After more than two years of testing, I conclude the JBJ True Temp Titanium Professional Series 300 Watt heating system is easy to use, rugged, and highly versatile. I was motivated to purchase these items due to growing concern about using traditional glass tube heaters in my tanks containing big, lumbering fish. Even large fish that are not considered tank busters are capable of accidentally breaking a glass heater which could create a deadly electrical shock.
JBJ True Temp heaters are marketed by Transworld Aquatic Enterprises INC. Their website, jbjlighting.com takes you to JBJ-USA which displays their heating systems as well as other aquarium products. Click on heaters for specifications of their heating systems ranging from 150 to 1000Watts.
The instructions are straight forward and easy to comprehend. Clearly they were written by someone who actually uses the item. I will primarily discuss items of interest not mentioned on their website or in the instructions.
The Heating System Comprises Three Key Components:
- Digital controller rated for 1000 watts regardless of which heating element is used. In other words, the same controller is used for every heater ranging from 150-1000 watts. The digital controller has a large, easy-to-read temperature display box measuring 3/4inch by 2 1/2 inches. This huge temperature display makes it possible to read the tank’s temperature from across a room and is very convenient. My controller’s were provided with skimpy, 4′ 8″ long power cords. JBJ’s website indicates new units are provided with 6-foot power cords. I don’t like using extension cords and think 6-foot power cords are barley sufficient.
- Titanium heating element with removable safety guard. With moderate effort and patience the safety guard can be removed for cleaning the heating element. The guard is intended to be difficult to remove otherwise rambunctious fish will do it themselves! One might wonder, with a strong titanium heating element case why use a safety guard? Some species such as Mudskippers for example, rest on heaters and direct contact with a titanium heating element could seriously burn the animal. The heating element, like the digital controller is equipped with a 4’8″ power cord that plugs directly into the digital controller.
- Remote temperature sensing probe with a five-foot cord that easily plugs into the digital controller.
Consumer Testing and Evaluation:
Ease of Use: Assembly of the system is simple. Plug the remote sensing probe and heating element into the digital controller and connect the digital controller to the wall electrical outlet. Setting the desired temperature is wonderfully easy. A very unique feature is the ability to calibrate the heating system. Before use, I verified the factory calibration and found it to be accurate. Out of curiosity, I decided to change the calibration and used a thermometer that read two degrees higher than the water’s actual temperature. Calibration to the inaccurate thermometer was easily accomplished as was subsequent recalibration back to the correct temperature. One fantastic feature is the heating system’s ability to maintain settings following a power failure. In my opinion, this is monumental. There is nothing more annoying than finding digital equipment flashing ‘reset me’ after a power interruption. JBJ gets an ‘A+’ for including this feature. Thank you.
The Ruggedness Test: The JBJ True Temp heater is impervious to almost any abuse your tank’s inhabitants might dish out. I decided to subject one of the heaters to the ultimate ‘acid test’ by installing it in my indoor turtle pond. Given enough time, turtles will destroy any equipment that isn’t exceedingly durable. After more than a year, the system continues to operate flawlessly.
Versatility: Because the remote temperature sensing probe and heating element have such long cords, it possible to separate them by nearly nine-feet. This allows the sensing probe to be positioned well away from the heating element thus providing very accurate temperature readings. Such long cords also make it easier to conceal the system behind rocks and decorations. This versatility is an aquascaper’s dream come true.
Maintenance: About every six-months, clean the sensing probe. Do this by gently wiping away algae and slime and then dip the sensing probe in white vinegar for about 10-minutes to remove any calcification.
I contacted JBJ inquiring why some of their True Temp Heating Systems come with magnetic safety guard holders while others have rubber holders. The safety guard holders are used to attach the heating element to the inside of an aquarium. They advised that the first units were designed for magnetic holders but consumer demand for rubber suction cups created a change in design. The agent added customers want magnetic holders again so that is what they are producing at this time. I also inquired if it is possible to connect more than one heating element to a single digital controller. For example, since all of their controllers are rated for 1000 watts, could two 500 watt heaters be connected to the same digital controller? The agent advised against it saying the system is designed to operate with one heating element which is why only one outlet is included on the digital controller. Customer service was helpful and most unusual was having a real person answer the phone!
The JBJ True Temp Heating System is a good pick given its ease of use, ruggedness, versatility and power interruption protection.