Best Aquarium Heaters 2018: Maintain Water Temperature with No Trouble

Why do You Need a Heater?

Unlike mammals, fish can’t maintain their body temperature; they are cold-blooded, which means that their bodies do not produce heat. That’s why fish are entirely dependent on the environmental temperature. Some species feel good at room temperature, while others (especially tropical fish) need warmer water. But even if your fish live at room temperature, you need to keep in mind that the temperature in your room is not constant. It tends to fluctuate throughout the year and even throughout the day. So, a fish aquarium heater is a must-have anyway.

Types of Aquarium Heaters

Though all heaters perform one and the same task – regulating water temperature – they can significantly differ in terms of their construction. They are chosen based on the aquarium size, fish species, and personal preferences of a fish owner. Here are the main types of heaters:

1. Immersion heaters that are hanged over the tank’s wall. Their heating element is hidden in a glass tube that is placed into water.

2. Submersible heaters that are fully placed right in the water. They are safer and more convenient than immersion-type heating devices.

3. Filters with built-in heaters. Two-in-one devices can be convenient but beware that you won’t be able to regulate the temperature, and if a heater goes down, you’ll have to replace the entire unit.

4. External in-line and in-sump filters. The first one are placed between the sump and the tank, while the second ones – inside the sump. They are used for larger aquariums and are more expensive than compact devices.

Immersion and submersible heaters are most popular in the market. They are affordable, easy to use and compact. However, submersible heaters are safer and more efficient, so they are more frequently recommended by experienced aquarists.

Best Aquarium Heaters Comparison Table

 

Brand

ViaAqua 50-Watt Heater

FLUVAL E 300 Watt Heater

Neo-Therm Aquarium Heater – Cobalt Aquatics

Aqueon Pro Heater Aquarium Heater

EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater

Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater

Songjoy Quartz Glass Submersible Aquarium Heater

Type of a heater

Submersible

Submersible

Submersible

Submersible

Submersible

Submersible

Submersible

 

Type of water

Fresh or salted

Fresh or salted

Fresh or salted

Fresh or salted

Fresh or salted

Fresh or salted

Fresh or salted

Power (W)

50

300

50

150

200

50

300

Applicable tank size (gallons)

Up to 13

Up to 100

Up to 12

Up to 50

Up to 100

Up to 10

Up to 50

Build quality

Good

Excellent

Good

Excellent

Excellent

Medium

Good

Temperature range (F)

68-93

68-93

66-96

68-88

65-93

Non-adjustable: around 78

35-93

Warranty

Not specified

5 years

3 years

Limited lifetime warranty

3 years

Not specified

1 year

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Interesting Facts about Aquarium Fish and Aquarium Heating

tropical fish in an aquarium

1. Though fish are mute they are extremely sensitive towards light, smells, touches, sounds, and tastes. Taste buds cover their entire body.

2. Fish are extra-sensitive towards water temperature. Even 2-3 degrees can be crucial for them and even cause death of some species.

3. Never try to heat an aquarium in a natural way by placing it under direct sunlight. It is dangerous for its inhabitants.

4. In 95% of cases, fish die because of improper feeding and housing conditions.

5. Fish are not animals, but like all living beings, they can experience stress, pain, and fear.

How We Picked Out the Best Models in the Category of Aquarium Heaters

To choose the most popular and most reliable aquarium heater models of the year we made a deep analysis of this segment of the market. We’ve studied several hundreds of aquarium heater reviews of real customers. It helped us to single out main pros and cons of every heater and nominate prospective leaders.

The second stage of our research was real-life testing of the chosen models. For testing, we used two standard aquariums 15 and 30 gallons (without live fish, just with water). One of them was filled with salted water, another – with fresh water. Our goal was to estimate the build quality, design, the accuracy of temperature measuring, the consistency of water temperature and some other key parameters. As a result, seven best models were chosen. All of them are efficient and reliable enough, and all of them are highly estimated by real customers.

Top Aquarium Heater 2018: Our Choice

Here is our list of best aquarium heater models. For every heater, we tried to single out pros and cons. Read and decide what top-rated aquarium heater is best for you.

ViaAqua 50-Watt Quartz Glass Submersible Heater with Built-In Thermostat

ViaAqua 50-Watt Quartz Glass Submersible Heater with Built-In Thermostat

This is a simple small aquarium heater that is able to maintain a fixed temperature in a 10- 13-gallon tank. It is fully submersible and can be used in both salted and fresh water. But for larger aquariums, this 50-watt aquarium heater can turn out to be too weak.

Pros:

  • adjustable temperature;
  • for salted- or freshwater aquariums;
  • convenient temperature setting;
  • high-quality materials: sturdy plastic and quartz glass.

Cons:

  • the temperature needs to be adjusted manually;
  • sometimes doesn’t cope with the heating of a 13-gallon tank;
  • tends to turn off before the temperature reaches the preset value.
FLUVAL E 300 watt Advanced Electronic Heater

FLUVAL E 300 watt Advanced Electronic Heater

This powerful 300-watt aquarium heater can maintain the needed constant temperature in 100-gallon tank. It is equipped with dual sensors for quick and precise temperature measurements. The VueTech Technology indicates an increased risk of overheating with the help of a flashing LED monitor.

Pros:

  • smart and powerful;
  • dual sensors for temperature measurements;
  • a readable LED display;
  • easy to set and use;
  • the heating element is hidden deep inside so that fish can’t contact it.

Cons:

  • it is expensive if compared to most other heaters.
Neo-Therm Aquarium Heater - Cobalt Aquatics

Neo-Therm Aquarium Heater – Cobalt Aquatics

This heater is notable not only for its design, which is really sleek. It is very handy, easy to set up and use, and efficient. The Neo-Therm heater provides precise temperature measurements and has a function of an automatic switching off if there is a risk of overheating.

