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. If you keep your home warmer than that, then the answer to this question is yes.
The majority of aquarium fish can withstand cooler temperatures than recommended. It’s better for fish to have a constant warm temperature than it is to be stressed. Some species, such as the white cloud mountain minnows, Japanese ricefish, or goldfish, prefer cooler temperatures. 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?
If you have to heat water to temperatures greater than 10 degrees above ambient temperature, and you are using an aquarium lid to keep it warm and prevent evaporative cool, the general rule of thumb is to use 5 watts (W). For example, if you have a 29-gallon tank under those conditions, the suggested heater size is 100 watts. If your home is at 65 degrees F and the water temperature is below that, you may need to increase the water temperature by 15°.
Different types of aquariums have different heater requirements.
The location of the fish tank in your home is another factor that can affect its temperature. It is best to place it in a sunny area, in the basement or next to an air conditioner. Because heat rises naturally, tanks placed at the bottom end of an aquarium rack are cooler than those at the top. Equipment such as lighting, filtration and lighting all contribute to the aquarium’s heat production. Fluval FX4 canister filters, for example, run on 30 watts and heat the aquarium water slightly as it flows through them.
If you own a larger tank that requires 200 watts of heat, we recommend purchasing two 100W heaters rather than one 200W heater. Using multiple, smaller heaters reduces the damage caused by equipment malfunction. If one heater gets too hot, it is unlikely that it will be enough to heat the entire aquarium. You can always have another heater in case one heater goes out. This will keep the water from freezing if it does.
Where Should I Put My Aquarium Heater?
There are many aquarium heaters available, but this article will focus on submersible heaters. These heaters 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 must always be positioned vertically, while others can lay down horizontally. To get the best heat distribution, long heaters with tube-shaped shapes should be mounted at a 45 degree angle. If you have one, you can hide the heater behind plants or decor.
Mount the heater at 45 degrees and cover it with tall decorations or plants.
Are You a Constant Aquatic Heater On?
You can leave the heater on 24 hours a 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. (Sometimes you’ll see a line on the heater that marks the minimum water level.) It will not be able to accurately measure the water temperature or control the heating. If the heater is left running in dry air, it can crack or burn. When you do water changes, make sure to unplug the heater and turn off the power strip.
Heating elements don’t need much maintenance, except for the occasional use of a toothbrush to clean off algae. Manufacturers recommend that you wait at least 30 minutes before removing the heater.
What Is the Best Aquarium Heater?
The aquarium heater is the most important item you should purchase when installing a fish tank. You want to find a good quality brand that is safe and reliable because unproven brands may fail by overheating, shutting down, or cracking – all with disastrous results. 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 and compact design allows the heater to be placed in aquariums without being hidden behind rocks or decorations. 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. The heater is protected from larger fish species, which could crash into it. – The adjustable temp feature can be used to adjust the temperature to cure diseases or to incite breeding. 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 extra-long, 11.8-foot power cable makes it possible to reach faraway wall outlets, even if you have a deep aquarium. – The suction cups allow you to firmly mount the heater onto the aquarium wall, and four extra suction cups are included as replacements. You can rest assured that your heater will not malfunction or be damaged by manufacturing errors with the 1-year warranty.
Fluval 25W Submersible Heater is recommended for nano aquariums with 6 gallons and less. This heater can maintain a temperature of between 76 to 78degF.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be trying to save money on heating. Your aquarium fish will be happy if they have a comfortable and warm home. They’ll enjoy hours upon hours of entertainment.