My betta fish often gets sick or even dies when the winter comes with the temperature falling down sharply.
My friend recommended me buying a fish tank heater that costs me not much money but brings many benefits.
Who Should Pick A Fish Tank Heater
After a couple of failures in taking care of my fish and aquatic pets in aquariums, I realized that the temperature of water plays an important role in making your fish comfortable, happy and well-being. The reason is that fish can not produce their body heat and have to rely on the water temperature to keep the body temperature in a proper condition.
With the exception of certain kinds of cold water species, aquarium fish or aquatic pets always prefer the warm water. For example, betta needs to live in water with a temperature of between 76° and 85° F, goldfish likes water with temperature from 68° to 74° F while tropical fish only survives in the water that is between 75° and 80° F. So, the water temperature needs to be warm consistently to protect fish’s immunity and avoid diseases such as ich that is likely lead to death if not diagnosed and treated soon.
A fish tank heater can help you doing that work easily and effectively. This is a device used by fish keeping hobbyists to warm the water temperature in tanks or aquariums. Fishkeeping hobbyists buy this heater not only because of creating the proper water temperature for your aquarium fish but also maintaining the water temperature consistent and stable.
So, who should pick a fish tank heater?
Because of amazing benefits and advantages, a fish tank heater is an important aquarium item for fishkeeping hobbyists who have the fish or aquatic pets that prefer the warm temperature to survive.
Here is the list of the top bestseller fish tank heater models in 2019
|Products||Dimension||Power||Water temperature||For aquarium|
|NICREW Preset Aqaurium Heater||100 Watts||Preset to 78°F||10 – 30 gallons|
|Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater||5.2 x 1.6 x 3.5 inches||50 Watts||Preset to 78° F||2 – 10 gallons|
|Marina Betta Submersible Heater||8 Watts||Up to 1.5 gallons|
|25W Mini Fish Tank Heater||25 Watts||730F – 820F||Under 5 gallons|
|FREESEA 50-300Watt Aquarium Fish Tank Heater||2.5 x 1.5 x3.5 inch||50 Watts||59°F – 94°F||1 – 10 gallons|
|Mylivell Aquarium Heater Submersible Auto Thermostat Heater||100 Watts||65° F – 93° F||20 gallons|
|Luffy Betta Heater||13.5 x 2.5 x 1.7 inches||8 – 13 Watts||Between 75° and 77°F||1.5 gallons|
|Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater||100 Watts||680F – 89°F||15 to 30 gallons|
|Uniclife Submersible Aquarium Heater||50 Watts||64°F – 93°F||5 to 15 gallons|
|FTSTC Submersible Aquarium Heater||300 Watts||64°F – 94°F||30 to 85 gallons|
1. NICREW Preset Aqaurium Heater
Buy it now
The manufacturer has researched about the features and habits of most tropical fish to make a suitable model for them. There is no adjustment required and this 10-gallon fish tank heater is preset to 78°F.
I always like the heater made from glass because of the attractive appearance; however, glass products often crack when it overheats. Fortunately, this heater is an exception as it is made of resistant glass that contributes to great temperature control. I also fancy how it features an indicator light that lets me know when this model is operating.
I would like to recommend this heater for indoor aquariums with up to 30 gallons. When you use this heater, please make sure that you place it near the water flow like the outlet from the filter for the maximum performance.
2. Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater
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Seeing the Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater in the stock, I was skeptical because of many mixed reviews on the internet. However, after 4 months of use, this cheap tank heater proves to go strong.
One of the pros I like about this heater is that it is fully submersible with all parts kept in water, which I found is very good for the heater in the long run. Furthermore, although the water temperature cannot be adjusted, it is able to maintain a consistent temperature at 78° F that is suitable for most tropical fish.
Another thing why I made the purchase is that it can be hidden perfectly behind plants and another décor. Therefore, my aquarium still looks beautiful and attractive even when I place this device inside.
Don’t worry about how to set up, use or maintain this model because the manufacturer made it easy to use even with the beginners. It also includes an indicator light that helps you know when the power is on.
