*F at the lowest. Does anyone know if you can set them lower than this, or will I need to use this in conjunction with my STC-1000 to hit the temps I need?

Thank you very much!


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Old 09-04-2014, 01:24 PM   #2
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I am planning on using a garbage can to put my fermentor in. glycol cooling and a heater like you are doing.

I would set the aquarium heater to max and then use a STC-1000 or something like it. you can get a good quality 100 watt heater for about $25.


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Old 09-04-2014, 01:41 PM   #3
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I tried the aquarium heater route at one point and found it lacking. Fermenting in a water bath is kind of disgusting (water starts to grow stuff) and it sloshes around, etc. Its a mess. When the heater burned out (don't know if it was b/c I had it plugged into a temp control that kept it cycling or if it was a crappy unit) I went in another direction.

Now I apply heat directly to the fermenter with a reptile heating pad. You can buy the pad material and make your own, and connect it to a temp controller. A much better option in my opinion as it doesn't need a water bath and they wrap directly around the side of the fermenter.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:45 PM   #4
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Not sure how well the heater will work, but if you go that route make sure you have a way to circulate the water in the tub.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:48 PM   #5
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I use a water bath with aquarium heater in the winter. I use these and it works pretty well and does get down to 65 or 66F, which is usually low enough for me.

The important thing to note is you need to add motion to the water or the water will only get heated right next to the heater and then the heater will shut off and not heat the rest. I tape my stir plate (computer fan with magnet) to the side of the tote and face it directly at the heater. Yes it doesn't look that great, but it works very well. I also add a few drops of bleach to the water to stop bugs from growing and it works well. I usually only use it for the first 7-10 days of fermentation anyway. Hope that helps.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:55 PM   #6
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can get something like this to circulate water too. quiet and cheap to operate.

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Old 09-04-2014, 05:00 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the great information! Lots to look into!


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