How to Choose the Right Aquarium Heater
One of the most common questions we get is, “Does my aquarium need a heater?” Well, most fish are cold-blooded animals that rely on the surrounding waters to regulate their body temperature, and most freshwater pet fish are tropical species that enjoy balmy temperatures around 78-80degF. So, if you usually keep your home cooler than that, then the answer is yes.
The majority of aquarium fish can withstand cooler temperatures than recommended. It is better for your fish to keep the water warm than cold and prevents diseases. Some species, like the goldfish and Japanese ricefish, can live in cooler temperatures without heating. Other fish – like discus, ram cichlids, and certain Apistogramma cichlids – prefer hotter temperatures around 85degF and require a heater.
What Size Aquarium Heater Do I Need?
A general rule of thumb states that 5 W of heat is required for every 1 gallon water. This applies if the water needs to be heated to 10 degrees above normal temperature and if you use an aquarium lid to retain heat and prevent evaporative cooling. For example, if you have a 29-gallon tank under those conditions, the suggested heater size is 100 watts. You might consider adding another heater if your home is colder than 65 degrees Fahrenheit and you have to raise the water temperature 15 degrees.
Different types of aquariums have different heater requirements.
Other factors that impact a fish tank’s temperature include its location in your home. Is it placed in a sunny room, down in the basement, or right next to the air conditioner? Also, because heat naturally rises, the tanks at the bottom of an aquarium rack will be cooler than the tanks at the top. Lighting and filtration are also important in generating heat in an aquarium. Fluval FX4 filter, which runs on 30 W, is a mini heater that heats the water in an aquarium. It filters the water through it at a slight temperature.
Two 100W heaters are better than one 200W heater if your tank is larger and requires 200 watts. Multiple heaters of smaller size will reduce the chance of equipment failure. If one of the heaters gets too hot, it’s likely not powerful enough on its own to overheat the whole aquarium. If one heater shuts off, then you have a second heater as a backup that will prevent the water from getting too cold.
Where should I put my aquarium heater?
There are many kinds of aquarium heaters, but we’re going to talk about the most common type – submersible heaters that operate completely underwater. The water current helps to spread the warmth from the heater to the rest of the tank, so ideally the heater should be placed right next to the filter output or pump for maximum flow. Install a thermometer opposite the heater to ensure heat is reaching other sides of the tank.
Some heaters need to be positioned vertically. Others can be laid horizontally. We recommend that heaters of long and tube-shaped designs be mounted at 45 degrees to ensure the best heat distribution. If you have one, you can hide the heater behind plants or decor.
Mount the heater at a 45 degree angle and conceal it with tall plants or decorations.
Do you leave the aquarium heater on all the time?
The heater can be left on all day. Aquarium heaters have an internal thermostat that turns off the heat when it reaches a specific temperature, thus keeping the water temperature within a few degrees of the desired setting.
When first installing the heater, let the equipment acclimate to the aquarium water’s temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before plugging it in, to prevent breakage from temperature shock. Also, the heater must always be submersed in water when it’s turned on. The heater may have a line that indicates the minimum water level. It will not be able to accurately measure the water temperature or control the heating. You should not leave the heater on while it is dry. It may crack or burn.
Heating elements don’t need much maintenance, except for the occasional use of a toothbrush to clean off algae. Manufacturers advise that heaters be left to cool for at least 30 min before you remove them.
What Is the Best Aquarium Heater?
When setting up a fish tank, there are many supplies that you will need. The aquarium heater is one of the most important. A reliable brand is essential as unproven brands could fail to overheat, shut off, or crack. We personally would not recommend getting a used heater because you have no idea if the previous owner dropped it, left it running while out of water, and so forth.
Our Aquarium Co-Op 100W heater was designed with high quality features and an extensive range of features in mind.
– The small, compact design makes the heater easier to position in the aquarium and hide behind decorations or rocks. The digital display displays a large temperature reading which can be easily read. The heater guard prevents fish from tripping over the heater. This is a common way for fish to die. This enclosure also shields the heater from larger fish species that may crash into it. The adjustable thermostat function is helpful if you need to increase or decrease the temperature in order to breed. Unlike most heaters that use temperature dials, the Aquarium Co-Op heater has a simple button controller that is located outside of the fish tank so you don’t have to get your hands wet to change the temperature. The 11.8-foot extra-long power cable allows you to reach distant wall outlets even if your aquarium is deep. The suction cups can be used to mount the heater on the aquarium wall. Four additional suction cups are also included. – The 1-year warranty and automatic over-temperature protection offers you peace of mind from heater malfunctions and manufacturing errors.
If you have a nano aquarium that holds 6 gallons or less, consider using the Fluval 25W submersible heater that is preset to maintain a temperature of 76-78degF.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be trying to save money on heating. Give your aquarium fish a warm and comfortable home, and they’ll thank you for it with hours and hours of entertainment.