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DIY Heater, build your own 2000 watt heater for $20 ***DONT USE COPPER OR NICKEL ELEMENTS!

submersible virsion... ...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!

here is the newer version...

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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 timer I picked up at home depot to run the new water heater.

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.

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