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Made major mistake last nite. Left new tank heater running since it appeared to be keeping temp stable at around 74F. This morning water was too hot. Didn't take time to measure but likely in the 120F range. Immediately started pouring cold tap water in tank. One fish died, others survived near cooler water inlet from NFT system. 

Two huge mistakes on my part. The heater is suspended in the top volume of water, about 5-8 inches below the surface. The temp probe was temporarily siting on the molded ledge of the RubberMaid Ag tank. As long as the heater and the probe are in the same general zone of water, temperatures remained stable.  However, at some point -- likely when I closed the tank cover, the probe dropped to the bottom of the tank. The thermostat then sought to heat the water in that zone, while overheating the top layer of water.  At least, that's my theory.  Stupid mistake on my part. Should have done more extensive testing while I could monitor it every hour, which I did yesterday. 

Remaining fish seem okay.  Will need to rethink water heating set-up. Think I need to put heater element closer to bottom of tank or make sure the probe stays fixed in the same zone.  All future experimentation will be done in the sump tank first.  

Live and learn!

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Comment by Eoin Ross on February 4, 2012 at 10:09pm
Your post got me thinkinglong the lines of a similar problem we'veolved at my job. It was dosing chemical into a tank but the concept is siiolar.

It seems that one should havethe heater positioned in the middle of a stream in the tank so the heat is dispersed faster and you'd end up with a more even temperature distribution. In the chemical dosing we'd measure just upstream of an injection point.

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