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If you are keeping fish as pets, you should be aware that some are sensitive species. This is the reason why you will have tons of responsibilities when taking care of them. Aside from giving them food and cleaning the water of your aquarium, you must also ensure that you have the best aquarium heater, filter, lights, you name it! – to supply them with an adaptable environment.

There are other factors that you should focus on as well. This is to guarantee the optimal health condition of your fish. One important aspect of sustaining a safe artificial habitat for your fish is the temperature.

You must be able to set the correct temperature of your fish tank depending on the species you are taking care of. To get rid of the restrictions on the type of fish to keep, you must consider using an aquarium heater. The temperature of the aquarium ensures that your fish are comfortable. Since they have to live in an area with an improvised temperature, they have to rely on heaters for regulating their body heat.

Before anything else, it is best to learn more about the aquarium equipment first and how to select one wisely. The excerpt below will explain further.

What Are the Benefits of an Aquarium Heater?

An aquarium heater can be considered a basic accessory that every fish owner should have. This is also one of the major accessories necessary to complete a fish tank setup. Without the presence of this regulator, your fish may not be able to survive in the aquarium.

Despite the long time for someone to select a heater, aquarists understand that it is a necessary tool that should be present in a fish tank. There are various benefits associated with the use of the accessory. To provide you more encouragement not to neglect its use, check on the following advice:

Keep More Types of Fish/Species

Instead of only keeping a few fish species that are cold-water species, using a temperature regulator will enable you to have more in your aquarium.

If you already have a fish species in mind, you should research first their preferred types of habitat.

Some species that don’t need a heater:

Some species that need a heater:

Prevention of Fluctuating Temperature

In order for your fish to thrive in your aquarium, you should ensure that it will be able to cope with temperature issues. Fluctuation in the water temperature can stress your fish which may lead to a weakened immune system or even death.

Bear in mind that besides their means to thrive, the temperature of your aquarium can be a factor in inbreeding. There are species that are not capable of reproduction without optimal temperature levels. Some fishes that require high temperatures are discus fish.

Fun Fact: Do you know that a rainbow trout will not be able to continue living due to an 11 °C shock more than a new temperature of 12 °C? Instead, it can go through and survive by tolerating an 8 °C shock more than a new temperature of 10 °C.

User-friendly Assurance

Even if it is your first time using a temperature regulator for your aquarium, heaters, which are available today, are designed to be user-friendly. In other words, you will not find it difficult to understand what to do and even to maintain the equipment.

Most of the water heaters for aquariums today even have LED displays, which are easy to read. Furthermore, easy-to-access controls are also structured so that fluctuations in temperature are easier to track 24/7.

Manufacturers of heaters also made it possible to add onboard sensors so that power will be shut off in case the element encounters air exposure.

Cost-effective investment

There is actually no reason for you to avoid using a fish tank heater. Why? This is due to the fact that even the upfront cost is low. Initially, you can purchase the equipment at a lower price.

Moreover, the installation area will also affect the purchase price. Even if you have to ask for assistance in installing the temperature regulator, you will still not spend a lot.

What are the Best Aquarium Heaters?

These items are not in a specific order, they are all great products. In order to help you with purchasing a top-quality aquarium heater, you should consider the top options on the market.

If you do not have a list yet, you may then consider the following as your top options:

1. Fluval E Electronic Heater – Most Reliable Brand

Fluval E Electronic Heater is equipment that comes with an LCD display for temperature reading. Moreover, it also works using a dual microprocessor. It has the capability to indicate possible risks present in case of temperature fluctuations above 5 °C. You can find the Fluval E Electronic Heater here!

Furthermore, it comes with an integrated fish guard for further protection of invertebrates and fish species. Its purpose is to avoid the living aquatic species to come in contact with the heater core. It even offers convenience in adjustment with the help of its heater bracket.


  • Has a LED temperature indicator
  • Promotes quick reading
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • No accuracy issue
  • Aesthetically pleasing


  • It May fluctuates if the weather is exceptionally cold

2. Hydor Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater

Hydor Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater is one of the most complete temperature regulators you can find today. You can use it if you are searching for precise temperature maintenance. Furthermore, it is designed with safe components for long-term use. Check out the Hydor Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater here!

It has resistance against high impact and thermal shock. Also, you may install it either horizontally or vertically depending on your preference for better distribution of heat. Since it is small in size, it will be easier to set up.


