Best Aquarium Heaters- Almost all fish tanks need aquarium heaters for their inhabitants but if you have tropical fish, then a tank heater is among the essential equipment that you would need for your fish.
A good water heater should keep the temperature of the aquarium at an optimum level and should be easy to operate.
We’ve reviewed some of these aquarium heaters for you but before you pick one, you need to know a few things about your fish tank and about aquarium heaters.
Why you need aquarium heaters
Be it your tropical fish or the reef in your saltwater tank, a heater is a must for the fish tank. For tropical fish and coral, lack of warm water can be detrimental. An aquarium heater replicates the environment of the ocean in your fish tank.
How to pick the right aquarium water heater
With so many options available to choose from, it becomes a tricky selection to pick the right fish tank heater. You must go through the specifications given by the manufacturer for an aquarium heater before you buy one. Some pointers that you should consider before your purchase one are:
Size of the tank
Just like the water tank heaters for your homes come in various sizes, so do these fish tank heaters. The aquarium heater size will depend on the capacity of your fish tank. Where a powerful heater would not be a good choice for a 5-gallon aquarium, a smaller one would not be able to work efficiently in a 50-gallon tank.
Picking the right aquarium heater size would not overwork the heater and drain too much power. The water will also be heated uniformly with the right heater.
Although most heaters can be used in any type (not size) of fish tank, some water heaters are designed especially for freshwater tanks, reef tanks, or turtle tanks. This is where going through the product specification helps.
Fishtank heater type
The most common type of heater for fish tank is the submersible kind that is put inside the fish tank and is immersed in water. Some other types include in-filter, immersible, substrate, in-sump, and in-line tank heaters.
The wattage of aquarium heaters is also a deciding factor since the more wattage a heater has, the more powerful it is and the larger amount of water it can heat.
An expensive fish tank water heater would be no good if it is not appropriate for your fish tank. Do not get swayed by prices but look at their functionality instead. A budget heater for fish tank also gives excellent performance if it is ideal according to the size.
Let’s talk about some of the heaters that we have reviewed and are the top picks for different sizes of aquariums.
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HT-6025 Submersible Water Heater- Best Aquarium Heaters for 5-gallon Aquariums
If you own a 5-gallon betta fish tank, you ought to buy a small tank fish heater that is ideal for a fish tank this size. The HT-6025 submersible aquarium heater would be a good pick in this category. It is perfect for a 5-gallons fish tank that can be either fresh or saltwater.
- Its visible temperature display makes it easy for you to see and maintain the temperature. A small red knob at the top of this fishtank heater can be rotated easily to adjust the temperature between 68°F to 93°F.
- The heater has a water-tight sealing with a IP68 design and its three strong suctions help in keeping it snugly fixed to the wall of the fish tank.
- A red indicator light on the heater lets you know when it is on.
- The body of this 5-gallon aquarium heater is made of shatterproof 2 mm extra thick quartz glass that prevents electricity leakage.
- This aquarium heater is super sleek and can be easily fixed at a corner of the fish tank.
What we like
- You can fix this aquarium water heater in the tank either vertically or horizontally. It is advisable to keep the water heater fixed to the wall of the fish tank so that it doesn’t come in the way of the fish while swimming.
- This heater is also safe for the other pets in your house as its shockproof and heatproof body prevents scalding their skin on touch.
- This water heater comes with an extra stick-on thermometer that can detect water temperature between 64°F – 93°F. It uses color indication from white to blue for the temperature change.
- The suction cups make it easy to change the position of the heater and to take it out for cleaning.
Hygger Mini Submersible Aquarium Heater – 10-gallon Tank Heater
As the name suggests, this fishtank heater is compact and does not occupy too much of a space in your fish tank. This one is available in 15/25/35 and 50W variants but for a 10-gallon fish tank, you can go ahead and pick the 50 W model which is a small fish tank heater. This small aquarium heater can be used in fish tanks (both freshwater and saltwater) as well as turtle tanks.
- This fish heater has an explosion-proof carbon rod that is safer than the regular coil heaters
- The LED display shows the real-time temperature that can be adjusted between 68-94 degrees F or 20-34 degrees Celsius. You can long-press the control button to change the unit from F to C. Temperature accuracy for this fish tank water heater is within 2 degrees F.
- There is an auto shut-off feature in this heater that does not let it get overheated. When the temperature crosses 97 degrees F or 36 degrees C, the LED display shows an‘ E2’ message and the heater shuts off automatically.
- It uses nichrome alloy heating material that has a high thermal energy efficiency
- It provides uniform heating across the fish tank
- The red light display indicates the heating of water while a blue light shows that the water is at a constant temperature.
What we like
- The suction cups are quite strong and stable. Once fixed, you do not have to worry about constantly adjusting the heater on the wall of the aquarium.
