If you want to get a pet to make your home look more lively, but you don’t want to take care of a big animal like cat or dog, go for a fish!
Fish are pretty, colorful and do not require much attention. However, there are still things you should do to make your fish happy and comfortable.
An aquarium heater is one of the gadgets that you should definitely have in order to keep your fish healthy.
Who does not want their pets to be happy and healthy, right? So I’ll introduce you to a list of the best aquarium heaters available on the market.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Aquarium Heater
- Best Aquarium Heaters on the Market
- Aquarium Heaters Reviews
- 1. Aqueon Pro Heater – Best Fresh, Saltwater Aquarium Heater
- 2. Hydor In-Line External Heater – Original ETH
- 3. Neo-Therm Heater – Top Rated Aquarium Heaters
- 4. EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater
- 5. Fluval E Electronic Heater
- 6. Aquatop Quartz Glass Submersible Heaters
- 7. Finnex Hang-On Electronic Controller Aquarium Heater
- 8. Marineland Precision Heater for Aquarium
- 9. Penn Plax Aquarium Heater
- What is the Best Aquarium Heater?
- How to Install Aquarium Heater?
- How Much Electricity does an Aquarium Heater use?
- How many watts does my aquarium heater need to be?
Benefits of Aquarium Heater
First, let’s talk a little about aquarium heaters and why they are necessary for a good aquarium.
Temperature is an important factor for the comfort and well-being of your fish in an aquarium. Unlike humans and many other mammals, fish are poikilothermal. Poikilotherm animals cannot produce their own body heat to keep their body temperature constant. Their body temperature will change according to their surrounding environment.
In fact, the fish and other living organisms in the tank would not thrive or could even die without temperature regulators to provide them with an appropriately tuned habitat, since your fish’s body temperature will change according to the aquarium temperature.
Some fish species can live fine in room temperature water and you do not have to install any extra equipment to control the water temperature. Other fish may prefer temperatures cooler or warmer than room temperature. Even if your fish can live at room temperature, if you live in a place that has cold winters you should still consider getting an aquarium heater to prevent your aquarium from experiencing fluctuations in temperature.
Poikilotherm animals, especially fish, have a small range of livable temperature. Outside that temperature range, the fish will struggle or even die. Having an aquarium heater and choosing the right one may be more important than you think in keeping your fish happy and healthy.
Best Aquarium Heaters on the Market
|Aqueon Pro Heater||- For Freshwater and Saltwater Aquariums|
|Hydor In-Line External Heater - Original ETH||- For Marine and Tropical Aquariums|
|Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm Heater||- For Freshwater, Saltwater Aquariums and Terrariums|
|EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater||- For any Aquarium up to 100 Gallons|
|Fluval E Electronic Heater||- For any Aquarium up to 100 Gallons|
|Aquatop Quartz Glass Submersible Heaters||- For any Aquarium up to 75 Gallons|
|Finnex Hang-On Electronic Controller||- For Saltwater and Freshwater Aquariums|
|Marineland Precision Heater||- For Freshwater and Saltwater Aquariums|
- Up to 80 Gallons
|Penn Plax Aquarium Heater||- For Freshwater and Saltwater Aquariums|
Aquarium Heaters Reviews
1. Aqueon Pro Heater – Best Fresh, Saltwater Aquarium Heater
Pro Heater is a small aquarium heater that weighs around only 14 ounces. The product comes in 5 different voltage level: 50 watts, 100 watts, 150 watts, 200 watts and 250 watts, so you can find the one that best fits your aquarium size.
The heater is equipped with an electronic thermostat. This thermostat provides reasonably accurate temperature settings.
The monitor power light feature on this product is a nice touch. The light turns red or green depending on whether the heater is still heating the water or the water has reached the desired temperature.
Due to the high-quality materials the heater is made of, this product is shatterproof. It is designed to guard against breaking or cracks.
Thanks to the shatterproof design, this heater is fully submersible into the water. You will never have to worry about your heater having a crack or break that will expose its internal electrical parts to the surrounding water and cause dangerous electrical hazards to you and your pet.
