Best Aquarium Heaters 2020: Maintain Water Temperature with No Trouble
Author Aubree Rose Reading 1 min Views 35 Published by
An aquarium heater is one of the crucial elements of any aquarium because health and general well-being of fish depend on it to a large extent. A submersible aquarium heater is the most popular type – it is an inexpensive and ubiquitous device that is easy to use and maintain. With so many heater models on sale, it can be quite a challenge to choose the best one. In our buyer’s guide, we’ll review ten best submersible aquarium heater models of the year 2018.
Table of Contents:
Why do You Need a Heater?
Best Aquarium Heaters of the Year 2018: a Comparative Chart
Benefits of Using a Heater in Your Aquarium
Things to Consider When Buying an Aquarium Heater
How We Picked Out the Best Models in the Category of Aquarium Heaters
Top Aquarium Heater 2018: Our Choice
1. ViaAqua 50-Watt Quartz Glass Submersible Heater
2. FLUVAL E 300 watt Advanced Electronic Heater
3. Neo-Therm Aquarium Heater - Cobalt Aquatics
4. Aqueon Pro Heater Aquarium Heater
5. EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater
6. Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater With Electronic Thermostat
7. Songjoy Quartz Glass Submersible Aquarium Heater
8. Hydor In-Line External Heater
9. Finnex Hang-On Digital Controller Aquarium Heater
10. AquaTop Quartz Glass Submersible Heater
11. FREESEA 25/50/100/200/300 Watt Aquarium Heater with Aquarium Submersible Thermometer
12. Mylivell Aquarium Heater Submersible Auto Thermostat Heater,Fish Tank Water Heater and Adjustable Temperature with Suction Cups and Protective Cover
13. VIBIRIT Aquarium Heater,Betta Fish Tank Heater 25W
Interesting Facts about Aquarium Fish and Aquarium Heating
How to Care about an Aquarium Heater: Tips for Aquarians
How and Where to Place a Heater Correctly: Facts to Consider
Aquarium Water Temperature for Different Species of Fish
Frequently Asked Questions
Verdict and Recommendations
Unlike mammals, fish can’t maintain their body temperature; they are cold-blooded, which means that their bodies do not produce heat. That’s why fish are entirely dependent on the environmental temperature. Some species feel good at room temperature, and others (especially tropical fish) need warmer water. Even if your fish live at room temperature, you need to keep in mind that the temperature in your room is not constant. It tends to fluctuate throughout the year and even throughout the day. So, a fish aquarium heater is a must-have anyway.
Though all heaters perform one and the same function – regulating water temperature – they can significantly differ in terms of their construction. They are chosen based on the aquarium size, fish species, and personal preferences of a fish owner. Here are the main types of these aquarium devices:
Immersion and submersible heaters are most popular in the market. They are affordable, easy to use and compact. Submersible models are safer and more efficient, so they are more frequently recommended by experienced aquarists.
|FLUVAL E 300 Watt|
|Neo-Therm Aquarium Heater - Cobalt Aquatics|
|Aqueon Pro Heater|
|EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater|
|Tetra HT Submersible|
|Songjoy Quartz Glass Submersible|
|Hydor In-Line External Heater|
|Aquatop Quartz Glass Submersible|
In fact, there is one major benefit of using a heater: it helps to maintain the needed temperature of water in your aquarium without any efforts. It is crucial for the life of most types of fish. So a heater can be rightfully called a mandatory element of an aquarium. Another benefit of this device is that it creates an optimal environment for tropical plants (if there are some) in the aquarium. Finally, it makes filtering of the water easier, which is also a benefit.
To make the most of using an aquarium heater one needs to choose the right type and model of a device. Thus, if you have a large aquarium, a small unit will be inefficient. In turn, a large and powerful heater will be equally inefficient and even dangerous for a small tank. Here are the main characteristics that need to be considered.
Submersible filters are most frequently chosen by relatively small home aquariums. In some cases, an external unit will be a preferable option. Choose the heater type depending on the aquarium size and location, as well as your climate zone.
Apparently, the heater size and power depends on the size of an aquarium. You can roughly calculate what power you need, using a formula: 25 W per every 5 gallons of water. Thus, for a 50-gallon tank, you’ll need one 250 W heater or two 120-150 W heaters.
