Advice on heater and mixing station

Hey guys. Looking for some advice.

First, I’m looking to get a new heater for my saltwater tank. The tank is a 65 but I have a 180 waiting to be set up. I’m planning on doing this within the next couple of months. My thoughts are to get a heater(s) that will support the 180 but still be able to use it with the 65 for now. I want to get a solid, reliable heater so I’m reaching out to hear your recommendations.

Second, I’m in the early stages of setting up a mixing station. I’m leaning towards using 2 brute cans, side by side. I’m looking for ideas on what’s the best way to set this up. I’ve done some research but wanted to hear everyone’s opinion before I start on the project.


I would def go with 2 heaters incase one fails for whatever reason vs 1 large. I use eheim Heaters, but I also run both on a controllers as a precaution. At some point I will upgrade to a titanium heater.

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I agree two heaters are the way to go. I’ve been using Finnex for a year on my 180 and thus far have been great.

If you have the space I like to use three brute cans: 1 for RODI, 1 to mix, 1 with salt. I’d go with gravity feed to keep things simple.

I do automatic water changes so I like to always have a batch of pre-made saltwater. I do have extra space in my garage so I use quite a few brute cans and connect them via PVC.

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Agreed. Two heaters that are each 75% of what you need and run them on separate channels if you can. Eheim is the only brand I trust. They put a 3 year warranty on their product. That should tell you something :slight_smile:

Nice set up. I may have room for a 3rd can. Can u walk me through the automatic water change process? I’m not too familiar with it. Thanks for sharing.

Sure. There are lots of other options you could try. I have only used option #1 so be sure to research the others.

Option #1 - I use the Neptune DOS ($300) for automated water changes. The setup is very simple. You tell it how many gallons you want changed over a 24 hour period and it does the rest. It’s great but also requires a base APEX unit ($500) so it might be too high of a price point for some folks.

Option #2 - You could have a similar setup using EcoTech Versa pumps ($150 each). I’ve seen YouTube videos where people program 2 of them (one to pull out water, one to add fresh salt water) at the same time. Probably a cheaper option if you don’t already own an APEX and would be precise measurements because you are using dosing pumps.

#3 AutoAqua makes an all-in-one water changing kit ($210). Because my water tanks are on a lower floor I didn’t expect the pumps to be able to handle the head pressure. If your reservoir is close to your tank it might be a good option.

#4 For about ~$100 you could put together a “no more hauling buckets” option. Using two pumps, two smart outlets, and some hose you could pump old water out of your sump and new water into it. It wouldn’t be completely automated (unless you added float switches) but if you were willing to watch it, it is a simple setup. I use this setup to fill my auto-top off container and control the pump from my phone.

Hope this gives you some ideas. For a 180 gallon tank you don’t want to be hauling buckets.

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Great info. Definitely going to put one of these ideas to use. Thanks!