  • Keeps temperature stable
  • Not disruptive
  • Ideal for nano tanks
  • Easy to use
  • High-quality knob


  • Does not fit in the suction cup
  • Inefficient pre-setting

3. Tetra HT – Best Small Aquarium Heater

From the name itself, it is a submersible aquarium heater, which is one of the most cost-effective options around. You will find this product easy to use and would work well in tanks from 2 to 55 gallons in size. You can find the Tetra HT Aquarium Heater here!

The aquarium heater has an electronic thermostat that can adjust heat output automatically to sustain temperature at 78 °F. Furthermore, it has indicator lights, to indicate that the heater is operating. It also shuts off automatically once the electrical shortage is tracked.


  • Increases temperature slowly
  • Ideal for small tanks
  • Saves energy
  • Fits nicely in an aquarium
  • Easy to use


  • The user has no temperature control.
  • Limits users’ choice of fish species

4. Aqueon 50W Pro Heater

The aquarium heater is designed to help you maintain temperature easily. It also comes with a build that is resistant to shock and quick breakage. Apart from its fully submersible construction, it has a power monitor light, indicating if the heater is working. The aquarium heater is designed for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. Here is where you can find the Aqueon 50W Pro Heater!

You may adjust the temperature of your aquarium using the heater from 68 to 88 °F. It also has considerable safety features, such as overheating. It will shut off automatically in case of detected risk in the aquarium.


  • Works great for 10 to 40-gallon tanks
  • Very durable material
  • Properly calibrated
  • Fully submersible
  • Auto switch-off


  • Reports of defects
  • Too big for some tanks

5. EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat – Most Reliable

This aquarium heater is introduced as ultramodern electronic thermal equipment. It comes with a special laboratory-developed jacket for the increased heating surface. Aside from an even distribution of heat, the construction of the temperature regulator is also applicable for various aquarium sizes. Here is the EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat.

By using the heater, you can adjust the temperature of the aquarium from 18 to 34 °C. It indicates its operation using a control lamp. The tool also has a Thermo Safety Control, which means that it will shut off automatically once desired heat is reached.


  • Prevents temperature fluctuation
  • Easy to adjust
  • Applicable for aquatic turtles
  • Numbered temperature dial
  • Made with glass


  • Vague instructions
  • Too long for some aquariums

6. Marineland Precision Heater for Aquariums

Marineland Precision Heater for Aquarium is a temperature regulator that comes with an adjustable dial. The component clicks through every degree for accurate changes. Moreover, it has an automatic shut-off feature whenever the desired heat is reached. Once the temperature decreases, the tool will reset instantly. You can find the Marineland Precision Heater here.

For effective transmission of heat, it is designed with an advanced mica core heating element. It is also durable enough to last long. The aquarium heater also allows easier temperature viewing with its three-window positions.


  • Promotes easy temperature reading
  • Easy to set up and adjust
  • Shows the active heating operation
  • Sleek design
  • Commendable customer service


  • Reports on water condensation and rust
  • Low-quality sealant

What Makes a Good Aquarium Heater?

There are various factors to consider when selecting an aquarium heater. Not simply because a tool brand has been recommended by your friend, you will already purchase it. Be reminded that he or she may be petting different kinds of aquatic species from what you are thinking of taking care of.

If you want to end up with a product that will not give you issues in the end, both technically and financially, you should evaluate your options carefully. You may do so by finding out what makes an aquarium heater necessary.

Given below are the most important attributes to find in a fish tank’s temperature regulator:

Types of Fish Tank Heaters

There are multiple heaters that can be found on the market, which are categorized based on their differences in structure and features. There are submersible heaters, substrate heaters, and in-line heaters.

Submersible aquarium heaters are the most common accessories you can buy today. From the name itself, this can be immersed in the fish tank completely. A submersible aquarium heater is considered more efficient since it can be installed considerably low in the water. You may also set it up horizontally and vertically.

Basically, you may use a clip with suction cups to attach the submersible heater to the back of your fish tank. It must be far from the gravel to avoid conductivity of heat to water.

Besides the said type of heater, there is also the aquarium substrate heater. It is only used by those who don’t like hardware visible in their tank. You may use it by burying it into the substrate or gravel of an aquarium.

The wire of its insulator is responsible for acting as a heater for the fish tank. It heats up the gravel, which would then change the temperature of the water. Once the water reaches sufficient warmth, the thermostat will switch the equipment off. The only downside to substrate heaters is replacing them as you will have to remove your substrate to do so.

Moreover, you have the in-line aquarium heaters, which stay along the external plumbing section. It may be self-contained, but it requires a canister filter or water pump. This is necessary for transporting the water through its structure.

