Best Small Aquarium Heaters 2020: Top-5 Mini Options
Author Aubree Rose Reading 1 min Views 63 Published by
Choosing a heater for a small aquarium is always a problem because of the limited inner space. The water tank already contains gravel, algae, decorations, a filter, not to mention fish and water, so cramming in a heater is a real challenge. Besides, small aquariums tend to heat up quickly, and if a heater is more powerful than needed, you are risking to boil your fish alive. Let’s try to find out how to choose a good small aquarium heater for 1-10- gallon fish tanks.
Table of Contents:
What is a Small Aquarium Heater and Where It Is Used
Things to Consider When Choosing a Small Aquarium Heater
Top-Five Heaters for Small Aquariums: a Comparative Chart
The Best Products in the Category of Small Aquarium Heaters: Our Choice
1. ViaAqua 50-Watt Quartz Glass Submersible Heater
2. Hydor Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater - Original Theo
3. FREESEA 50-300Watt Aquarium Fish Tank Heater
4. Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater
5. Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater
Frequently Asked Questions
Verdict and Recommendations
An aquarium heater is an electric device, which performs one key function: raising the temperature of water in the tank to the required level. Heaters come in various forms and sizes. Small heaters are the devices that are specially adapted to the needs of mini-aquariums, holding from 1 to 10 gallons of water. From a technical point of view, two types of heaters are commonly distinguished.
Heaters of this type are always on. They don’t shut off automatically when the temperature reaches the desired level. Instead, they produce a certain amount of heat permanently. This approach has one important drawback: the natural water temperature tends to fluctuate throughout the day and throughout the year. In hot summer days, the surrounding temperature is higher than in winter. At daytime, it can be higher than at nighttime. That is why the risk of overheating is high when you use a preset device.
An adjustable small aquarium heater with thermostat allows regulating the temperature. You choose the desired value, for example, 78 F, after which the device sustains it automatically. Once the water is 78 F, the device shuts off until it cools down a little. Then it automatically turns on and brings the temperature to the needed level again. Adjustable heaters are bulkier and more expensive than preset options, but they are definitely more reliable and flexible.
To choose the best aquarium heater you have to consider several important criteria. The unit must ideally fit your fish tank size and shape and provide the needed level of water temperature. Here are three main characteristics you need to focus on.
|ViaAqua 50-Watt Quartz Glass Submersible Heater|
|Hydor Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater|
|FREESEA 50-300 Watt Aquarium Fish Tank Heater|
|EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater|
|Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater|
We’ve compiled our ranking based on a comprehensive analysis of popular electric heaters for smaller aquariums. Our purpose was to pick out the products that are effective, reliable, and affordable at the same time. After 120 hours of testing, we are ready to share the results with our readers.
This is a compact device consisting of a ceramic core, which provides even heat distribution, and quartz glass outer, which effectively protects the inner elements in the harsh conditions of marine water. The unit comes with a built-in thermostat. It allows to set the desired temperature in the range of 68-93 F manually. It features a power indicator, which shows when the device is on and off.
On the pro side, ViaAqua heaters are very easy to set up and use. They come with convenient suction cups for easy mounting and have a visible scale of temperature settings. On the con side, warranty and replacement terms are unclear. There are some complaints about the accuracy of temp settings.
This fully submersible small aquarium heater offers improved versatility: you can place it both vertically and horizontally. It comes with a built-in thermostat that helps regulate water temperature with minimum hassle. The device is easy to set up, thanks to a graduated temperature scale. On top of this, it is shatter- and shock-resistant, which makes it more durable than most counterparts.
Hydor products are a bit pricey, but they are worth it. This is a “set and forget” solution for small fish tanks. We love the versatility and ease of setup of the heater. The temperature settings are not 100% precise, but this is a common problem of all small heaters.
