Will Your Fish Tank Heater Melt Plastic?

In this article, you’ll discover if your fish tank heater can melt plastic or not.

You’ll also learn if it’s safe to use a heater in a plastic tank, tub, or near any decorations made from plastic.

Top Rated Fish Tank Heaters

Please keep reading to learn more about how fish tank heaters affect plastic and how to use them safely near plastic surfaces.

Let’s begin.


Can A Fish Tank Heater Melt Plastic?

If appropriately used, a fish tank heater will not melt the plastic. However, if your heater is malfunctioning or placed in direct contact with plastic while not being submerged, it can melt plastic and even catch fire.

Related: Can a fish tank heater catch fire

Can You Put a Fish Tank Heater in a Plastic Tank?

Despite what you might think, you can put a fish tank heater in a plastic tank.

It’s almost impossible for the heater to melt plastic without a lot of carelessness and mishaps.

So don’t become a meme and read this: How To Use Aquarium Heater

To provide a bit more information, let’s look at why your heater can’t melt the plastic.

Why Won’t An Aquarium Heater Melt A Plastic Tank?

A fish tank heater that has been placed in the right spot and is working correctly will typically not get hot enough to melt the plastic in your fish tank.

While there are many different types of plastic that a fish tank might be made of, they can all withstand at least 149°F.

Good luck getting your heater that hot while it’s in the water!

Water does an excellent job of keeping the heat dispersed evenly throughout the tank, making it much less likely for the heater to melt any nearby plastic.

The water ensures the heat cannot concentrate enough to melt the plastic, even in the spaces closest to the heater.

Can Your Heater Melt Equipment and Decorations Made From Plastic?

Decorations made of plastic are also very unlikely to melt as a result of your heater.

However, to be safe, I would do my best to avoid placing any thin or flimsy plastic decorations or equipment in direct contact with the heater.

That said, it is not something you should be worried about.

As mentioned above, the water in the tank helps to prevent these plastic parts from melting, thanks to its natural ability to insulate and keep the heat spread more or less evenly throughout your fish tank.

Can You Put a Fish Tank Heater in a Plastic Tub?

Putting a fish tank heater in a plastic tub is a bit more unorthodox, but many fish keepers, specifically breeders, set up a plastic tub with a heater as a temporary tank all the time.

Most plastic tubs are not made of plastics that can withstand the same amount of heat as a plastic tank, but it works for a few days.

In the end, the aquarium heater does not touch the actual plastic surfaces of the tub, so it should be fine.

These Rubbermaid tubs are used by many fishkeepers and appear to be the best brand to use.

Aquarium Heaters to Avoid When Using a Plastic Tank

If any heaters could pose a risk, it might be titanium aquarium heaters.

Titanium aquarium heaters are incredibly powerful and can quickly overheat the water and the tank.

It is best to avoid these titanium heaters when using a plastic tank or tub.

These sorts of aquarium heaters are the most likely to cause issues related to overheating and melting any plastic.

What Safety Measures Can You Take When Using a Fish Tank Heater in a Plastic Tank?

Regardless of what this article says, always follow the safety measures outlined in the manufactures instructions when using a fish tank heater.

If the manual says don’t place the heater in direct contact with plastic – don’t do it.

Before you install your fish tank heater, always carefully read the instruction manual that came with it.

Typically, the heater should not be plugged in until you have placed it in the aquarium and let it adjust to the water’s temperature.

The same goes for removing the aquarium heater. Let it cool down before taking it out.

Otherwise, be prepared for a nice surprise.

If you notice anything to the point that your plastic tank is melting, replace the fish tank heater as soon as possible as it is likely malfunctioning or broken.

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Jack Dempsey
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