Finding the right size

The correct size of the aquarium heater is necessary. According to experts, you must use a higher wattage of temperature regulator if you have a big tank. Alternatively, you may settle with 200 watts if you have a 36-inch aquarium.

If you will increase your fish tank’s water, you simply have to increase its wattage by 5 for every gallon. However, if you are contented with a mini aquarium, your pets could thrive with a 25-watt heater.

It is advised that if you have a tank that contains 50 gallons of water or more, you should use a couple of small heaters instead of a single one. This will guarantee an evenly distributed heat throughout your aquarium.

Coral reef aquarium tank scenic shot

Consider the placement

It is important to take extra care in the proper installation of aquarium heaters. You must check where you should set up the heater. Primarily, you have to determine it yourself. For instance, you should verify if you will install the heater on the end or in the middle of the fish tank.

According to experts, one of the ideal places to put an aquarium heater is near your aquarium filter. Doing this will help spread the heat throughout your aquarium.

Select a heater that is easy to maintain

Far from your expectation, maintaining the cleanliness and seamless operation of an aquarium heater is not easy. This is the reason why you should select one that is easy to clean and maintain.

Always consider the material

It is necessary to find an aquarium heater that has a strong build. There are products available today that will not worry you in terms of cracked glass. Furthermore, find an aquarium heater that has safeguarding features for the circuitry.

Take note that there are too many horrors that will come your way in case your heater breaks. If you can, you should also choose a shock-resistant glass heater. A low-quality regulator will only break over time, requiring you to invest in a replacement.

Find a heater with easy-to-use control

The heater for your fish tank must have convenient-to-operate settings. For instance, it must be adjustable so that you can raise or lower the temperature when necessary. Be reminded that this is imperative if your fish tank is often affected by the temperature of its environment.

Although there are aquarium heaters that come preset, there is nothing better to do but avoid these. Furthermore, the control knob of the equipment must be easy to access. The best products you could find are those with big control knobs, which can be twisted and grabbed easily, even if the unit is already in the water.

Lastly, you should also find an aquarium heater that has a numbered system. This can be found either in a readout part or a control knob. This will give you an indication of the temperature setting right away.

Check out additional features

Not all the added features of an aquarium heater will require extra cost. This is why you should also look for the one that comes with special attributes. For instance, there are aquarium heaters that are designed with a temperature scale or thermometer. This is vital if you want to maintain heat or cold strictly, especially if your pets are sensitive to fluctuations.

Do not forget your budget

You must know that it is an important factor to determine your budget prior to purchasing an aquarium heater. Be reminded that the equipment comes in a variety of prices. It is not always recommendable to stick with the cheapest if you are working on a large tank and keeping sensitive species.

How to Install an Aquarium Heater

The installation of your aquarium heater must be done accordingly so that you can prepare your fish tank properly. Be reminded that an incorrect setup can lead to unstable temperature regulation. Although there are instructions found alongside the temperature regulator once you received it, it is still considered to learn more about the procedure.

Primarily, the type of the aquarium heater affects how you will install it in a fish tank. As mentioned above, there are ones that are easier to install in a fish tank, such as the submersible water heater. However, other types of temperature regulators may require other calibration steps.

Regardless of the type of aquarium heater you have bought, you may follow the standard steps in setting up the equipment that is given below:

1. Examine the Heater

You must first check if the heater you have bought has an intact case. It is necessary to check this first so you can replace the equipment if necessary. It is possible for you to receive a defective product. If you will not find out the damages beforehand, you may cause danger to the species in your fish tank.

As much as possible, there must be no exposed wires. Also, no sign of damage in the heating element must be assured.

2. Find a suitable location

You must find a good place for the installation of your aquarium heater. As much as possible, the heater is not in contact with decorations or plants. Moreover, this step is dependent on the type of heater you have bought. For instance, an aquarium substrate heater is used by being buried in gravel.

3. Let the aquarium heater rest for a while

Once you have placed the equipment in its right location, you should let it rest for at least 15 to 30 minutes. According to aquarists, this is important so that the glass casing will be prepared prior to temperature changes.

In case you will not be able to follow this step, you may put the temperature regulator at risk of fracturing or breaking easily. Given that the heater preparation is ready, you may already turn it on. Normally, aquarium heaters provide markings, which state the ideal setting for the accessory.

4. Set the temperature

There are various models of aquarium heaters today that comes with a pre-configured temperature already. Despite the fact that it can be helpful when it comes to convenience, you should not be dependent on the temperature setting right away. Always consider adjusting your thermostat. This means that once the equipment is set, you must be prepared to adjust and track the temperature changes.