Basically, all submersible filters require minimum maintenance. All you need to do is to clean them gently from time to time and check for the signs of rust. Though modern devices are commonly quite long-lasting, you’d better to change them at least once in two or three years.
Think in advance where and how you are going to place the device. Some models can be placed only vertically; others – only horizontally. If you are placing two small submersible heaters in a large aquarium, you’d better put them in the opposite corners of the tank. If you choose a single heater, try to place it closer to the water inflow to provide even heating.
To choose the most popular and most reliable aquarium heater models of the year we made a deep analysis of this segment of the market. We’ve studied several hundreds of aquarium heater reviews of real customers. It helped us to single out main pros and cons of every heater and nominate prospective leaders.
The second stage of our research was real-life testing of the chosen models. To test the samples we used two standard aquariums 15 and 30 gallons (without live fish, just with water). One of them was filled with salted water, another – with fresh water. Our goal was to estimate the build quality, design, the accuracy of temperature measuring, the consistency of water temperature and some other key parameters. As a result, seven best models were chosen. All of them are efficient and reliable enough, and all of them are highly estimated by real customers.
Here is our list of best aquarium heater models. For every brand, we tried to single out pros and cons. Read and decide what top-rated aquarium heater is the best.
This is a simple small aquarium heater that is able to maintain a fixed temperature in a 10-13-gallon tank. It is fully submersible and can be used in both salted and fresh water. It is sturdy and durable, thanks to its quartz glass shock-resistance case. But for larger aquariums, this 50-watt aquarium heater can turn out to be insufficient.
It holds temperature pretty well but not excellent. We don’t recommend it for ultra-delicate fish species that can die from the smallest fluctuations of water temperature. That said, it is a decent inexpensive options for Guppies.
This powerful 300-watt aquarium heater can maintain constant temperature in a 100-gallon tank. It is equipped with dual sensors for quick and precise temperature measurements. The VueTech Technology indicates an increased risk of overheating with the help of a flashing LED monitor.
In our tests the device worked consistently. What is really great is that it doesn’t overheat water unlike some cheaper options. The device seems to be well-made and durable. In our opinion, it’s a good value for money.
This heater is notable not only for its design, which is really sleek. It is very handy, easy to set up and use, and efficient. The Neo-Therm heater provides precise temperature measurements and has a function of an automatic switching off if there is a risk of overheating.
Actually, we have almost nothing to complain about. The heater does its job very well; it is easy to use and holds the temperature correctly. The only small downside is its poor suction cups.
This is another terrific aquarium heater with thermostat (electronic). It is lightweight and compact but very robust and, as the manufacturer claims, 100% shatterproof and shockproof. It is a fully submersible heater; easy to use and reliable.
It is a good price quality ratio. On the plus side, it is lightweight, compact, and inexpensive. One the minus side, it is not powerful enough: it takes much time to heat up an average tank.
The EHEIM Aquarium Heater is a great example of a reliable modern medium-priced device. It has a conventional design, sturdy shock-resistant construction, and a standard feature set. The good news is a wide range of watts available – from 50 to 300 W.
There is little to complain about. This heater is a “working horse” – reliable and consistent, though a sort of slow. It takes time for it to deliver the needed temperature, but once reached, the temp is maintained.
The Tetra HT submersible aquarium heater is a fantastic low-budget option. It can seem a bit plain and too small but, on the plus side, it is a really cheap aquarium heater, which does its job well, especially in small tanks. Keep in mind that for a larger tank, you’d better buy a more powerful device.
If you are looking for a low-budget option, that’s what you need. It is recommended for unpretentious fish species that can bear minor temperature fluctuations. Despite its entry level price, the device is quite well-made.
This 300w aquarium heater suits for heating larger aquariums – up to 50 gallons of water. Beware that other options are also available (from 100 to 500 Watt). The heater is affordable and does its job well.
We love the heater’s flexibility in terms of is placement – it allows both vertical and horizontal mounting. The device works consistently though, again, a bit slowly. The suction cups could be better.
