Having a thriving aquarium at home is incredibly rewarding, bringing a nature vibe in your home per se. Even though some pet owners may argue, taking care of an aquarium in your home is both challenging and significant. The aquarium is a self-contained ecosystem, requiring some effort and knowledge from the owner.
Even if the filtration system is fundamental, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only aspect to consider. Keeping a constant temperature inside the aquarium is also essential, which is why you should select a reliable heater.
Page Table of Contents
- Top 7 Best Aquarium Heaters
- How to select your aquarium heater?
- Aquarium Heater FAQs
Top 7 Best Aquarium Heaters
1. Aqueon Preset Heater
Just because you have an aquarium doesn’t mean that you should empty your wallet for all the equipment you need. On the contrary, you can find reliable devices for an excellent price. It’s the case of Aqueon Preset Heater, which is both useful and affordable.
The heater comes preset to 78F degrees, and it’s accurate to +/-1 degrees. You don’t need to adjust it, and you only place it inside the fish tank. For better performance and for keeping the water’s temperature constant, it’s always better to cover the tank with a canopy or a glass cover.
The heater has a good build and quite a rugged feel to it. As a matter of fact, it’s shatter-resistant and takes use for a fair amount of time. Its build allows complete submersion.
The safety features aren’t skipped, and the heater has auto shut-off for reducing the risk of overheating. The LED light will turn on when the heater is running. It’s a 50W unit that is reliable for tanks smaller than 20 gallons. You may mount it vertically or horizontally using the efficient suction cup. It’s 6in long and easy to hide in a tank.
Here’s the list of positive aspects:
- It comes preset to 78F degrees
- It’s shatter-resistant and has a good build
- It also includes auto shut-off function
- It features LED light and allows the vertical and horizontal mount
The downsides aren’t something to worry about:
- Some don’t like the inability to adjust the temperature
- It may overheat still
Affordable and dependable most of the time, the Aqueon Preset Heater is a reliable option, especially when shopping on a really tight budget.
2. Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater
Even if the price seals the deal for many, the Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater with Electronic Thermostat will also impress with its features and build.
The heater comes with an indicator light to inform you when it’s on. A green light tells you that everything runs normal, whereas a red light means that the device is heating. The HT10 features a built-in electronic thermostat, which will maintain the water’s temperature at 78F degrees. It’s a great temp for most tropical fish, and the heater is cycling on and off, keeping the temperature at 78 degrees.
It’s easy to use the heater, especially since you don’t have to make any adjustments whatsoever. It’s made for complete submersion, allowing both vertical and horizontal installation. It has a really small footprint so that you can easily hide it behind the plants inside the aquarium.
In order to get the best out of it, you need to check to see if it’s not too small for your fish tank. Installing a heater that is too small will cause heating. You also need to have a hood/glass canopy over the tank so that the heat doesn’t escape from the aquarium.
Safety isn’t overlooked with the heater, which will shut off when electrical short is identified. Always plug the heater into the electrical outlet after you placed it inside the fish tank.
Here’s what we like the most about it:
- It’s small, compact, and entirely submersible
- It features a built-in electronic thermostat
- It maintains the temperature at 78F degrees automatically
- It’s affordable and works for tanks between 2 and 10 gallons with glass canopies or hoods
Here’s what we like less:
- Some doubt its durability
- The risk for overheating isn’t null
Regardless of the minor problems, the heater is still a dependable and efficient tool for many fish tanks and a great bang for your buck.
3. Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater
The Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater is packed with many positive features, which explains its popularity and overall value.
The heater is entirely submersible and comes with thermos safety control, which protects it when running dry. The device turns off automatically if the water level drops too low.
Thanks to the TruTemp dial, you can recalibrate the heater for an accurate temperature. An on/off indicator light will allow you to monitor the heater fast and easy every time. You may adjust the temperature from 65 to 93F degrees precisely. The control precision is +/- 0.5C degrees.
The adjustable heater is a modern electronic thermal device that works in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. It has a shatterproof glass build, taking extreme temperature fluctuations. The glass jackets increase the heating surface and provide even heat distribution.
On top of everything else, the heater comes with a mounting bracket and suction cups for safe and flexible placement inside your aquarium. The power cord is 5.6ft long and allows various applications.
Here’s what we really like about the heater:
- It’s an adjustable and modern heater
- You can set the temperature from 65 to 93F degrees
- It comes with Thermo Safety Control and on/off indicator light
- It has a mounting bracket, suction cups, and extended power cord
The flaws shouldn’t worry you one bit:
- Some find the dial to be tricky to operate
- The cups may lose suction ability after some time
Regardless of the minor problems, the heater is still an accurate, adjustable, safe, and well-made model that doesn’t disappoint.
4. Hydor In-Line External Heater
If you don’t go for the heaters inside your aquarium, maybe it’s better that you look for an external heater. The Hydor In-Line External Heater is a valid model to consider, especially since you can use it for both tropical and marine aquariums.
