Heater is essential if you are going to keep tropical fishes in your aquarium. Every tropical fish requires a continuous temperature of 24 degrees Celsius to survive. This is the same you’ll find in natural tropical environments.

To achieve this in an aquarium you must install a heater in the corner of your tank. The best way to save money on heater is to buy a heater and thermostat combined so that water temperature is maintained and does not exceed 24 degrees. If you want to put just gold fish in your tank then you do not require a heater as these require a temperature of 17 degrees because these are not tropical fish. Most heaters come in the form of a vertical tube with rubber suckers one below the other. These stick to the inside of the glass tank dispersed in water.

As the heater requires an electrical connection make sure you position your tank where electrical supply is available.

How to identify which heater is best for your tank?

If you go to buy a water heater you’ll find heaters are sold as per wattages. Before you buy one it’s necessary to find out if the capacity of wattage you are buying is enough to heat the water quantity in your tank or not. Most of the times you’ll find the wattage and the corresponding gallons of water it can heat, on the packaging of the heater, so this should not an issue.

The general formula is 3 to 5 watts per gallon of water is enough for heating the tank water.

Apart from these make sure you consider the following very important points before you install a heater in your tank.

  • If you live in a tropical area and the room is warmer already then you still need a water heater. In tropical regions the water temperature drops drown during night hours and these constant changes in temperature everyday is harmful for the fish.
  • When you buy the heater make sure to carefully read the instructions on the packet. Here are some of the important points to pay attention to

a) Is the heater fully submersible or does it have a “water line” marked on it. Below the water line you cannot dip the heater in the water.
b) Check if you can adjust the temperature or is it fixed.
c) Does it come with a thermostat for controlling temperature if it tries to exceed.

The best way to keep the water temperature constant is to control the water level in your tank as well. The water heater will have markings for maximum as well as minimum water levels, if you maintain these then the heater will be able to control the temperature easily.

Recommended Aquarium Water Heater


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

My fish tank is holds more than 40 gallons. Do I need two heaters?

Yes, it’s better to have two smaller heaters to heat that much water. You can install them on two opposite ends of the tank so that the water gets heated evenly and fish can enjoy the habitat even more.

Which is the perfect location for a water heater, the corner or the center of the fish tank?

Normally you’ll find the heater placed at the corner of the tank because it does not obstruct the beautiful view of the decorated fish tank. Another important point to consider is if you place the heater at one corner the water on the opposite side remains unheated and an uneven environment gets created within the fish tank which is harmful for the fish.

To avoid this make sure to install the heater near the water filter because the water will get circulated in a flow and the warm water will get mixed evenly in the entire tank.

Should I turn the heater off when I’m out on vacation?

No, you must never turn the heater off because this will make the water return to a colder temperature and your fish will freeze to death. If you are worried that your heater will overheat the tank water, then make sure you install a heater with a good thermostat because this will take care of overheating and even under heating.

The thermostat takes care of overheating and turns the heater OFF if tries to overheat even because of the changes in room temperature. Never turn off your heater when you are on vacation.

Which heater is best for a 2.5 gallon fish tank?

A 2.5 gallons of water is not much to heat that’s why a heater below 50 watts will be just fine for your tank.

Which heater is best for a 30 gallons fish tank?

For a 30 gallons capacity fish tanks a heater with wattage of 100-150 watts will be just fine.

Which heater is good for a 1 gallon fish tank?

For a 1 gallons fish tank a heater with wattage of 50 watts will be just fine.

Which heater is good for my 5 gallon tank?

For a 5 gallon tank, a heater with 25 wattage if your room is always warmer. If the room has variable temperatures all the time then get a heater with 50 watts.

Which are some of the popular and trusted brands of aquarium water heaters?

a) Eheim
b) AquaTop
c) Hydor
d) Aqueon
e) ViaAqua
f) ZooMed

Check Amazon.com for some affordable deals of aquarium water heaters.

Is a non-adjustable heater good for aquarium tank?

In a non-adjustable heater you cannot control the temperature of the water, you must stick to whatever hating capacity it comes with. This should not produce any problem for you tropical fish aquarium but the problem arises when your fish become sick. Sometimes to cure these fishes you’ll need to adjust the temperature so that they can get cured fast.

In such cases the non-adjustable heater becomes useless and you’ll need to invest in an adjustable one. Instead of carrying two heaters, you just go for one good quality adjustable heater with a thermostat built-into it so that future hassles get covered.

What to do if the heater starts to malfunction or breaks?

When the heater malfunctions the water will either become cold or if it is a combined heater and thermostat then it will get overheated. Both these conditions are harmful for your fish.

To tackle this make sure you also have a thermometer attached to the water. The moment you feel that water temperature is not sufficient (24 degrees Celsius / 75 degrees Fahrenheit) you must replace it with another one.

To make this work seamlessly have another set of heater, thermostat and thermometer ready with you.

Can I put the aquarium heater outside the tank and heat the water through induction?

Many people don’t like the visual appearance of the heater inside the tank because it distracts the visual aesthetical quality of the tank decorations. However most aquarium water heaters are designed to heat water when submerged, you cannot use them to heat “air”. The heater will blow out in a matter of hours if you keep it outside because it must use water to conduct heat away from it’s element.

Picking Up A Fish Tank Water Heater

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