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.
Now it’s true that the majority of aquarium fish can tolerate cooler temperatures than recommended because in nature, the environment dips several degrees at night or during rainstorms. It is better for your fish to keep the water warm than cold and prevents diseases. Some species – like goldfish, Japanese ricefish, and white cloud mountain minnows – enjoy cooler temperatures and would be fine without a heater. Other fish like discus and certain Apistogramma Ciichlids prefer heat around 85°F.
What size aquarium heater should I get?
A general rule of thumb states that 5 W of heat is required for every 1 gallon water. This applies if the water needs to be heated to 10 degrees above normal temperature and if you use an aquarium lid to retain heat and prevent evaporative cooling. For example, if you have a 29-gallon tank under those conditions, the suggested heater size is 100 watts. However, if your home is on the colder side at 65degF and you need to raise the water temperature by 15 degrees, then consider adding a second heater.
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. Are you placing it in a sunny space, the basement, or next to the air conditioner. Also, because heat naturally rises, the tanks at the bottom of an aquarium rack will be cooler than the tanks at the top. Lighting and filtration are also important in generating heat in an aquarium. Fluval FX4 filter, which runs on 30 W, is a mini heater that heats the water in an aquarium. It filters the water through it at a slight temperature.
If you own a larger tank that requires 200 watts of heat, we recommend purchasing two 100W heaters rather than one 200W heater. Equipment malfunctions can be prevented by using multiple smaller heaters. If one of the heaters gets too hot, it’s likely not powerful enough on its own to overheat the whole aquarium. If one heater shuts off, then you have a second heater as a backup that will prevent the water from getting too cold.
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 heater’s warmth is spread by the water current. For optimal flow, the heater should not be too far from the filter output or pump. To ensure that heat is reaching the tank’s other side, place a thermometer in the corner opposite the heater.
Some heaters need to be positioned vertically. Others can be laid horizontally. We recommend that heaters of long and tube-shaped designs be mounted at 45 degrees to ensure the best heat distribution. The heater can be hidden by placing decorations or plants in front of it, or in the sump if it has one.
Mount the heater at a 45 degree angle and conceal it with tall plants or decorations.
Are You a Constant Aquatic Heater On?
Yes, you can leave the heater on 24/7. 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.
Before plugging in the heater, let it adjust to the temperature of the aquarium for 20-30 minutes. This will prevent any temperature shock. Also, the heater must always be submersed in water when it’s turned on. You may see a line at the heater that indicates 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 advise that heaters be left to cool for at least 30 min before you remove them.
What Is the Best Aquarium Heater?
When setting up a fish tank, there are many supplies that you will need. The aquarium heater is one of the most important. 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.
We designed our own Aquarium Co-Op 100W heater with the goals of having excellent quality and a full range of features, such as:
The small and compact design allows the heater to be placed in aquariums without being hidden behind rocks or decorations. The digital temperature display gives a clear reading of the temperature. The heaterguard protects the heater from fish getting caught behind it. (Yes, I’ve actually had fish die this way.) The heater is protected from larger fish species, which could crash into it. – The adjustable temperature feature is useful in case you need to raise the temperature to treat diseases or lower the temperature to induce breeding. Aquarium Co-Op heaters don’t use temperature dials. Instead, a simple button control is located outside of your tank. This means that you don’t need to get your hands dirty to change the temperature. The 11.8-foot extra-long power cable allows you to reach distant wall outlets even if your aquarium is deep. The suction cup allows you to attach the heater to the aquarium wall. There are four additional suction cups that can be purchased as replacements. – The 1-year warranty and automatic over-temperature protection offers you peace of mind from heater malfunctions and manufacturing errors.
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.
Bottom line: don’t try to save money on heat. Give your aquarium fish a warm and comfortable home, and they’ll thank you for it with hours and hours of entertainment.