I have gone through many different aquarium heaters over the years and my reason for buying a new one is always the same… because I have smashed the old one to bits. Any glass that goes in my aquarium will inevitably explode into a thousand tiny shards to nobody’s fault but my own. My old Ebo Jager 100 watt semi-submersible is the latest to fall prey to my carelessness. I decided last weekend to do a really thorough scrubbing of my larger aquarium – a spring cleaning if you will. I took out all of the tank décor and removed the heater so I could really scrape the glass clean in those hard-to-reach areas. Balancing the heater on the top of the tank I momentarily though better of its chosen resting place but dismissed my initial concern vowing to “pay attention to what I am doing and it will just fine sitting on the edge of the tank.”
Of course, 10 minutes later as I was wrestling with a particularly stubborn patch of lichenous algae I unintentionally elbowed the heater off the tank, across the room and into the wall with such gusto that I actually heard the impact even before my reflexes respond. I could even hear the light tinkering of tiny shards as they fell down the wall, across the furniture and onto the floor, like the sound of miniature wind chimes. The heater slid behind an old mirror coming to its final resting place out of immediate view. Oh the horror. Aquarium heaters, relative to the rest of the hobby, aren’t particularly expensive but Ebo-Jager has a reputation for being pretty top-of-the line, at least in terms of what you can easily find at your local fish store. When I bought it more than a few years ago I was sort of proud of it. Most of my aquarium supplies are hand-me-downs bough on Craigslist or from tropical fish club meetings and here I was investing in a nice new piece of equipment that would last me for years. I suppose I’m lucky I didn’t break it sooner.
The nice surprise is yesterday; my hunny (Mr. Nippyfish) called to say he was going to pick me up a new heater for my tank. He was the first to come running when he heard the eruption of glass hitting the wall and my subsequent string of four-letter words. I was more than pleased and when he asked what brand I liked (he’s not a fish guy) and of course went on about wanting another Ebo-Jager to replace the broken one. When he got home, however, what awaited me was a Marineland Visi-Therm Stealth Shatterproof aquarium heater. Hmmm, ok. I have had Marineland Visi-Therm heaters before. I’ve shattered many of them in fact. Back in the day they weren’t known for being particularly accurate and did have some problems getting stuck “ON”. They also didn’t used to be shatterproof. Still, I have never had a shatterproof heater before and I have to admit, if there was ever an ideal candidate for one, it would be me. Besides, it’s been awhile and this new heater will give me the chance to provide another product review. Tonight I will turn the heater on and will watch it closely over the coming weeks and months and with some luck for years to come.