View Full Version : Review - Blue Line Aquatics temperature controller

12-03-2010, 04:49 AM
I purchased the Blue Line Aquatics Temperature controller this week (sometimes refered as their Biotherm controller). Now I admit it's not the most expensive unit on the market but for close to $100 after tax for just a temp controller I expected a nice piece of equipment. It looked good, great big digital displays, and easy to use buttons. Set it up in my sump room with a matching 500w titanium heater, plugged it in and then the fun started...The temperature display jumped all over the place by many degrees at a time clicking the heater on and off continuously as it passed the set threshold one way and then the other. Click click click click click aaargh!

I reread the one page instruction sheet and saw a line about lighting ballasts affecting the unit and to not place it near any. I was about 3 feet away from my ballasts but decided to move the controller further away to see if it made a difference. It did, but I had to be in the next room over 10 feet away before it settled down! At that distance the temperature kept steady and the unit display appeared normal. I placed it back by the tank and unplugged the lighting ballasts and the unit worked properly again. Definitely being affected by the lighting ballasts. For the record I have 2 electronic metal halide ballasts which were purchased in the last year.

I sent an email to Blue Line Aquatics about any possible way to resolve the problem and got a one line next day response telling me it was my ballasts and suggesting I replace them or return the unit where I bought it. Not a hard choice!

So here's my review:
1) If you have an aquarium with no MH lighting ballasts this is an economical unit that is a step up from an all in one tube heater and seemed to work well for the few minutes I had my lights off.
2) If you have an aquarium with MH lighting ballasts and you don't mind splicing wires, extending cables, and placing the unit 10 feet away in the next room, it will also likely fill your needs, although it won't be pretty.
3) If you have an aquarium with MH lighting ballasts and you want a heater controller that will undoubtedly work in the same vicinty as your other equipment then stay clear of this controller.

As a footnote although the response from Blue Line Aquatics was 'next day' (good) the response itself was shameful from a customer service point of view (bad). Blaming my other equipment instead of addressing the recognized deficiency with their controller and providing helpful solutions is substandard by anyone's measure. Not a manufacturer I will buy any equipment from again.