A lot of care is required when caring for tropical fish, and one of the most important things is to make sure that they have plenty of heat.
Tropical fish need to live in warmer water, so you need to make sure that your aquarium is fitted with the right type of heater. Not all aquarium heaters are the same, and you need to know about their various features in order to make sure that you get the right one for your aquarium.
In this post we are going to look at five of the best aquarium heaters and give you the rundown on their best features. Then we will show you exactly how to set up, install, regulate your heater.
- Our Top Picks
- The Top 5 Aquarium Heaters
- Set Up, Installing & Regulating Your Aquarium Heater
- The Importance of a Fish Tank Heater
- The Four Types of Aquarium Heaters
- How Much Electricity (Watts) Does a Fish Tank Heater Use?
- How to Install an Aquarium Heater
- Setting Your Aquarium Heater
- More Reliable & Recommended Heaters You Can Buy
- Aquarium Kits With Equipment Included
- Final Thoughts
Our Top Picks
1. Best for Salt or Freshwater
The Pedy Aquarium Heater is made from durable titanium alloy, with double seal material and insulation Teflon. It is explosion, shatterproof and is safe and easy to operate.
It is also made with anti-corrosive materials that make it ideal for both saltwater and freshwater.
2. Best Warranty
The Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater has settings ranging from 68°F to 88°F. This electronic thermostat is accurate ± 1° and is fully submersible.
It has a non-corrosive shell that allows for even heat distribution and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
3. Top for Terrariums
The Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm aquarium heater keeps a steady and accurate temperature control. It is made with high-quality European construction and comes with a 3-year warranty against any manufacturer defects.
It is 1/3” thick, super flat, and shatterproof, and is fully submersible and easy to use.
4. Fit for Large Tanks
The Uniclife 200W submersible aquarium heater is made with 2mm, extra-thick quartz glass, making it virtually shatterproof. It is fully submersible and has a water-tight sealing.
The suction cup clamps make it easy to attach this heater to the side of the aquarium, and it can be used for tanks as large as 50 gallons.
5. Best Electronic Controls
The electronic controls in the Finnex Electronic Controller aquarium heater ensure that your water temperature is always maintained to two degrees, plus or minus.
It is made with titanium tubes that will not corrode, and they are virtually indestructible in both freshwater and saltwater.
The Top 5 Aquarium Heaters
The purpose of this article is to provide you with the information you need to help you choose the best heater for your aquarium.
Today we are reviewing some of the best heaters available, with both pros and cons.
1. Pedy Aquarium Heater
The Pedy Aquarium Heater is shatterproof and will not corrode, even if you are using it in a saltwater aquarium.
There is a 1-year free replacement service, so if there are any manufacturing defects, you can contact customer service to have it replaced.
- 300 watts, ideal for 50-60 gallon tank
- Made from durable titanium and Teflon
- Automatic shut-off to protect against overheating
- Problems with heater failing
- The thermometer is not accurate
- The display is not overly visible
Why We Liked This Heater
This 300W fish tank heater is made from durable materials and is resistant to high heat and corrosion. It is long-lasting and durable and comes with two suction cups that let you easily connect it to the side of the aquarium, hiding it behind plants and other decorations.
There is an automatic over-temperature protection feature that keeps your pets safe from burning.
2. Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater
The Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater for aquariums has an electronic thermostat for the most accurate temperature settings and safety.
It is user-friendly, can be used for both freshwater and saltwater tanks, and can be positioned either vertically or horizontally.
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Fully submersible and shatterproof
- LED light green when not heating, red when heating
- Some reports of defective products, cracking plastic
- Shuts itself off before reaching optimal temperature
- Thermostat not working properly, the temperature keeps climbing
Why We Liked This Heater
Aqueon Pro Heaters are made with durable materials that will not corrode, making them perfect for saltwater and freshwater aquariums.
They are fully submersible, and automatically shut off when overheating occurs, resetting when they cool down.
They also come with a limited lifetime warranty, so if there are any manufacturer defects, you can have it replaced without any hassles.
3. Cobalt Aquatics
The Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm aquarium heater features a flat design and a one-touch control system that is super-easy to use.