- You can place this aquarium water heater both vertically and horizontally according to the setting of your aquarium
- The heater utilizes electrical energy to convert into thermal energy, leading to its long life
- Its nylon exterior is burn-proof, fire-proof, and explosion-proof
- The temperature controller is placed outside the tank and every touch increases the temperature by one degree. This external control helps you regulate the temperature without putting your hand inside the aquarium.
Fluval M Submersible Water Heater– 30-gallon Fish Tank Heater
The bigger the fish tank does not mean the bigger the heater needed. If you can get something compact yet highly efficient and is reasonably priced, it must be your top pick for your 30-gallon fish tank. The Fluval M submersible heater is ideal for a tank this size.
- This 100-watt heater has a shock-proof Borosilicate glass body and high-density ceramic heat stick.
- It has a sleek body and is ideal for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums with a water capacity up to 30 gallons
- A 3-year warranty is provided by the manufacturers for this heater
- The temperature range for this fish heater is between 66-84 degrees F
What we like
- For starters, this tank heater blends perfectly with the aquarium environment because of its built-in reflective technology. It helps the body of the heater reflect the surrounding colors which do not make the heater stand out.
- With its computer-calibrated thermostat and a temperature control dial that is easy to adjust, this water heater is easy to operate.
- The heater is easy to install
Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm Aquarium Heater– 55-gallon Aquarium Heater
We have picked this one in the 55-gallon category but this heater is also available for 6/12/20/29/40 and 100-gallon aquariums. This model can also be used in aquariums that need a 50-gallon fish tank heater.
- The temperature of this heater can be set between 66-96 degrees F and the one-touch system makes it easy to set as well as read the temperature. Accuracy levels are within 5⁰F of the set temperature.
- It comes with a reversible holster or bracket that allows you to place the heater facing inwards or outwards
- One of the main advantages of buying a water heater with a built-in thermostat is that even when you forget to switch the heater off, it turns off automatically once it reaches the set temperature. The Cobalt Neo-Therm water heater has been designed with integrated thermal protection circuitry that prevents overheating and it switches off automatically.
- Most heaters on the market can raise the temperature of the aquarium by not more than 3 degrees F above ambient temperature but this heater can take it up to 11 degrees F above the ambient. It helps to catch up to the set temperature faster than the other heaters, without getting overworked.
- The heater comes with a 3-year warranty
What we like
- The body of this water heater is made out of resin/ thermoplastics, making it shatterproof and a safe option for your fish. Most heaters have a glass outer casing that is susceptible to breaking.
- The super-flat design of this heater allows it to be fully submerged in water and makes it energy efficient.
- This water heater can be used in fish tanks, aquariums, and terrariums with equal ease
Mylivell Submersible Auto Thermostat Heater– The ideal budget heater
The last one on our list is from the budget category heaters. Reasonably priced and compact in size, thisfish tank heater is available in two models: 100 W for 20-45 gallons and 200 W for 30-75 gallons. It can be used in both freshwater as well as saltwater aquariums.
- The advanced design incorporates double seal material and high-quality quartz glass
- The sleek tube body of this small aquarium heater does not take up much space in the aquarium
- There is auto-adjustment of temperature that reads between the setting range: 20°- 34°C (65° F – 93° F)
- Two suction cups allow the heater to be fixed to the wall of the fish tank
- The temperature can be set using an easy to use red knob at the top of the heater
- When the water is getting heated it is indicated by the red light that switches off when the required temperature is achieved
What we like
- The size and price of the heater
- The glass casing is strong but prone to breakage if not handled with extreme care
- Every time you wish to change the temperature, you would have to dip your hand in the tank
Things to keep in mind while handling a heater for fish tanks
- Do not try and repair the heater by yourself. It is advisable to take the help of a professional
- Do not disassemble it or tamper with it
- Do not touch the components of the fish tank heater when it is switched on
- Keep the cords of the water heater dry and keep them outside the fish tank. Even while cleaning the fish tank, make sure that the cord is dry before you plug it back in.
- Keep a submersible heater immersed underwater and keep the water in the aquarium at an optimum level
- While changing the water of the fish tank, switch the heater off before you start taking out the water. It would prevent the dry running of the heater when the water level goes down.
- Clean the walls of the fish tank well before installing the heater so that the suction cups stay on
- Keep the decorations or plants at a distance from the heater
- In case you think that the heater is not showing the correct temperature, you can use a thermometer to verify the readings
- Keep checking the water heater for any damage to the casing or the wiring
- Place the heater in your aquarium such that its bottom is exposed to open space and air
Placement of the water heater for fish tanks
You do not want hot or cold spots in your aquarium and the job of a good water heater is to uniformly heat the water. The ideal place for fish tank heaters is near the filter or the aquarium powerhead. This way the constant flow of water will circulate the heated water all over the aquarium.