Before you make the purchase, it is important for me to note that this one is ideal for aquariums up to 10 gallons with glass canopies or hoods, as it doesn’t work with a, idles aquarium. Anyway, it is most likely the ideal heater for you if you are on the tight budget.
3. Marina Betta Submersible Heater
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There are a lot of fish tank heater models in the market that makes difficult to find the suitable one for your betta fish, right? When asking about the most ideal choice for my betta, I was recommended this one of Marina brand. This 1-gallon fish tank heater with super small size fits aquariums of 1.5 gallons and it is designed to give all good condition for bettas.
Being full submersible, this betta fish tank heater is easy to use, basic, durable and tougher than glass made heaters because of the polymer. Furthermore, due to that feature, this one can last longer than a glass heater.
The only problem I found in this model is that it has no thermostat; therefore, I have to check the temperature of water in aquarium often to make sure that it is still maintained at an ideal temperature.
But every effort is worth as you find the best one for your aquarium and bettas.
4. 25W Mini Fish Tank Heater
Buy it now
Another betta fish tank heater I am satisfied with the purchase is 25W Mini Fish Tank Heater that perfectly fit the mini aquarium under 5 gallons with all shapes and materials (even safe for glass and plastic).
Rating the item based on its performance, price, and quality, I have to say that it absolutely exceeds my expectation. The first reason is that unlike other conventional heaters that need to set the water temperature, this one can automatically regulate the temperature at 730F – 820F without manual setting.
Because of the durable material, this mini fish tank heater is less likely to cracking or explosion. Everything was made and designed for safe and stable operation.
Although it is not a perfect choice for any fish, I still recommend the purchase if you raise betta fish without having a lot of time understanding the habits and features of them. This heater will help you give your bettas good conditions to live and grow.
5. FREESEA 50-300Watt Aquarium Fish Tank Heater
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It got this one because of not only the form factor but also the included LED display. Let me explain more. Unlike most heaters with cigar shape, the form factor gives this one short height that makes it work fine and doesn’t get exposed if I do a water change without unplugging the power. That will be totally safe for you and your fish.
The red LED display, in my opinion, is a cool feature of the FREESEA fish tank heater. Thanks to this display, there is no need to purchase a thermometer but you can see the water temperature accurately and clearly. With this element, you can also easily adjust the temperature at the specific value you expect, which gives this model a good point as not many heaters can adjust the temperature. This heater is perfectly designed for fishkeeping hobbyists who want to change the water temperature without making their hands wet or having to remove the heater from the aquarium.
Furthermore, the heater has a wide temperature range (590F – 940F); therefore, it is suitable for more kinds of fish and aquatic pets. This awesome feature brings benefits when you want to buy more fish.
For me, the only drawback is that the LED display is so bright that it may be not good for your eyes if you look at the screen for a long time.
6. Mylivell Aquarium Heater Submersible Auto Thermostat Heater
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There are a lot of mixed reviews (both negative and positive) about this one but I still want to give this heater a try because of its advanced features and safe operation. After 6 months of use, now I was impressed and satisfied with the purchase. Among the expensive and inexpensive heater models I have tried out, this one with 100 watts can maintain the accurate temperature.
Being full submersible, this Mylivell aquarium heater can adjust the temperature with a range of 65° F – 93° F. And the display makes it easy to read. Furthermore, thanks to the polarized plug, the electrical shock is hard to occur, which is an awesome feature of this model. I also found it more durable and sturdier than other low-quality glass made items because it is made of a double seal material and quartz glass.
I would like to recommend this heater for saltwater and fresh aquarium with 20 gallons. Of course, I can not talk about its longevity but it is now doing a great job.
The only problem is that the instruction is in English and Chinese only; therefore, it may be difficult for someone who doesn’t understand these two languages.
7. Luffy Betta Heater
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With a temperature range of between 75° and 77°F, this Luffy Betta fish tank heater is ideal for most tropical fish especially bettas as it provides the favorable warm environment for the metabolic efficiency and optimal comfort of bettas.
