submersible virsion... http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/forum/topics/diy-heater-sub... ...this how-to has the link for the stainless elements.
After many variations, this is the simplest heater I've been able to build. I had to come up with this last year while waiting for my $600 heater to be built and delivered. when it finally arrived, I just left it in the box and continued to use the home built unit.
DO NOT USE THE COPPER ELEMENT FROM HOME DEPOT! YOU MUST ORDER A STAINLESS STEEEL ELEMENT. ....This is a 2000 watt element from Home Depot, a 1-1/2" to 1" reducer, a 1-1/2" uniseal, and a fitting with net pots to keep the fish off the element. I found that a heavy duty timer works for a thermostat. I run it for 15 mins on the hour to keep my 150 gallon tank toasty. this would be adjusted according to your needs. i have used this on as much as 600 gallons, but would recommend going to the 240 volt, 4000 watt for anything over 400 gallon. Note - the 2" net pots slip right onto a male threaded 1-1/2" nipple.
The top pipe is optional, i like to keep it as tall as the water level will allow. This will create a convective flow of water across the element. Works great!
the best place to buy a thermostat is at pex supply co. i think you only need the $49.00 one for the 2000 watt.
im doubtful this is the most efficient way to heat a tank, but it does work. i heated the 300 gallon tank from 45 to 70 in 2 1/2 hours, ... it was only about 65 outside today. i use a timer with good results.
Super great info Rob. I have made a submersiable version of your water heater with no wires in the water and no drilling of the tank needed, I will post the pics this afternoon.
Okay Rob this is what I did with the info you gave me. I took the same design you made and I added a stand pipe to the tee that is sealed with the element so that I dont have to drill a hole in the tank and I also dont have any wires in the water. It works like a charm. I put it on a timer this weekend and the water water at 60 degrees. I set the time for 30 minutes at a time because the timer I purchased would only let me do 30 minutes at a time so I then spaced the heating out for one 30 heat and then a hour and half nothing, as of today Tuesday you see the water temp is near perfect at 75 degrees. It is much warner now here is Fla so I am going to up plug the heater until needed again, beats loosing allot of fish due to cold issues. I could of heated the water up quicker but didnt see the need this time. Thanks again for the super great ideals. I have to say though the thought of water and wires mixing has me and had me very nervous.
Here are more of the pics
here is the latest submersible heater. with parts list. be sure to use a GFI plug with this!
2000 watt element
14 gauge extention cord end
1-1/2" to 1/2" reducer - threaded on the inside
2" to 1" reducer - threaded on the inside
3/8" flex hose, w/ 1/2" thread
2" net pot slips onto 1-1/2" maled nipple
Hey Rob if you could get a 1 1/2 4 way tee you would then have to legs to hold it up vertical and the side outlet would be the riser, just a thought for holding it up right in the tank with out any help but its on size weight and structure.