This is a powerful aquarium heater for an external use that suits for the heating of relatively large water tanks – up to 100-120 gallons. The device is equipped with an electronic thermostat and allows precise temperature control and a 5/8 inch hose.
It works as expected; no major complaints about the heater’s performance or consistency. The two downsides, in our opinion, are its hose that doesn’t fit to any tubing and it’s a sort of cumbersome design.
This is a fully submersible heater with a smart digital controller. One 100 W devise is sufficient for maintaining temperature in a 30-gallon water tank. It has a durable corrosion-free case that protects the inner parts even in salted water. A smart memory chip remembers the settings.
The heater is very easy to use and has nice extra features, such as a memory chip. But it is not ultra-precise: be prepared to the temperature fluctuations in the range of 2-3 degrees.
This is the smallest heater in the AquaTop family that copes with heating up of a small aquarium up to 13 gallons. The device has a simple construction: a quartz-glass outer and a mechanical dial for manual temperature setting. It is an easy to use, inexpensive, and popular model.
We love the design, build quality, and the price of this small heater. We are not so impressed with the temperature settings: the dial is not very convenient and stiff, and temperature fluctuations are sometimes quite noticeable. All in all, the heater is recommended for unpretentious fish species.
This water heater is created exceptionally for small tanks with up to 5-gallon capacity. For larger aquariums, there are other options by FreeSea. The power of the model is 110-120V which is not bad for small tanks. The heater comes with an automatic constant temperature function and automatic safety shut-off feature to protect against overheating. FreeSea aquarium heater can keep the temperature of your small tank anywhere between 63°F and 95°F steadily.
The first thing we ought to remind buyers is to install the heater thoroughly under the water. Whether to install it vertically or horizontally is up to you. Yet, this is a submersible model and no part must be left out of the water before plugging it. Though built with quality and durability in mind, the manufacturer provides a 12-month warranty.
Overall the product seems to be worth buying. Yet, the thermometer included in the purchase doesn’t work properly and can even cause harm to the living organism of the tank. And the other downside is the lack of any instructions, which is upsetting.
Made of quality quartz glass with double seal materials, this model leaves no place for worrying about a shattered tank while the polarized plug is a guarantee against electrical shock. It’s designed for aquariums with up to 20-gallon capacity and ensures steady 65°F – 93°F temperature. This 100W powerful tank heater guarantees effective operation in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.
This submersible tank heater can be placed horizontally or vertically depending on your convenience. The price is good, so is the quality. However, our tests revealed the heater faces problems in maintaining the set temperature, which is definitely unbearable. The suction cups tend to loosen during the time, either. Whether to heat the water of your little fish with this heater or not is up to you. Yet, it isn’t the model we’d recommend.
This aquarium heater is fully submersible. It’s made of quality anti-explosive, high temperature resistant, safe engineering plastic. The heater automatically adjusts and maintains the temperature between 75°F and 82°F. You don’t have to set it manually. Being energy-efficient, the heater automatically turns on and off to keep the temperature stable. The model comes with a Temperature sticker included with blue color indicating the current temperature.
Beyond any doubts, the aquarium heater is well built. Its suction power is impressive. It sucks equally well to both acrylic and glass surfaces. Taking into account the fact that the model is built for small tanks only (from 3 to 5-gallon ones), the heater is definitely powerful, too. Anyway, we can’t hide from our readers the downside that we found out about this model. The automatic temperature controller doesn’t always work smoothly and sometimes the heater runs too hot.
1. Though fish are mute they are extremely sensitive towards light, smells, touches, sounds, and tastes. Taste buds cover their entire body.
2. Fish are extra-sensitive towards water temperature. Even 2-3 degrees can be crucial for them and even cause death of some species.
3. Never try to heat an aquarium in a natural way by placing it under direct sunlight. It is dangerous for its inhabitants.
4. In 95% of cases, fish die because of improper feeding and housing conditions.
5. Fish are not animals, but like all living beings, they can experience stress, pain, and fear.
Though for the most part aquarium heaters are quite easy to use and don’t require special maintenance, don’t forget that they are electric devices. It means that you need to observe basic safety precautions to prevent possible dangerous situations. Here are some tips for everyone to consider.