However, despite Aqueon’s advertisement about the consistency of the heater, sometimes the thermostat does not run properly and the heater leaves the aquarium water higher or lower than the read mark set on the thermostat.
The wrong set mark, even though it does not happen often with this product, can be very dangerous for your fish when it does. It is especially problematic when the water is overheated, which can be a result of choosing a heater with the wrong watt level for the size of the aquarium. Nevertheless, actual temperature being different from the temperature being displayed on the thermostat is still a troublesome issue.
- Monitor power light
- Comes in different watt options
- Fully submersible
- Can rust over time
- Sometimes, heating temperature is not the same as the desired temperature set on thermostat
2. Hydor In-Line External Heater – Original ETH
These heaters are known to be the first aquarium heater models designed with the elite PTC technology. The self-constraining PTC heating component ensures maximum security against any overheating risk. The ETH must be utilized in a vertical way for proper operation. For most basic application, it can be installed on return lines originating from canister filters. However, this aquarium heater is effortlessly customized for use in any circumstance where heated aquarium water is needed, for example, with dry/wet sump pumps.
This aquarium heater device heats with high productivity by means of an inner heat pump framework that avoids temperature variations. ETH can be used in marine and freshwater aquariums. It fits most canister filters, for example, the Hydor Prime, the Eheim canisters, Rena Filstar and the Fluval canisters with the utilization of a short segment of tubing to finish the connection.
It is prescribed that the ETH be appropriately supported by the utilization of the attached loop to stay away from stress on the output gathering. The ETH is UL Listed and is completely safe. There isn’t any risk of damage if the ETH aquarium heater is left running dry for brief periods as the ETH will turn itself off in that event. It is recommended that you make use of the ETH brush when cleaning the heater.
- It keeps hardware out of your aquarium
- It works more efficiently compared to a regular heater due to the flow of the filter
- Consistent thermostat
- Hydor offers a couple of connector sizes and few wattages for different sizes of filters and aquariums
- It can be somewhat tricky to adjust under a stand while keeping filter tubing from crimping
- It can leak off if the glass tube is broken
3. Neo-Therm Heater – Top Rated Aquarium Heaters
The first eye-catching signature feature of this heater is its elegant design. It is small and very flat which makes it easy and space-efficient to attach to the side of the aquarium.
There is a simple and effective “one touch” control system that comes with an advanced electronic thermostat. The thermostat is accurate to ±0.5ºF and the temperature can be set from 66ºF to 96ºF. Your pet fish’s livable temperature should fall within this range.
This heater is equipped with an electric thermostat and two indicator lights. Each indicator light is associated with one label. The indicator light above your chosen setting stays steady while the indicator above the current water temperature label keeps flashing until the two temperature labels are equal. These light are handy when keeping track of the water temperature so you can “come to the rescue” if you notice the temperature has gone outside the acceptable range.
For extra safety and reliability, this product is equipped with an integrated thermal protection circuitry. This circuitry will shut the heater down before it can overheat, so the fish and living beings in the aquarium will not have to suffer from overheated water.
The outer casing is also designed to be both shatterproof and waterproof. Thanks to that, the heater is fully submersible into the water and can be placed anywhere in the tank.
You can look for more Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm Heater with 50 watts, 75 watts, 100 watts, 150 watts here:
- Elegant, flat design
- Advanced thermostat with two indicator lights
- Thermal protection circuitry
- Suctions don’t work well
4. EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater
This heater comes in many watt levels: 25 watts, 50 watts, 75 watts, 125 watts, 150 watts, 200 watts, 250 watts and 300 watts. The design is simple and pretty similar to other heaters – a long, tube-like figure.
The temperature control is easy to use and easy to read. There is no complicated system, just a simple, straightforward setting function to let users set the desired temperature. With an on/off indicator light, you can check the work of the heater with just a glance.
This thermostat also comes with a system called TruTemp which recalibrates the heater for more precise temperature regulation. This system can help make the heater more efficient keeping the aquarium water temperature constant.
