An aquarium is an exciting conversation starter, regardless of where they are placed. Whether it’s for your home or your business, you can expect an aquarium to be an eye-catching piece to an otherwise dull environment.
Since the aquarium is where your aquatic friends are living in, you have to make sure that they’re comfortable. As much as possible, you have to mimic the living conditions in their natural habitat. And to make sure that you do so, you have to invest in a safe and efficient aquarium heater.
The best aquarium heater should be one that’s easy to operate, offers a wide temperature range, and promises safety features for the protection of your fish. While these seem like simple standards to look into, some aquarium owners still find it hard to look for the best heater for their tanks.
In this article, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about aquarium heaters, including its wattage, the perfect one for the size of your aquarium, and the safety features that you have to look into. All of these will help you make a wise decision before buying a heater for your aquarium. But at the very first, we’ve added a list of our top ten heaters to make the search process more convenient for you.
The first on our list is the Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater with Adjustable Thermostat. With its simple interface and futuristic design, this is one heater that will also add pizzazz to your aquarium.
Another highly-efficient aquarium heater that instantly caught our attention is the Hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Tube Submersible Pinpoint Heater. For more details, you can check our single product review post.
Another fully-submersible aquarium heater that we love is the Aqueon Adjustable Pro Heater.
For those looking for an affordable yet durable heater, then we highly recommend the Fluval M Submersible Heater.
The ViaAqua 300 Watt Titanium Heater is another top contender for one the best aquarium heaters in 2020.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of having a fully-submersible heater with your marine friends, then you might want to consider the DaToo Aquarium External Heater.
Another external heater that you might want to consider is the ISTA in-Line External Heater.
The Hydor In-Line External Heater is the perfect aquarium heater who wants an eye-catching heating device for their tanks.
We have chosen Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater as one of the best aquarium heaters of 2020 for so many reasons.
Some users note that this device tends to overheat and melt its wires.
Completing our list for the top ten heaters for aquariums is the affordable and reliable Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater.
Before buying an aquarium heater, there are several factors that you have to consider first. In general, you have to consider the appropriate wattage, the size of the heater for your tank, and the safety precautions used by each manufacturer. We’ll discuss all of these in detail to make sure that you’re fully informed before you invest your money in one.
The watts or wattage indicated in the heater refers to the amount of power necessary for it to heat the aquarium effectively.
Like most electrical appliances, aquarium heaters also rely on electricity to function properly. This is measured in watts, and the amount of wattage necessary will depend on the size of your tank.
As previously stated, the amount of wattage necessary will depend on the size of your tank. This is one of the factors that help you determine what “size” of heater you need for your fish tank.
In general, the rule of thumb is that you would need 2.5 to 5 watts to heat one gallon of water. Thus, if you’re using a 10-gallon tank, you would need at least 25 watts to heat it efficiently.
However, bear in mind that this is the bare minimum, or if you’re only planning to heat the water by around 9 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of your surroundings also plays a big part in how well the heater will perform.
For example, if you live in a place where it’s usually cold outside, then you might have to heat the water at about 18 degrees higher than the room temperature. To do so, you would need a heater that is capable of heating the water to your desired temperature, and that usually requires higher wattage.
Nevertheless, several aquarium heaters provide us with a wide heating range. Some of them are capable of heating the water from temperatures of 68 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and that’s already quite impressive.
Additionally, you should also consider the dimensions of the heater, especially if you plan on using the submersible ones. This type of heater has to be fully-submerged underwater to function properly, so you have to make sure that the heater you buy will fit perfectly inside your tank.
Thus, when you’re looking for the best aquarium heaters, take a look at wattage and dimensions vis-a-vis the size of your tank and the temperature of your environment. These factors will greatly help you in determining the perfect-sized heater for your aquarium.
The heater’s built-in safety features should also be your top priority. Since the heater is powered by electricity, we understand that some breeders are wary of using this for their fish tanks. Fortunately, a lot of manufactures are aware of this concern, so they have decided to include safety features in their aquarium heaters.
One of the most common safety features is the automatic shut-off function. This means that the heater automatically turns off once the water temperature reaches the set temperature.
Because it stops heating once it reaches the safe temperature, this gives you peace of mind that the device will never overheat. And as a result, you know that your home and your fish are perfectly safe.
For submersible heaters, another notable safety feature that we have come across is the automatic shut off feature in case the water dips too low, or when the heater is removed from the water.
If the water is too low and the heater is still turned on, it will continue heating the water at the set temperature, and it may end up being too hot for your fish. Worse, it can even melt wires and cause further accidents – and no one wants that to happen.
Other aquarium heaters have an automatic shut-off feature once it detects that it is about to overheat. This usually takes place when the heater is overworked and can cause the heater to completely malfunction.
To prevent this from happening – and to prevent further destruction – the system automatically turns itself off. This is particularly helpful when you’re not always around to monitor the aquarium’s temperature.
