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I use two of these, one in my tank and one to heat my buckets for water changes. Today I messed up by doing exactly what the description tells you not to do—I left it running while not submerged. "It'll be fine," I said, "I'll be right back with new water, it'll be out for less than a minute." Like a genius.
Well, the perfectly predictable happened. By the time I got back (more than a minute later), it was overheating and sizzling itself dry. Then, like a genius who didn't take physics in high school, I thought, "Well, I'd better put it back in the new water to cool it down!"
As advertised, this heater did not explode. It shattered in a perfectly safe fashion, with a couple of large, easily visible chunks of glass falling straight down into the bucket, no flying shrapnel, etc. Most of the glass just cracked and hung together for a few more minutes while I cooled it down to throw it away, though the bottom quarter or so did eventually fall off.
A worse made product could have absolutely exploded and sent shrapnel flying when I did the dumb thing I did. Nothing is unbreakable when you add human error to the mix, but you can make things break comparatively safely, and this heater did that. I've ordered another to replace it.
It was easy to assemble but the glass is not very stable as it wobbles. Syrian hamsters are a little too big. But dwarf hamster are a little too small for the wired screen. I’ll be using this tank as holding tank as I clean my everyday cage.
Great buy, my hamster has been in it for a few days and she hasn’t broke out of it and she is known for this. At first we weren’t sure if we were going to get it due to the reviews but it was very easy to put up and not flimsy at all.
The cage is neat and assembly wasn't too bad, though it takes some thinking. The instructions sort of explain how to assemble but don't exactly state what top and bottom is on the back piece, which it says to start with. However going over it, you just have to make sure the 2 holes towards the edge are on bottom, as they are where you attach the bottom piece, as top is hinged.
Now everything is well made, such as being sanded and cut to the correct size. The only thing that's kind of cheap is the acrylic sheet for the front. It really should be a little thicker and I will probably replace it later on. It does stay in place though so it may not be an issue.
In the end I'm not sure how chew proof it will be, it's really going to depend on your pet and how much of a chewer they are and if you supply chew items to distract from the cage. This is probably more for smaller animals like a Gerbil or Hamster ( rats would be too big I think) but not mice as they could probably get out through the side ports.
So in the end it's nice but kind of expensive at about $130 (time of writing) but being wood and not a cheap plastic it makes sense. This is real wood (has a pine smell kind of) not some type of laminate or plywood but it is lightweight. If you are wanting a nicer looking cage where your pet can be a show piece and not hidden away, it's definitely worth checking out. I will add though you have to be diligent about keeping a clean cage (which you should anyways) as the wood will absorb odors and such unless a liner or sealer is applied.
This heater is probably the best heater I've had to date and I've gone through several. It is important that you read the instructions, not buy more heating power than you have flow to support, and to generally understand how the heater works.
1) The instructions specifically mention to not put the heater in the tank vertically. This is because the temperature sensor is near the top of the heater and heat rises. If the heater is in your aquarium vertically then all of the heat being generated is compounded and rises to the sensor. This makes the heater's thermometer inaccurate and increases the number of times the heater must turn on and off - thus shortening it's lifespan.
2) People have a tendency to buy more power than they need or can support. If you have a 300W heater, you will need to have a pretty reasonable flow on it. I have the outflow of my fluval 406 pointed directly at my 300W heater. This ensures the temperature remains accurate, reduces the number of on/off cycles the heater goes through and prevents the heater from ever displaying LF.
3) In most cases if you don't have a high flow aquarium, it is better to have multiple small heaters over one larger heater.
It's a good heater, but be smart, read the instructions, and don't buy more power than your flow can support.