The external heater is easy to use, and the clamping system allows straightforward mount. It’s reliable for small tanks that don’t have space for a heater or for those of you who just don’t like having the heater inside the fish tank. It only allows vertical mount, but it’s comfortable to install and use.
Hydor In-Line External Heater is made with exclusive PTC technology. The self-limiting PTC heating element ensures maximum safety, lowering the risk of overheating. The PTC technology (positive thermal coefficient) is self-timing, reducing the risk of blowing and overheating. The heater is made for use on return lines from pumps of canister filters.
The electronic temperature control is accurate, and the heater comes with piping from 12 to 16mm, according to the size you want.
The heater doesn’t leak and can take the use even for a decade.
Going over the things we like once more:
- You can use it for both tropical and marine aquariums
- It comes with high accuracy electronic temperature control
- It features a reliable clamping system
- It doesn’t leak and takes use for many years
The shortcomings shouldn’t worry you one bit:
- Some think it’s quite large
- It’s not the quietest heater out there
All in all, the heater brings many good things, and its pet peeves don’t undermine performance in any way.
5. Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater
The Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater with Adjustable Thermostat stands out with its very flat profile, but it doesn’t disappoint in terms of performance or features either. The heater is entirely submersible, and its modern design ensures efficiency.
You can use the heater for both aquarium and terrarium heating. The versatility isn’t skipped since tt comes with bracket/reversible holster, allowing you to face it outward or inward. Don’t forget to pay attention to the size so that you get the appropriate size for your fish tank.
The one-touch system is accurate, and you can set the temperature from 66 to 96F degrees according to your needs. The neo-therm electronic thermostat will keep the temperature within 0.5F degrees. Thanks to its build, the heater may raise the tank 11F degrees above the ambient temperature. Another part you’ll like is the fact that the LED shows both the actual and the set temperature at the same time.
The safety features aren’t skipped, and the heater features thermal protection circuitry, which reduces the risk of overheating. Should ever forget to turn it off, the heater will shut down on its own.
The build is rugged, and the heater is virtually unbreakable. It’s made with resin/thermoplastic and has a shatterproof outer casing.
Versatile and dependable for saltwater and freshwater aquariums, but also for terrariums, the heater is a sure buy anytime!
Let’s sum it all up for a shortlist of positive aspects:
- It’s reliable for aquariums and terrariums
- It has a one-touch control system
- The LED display the Set and the Tank temp at the same time
- The build is robust, and the safety features are efficient
The minor problems don’t take away its value:
- The suction cups could be better
- Some noticed that the numbers on display are only even
Even if the heater isn’t all roses and rainbows, it’s still a dependable, versatile, adjustable, and safe to use a heater for many years to come.
6. Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater
Do you have a fish tank from 60 to 120 gallons of water? If so, you should add Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater for having the right temperature inside the aquarium. The heater requires 110-120V, 500W power, and comes with a 12.3in heater rod.
Both the controller power and the heater cords are 5.5ft, whereas the thermometer cord is 4.4ft. Even if the temp controller presents mounting holes on the back for wall mount, you can also place it horizontally.
The heater comes with Fully automatic control, which is easy to use. You only need to set the heating temp you want after installing the heater and the thermometer. Once it reaches the temp, the heater stops and only restart heating if the temp is 1F degree less than the set temperature. Another great feature is the temp setting remember function for the controller.
It’s a titanium aquarium heater that takes used in both salt and freshwater. It’s compact and small, hiding efficiently behind the plants.
The IC temp controller shows the Set and the current temperature simultaneously. It also comes with indicator light about the heating status. You can even choose between Celsius or Fahrenheit degree units.
As for the temperature range, the heater allows you to choose any temp between 32 to 104F degrees, with a 1F degree accuracy. The thermometer can identify a temperature ranging from -68 to 140F degrees, with .2F degree precision.
The metal heater is made of titanium, so it’s long-lasting, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant.
Here’s what we like the most about it:
- It’s a titanium heater that is lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant
- You may set the temperature from 32 to 104F degrees
- It’s accurate and dependable
- It has a digital display and an IC temp controller
The pet peeves are far from becoming deal breakers for us:
- The wired thermostat is a bit bulky
- The suction cups could be better
The good outweighs the bad, and the heater is a long-lasting, accurate, and dependable model to use for your aquarium, both fresh or marine water.
7. JBJ True Temp Titanium Heating System Kit
Frankly, the price of the JBJ True Temp Titanium Heating System Kit may throw some people off, but the heating system kit is worth every single penny.
You get everything you need in terms of heating system: a titanium heating elements, the True Temp digital controller, and a remote temperature-sensing probe. The True Temp controller comes with push-button controls and an LED display. You will always know when the heater is running, thanks to a second LED light. The heater features a digital microprocessor that ensures an impressive +/-0.5F precision. The digital controller allows you to set the temperature from 32 to 99F degrees. The remote temperature probe is reliable, whereas the LED display is large, showing the temp at a time precisely.