Many manufacturers claim that their preset temperature settings are correct. Truthfully, there is no heater that has the capability to adjust its own temperature.

Otherwise, there are aquarium heaters that require the configuration of the temperature. This may be more inexpensive, but you will not encounter skepticism. However, you must remember to avoid adjusting the thermostat setting until you have set it up in the aquarium. The setting may follow if the tool is ready for proper adjustment and monitoring.

5. Allow the heater to work within 24 hours.

You must not just put your pets into the fish tank right away. You should let the heater work by itself within a day. It is still necessary to check the temperature of the water during the said span of time.

Most likely, you still have to make other adjustments. You must track the temperature every 4 to 6 hours. Once your desired temperature is reached, you may already stop adjusting the thermostat up or down.

6. Add your fish

Given that you are certain that the water temperature of your aquarium is already stable and balanced, you may add your pets to their new habitat.


How Much Electricity Does an Aquarium Heater Use?

Maintenance of an aquarium heater is not easy. Be reminded that there are models still available that can be tedious to clean and sustain. Apart from the necessary effort in taking care of the equipment, there is an associated cost with the task.

Apparently, when you are maintaining a temperature regulator, you should also consider the energy consumption of the tool. Every time the powerheads, water pumps, lights, and heaters work in an aquarium, there is corresponding energy consumption.

If you will work with aquarium heaters, there is also constant electricity usage to take regard of. To understand more about the matter, the details are given below:

Factors to consider

You must learn that the energy consumption of your aquarium heater is affected by different factors. Specifically, these aspects are the species of fish and their habit requirements, tank size, and the presence of plants in the tank.

General electricity consumption

According to BounceEnergy, based on a 30-gallon freshwater fish tank, the energy consumption will be  around 150-200 kWh per year ($15 to $20 per year)

In case you have a larger tank, particularly having 55 gallons of water, energy consumption may reach 200 to 400 kWh annually. Larger tanks may require two heaters to distribute heat evenly so the useage may double.

The figures provided above are computed based on the standard equipment required in operating an aquarium heater.

Heating requirement

If your fish tank requires more heat, you can anticipate a more expensive heating bill. Moreover, as mentioned above, the required warmth of your fish tank will depend on the species you are taking care of.

If you have tropical fish types that require a higher water temperature, you will likely have to anticipate a higher electricity bill. A good example is a 30-gallon tank that will consume around 110 kWh per year and heat at 22 °C. If you have the same tank that requires a temperature of 28 °C, the consumption can surprisingly reach approximately 440 kWh per year. Take note that the change is four times the standard electricity consumption.

This is why it has always been important to research your desired fish species to take care of. If you are not prepared for high energy consumption, there are ones that you can choose that do not require a heated environment.

Given the said facts about an aquarium heater’s energy consumption, you should consider ways of saving. Some recommendations are given below:

Turn down the temperature by 1 °

There are cases where decreasing the temperature of the aquarium heater by 1 ° to 2 ° will not cause harm. However, this step is applicable to non-vulnerable fish species.

Once you are sure that it is safe to do so, you will be able to save a lot of energy in the future. Also, this is applicable if your environment is currently in its heating period.

Choose an energy-efficient tool

Models of aquarium heaters today can be found in a variety. For certain, you will be able to find out that will give you substantial savings. Select ones that will not consume too much energy despite producing a large amount of heat. With the advancement of technology, this is already possible.

Find a smart location for less heating

As much as possible, you should find a well-heated room, particularly if your pets require too much warmth. In such a way, you will be able to minimize the operation of your heater.


Now that you have learned more details about aquarium heaters, you will be able to select one accordingly. Based on the list given above, you can actually say that all of the options are considerable to buy. Still, the decision will largely depend on your preferences. Simply follow the steps in choosing an aquarium heater while not compromising your needs.

Furthermore, you should always keep in mind that aside from buying and installing an aquarium heater, you are also tasked to maintain the equipment. Overall, making sure you have the best aquarium heater filter is for the safety of your aquatic friends.

If you like the article above, here are some other similar articles you should check out!

Best Aquarium Sump Pumps

Best Reverse Osmosis (RO/DI) System for Aquariums

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Hi, my name is Jordan. I've been in the fishkeeping hobby since my childhood. Welcome to my blog where I help fishkeepers enjoy the hobby by offering free guides, advice, & product reviews. Read more...