Also, try to prevent shattering of the aquarium. Though modern heaters are considered shock-resistant, they still can break. Breakage of a heater inside a tank can be very dangerous.
Beginners in the sphere of aquaristics often wonder where to place aquarium heater inside the tank. In fact, there can be several possible variants. An important thing here is to adhere to some principle rules.
Submersible heaters must be covered by water completely. Some models are mounted only vertically, other – horizontally, and still others can be mounted in any position. If you use several heaters (in a large tank), place them in the opposite corners of the aquarium in order to let water be heated evenly. If you don’t know what size heater for aquarium is best, read the product’s specifications.
Different types of fish have different demands to water temperature. Some of them are more sensitive to the temperature fluctuations, and others are more immune to slight changes throughout the day. These factors need to be considered when you are choosing the fish for living in one aquarium.
Coldwater fish are considered the least demanding, due to which they are rather popular, especially with the beginners. Well-known examples of coldwater aquarium fish are the goldfish, the coi, and guppy. These fish feel comfortable at the temperature of 65-68 F.
Tropical fish can’t live in cold water. The comfortable temperature range for them is 75-80 F, which can’t be maintained a special aquarium heater. These fish are also more demanding in general, so if you have no or little experience in fish breeding, you’d better begin with coldwater species. Examples of tropical fish are the danios, barbs, angelfish, and others.
A: It depends on the two variables: the tank size and the water temperature. It is believed that a 50-watt heater is capable of raising and maintaining temperature in a 10-gallon tank. If you need to raise temperature by just 5 degrees, it will cope with 20 gallons, and to raise temperature by 15 degrees in a 10-gallons tank, you may need a more powerful 100-watt heater. That is why the best approach is to read the specifications of the chosen model and the manual before using it.
A: 150-200 watts should be enough. Anyway, don’t ignore information from the manufacturer and the user manual.
A: When you buy a new heater you want to make sure it works properly. That said, it is difficult if no impossible to detect the precise water temperature by feel. That is why the best way to know if a heater is broken or not is to use a separate aquarium thermometer.
A: The lifespan of various heaters can vary, but all of them need to be replaced, at least, once in 1-2 years. Even high-quality heaters tend to rust over time. To increase the life of your heater follow the manufacturer’s instruction and don’t forget about gentle regular cleaning.
Again, the best approach is to follow the manufacturer’s directions. Commonly, it is safe to use a heater in a plastic tank: its temperature is not too high to damage plastic or make it melt. That said, it is recommended to avoid direct contact of a heater with plastic walls of the aquarium.
It depends on the fish species living in it. Most freshwater fish feel good at the temperature 75 through 80 degrees (F).
A: Aquarium heaters are safe for fish as long as they are used correctly and work, as they should. Unfortunately, there are recorded cases when heaters killed fish for various reasons. The most frequent reason is overheating. Aquarium fish are sensitive to the water temperature, so 5-10 degrees are critical for them. Another possible reason is injury. When a heater is not hidden under the substrate properly, fish can bump into it and get a burn. To minimize the risk measure the water temperature with a standalone thermometer every day and always place a heater in the aquarium as recommended.
A: Setting up an aquarium heater properly is mandatory. An aquarium heater must never touch the tank gravel, glass, or a decoration. Otherwise, a temperature gradient will occur in the glass, and it will cause the tank glass to shatter. Needless to say, both your little fish and you will be exposed to electrocution, and a fire hazard will appear. Additionally, when you are setting up a new heater, let it sit in the water for around half an hour before you plug it in. This way the heater will get time to acquire temperature equilibrium and not shatter because of the difference of temperatures when turned on.
We’ve reviewed ten great models of aquarium heaters. Your final choice will depend on your particular needs. For example, the Tetra aquarium heater, as well as the Top Fin aquarium heater, are great for small tanks.
For a larger aquarium, you’ll better choose a large aquarium heater like FLUVAL E 300 Watt. If you are looking for a good 50-gallon aquarium heater, consider Aqueon Pro Heater, which has an excellent build quality and a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
If you are looking for the most affordable option for a small tank, try the ViaAqua heater – it is cheap, effective, and does its job really well. Finally, the best external device is an electric heater from Hydor – powerful and easy to regulate.