Working hand-in-hand with the automatic shut-off feature is the automatic restart function. This is especially useful if you live in an area where it’s always cold since this feature automatically turns the heater on once the temperature of the water begins to drop.
The automatic restart function allows for little supervision, so you can sleep well at night knowing that your fish won’t be too cold or too hot overnight.
The materials that go into your heater is also something that you have to take into consideration.
Most heaters use glass cases because glass is great at evenly distributing heat. They’re also very affordable and are not prone to corrosion. However, glass is highly breakable, and you don’t want it to shatter inside your aquarium where all your fish are.
A more expensive alternative to glass is titanium. This material is known for its durability, heat distribution, and resistance to corrosion. But while heaters made with titanium casing are more expensive, they promise better protection – and that means great value for the money.
Also, while we’re on the topic of materials, be wary of heaters that contain materials that may be toxic for your pets. While these may be cheap, they may not be the best for the health of your aquatic pets.
And finally, you should also determine which kind of heater will work best with your aquarium. There are different types of aquarium heaters, but there are two general types that we find very effective, which are submersible heaters and in-line heaters.
Simply put, submersible heaters are the type of aquarium heaters that go inside your aquarium to directly heat the water. They’re great at heat distribution and can help maintain the heat inside tanks – especially if you’re using large tanks.
Also, submersible heaters are easier to install and operate, so this is recommended for most beginner breeders since it doesn’t require a lot of work.
On the other hand, in-line external heaters are mounted onto the filters or sump pump and heats the water as it passes through. Thus, as the water enters the aquarium, it is already heated to the desired temperature.
In-line external heaters offer better safety and peace of mind, especially if you’re not comfortable with the thought of having your fish swim next to a water heater. However, it is trickier to install than submersible counterparts.
To give you a better understanding of how aquarium heaters work, here are the answers to the frequently asked questions that we often receive.
The answer to this question would depend on your preference. But while most people prefer a heater that adds to the aquarium’s overall aesthetics, we recommend installing your heater near the circulation pump. This allows it to heat the water as it enters the aquarium so that the temperature remains constant.
Most submersible aquarium heaters come with suction cups that securely hold it in place. You can put it vertically or horizontally – this would depend on your preference and how much space your tank can offer.
There are several kinds of aquarium heaters, and only the submersible ones should be fully-submerged. These submersible heaters work to regulate the temperature from inside the tank and under the water, so they must be fully submerged to function effectively.
There are so many factors contributing to how long you should keep the aquarium heater on. First is the ideal temperature of the fish in your aquarium, and the second is the temperature outside.
If you’re breeding fish that aren’t comfortable in water that’s too hot, then you shouldn’t keep your heater turned on for too long. Additionally, if it’s freezing outside, it would take longer for the water to heat up. Thus, the time you have to keep your heater on would depend on these factors.
For safety measures, it is advised to keep the heater off at night. However, this may not be advisable during the cold winter months when the surrounding temperature can instantly drop below 0 degrees.
We advise getting a heater with an automatic feature that turns off when it already reaches the ideal temperature and then restarts once it gets too cold. This is both cost-effective and saves you the hassle of having to monitor the temperature in your tank in the middle of the night.
In general, aquarium heaters are perfectly safe for your fish. They are made of materials that do not conduct electricity, so you shouldn’t worry about accidentally getting your fish electrocuted. But as a safety precaution, always make sure that the heater you’re getting has passed the industry’s safety standards to prevent any form of accident.
Ideally, a premium aquarium heater will not require frequent replacement. But as a safety precaution, you have to take it out once in a while to see if it still functions efficiently, otherwise, it already needs replacement.
Experts advise checking in on your heater once or twice a year for this purpose. However, most fish tank heaters require replacement once every three to five years.
The best aquarium heater should be able to give your fish the ideal environment that they will live in. Since their bodies are incapable of regulating temperature, you must help them stay comfortable with the help of a fish tank heater.
Before buying one, you should first check out the size of the aquarium, and what type of heater would work best for that size. This will assure you that you’re creating the best environment for your beloved aquatic friends.
Also, make sure that these heaters come with added safety features. Not only will these features prevent it from making it too hot for your fish, but it will also give you peace of mind that your home is never in danger from heater-related accidents.
With all these in mind, we’re sure that you’ll be able to find the best heater for your aquarium. And if you’re still uncertain of your choices, then don’t hesitate to take another peek at our top ten tested-and-proven picks.
Hello, everyone! Welcome to my aquarium blog. Fishkeeping is my passion, and I started this fascinating hobby back in 2006. Besides my engineering profession, I deeply studied many fishkeeping topics since I started building my home aquarium. I researched effective aquarium filtration and lighting of planted aquariums. I am keeping 20+ species of freshwater and saltwater fish as my aquatic pet collection. I successfully experimented with a complex ecosystem inside the aquarium, biotope aquariums, aquaponics, etc. I would love to share some learnings from my hands-on experience of the last 14 years. Hopefully, my sharing will be somewhat helpful to make your aquarium journey awesome!
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