Expert Tips For Choosing The Right Aquarium Heater

The weather in most regions is too cold to maintain a moderate water temperature for tropical fish. If you have an aquarium or a fish tank at home, you’ll need to keep the water temperature between 24 and 26 °C to provide a suitable environment for your tropical fish. Aquarium heaters can take care of that by keeping the water at the right temperature all year long. 

Usually, it’s the only option for most people who choose tropical fish over cold-water fish, as this variety is a lot easier to keep at home and can even survive in smaller aquariums. If you’re having trouble choosing an aquarium heater, we’re here to help. Here’s an expert guide on how to choose your aquarium heater to help you make the right purchase. 

Heaters and Thermostats 

Before getting an aquarium heater, you must know what a heater is first. Most aquarium heaters out there is a combination of both a heater and a thermostat. So, the bottom end of the heater carries the heating element and the top end contains the thermostat. The thermostat’s role is controlling and monitoring the temperature where it turns the heating element on and off depending on the water’s temperature. Most heaters will also have adjustable temperature functions, you either control it through a knob at the top of the heater or digitally. 

When you first buy your aquarium water heater, the temperature settings will be pre-set until you manually change these settings. You’ll be able to choose between different temperature settings that range between 20 to 30 °C, which is the acceptable temperature for tropical fish. You may want to check for other settable temperature options on the make and model of your heater before buying it if you have fish species that require higher temperatures.

Decide What Size you Need

Certain conditions determine the size and power of the heater you need. Your aquarium heater needs to have 5 watts of heat for every gallon of water if you need to keep your aquarium water up to 10° above the room temperature. This is also the case if you are using an aquarium lid that retains the warmth and prevents cooling by evaporation. The tropical fish enthusiasts from recommend buying a 100-watt heater if you have a lid-covered 20-gallon tank. On the other hand, it’s recommended to switch to a 150-watt heater if your home is in a colder region of maybe 65 °F. In that case, you’ll need to raise the water temperature by about 15°. You may also want to reconsider the power wattage depending on the location where you place your aquarium. For example, if it’s near an air conditioner or down in your basement, you’ll need a stronger heater to keep the water at a suitable temperature.

Where you Should Place the Heater 

Most aquarium heaters are submersible heaters that you put underwater in the aquarium. This way, the water current helps in distributing the heat all across the tank water. This is why people put their heaters next to the water filter output or pump to maximize the heat flow. You can test the water temperature on the other side of the water tank by placing a thermometer so you can tell if the heat is spread equally or not. 

While some heaters are designed to be placed vertically and others are designed to lay down horizontally, the best way to angle your heater is at a 45-degree angle to ensure the ultimate heat distribution. To cover the heater, you can use plants or decor to garnish the tank and hide the water heater at the same time.

Best Features for Aquarium Heaters

Buying the wrong aquarium heater or from untrusted brands may lead you to put your fish at risk. Unreliable aquarium heaters may shut down, crack, or even overheat and break down. A good heater would come with a heater guard to protect the fish from getting stuck behind it. It would also have an adjustable temperature to let you raise the heat whenever you want to treat diseases and lower them during fish breeding. Some heaters even come with sensor screens that give you colored lighting depending on the water temperature.

Aquarium heaters are cheap additions to fish tanks, but they can make all the difference when it comes to the comfort and wellbeing of your fish. If you have any species of tropical fish, you’re going to need to control the water temperature. This is why you need to choose the most suitable water heater for your specific needs.