Furthermore, I also recommend this purchase because it is resistant to breaking or cracking when fully submerged in the water as it is made of high-quality tough material. Besides, the built-in electronic thermostat enables this heater to automatically shut down when the temperature reaches the desired value, which enhances safety.
For me, after a few weeks of use, this Luffy Betta heater works beyond my expectation. Besides those awesome cons I mentioned above, the adjustment temperature is absolutely a cool feature as it lets me set the temperature to my expected value and adjust it if it drops.
Furthermore, its cord is very long, so that I can plug it in easily for operation. With all these awesome pros and advantages, I would like to recommend this best fish tank heater to anyone who has the indoor aquarium.
8. Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater
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Among aquarium heaters I have tried, Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater is one of the best. In winter, it totally saves my fish from freezing. The temperature ranges from 680F to 890F that was made to fit fish in both freshwater and saltwater.
Furthermore, different from other heaters in which the temperature fluctuation within 1 or 2 degrees may occur when you set, this heater is designed with precise temperature dial that brings a great control temperature.
In my opinion, this heater really works well with a separate thermometer. For example, I can set at 730F to keep my 20-gallon aquarium at 800F and it is accurate. The adjustable temperature is the added good point of this product. This is because I can set the temperature based on the fish’s habits and features. This one costs about less than $20. How affordable!
9. Uniclife Submersible Aquarium Heater
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Compared with heater models I introduced above, the Uniclife Submersible Aquarium Heater has the most affordable price (about $10). Therefore, I was skeptical about the purchase but after listening to some recommendations from my friends and other aquatic hobbyists, I would like to give it a try. The result is after a few weeks, this small fish tank heater that fits 5 to 15-gallon aquarium really exceeds my expectation in the term of its quality, safety, adjustable temperature system, and practical thermometer.
In the term of safety, it is made of shatterproof and thick quartz glass that keeps this heater from explosion or electricity leakage, the problem that often occurs with glass made items.
Talking about the adjustable temperature and practical thermometer, I think they are the great features of this one as you can adjust the suitable temperature for each type of fish. Some species prefer the warm temperature while other likes a few degrees cooler in temperature. Because the adjustable temperature can range from 64°F – 93°F, this heater is a perfect choice for both freshwater and saltwater aquarium.
10. FTSTC Submersible Aquarium Heater
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FTSTC Submersible Aquarium Heater is a more durable version than other conventional heaters in the market. The manufacturer has upgraded this feature to make their model become the best fish tank heater in the market. The effort finally is worth. Talking about durability and safety, no models and brands can beat it. Because it is anti-melting, anti punching, blast-proof, shatter-proof, avoids electricity leakage and scald, this one is totally safe for you and your fish.
Besides the free thermometer and powerful temperature control which I found in the model, what also makes me satisfied and determined with the purchase is that it is perfectly designed for different tank size ranging from 30 gallons to 85 gallons. Therefore I do not need to change the heater when I want to buy the larger fish tank.
Furthermore, the LED small temperature display makes it easy to set up and use, which adds more convenience even with the aquatic beginners.
How To Choose The Best Fish Tank Heater
The list of must-try fish tank heaters I introduced to you above comes from the trustworthy brands with high quality and a wide range of prices. I and my fish guarantee that they work best and won’t make you disappointed with the purchase. However, there is no rule for that the best fish tank heater works for all specific situations. The way you choose the right fish tank heater depends on a couple of important factors. So, I would like to let you know my useful tips on how to choose the best fish tank heater.
1. Determine The Best Size Of A Fish Tank Heater
The first important tip I often do is to determine the right size of a fish tank heater I need for my aquarium. How about you? What do you need for your tank? 50 watts? 70 watts? Or more than 200 watts?
How you choose the right size of a fish tank heater depends on the size of your aquarium. Fortunately, making aquarium heaters, the manufacturer always shows the customers the aquarium size will be suitable for each model. However, you don’t find any useful information about that, right? If yes, continue to read more.