When you pay the big bucks, great features and impressive performance are to be expected. Having said that, let’s mention that the controller has internal memory, saving the temperature setting, even in case of a power outage. The controller presents a fast disconnect temperature probe with a 5-ft cable, so you may place it wherever you want in the fish tank.
Keep in mind that the heating element doesn’t come with a thermostat, and it operates only as a heating element. You may use elements of various wattage with the controller. You can also calibrate the heater for better accuracy.
Even though it’s challenging, let’s highlight the best parts shortly:
- The system includes everything you need in terms of heating
- The heating element and the controller are accurate
- The safety features ensure safe use
- It’s impressive and has internal memory for the controller
Bells and whistles aside, here are the inherent flaws:
- It needs a lot of power
- It’s not the cheapest heater
Despite the minor cons, the heating system addresses the customer that doesn’t hesitate to step up the game for their tank and is willing to pay the extra buck too.
How to select your aquarium heater?
Not only that, there are many models of aquarium heaters out there, but there are also several aspects to consider when selecting. You cannot just go ahead and grab the first model you see on the shelf.
Here’s what to pay attention to when choosing the heater for your aquarium:
- Size of your aquarium/wattage
To make it easier for you, remember that you need 2.5-5 watts per gallon of water volume. However, it depends on the size of the room where the aquarium is placed and the size of the tank.
If the body of water is large, the water will lose heat slowly, whereas a small volume of water and a small tank with get colder faster. Therefore, it needs a more massive watt.
In order to find out the wattage you need, you have to subtract the room temp from the temp you want in the aquarium. If the room is 65F degrees, and you want the temp in the aquarium to be 76F degrees, you have to heat the aquarium by 11F degrees.
Here are some general tips regarding the watts you need for a specific size of aquariums:
- Up to 15 gallons- 50watts
- 15-30gallons- 100watts
- Up to 65 gallons- 200 watts
- Up to 100 gallons- 300 watts
Affordable heaters come with set temperature (typically at 78F degrees). However, you should get a heater that lets you set the temperature you need in your aquarium. A right aquarium heater will come with customizable temperature gauges nine times out of ten.
- Temperature readability
Some experts note that a reliable aquarium heater should feature numerical temperature gauge so that you may easily read the numbers. Take the readability with a grain of salt, though, as it doesn’t reflect the accuracy per se. You may read the temp very well, but is the temp accurate? It’s why the heater should also come with a thermometer- you’ll know better.
- Safety features
It’s better that you select an entirely submersible heater. A model that comes with automatic shut-off function is always a safe choice, turning the heater off once the water levels drop or the temp gets too high. Look for a heater with a light indicator so that you always know if it’s running or not. You don’t want to have to check on your aquarium 24/7.
- Access to controls
If you get an adjustable heater, you want to be able to control it friendly and easy underwater. Look for the heaters that feature a large control knob that allows straightforward grabbing and twisting when underwater.
- Personal likings
We’re not saying that you should choose by the looks, but you must select a heater that you like using. One may want a small and unnoticeable heater that is easy to blend inside the aquarium. Others would like it to place it outside the tank. However, more often than not, aquarium owners prefer a submersible heater.
You can pay as low as $10 (and even less) for a dependable heater that comes with preset temperature. Some models go over $100, and you should expect plenty of features, high-quality build, and reliable performance for a reasonable amount of time. At the end of the day, you can find reliable models, no matter your budget. Nevertheless, expect to pay the extra buck if you want a higher performant aquarium heater.
Aquarium Heater FAQs
Q: Why do you need to buy an aquarium heater?
A: The temperature in the aquarium plays an essential role in the comfort and well-being of the fish inside. Unlike humans and various mammals, fish cannot create body heat on their own. They always have to depend on the water’s temp to maintain body temperature. It’s why you have to obtain the proper temperature inside the aquarium.
Q: Should you place the heater in a specific spot in the aquarium?
Q: Most of the time, you should install the heater close to the filter inlet. You can also place it to a warm flow created by a powerhead.
Q: How often should you check the heater?
A: Unfortunately, the risk for overheating is almost never null in the case of heaters. Many models come with safety features that bring the risk for overheating to zero, but you should always stay on the safe side and check the temperature inside the aquarium daily. It’s a wise thing also to have a separate thermometer and place it at the opposite end of your aquarium. Some models come with their thermostat, but installing a second one is going to tell you if the heater is working correctly or not. Should anything go wrong, you will be able to act right away and eliminate any danger for your fish. Checking the heater any now and then is going to take time, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Q: Does your aquarium needs two heaters?
A: If you live in a cold region, it’s not such a bad idea to install two heaters. Should one of the units fail, the other one can pick up the heating job, keeping the right temperature inside the aquarium.