Aquarium Heaters

Navigate the world of aquarium heaters

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As fish are not able to produce their own body heat, their health depends on an effective aquarium heater. Most pet fish come from warm waters and need to live at a temperature warmer than room temperature, so an aquarium heater is an essential component of a home aquarium environment.

Types of Aquarium Heaters

Aquarium heaters come in four basic types, and the choice of heater often comes down to cost and aesthetics. The four types of heaters are:

  • Immersible or "hang-on" heaters, which hang on the side of the tank and sit partially in the water, with the control portion above the water line. The main advantage of this heater is its low cost.
  • Submersible heaters, which can be fully submerged in the water and are generally pricier than immersible heaters. These heaters can be readily concealed behind decorations, making them a good choice as small aquarium heaters.
  • Substrate heaters, which have their heating components located on the bottom of the tank below the substrate. These heaters are particularly effective for promoting plant growth and also heat the water uniformly.
  • Filter heaters, in which the heating mechanism is located within the aquarium filter. No heating equipment is located inside the water tank, which makes this type of heater aesthetically pleasing, although it is more expensive and sometimes harder to find for sale.

Aquarium Heater Power Considerations

To determine the size of the heater you need for your aquarium, compare the temperature at which you want to maintain the water with the average temperature of the room in which the aquarium is kept. This difference is the number of degrees that the aquarium water must be heated and translates into the wattage your tank requires from its water heater. A good rule of thumb is that a heater needs 5 watts of power for each gallon of water, so 200-gallon tanks require 1000w aquarium heaters.

Aquarium Heater Tips

Some other things to keep in mind when looking for an aquarium heater are:

  • Most aquarium heaters, such as Otto aquarium heaters, can be used for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
  • In case of a power outage, battery-operated aquarium heaters can save the lives of your fish.
  • DIY aquarium heaters, unlike other DIY aquarium components, can be expensive to make and unreliable to operate, so it is recommended to purchase a reliable heater instead of attempting to make one.

Many fish are particularly susceptible to changes in water temperature, so a reliable heater is an important part of keeping your fish healthy.

Posted by mickey gray on October 16,2012 at 03:39 PM
id like to know your opinion on the best of the best for aquarium heaters and pumps and non-breakable tanks. also would like to know where i might begin searching for a professional to look after seahorses. id like to hire someone who can help me to ensure that they're taken care of properly, but i travel on and off and dont think its best to leave it up to my own knowledge gathered from books alone. thank you for your time.
Posted by stephen lindsay on September 21,2012 at 02:19 AM
Hello, Where do you come by battery-operated aquarium heaters? Thank-you, Stephen.
Posted by Joelene on February 16,2010 at 07:49 PM
I DO NOT RECOMMEND ALL GLASS AQUARIUM HEATERS. I have been looking for almost 10 yrs. to find a certain species of cichlid.I finally found some at a fair price.Was soooooooooooo excited to finally have these fish.Set a tank up especially for them.I came home from work today so I could admire my prize again only to find all of them pretty much boiled to death.This is the second time this has happened to me using their product.I bought an ALL Glass Aquarium as well do I now have to worry about coming home from work to find that is has blown apart and falied me as well.Please do not use this product save yourself the heart ache.There are way better products out there. Happy fishing to all of you. :(
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