Pros:

  • a very accurate temperature reading and displaying;
  • the “one touch” system is really handy;
  • two bright indicators – the preset temperature and the current temperature;
  • maintains the temperature very well;
  • shatterproof and shockproof.

Cons:

  • must be placed only vertically.
Aqueon Pro Heater Aquarium Heater

Aqueon Pro Heater Aquarium Heater

This is another terrific aquarium heater with thermostat (electronic). It is lightweight and compact but very robust and, as the manufacturer claims, 100% shatterproof and shockproof. It is a fully submersible heater; easy to use and reliable.

  • an exceptional build quality;
  • the accuracy of temp measurements and displaying;
  • electronic thermostat;
  • lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.

Cons:

  • tends to rust over time;
  • sometimes (though rarely) doesn’t maintain the preset temperature. The solution is a more powerful option.
EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater

EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater

The EHEIM Aquarium Heater is a great example of a reliable modern medium-priced device. It has a conventional design, sturdy shock-resistant construction, and all the necessary features. The good news is a wide range of watts available – from 50 to 300 W.

Pros:

  • easy setting;
  • the proprietary TruTemp system for more precise measurements;
  • a decent build quality, shock-resistance;
  • durable and reliable;
  • it turns off automatically when there’s a risk of overheating.

Cons:

  • it is longer than usual;
  • sometimes doesn’t cope with the claimed tank size.
Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater With Electronic Thermostat

Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater With Electronic Thermostat

The Tetra HT submersible aquarium heater is a fantastic low-budget option. It can seem a bit plain and too small but on the plus side, it is a really cheap aquarium heater, which does its job well, especially in small aquariums. But keep in mind that for a larger tank, you’d better buy a more powerful device.

Pros:

  • very affordable;
  • easy to set up and use;
  • fully submersible;
  • a shatterproof construction;
  • an electronic thermostat.

Cons:

  • not very durable;
  • for smaller tanks only.
Songjoy Quartz Glass Submersible Aquarium Heater For Tropical Fish with Suction Cup 100~500W

Songjoy Quartz Glass Submersible Aquarium Heater For Tropical Fish with Suction Cup 

This 300w aquarium heater suits for heating bigger aquariums – up to 50 gallons of water. Beware that other options are also available (from 100 to 500 Watt). The heater is affordable and does its job well.

Pros:

  • fully submersible;
  • fast and accurate heating;
  • a bright indicator;
  • adjustable temperature;
  • can be placed vertically and horizontally
  • one-year warranty.

Cons:

  • suction cups are not perfect;
  • sometimes doesn’t cope with the claimed tank size.

How to Care for an Aquarium Heater: Tips for Aquarians

Though for the most part aquarium heaters are quite easy to use and don’t require special maintenance, don’t forget that they are electric devices. It means that you need to observe basic safety precautions to prevent possible dangerous situations. Here are some tips for everyone to consider.

  • Choose an aquarium heater size suitable for the size of your aquarium tank. This information is usually provided in the list of the product’s specifications.
  • Read a user manual before switching on a heater. It helps to reduce risks. For example, from the Top Fin aquarium heater instructions, you’ll know how to mountain the device correctly for its maximum efficiency.
  • Keep in mind that even the best saltwater aquarium heater models tend to rust over time in the salted water. If you see the signs of rusting, replace the heater. If water gets inside, it can result in a short circuit.

Also, try to prevent shattering of the aquarium. Though modern heaters are considered shock-resistant, they still can break. Breakage of a heater inside a tank can be very dangerous.

How and Where to Place a Heater Correctly: Facts to Consider

Beginners in the sphere of aquaristics often wonder where to place aquarium heater inside the tank. In fact, there can be several possible variants. An important thing here is to adhere to some principle rules.

Submersible heaters must be covered by water completely. Some models are mounted only vertically, other – horizontally, and still others can be mounted in any position. If you use several heaters (in a large tank), place them in the opposite corners of the aquarium in order to let water be heated evenly. If you don’t know what size heater for aquarium is best, read the product’s specifications.

Aquarium Water Temperature for Different Species of Fish

Different types of fish have different demands to water temperature. Moreover, some of them are more sensitive to the temperature fluctuations, while others are more immune to slight changes throughout the day. These factors need to be considered when you are choosing the fish for living in one aquarium.

Coldwater Fish

Coldwater fish are considered the least demanding, due to which they are rather popular, especially with the beginners. Well-known examples of coldwater aquarium fish are the goldfish, the coi, and guppy. These fish feel comfortable at the temperature of 65-68 F.

Warm-Water or Tropical Fish

Tropical fish can’t live in cold water. The comfortable temperature range for them is 75-80 F, which can’t be maintained a special aquarium heater. These fish are also more demanding in general, so if you have no or little experience in fish breeding, you’d better begin with coldwater species. Examples of tropical fish are the danios, barbs, angelfish, and others.

Verdict and Recommendations: Aquarium Heaters

We’ve reviewed seven great models of submersible aquarium heaters. Your final choice will depend on your particular needs. For example, the Tetra aquarium heater, as well as the Top Fin aquarium heater, will not fit into a large tank, so you’ll better choose a large aquarium heater like FLUVAL E 300 Watt. If you are looking for a good 50-gallon aquarium heater, consider Aqueon Pro Heater, which has an excellent build quality and a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer. Finally, if you are looking for the most affordable option for a small tank, try the ViaAqua heater – it is cheap but effective, and does its job really well.

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