It has an advanced electronic thermostat that is accurate to .5 degrees F, plus or minus, and the LED displays the Set Temp and the Tank Temp.
- 3-year warranty
- Quality European construction
- Accurate temperature control
- Temperature display can be inaccurate
- Temperature doesn’t come up to higher degrees, stays several degrees lower than set for
- Some complaints of burning out within a few weeks
Why We Liked This Heater
This aquarium heater is completely shatterproof, and will not overheat, thanks to the integrated thermal protection circuitry that shuts it down before overheating can take place.
It is ideal for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, and can also be used for terrariums.
4. Uniclife 200W Submersible Heater
The Uniclife 200W submersible aquarium heater comes with a one-year replacement warranty against explosions.
t is easy to adjust and maintains temperatures ranging from 61°F to 90°F, making it ideal for fish in saltwater or freshwater. The thermometer is practical and easy to use, and paper thin.
- Suitable for tanks up to 52 gallons
- Easy to use by a color indication
- Keeps tank at a steady temperature, even on cold days
- Bulky construction
- Doesn’t sit flat
- Not always an accurate reading
Why We Liked This Heater
This aquarium heater is going to ensure that the water inside your tank stays at the proper temperature, for both tropical and saltwater fish, as well as other living organisms.
his heater is made from thick quartz glass, making it extremely durable and explosion proof.
5. Finnex Electronic Controller Aquarium Heater
The Finnex Electronic Controller aquarium heater is made with titanium tubing that is virtually indestructible. It also has a heater guard that helps to maintain the correct temperature to ± 2° at all times.
Suction cups for easy attachment are included.
- Virtually indestructible, totally submersible
- LED heating indicator makes it easy to read
- Titanium heating element won’t shatter
- Temperatures tend to fluctuate
- Contacts stick so the heat stays on and gets too hot
- Problems with wiring
Why We Liked It
This aquarium heater can be used for saltwater and freshwater aquariums, and the tubes are easy to hide because they are so small, so they won’t stick out like a sore thumb.
The titanium heating element is encased by protective materials so there will not be any risk of electrical shock or damage to other equipment.
Set Up, Installing & Regulating Your Aquarium Heater
I’m sure we can all agree that owning a fish tank comes with a fair bit of responsibility. The health and well-being of your fish needs to be monitored on a daily basis.
As you know fish are cold blooded and so using a fish tank heater is one of the more important aspects of caring for your fish.
Fish are described as cold-blooded, meaning that their body temperature varies with the external temperature. Fish do, however, produce metabolic heat (that is, heat derived from the oxidation, or “burning,” of food and from other processes), but much of this heat is lost to the outside at the gills. From lookd.com
The fish tank heater is one piece of equipment that every fish keeper should have and use. An aquarium heater is certainly something that requires a bit of understanding about the product itself.
Thankfully, this article will provide you with all the information you need to successfully install, set up and use a fish tank heater.
The Importance of a Fish Tank Heater
In order to understand how to use an aquarium heater properly it’s important to understand why a heater is needed in your aquarium.
The main reason heaters are needed is because fish are a rather delicate species. They need steady water temperatures in order to survive and avoid getting sick or even dying.
If their water becomes too cold they will have trouble eating, swimming, and may even die. These same health problems will occur if the water is too hot, except they won’t end up like fish sticks, but rather overheat and die.
Maintaining a steady aquarium temperature in your tank is especially important for tropical fish that require a constant temp of around 74 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stable warm temperatures are pretty much impossible to keep without heaters, unless you actually live in a tropical environment.
The Four Types of Aquarium Heaters
Now that you have a better understanding as to why aquarium heaters are a necessary part of any aquarium setup, it’s important to understand the different fish tank heater types.
Having an understanding of the various types of fish tank heaters will allow you to choose the right one for your specific tank.
Typically, fish tank heaters come in four varieties:
- Filter heaters
Let’s review each type.
Consist of a glass tube where the heating coil is wound around a glass or ceramic insert. Some types of immersible heaters can be fully submerged in the water, but the main difference between immersible and submersible is that most hang along the side of the fish tank and have a clearly marked water line that lets you know where the water shouldn’t touch the heater.