There is also an extra protection system which is designed to turn the heater off automatically when the water level dips too low, to avoid any burn, fire, heat or electrical hazards in an empty tank.
Furthermore, to make this heater even more safe to use, the heater is made of shock-resistant and also shatterproof glass. These materials will make this product stable and strong enough to withstand being fully submersible in either fresh or marine water.
Despite having layers of fail-proof control to make sure the heater maintains the correct temperature level, this heater can still overheat. This means that the TruTemp calibrating system fails to work as the company advertised. In addition, the EHEIM company is reported to be less than the best at customer service. If customer service is your top concern when purchasing any product, you may find this annoying.
- Variety of watt levels
- Stable design
- At-a-glance monitoring indicator
- Shatterproof and shock resistant
- TruTemp system
- Sometimes the TruTemp system fails and the heater overheats
5. Fluval E Electronic Heater
The heater comes in four sizes and has four different watt levels: 50 watts, 100 watts, 200 watts and 300 watts. This heater is designed to be shatterproof and fully submersible into either fresh or marine water. It is also built to stand against corrosion or wear.
The special selling point of this heater is the VueTech Technology. This technology comes with an LCD screen that can flash different colors. During normal operation, the LCD screen will change color and flash if the water temperature is +/- 2 or more degrees Fahrenheit from the pre-set temperature. The thermostat can also be set to Celsius degrees.
The temperature setting is easy to use, with an adjustment lever that can precisely set the temperature in increments as small as 0.5-degrees. There is also an advanced microprocessor technology with dual temperature sensors that constantly provide accurate and real time temperature readings.
The advanced safety feature of this heater includes not only the usual features such as other heaters have—shatterproof, shockproof, overheating proof—but also has an extra layer of protection for the fish. Fish and invertebrates cannot come into direct contact with the heater core.
The first problem with this heater is the price. It is much more expensive compared to other heaters on the market. In some hardware or pet stores, some sizes of this heater can cost more than $60.
Besides, despite the well-advertised VueTech technology, both the LCD screen and the thermostat sometimes malfunction and display inaccurate temperature readings. This can result in overheating or underheating water.
- Variety of sizes
- Stable build
- VueTech technology
- LCD screen and dual thermal sensors providing temperature readings
- Advanced safety guard for fish
- VueTech fails sometimes
- LCD screen displays inaccurate readings
6. Aquatop Quartz Glass Submersible Heaters
The heater design is simple and elegant. It comes in only one size, with high watt level. The temperature can range from 68 up to 93 degrees F.
Because of the powerful voltage level, the heater comes with a double insulation feature made from high-quality insulated glass. This is to lower the impact of the heater if it overheats the water accidentally.
While many other aquarium heaters strive for more and more complicated technology, this heater goes the other way and keeps their design and their functions simple. This product limits all the fancy features to make a straightforward design.
The temperature is easy to set and adjust with the Temperature Adjustment Knob feature. There is also no fancy display screen, but rather a temperature display designed to look like a thermometer. The display is very much retro in appearance. You turn the knob on the top of the heater to set the desired temperature and wait for the water to heat up.
The first problem with this product comes from the fact that it is only available in one size, and at a pretty high watt level. With such a high wattage, it can handle big aquarium but can easily be overkill for smaller tanks.
Also, because of the retro-looking knob temperature setting, the increments that the heater can be set to may not be as accurate as you would prefer. A small amount of variability may not kill the fish but certainly can irritate them.
The unit’s construction is sometimes not solid enough and water can leak in and short out the heater. This doesn’t happen often but when it does happen it can be a serious hazard.
- Simple, elegant design
- Easy to use
- Powerful and can handle large tank
- Only one size available
- Temperature setting can be inaccurate
- Not strong enough construction
7. Finnex Hang-On Electronic Controller Aquarium Heater
This Finnex heater comes in 6 different sizes with different watt levels: 50, 100, 150, 200, 300, and 500 watts. With the variety of sizes, this heater can handle up to a 120-gallon tank on its own.