A rule I often take when making the purchase for the best fish tank heater is that a larger tank or aquarium needs a larger heater as it may lose heat more slowly than the smaller one. For example, a 10-gallon aquarium needs a 25-75-watt tank heater while a 70-gallon aquarium requires a 200-300-watt heater.
However, choosing the right heater for a very small tank seems challenging. In this case, a miniature option like Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater is my recommended suggestion for you.
That is not all. You also need to consider the temperature of your room and the temperature you need for your tank. For instance, if the temperature of your room is always 75F and the temperature you fish needs is 78F, you have to buy much smaller tank heater, compared with someone who has the tank in a very cold room.
Here is the guideline table for someone who needs.
|Tank Size||Heater size (Watts)|
|7 – 15 gallons||50|
|15 – 20 gallons||75|
|20 – 40 gallons||100|
|40 – 75 gallons||150|
|75 – 105 gallons||200|
|105 – 150 gallons||250|
2. Know The Type Of Your Aquarium
Before making the purchase, you need to know which type of your current aquarium is. I usually read the information about where I can use the tank heater in the description of the product.
There are a lot of heater types with different designs and technology, so it is important for you to choose the best one that is suitable for your freshwater aquariums, saltwater aquariums, betta tanks, turtle tanks or reef tanks.
It is possible for you to choose the best heater for your aquarium types. But it seems a real challenge because I have to change the tank or buy the new one. In this case, a versatile heater that can work for various types of aquariums is my top choice.
3. Understand The Cons And Pros Of Each Heater Type
There are several types of fish tank heater available in the market today. Options include the submersible heater, immersible, in-line, in-filter, substrate, and in-sump tank heaters. You have a wide range of options, so make sure that you choose the great items that deliver good performance.
Here is the table I would like to talk about the cons and pros of each heater type.
|Submersible heaters||Long, slender, round, like a tube or stick|
Attach to the aquarium wall with suction caps
Be placed vertically, horizontally or at an angle
Sit under the water
|More effective than an immersible heater|
Often have a LED light that shows when the unit is on
Keep the tank temperature more stable and consistent than the immersible one
|Likely to cracking if the heater overheats|
|Hanging/ Immersible heaters||A glass tube with the heating element wrapping around a glass or ceramic insert|
Some heaters are fully submersible
Some can hang at the side of your aquarium
|Most common type for someone who has freshwater tanks or the ones who are a starter|
Provide basic heating
|Need a hole in the tank hood that allows the tank heater to sit over the top|
Not recommended for saltwater or brackish setups
|Substrate heaters||Consist of a heating cable under the gravel||Ideal for plant fish tanks|
Keep the plant roots in a good condition as it makes the gravel warm
|In-line heaters||Plumbed into the aquarium’s filtration system|
A pipe with a heating element
|Hidden from view|
Never need to unplug again
No water flow, there is no heat
Likely to leaks
|In-sump heater||Placed in the sump||Easy to maintain||Need more room|
4. Ease Of Maintenance
For someone who often deals with the issue of maintaining the aquarium equipment, the factor you should consider before making the purchase is the ease of maintenance. I always pick the item that is easy to clean and replace the worn out or broken parts.
5. Consider Your Budget
Of course, no one wants to buy an expensive fish tank heater that gives you the burden of paying the debt. Therefore, in the list of factors on how to choose the best fish tank heater, the other thing I have to consider is whether you have enough money to afford a fish tank heater.
There are various models of fish tank heater in the market with a wide range of prices; therefore, it is possible for you to choose the model you can afford. All the thing you need is a bit of research. Furthermore, you can easily find the information about the fish tank heaters at a bargain in trustworthy websites or stores.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Which is the Best Aquarium Heater?
All heaters I mentioned above are from the famous and reliable brand for fish equipment and they won’t make you disappointed with the purchase. However, there is a rule that the best aquarium can fit all tank and all fish.
In my opinion, the best aquarium heater is the one which fits all your requirements and needs, makes your fish active and healthy, and is a good choice for your current aquarium size. It is recommended to consider the factors such as the heater size, different features of each heater type, how easy it is for the maintenance and your budget before you make the purchase.