Are one of the best aquarium heaters as they can be fully submerged in the water. They usually come in the form of a long slender tube that can be suctioned to the sides of the fish tank.
Are basically a flexible cable that contains a heat source. They are buried underneath the gravel on the bottom of the fish tank. Substrate heaters are not particularly popular because they are mainly used for plant aquariums.
Are built-in heaters that are used in conjunction with the filter of the tank. The water is heated as it goes through the filter.
For the purpose of this article, we will mainly be focusing on immersible and submersible heaters as they are the most popular.
How Much Electricity (Watts) Does a Fish Tank Heater Use?
When purchasing an immersible or submersible heater it’s important to understand what wattage is needed for your specific tank.
The most common way to figure out how much wattage is needed to heat your tank is for every gallon of water your tank holds you’ll typically need 2.5 to 5 watts of power to heat it.
Depending on the size of your aquarium the heater size will vary.
A small 10 gallon Betta tank will generally need around 25–50 watts of power to heat it while a larger 70-gallon tank will require about 175–350 watts.
It’s also very important to get a solid idea of what the temperature is of the room your fish tank is residing in.
So, if the temperature of the room your fish tank is in is around 75 degrees, then you may only need a smaller heater in order to get it the correct temp your tropical fish require.
This requires a fair bit of monitoring and adjusting when first starting out. Most fish tank owners will need to talk with an expert in order to get these specifications correct.
Your heater should also be able to fit easily in your tank so buy a heater that will fit.
Watch: Selecting the Right Heater for Your Aquarium
How to Install an Aquarium Heater
Knowing exactly where to place your fish tank heater is another thing you must do correctly in order to keep your fish healthy.
Most suggest to place your fish tank heater where the water flows in and out of the filter.
Allowing the water to flow through the heater allows it to be evenly and quickly dispersed throughout the tank. This makes the water temperature throughout the entire tank about the same.
For larger tanks, you may want to consider having two separate heaters on opposite sides of the aquarium. Typically, if your tank is 40 gallons or more, you’ll probably need two heaters.
Locate the ideal place in your aquarium depending on the size of the aquarium and how many watts the heater is.
Once you have the perfect location selected simply place the heater in the aquarium and use the suction cups provided to stick it to the glass.
In addition to the heater be sure to have a good thermometer so you can verify the temperature setting on a daily.
Place the thermometer on the opposite side of the aquarium heater to get a more accurate reading of the water temperature.
Setting Your Aquarium Heater
It’s of the utmost importance to understand the type of fish you have and what temperature they require. This will determine the correct temperature setting for your heater.
Once you set your desired temperature turn on the heater. Typical heaters will have a monitor light that provides an indication of whether the heater is working if the light is on, so is the heater.
Watch: How To Install A Aquarium Heater Plus Regulate It
More Reliable & Recommended Heaters You Can Buy
Below are some of the most reliable & best aquarium heaters you can find and for a reasonable price. Most of the heaters below are available in different sizes and are for use with freshwater aquariums.
When looking for a quality heater be sure to review the features of each heater and evaluate how easy it is to use, the maintenance requirements as well as any safety problems past users have reported.
Some advanced heaters come with temperature display settings and other cool add-ons.
Aquarium Kits With Equipment Included
One last thing to keep in mind is that you’ll want to purchase a high-quality heater as the cheaper models tend to break easily. If this occurs the lives of your fish can be impacted.
Be sure to check up on your fish at least once and day in order to ensure that the heater is working properly and maintaining a healthy temperature for your fish.
Owning a fish tank requires some thoughtfulness and responsibility, but it’s well worth the trouble as you will undoubtedly enjoy a sense of calm and wonder watching your lovely fish swimming around.
Having an aquarium can be loads of fun. But, if you don’t have the right heater in the aquarium, your fish aren’t going to be alive for very long.
Make sure that you buy a heater that is going to work for the size of the aquarium (some are specifically designed for larger tanks), and that it is not only accurate but easy to use.
It should be made of durable materials so it is shatterproof and be completely submersible. It should also be small and unobtrusive, so all you see are the fish and decorations and not your gear.
Our best aquarium heater will definitely be the Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater. This is one of the few heaters that don’t corrode which makes it ideal for saltwater and freshwater aquariums.