Instead of glass, like many other aquarium heaters, the heater itself is made from titanium. Because of that, the heater is strong and resistant to cracks and breaking. Furthermore, the heater is also covered with a special material that is corrosion resistant, making the heater suitable for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
Even though the tube itself is quite small, it is also designed with an ultra-fast heating function, making the water temperature rise faster.
This heater’s special feature is an electronic control that hangs on a hook. The heating tube is connected to a long wire with the controller at one end. The heater tube is fully submersible into the water but the wire and the controller aren’t. The controller is outside the tank, making it easier for users to adjust the temperature without wetting their hand.
However, there are also some flaws with this heater. The ultra-fast heating function can be a double edged sword. Even though it can help heat up the water quickly, it can also make the water temperature rise too quickly, making it overheat. With an ultra heating function and no fail-proof protection switch, when it malfunctions this heater can be dangerous not only to the fish but also to your house.
Finally, this heater, despite not having many special, complicated features, is quite pricey compared to the rest of the aquarium heater market.
- Variety of sizes
- Titanium, ultra-fast heating tube
- Temperature control outside the tank
- No fail-proof protection feature
- Can easily overheat
8. Marineland Precision Heater for Aquarium
This heater comes in an impressive variety of sizes: 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300 and 400 watt. With all the sizes available, the heater can handle an aquarium up to 100 gallons.
This heater is easy to install, with an advanced mounting bracket that allows it to be set up in three different window positions. Thanks to this, you can set up the heater in a position that is most convenient for you to read the temperature.
The heater includes an adjustable temperature dial that allows a more precise temperature setting. The setting knob will let you change the temperature setting 1 degree with every click. There is also a sliding scale on the side of the heater that shows the exact temperature setting, in addition to the temperature setting knob on top.
The advanced heating element contains a mica core surrounded by a mesh heating element for better heat transfer with longer durability. With this feature, the heat transferring becomes far superior.
The heater includes a Thermal Switch function that serves as a fail-proof protection that will automatically turn off whenever the temperature in the tank rises above an internal preset. It then will turn the temperature back on once it cools down.
The problem with this heater that happens most often is the misreading of the sliding scale on the side of the heater. It seems to be only a display malfunction. Yet, this can be a big problem if the water is overheating and the display is wrong.
- Variety of sizes
- Can be installed in multiple positions
- Adjustable temperature knob
- Advanced mica core for better heat transfer
- Thermal Switch function
- Faulty sliding scale display
- Cheaply built
9. Penn Plax Aquarium Heater
This 200 Watt aquarium heater is one of the best models available in the market today. It is designed for people with large or small tanks. It likewise guarantees that your fish are protected. For much more comfort, the Penn Plax sets and keeps up the temperature in your fish tank within one-degree precision.
In addition, it features both Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature with simple to read gage. The most advantageous feature of this aquarium heater is that it is completely submersible. That is not all, contingent upon you and your inclination, it can be put on a level plane or vertically in your fish tank.
Other aquarium heater models in the market do not accompany a preset temperature. However, this can be misdirecting especially in case you are a beginner. The Penn Plax aquarium heater emerges from the rest. It accompanies a preset temperature up to 76-degrees Fahrenheit that is convenient and also easily modified. The aquarium heater is quite safe to use on bigger fish reef tanks and aquariums of around 55 gallons in size.
- It can be placed vertically or horizontally
- Keeps up the temperature in your fish tank
- It features both Celsius and Fahrenheit temperatures
- Ideal for use in marine or freshwater aquarium up to 55 gallons
- Preset temperature up to 76 degrees Fahrenheit
- It does not come with a thermometer
- The heater may break if suction cups are not used
What is the Best Aquarium Heater?
The list above presents to you seven best aquarium heaters in the market. However, it is not that easy to determine what is the best of the best aquarium heater, because the best aquarium heater should be the best heater for you.