This compact fully submersible heater features a bright LCD display, which shows the current temperature settings. The device allows adjusting water temperature in the range of 59-94 F and can automatically maintain it. An external touch button makes it possible to adjust the settings without taking the heater out of the tank. The unit comes with a 24-month warranty.
We love the smart external touch button and the readable LED display of this heater. It is really a convenient, compact, and lightweight device with some smart features. That said, its design could be better. The coiled plastic outer is open from the back, and small fish can occasionally swim in and get stuck.
This 100% submersible small heater from Eheim is made of shock- and shatter-resistant glass and can be safely used in both fresh and marine water. It allows to preset the temperature in the range of 65-93 F manually. A bright indicator shows the current state of the device and a built-in thermostat prevents overheating.
Eheim Jager is one of the best aquarium heater options, though, in our opinion, it is slightly overpriced. It offers a standard feature set. We confirm that it does its job when adjusted properly. That being said, setting up can be a pain because of the average accuracy of temperature measuring (as we’ve mentioned before, it’s a common problem of small heaters.)
Tetra heaters combine sleek design, an affordable price, and reliability. Their HT series is not an exception. Its 50-watt option is a compact versatile device that can be mounted vertically or horizontally at your choice. An electronic thermostat helps keep the temperature at the level of 78 degrees F.
Tetra HT is a great budget-friendly solution for small aquariums with tropical fish. Unfortunately, it lacks the option of manual temperature adjusting. You can’t select the temperature by yourself. All in all, it does its job well in the tanks from 2 to 10 gallons.
Neophytes in the field of fish keeping have a lot of questions about choosing aquarium equipment. Here, we’ve collected some popular questions regarding aquarium heaters. We hope, the answers will help you make the right choice.
A: A small submersible heater is the best solution. We recommend to opt for an adjustable model with a thermostat. You may need to do some adjustments before you reach an optimal temperature level.
A: If your fish tank is as small as 1 gallon, try a small aquarium heater 5 W or 10 W in capacity. Normally, it is considered that 2.5-5 watt is sufficient to heat up 1 gallon of water. But if the aquarium is placed in a cool room, you may need more watts.
A: This primarily depends on the volume of water in the tank. A basic formula is 2.5-5 watts per gallon. But you also need to consider the initial temperature of water, which depends on the air temperature in the room, and the target temperature.
A: There is no single answer to this question, as different people have different criteria of estimation. The above-listed options are reliable and effective. Choose the best small aquarium heater relying on your needs.
A: When it comes to aquarium heating, bigger not always means better. Aquarium fish are very sensitive to subtle temperature fluctuations, so choosing the right heater, which is capable of sustaining the needed temperature is crucial. One of the essential heater parameters is wattage. Approximately, you need 5 watts to heat 1 gallon of water quickly and effectively. Thus, for a 10-gallon tank, you may buy a 50-watt heater. For a 50-gallon aquarium, two 125-watt heaters will do.
A: The most expedient water temperature for tropical fish depends on the species living in the tank. However, if compared with cool water fish, tropical fish love warmer water. These lovely fish are most healthy when the water temperature ranges from 75 to 80°F. It is equal to 24-27°C. One of the most popular tropical fish types - Molly Fish, is very adaptable. It lives in both freshwater and saltwater. The ideal temperature for this species is 77-82°F though they handle lower temperatures quite well. Guppies are among the most adaptable fish species. They can live in as low temperatures as at 55°F. Yet, these lovely creatures feel happier at 72-79°F.
It’s crucial to choose the right heater for a small aquarium. A good heater must be compact enough while producing enough heat. Both under-heating and overheating are harmful to fish.
We’ve reviewed five popular options of small heater designed specially for mini fish tanks. Each device has its strong and weak points, which are to be considered. Our top pick is Hydor submersible heater – a versatile, reliable, and compact unit, which comes in a variety of sizes. Apart from the 50-watt modification of this small aquarium heater, 300 W and 400 W options for larger tanks are also available.