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Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. Default Noobish Mistake - Heater Broke - Help

    0 Not allowed!

    So today in typical noob fashion I made a mistake & forgot to unplug my heater while I did a 50% water change. Not only did it break, but it melted some airline hose for bubblers that I won't be able to repair since they are anchored in silicone in the background. Arggh.

    So, after removing the broken heater & topping off the water and turning the filter back on, a bunch of white crap from the inside of the heater circulated through the tank. After an hour it has already been cleaned up by the mechanical filter, but I'm wondering if this stuff will pose any threat to the red cherry shrimp I have in there now.

    This is triply sad as not only did I have to run & drop $40 on a heater, and circulate crap through my tank, but I was going to go get some purple rasboras today. But I spent the money that was allocated for them & I'm afraid of exposing them to the white crap. So is this stuff harmful? I'm certain people have had to deal with broken heaters before-

  2. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I would do another water change and clean the gravel very well to get any shards out. Then I would just watch the tank and give it a few weeks to make sure everything is still ok and then get the new fish.
    20 gallon tall: empty
    29 gallon: moderately planted with 9 bloodfin tetra, 1 german blue ram, 11 glow light tetra and 1 BNP
    10 gallon QT: empty

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    If this happened to me I would do another large water change and if possible change out the Mechanical filtration media. Don't mess with the biomedia. Not sure how it will affect the cherries... mine seem to be pretty hardy, but I've never had this happen. Not sure what's inside a heater that might be harmful.

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Nothing to add about potential harmful affects, but I do know what you mean by silly mistakes.

    Last time I broke down my QT I decided to try fit the job into a busy schedule. I took the heater out of the tank (which is in my workroom) and laid it on the bench next to a roll of paper towel - without unplugging. I then got distracted by something and left, only returning to the basement 5minutes later by coincidence, for some other reason. Luckily I noticed the paper towel beginning to crisp up nicely. The heater element was extremely hot, hadn't tripped itself off/broken yet.

    Broke out in a cold sweat, realising how close I was to potentially burning the house down. A stupid mistake I'll never make again.

    I'm not sure what safety mechanisms they may build into them, but take care with those heaters!
    Planted 37 gallon, driftwood - BN, Glowlight Tetra, Pygmy Cory, Otos, Amano shrimp

  5. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    As others have mentioned you can always play it safe and complete a gravel vacuum, just rinse the mechanical filter and not replace it and then complete a water change. If it was a fairly new heater they probably have done away with anything that could harm fish if it happened to break. Differently a bummer having to spend money on replacing equipment and not on fish. :(
    25 Gal - Tropical
    Custom made Wet/Dry/Sump Filter System, AquaClear 20 Powerhead, RenaCal Excel 300 Heater, artificial plants
    Fish - 7 Blackskirt Tetras, German Blue Ram, Bulldog Pleco, Assassin snail.
    "Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success." King Solomon.
    Pictures of my 10 Gal Sump Filtration project

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    Cheap heaters have no safety mechanism. The stuffing is usually some kind of ceramic, should be inert. Several brands have heaters that shut down automatically when users forget to unplug them. I'm fairly sure eheims do.

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