First of all, before even consider buying any aquarium heaters, research about your own fish. Find out what is the livable temperature range of your fish. As said earlier, the livable temperature range of a fish is narrow. It is important for you to know what is the most suitable range for all of your fish in the tank.
After determining the temperature range, think of what you want and what your aquarium needs.
- The size: what is the size of your aquarium tank? Depending on the aquarium size, you can choose a heater with the appropriate level of watt level so that it can be strong enough to heat up your whole aquarium. Or you can also consider getting more than one heater to suffice your needs. A guide of how to choose appropriate watt level heaters for the size of your aquarium will be discussed later.
- The strength: you need to measure the normal temperature of your tank to determine how many degrees you need to raise in your water tank to make it suitable for your fish. Based on that, you can choose an appropriate watt level heater.
- Materials: What is your preferred build materials? Glass, plastic or titanium? Do you want your heater to be shock resistant and shatterproof? How about the submersible ability?
- Temperature setting: it is important to find a heater that is accurate in temperature setting. Besides all the fancy features, keep in mind that there is nothing more important than being able to adjust the right temperature for your aquarium heater.
- Extra features: what do you like besides the simple, basic function of an aquarium heater? Controller out of the tank? LCD display? Temperature readings in Celsius degree? This category is very personal. What works for others may not be the things you need most so consider carefully.
How to Install Aquarium Heater?
Nowadays, aquarium heaters are designed to be easy for users to install. There are a few variations depending on your particular aquarium heater but all heaters can generally be installed with the following steps.
- Examine the heater before installation. Make sure the casing is intact, no signs of damage on the heating element and no exposed wires.
- Find a suitable location in your aquarium that you want to install the heater. Make sure the glass surface in that area is clean.
- Use the suction cups provided by the manufacturer to attach the submersible heater to the desired location. Adjust the heater if possible. Ensure no plants or aquarium decorations don’t come in direct contact with the heater.
- Allow at least 15 to 30 minutes for the heater to rest within the water before turning it on. This allows the casing to adjust to the surrounding water temperature so there is no cracking from the sudden change in temperature.
- Place an external thermometer in your aquarium opposite from your heater (if your heater does not come with a thermometer to read the water temperature). Read the initial reading of your aquarium water.
- Turn your heater on and adjust to the desired temperature.
- Allow the heater to operate for about 24 hours before checking the thermometer for aquarium temperature. Check your heater every four to six hours and adjust the setting up and down until the desired temperature is reached.
- Finally, add your fish to your aquarium. Because of the high level of fluctuation on the few days, the heater is set up, having your fish in the tank before adjusting the temperature may irritate the fish greatly.
How Much Electricity does an Aquarium Heater use?
You do not only need to plug the heater into an electric source but you also need to leave it turned on almost all the time. That undoubtedly will increase your electricity bill. But, by how much?
Heating an aquarium can be expensive depending on your tank size. The larger tanks, the more heat it is required and the more expensive it will be. In addition, a tropical fish environment usually requires a higher water temperature, which means more electricity spent on turning up the temperature on the heater.
Generally, a 30-gallon tank heated at 72F or 22 degree C will consume approximately 110 kWh. You can calculate this rate according to your tank size to guess how much electricity your tank will use to be heated.
The same tank, if it is heated at 82F or 28 degree C will consume about 440 kWh per year, which is 4 times as much.
In general, there is no way to give you an exact number of how much your electricity bill your aquarium tank will cost. But with the size of your tank and the temperature set, you can do some guesswork based on information provided above.
How many watts does my aquarium heater need to be?
Here is a guideline you can use to determine what heater you need. Remember, it can change depending on the performance of your particular heater.
|Tank size||Watts needed to increase 5F||Watts needed to increase 10F||Watts needed to increase 15F|
Keeping your fish happy and healthy is the uttermost priority when keeping an aquarium. And in order to reach that goal, keeping the water temperature constant with a water heater is fundamental. Research about your fish, consider what your fish and your tank need and ask yourself what you want. After considering everything, what else are you waiting for? Let’s go on a shopping trip to look for the important gadget that makes your pets happy and healthy.