2. Where Should I Place My Heater?
You should place the heater near the water flow, for example, the inlet or outlet from the tank filter. You can also place it in the stream of a power head. This is because the water flow can pass the heater and is heated quickly before dispersing throughout the fish tank.
If you have an aquarium up to 40 gallons, the best suggestion is to place two heaters at the opposite ends of the tank. By doing this, the water temperature will be kept consistent and the heater is also able to heat all water in the tank. Furthermore, even when one heater stops working, your aquarium is still in good condition.
3. How to check if your water heater is working?
It depends on the brand and the model you are using. Some products are designed with the LED display or a free thermometer that helps you know whether your water heater is working. I have some exact heaters and the red light is on during a heating cycle. It goes off when the temperature reaches the expected value.
So, if your heater doesn’t have the included thermometer, you should buy one.
4. How many heaters do I need?
A basic rule of thumb to ensure the water in the tank is kept at the proper temperature is that the heater needs to be enough power. A gallon of water needs 3-5 watts. Therefore, if you have a small aquarium, you just need only one heater that has enough power for the number of gallons in the tank.
In the case of a larger aquarium that has the capacity of more than 40 gallons, I recommend you buy 2 fish tank heaters rather than using the super-strong one.
5. When do you need a water heater?
Freshwater or saltwater fish prefer a water environment at a specific temperature. If the temperature is too hot or too cold, fish can be freeze to death, get sick or be vulnerable to some threatening diseases.
So, in my opinion, if you start to raise fish or any aquatic pets, it is always the right time for you to consider a water heater that ensures the warm stable environment, good health, and safety for fish and aquatic pets.
6. How to install a water heater
Follow these steps:
Step 1: Choose the right fish tank heater for the number of gallons of water in your current tank.
Step 2: Check the heater to ensure that its elements are included well and the heater doesn’t have scratch or damage.
Step 3: Find a location to put a fish tank heater in the tank. Make sure that the decorations and plants in the aquarium don’t contact with the tank heater.
Step 4: Let the fish tank heater rest in the tank for at least 15 – 30 minutes before turning it on.
Step 5: Put the thermometer in the tank opposite your fish water heater.
Step 6: Turn it on. Some heater models allow you to adjust a specific temperature.
Step 7: Let your heater work for 24 hours and then check the water temperature in the aquarium. Adjust the thermostat down or up accordingly and check the water temperature again every four to six hours until you get the expected temperature value.
Step 8: Turn your fish or aquatic pets back to your aquarium when the water temperature is stable and balanced for your fish.
7. How is a fish tank heater used?
A fish tank heater works by converting electricity to heat. The heater makes the water around it warm quickly as water can absorb heat.
There is no need for you to worry about the overheating problem. This is because all fish tank heaters can turn itself off when the temperature reaches the expected value. If water gets colder, the heater can turn on automatically.
8. How until my mini fish tank heater heats up my 3-gallon tank?
When you choose the fish tank heater, there is a rule of thumb. A gallon of water needs 3-5 watts. I mean that if you have a 3-gallon tank, you need a heater with at least 9 watts to 15 watts to heat the water in the tank quickly.
If you choose the right heater, it may take about 2-3 hours for all water to heat up.
9. How long do I keep the heater on in my fish tank?
You can leave the fish tank heater in your aquarium all the time after it is installed well. Most heaters are designed to be able to turn off automatically when the temperature reaches the expected value to prevent the overheating. And when the water is colder, it can turn itself on.
The only time you turn it off and remove it from the tank is when you are doing a large water change or the heater is no longer working properly.
10. Is there a heater suitable for a 1-gallon fish tank that is readily available?
Among the heaters, I listed here, my recommended options for the 1-gallon fish tank are Marina Betta Submersible Heater, FREESEA 50-300Watt Aquarium Fish Tank Heater, and Luffy Betta Heater.
From the list above, it is easy for you to choose the best fish tank heater that plays an important role in keeping your fish at the proper temperature for survival. They are worth a try and won’t make you disappointed. Go ahead and make the best investment for your fish.