Is a heater required for an aquarium?
If you have tropical fish, you will definitely need a heater. A heater will not only make the water warmer (tropical fish should be kept at around 76° to 80°F or 25° to 27°C) but will also keep the heat consistent.
This will make your life much easier, as the water won’t be affected by changes in your room temperature, such as cold in winter or heat waves in summer.
How do I choose an aquarium heater?
There are a couple of things to consider:
The most important thing of all is to work out the exact temperature your fish needs to thrive, rather than generalising their conditions. If it is wrong, they could die.
Although we recommend a submersible heater, which is the most commonly used type of tank warmer, there are other versions that you may find more suitable for your needs. These are external, inline and substrate models.
Rather than being labelled as different sizes, heaters are generally categorised by the number of watts they give out. The bigger your tank, the more watts you need.
Sizing a tank heater (and how many you need) is based on three things: the water volume of the tank, the temperature in the room, and the required water temperature of the tank’s water.
The general consensus is that you need 5 watts per gallon for aquariums 55 gallons or smaller, and 3 watts per gallon for those over 60 gallons. You may require more than one heater if your room is very cold, or the tank is very large.
Automatic turn off
A great safety feature, automatic turn off helps the tank stop from overheating by switching the heater off automatically when the desired temperature is reached, preventing it from being heated constantly for long periods of time. Although not a necessity, it will certainly make your life easier.
How safe are aquarium heaters?
People often worry about heaters because the idea of placing an electrical device into some water seems completely at odds with everything we know about electrical equipment.
However, what you have to remember is that these products have actually been designed for that very purpose and so are actually perfectly safe.
Like with anything though, they can become dangerous over time if they start to become faulty. So make sure you regularly check over your equipment to ensure they are no broken parts or frayed wires!
If you’re concerned about whether an aquarium heater could harm your fish, know that this is very rare if they’re set up correctly. It may be worth purchasing a plastic heater guard which is compatible for your heater, so they can’t get anywhere near the hottest part.
Can I keep my tank warm without an aquarium heater?
You would have to keep your central heating on in the colder months and at night when it cools down, and the tank would need to be situated in the perfect place in your home with no draughts or direct sunlight. And you’d have to keep a constant beady eye on the thermometer and make changes if there was something wrong.
If this sounds complicated, it is because it would be. An aquarium heater could make your life much easier. If the thought of this setup sounds like it is too much, you may be best with coldwater fish.
Are aquarium heaters expensive to run?
An aquarium heater will have an effect on your electricity bill. How much depends on how hard it has to work and how powerful it is.
If this is a concern, try keeping your tank in a suitable spot within your home and controlling the external temperature more precisely to limit how hard the heater has to work.
Can I use a large heater in a small tank?
Worried about buying a heater that is too powerful or large for your tank? Don’t be concerned. If your heater automatically switches off when the water is too warm, its size and power won’t have a detrimental effect on the temperature.
However, you don’t want it to take up too much space, so bear in mind the size and shape of your tank too.