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6 Best Aquarium Heaters for Freshwater & Saltwater Fish Tanks

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heater for fish tank

Aquarium Heater Summary

An aquarium heater is used to warm a fish tank to provide ideal conditions for fish, invertebrates, and other animals. Fish tank heaters come in different shapes, sizes, and styles and it can get a little overwhelming deciding which is best for you. From personal experience, I prefer getting heaters that are one size above what is listed on the box. I feel the heater doesn’t work as hard and warms your fish tank faster when it’s a little larger. Regardless of my personal preference, this guide will discuss some of the best aquarium heaters available. After you’re done choosing a heater that works for you, check out some of the Best hang on the back filters available!

Do you need a heater for a fish tank?

Before we begin, I want to answer this question because it comes up from time to time. The answer is, it depends. A heater is a nice piece of equipment to have because it helps maintain stable water temperatures. However, you may not need a heater if the temperature of the room your fish tank is kept in sits in the temperature range your fish does best at. If your home’s temperature is 76°F, you will probably be able to get away without keeping a heater for many tropical fish. Make sure the temperature matches the needs of your fish. Also, the only other real exception to the rule is if you’re keeping cold water fish like Goldfish, White Cloud Minnows, etc.

1. Aqueon Pro Aquarium Heater

I would like to start this list with the Aqueon Pro Aquarium Heater. It is made with thermal plastics and shatterproof housing. To put it lightly, this heater can take a beating from big fish. I would like to see Tiger Oscars or other large fish try to break this. The Aqueon Pro comes in 5 different sizes (listed below) with varying wattages for different sized aquariums. You can click the following link which will take you to the Aqueon Pro Aquarium Heater purchase page on Amazon.

  • Aqueon Pro 50 – (up to 20 gal.)
  • Aqueon Pro 100 – (up to 40 gal.)
  • Aqueon Pro 150 – (up to 55 gal.)
  • Aqueon Pro 200 – (up to 75 gal.)
  • Aqueon Pro 300 – (up to 100 gal.)

The Aqueon Pro Heater has a temperature adjuster knob that allows you to change the temperature setting from 68°F to 88°F. You can fully submerge this fish tank heater however, it will stop working if the top of the heater is lower than the bottom when placed horizontally. Lastly, this Pro Heater is great for both fresh and saltwater aquariums.

2. Fluval M50 Submersible Heater

Next on our list of fantastic heaters is the Fluval M Series heater. This heater is quite reliable (like many Fluval products). A very cool feature this Fluval heater has is its mirrored finish. This is done on purpose to help your heater blend into the surroundings. The mirrored finish will help hide your heater in your aquarium. Take a look at the different sizes of this filter and choose which is best for you. I included the following link, which will take you to the Fluval M Series purchase page on Amazon.

  • Fluval M50 – (up to 15 gal.)
  • Fluval M100 – (up to 30 gal.)
  • Fluval M150 – (up to 45 gal.)
  • Fluval M200 – (up to 65 gal.)
  • Fluval M300 – (up to 80 gal.)

Furthermore, this series of submersible heater has a control dial to easily adjust the temperature. Like many other heaters, you can submerge the Fluval M Series heaters. It can also be used for both fresh and saltwater aquariums.

3. Eheim Jager TruTemp Aquarium Heater

The Eheim Jager TruTemp Aquarium Heater is a powerhouse! It has one of the largest temperature ranges (65-93° F) when it comes to heaters. This Eheim Heater also has a dry protection control. That means the heater should shut off when it is not submerged. It’s a nice safety measure in case your aquarium ever decides to leak and drain all of its water. This series of heater can warm aquariums from 5 gallons to ~260 gallons. The list is provided below and you can this link will take you to the Eheim Jager TruTemp Aquarium Heater purchase page on Amazon.

  • Jager 25W – (up to 7 gal.)
  • Jager 50W – (up to 16 gal.)
  • Jager 75W – (up to 26 gal.)
  • Jager 100W – (up to 40 gal.)
  • Jager 125W – (up to 53 gal.)
  • Jager 150W – (up to 79 gal.)
  • Jager 200W – (up to 106 gal.)
  • Jager 250W – (up to 159 gal.)
  • Jager 300W – (up to 264 gal.)

The Eheim Jager Heater can be mounted horizontally with no problems. It also has a control knob so you can easily adjust the temperature. Lastly, the housing of this Eheim Heater is made from shatter-proof glass.

4. Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater

The Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater is awesome partly because it comes with a separate controller to aid in getting the ideal water temperature. You can fully submerge this heater as well as place it horizontally if needed. It is shatterproof while also being anti-corrosive so it is great for both freshwater and saltwater fish tanks. The Hygger Titanium Heater comes in a range of sizes which are listed below. Click on the following link which will take you to the Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater purchase page on Amazon.

  • Hygger Titanium 50W – (up to 10 gal.)
  • Hygger Titanium 100W – (up to 25 gal.)
  • Hygger Titanium 200W – (up to 45 gal.)
  • Hygger Titanium 500W – (up to 120 gal.)

The controller is used to adjust the temperature of the heater. It is a nice feature because you will not have to get your hands wet if you want to adjust your fish tank’s temperature.

5. Fluval E Series Advanced Electronic Heater

The Fluval E Series Heater is the tool of the future. If you’re looking for a heater with all the bells and whistles, check this one out. The E Series Heaters use a VUETECH alert system. The VUETECH alert system uses a little screen to alert you when water temperatures are safe, too cool, or too warm. The screen will turn green when all is well, blue when the water temperature is cool, and red when the temperature goes too high. It comes in a variety of sizes and you can click on the following link which will take you to the Fluval E Series purchase page on Amazon.

  • Fluval E50 – (up to 15 gal.)
  • Fluval E100 – (up to 30 gal.)
  • Fluval E200 – (up to 65 gal.)
  • Fluval E300 – (up to 100 gal.)

That’s not all for this heater. It also has a microprocessor with dual sensors which help to provide very accurate temperature readings. Also, the Fluval E Series Heater has a protective housing to prevent decor, fish, and invertebrates from coming in contact with it.

6. Aqueon Mini Fish Tank Heater

Last on our list is a heater you may not expect. I wanted to add the Aqueon Mini Fish Tank Heater onto this list because it is specifically designed to heat nano fish tanks. It is rated for fish tanks up to 5 gallons so it is an excellent choice for desktop aquariums.

Also, this fish tank heater is incredibly compact and fully submersible. It has a thermal safety shut-off to prevent your aquarium from overheating. It’s a cool little heater and an option for anyone who loves setting up nano aquariums. Click on the following link which will take you to the Aqueon Mini Fish Tank Heater purchase page on Amazon.

Extra Aquarium Heater Tips

There are many questions regarding heaters. This next section is devoted to answering some that are commonly asked.

How do you heat up fish tank water quickly?

In a normal healthy environment, you do not want to heat fish tank water quickly. You will want to increase water temperatures gradually. However, if for whatever reason you need to heat your water quickly, you can do them in a variety of ways. You can add another heater and adjust the temperature to your needs.

Consider filling empty water bottles with warm water and placing the bottles into the fish tank. This will slowly release warm water into your tank. Do not pour warm/hot water directly into your fish tank because it can be dangerous for your fish!

How do I know if my aquarium heater is working?

To test whether your aquarium heater is working, start by filling a bucket with freshwater. You can either allow the water to sit to reach room temperature or you can start your test right away. Put a aquarium thermometer into the bucket and record the temperature. After the temperature is recorded place the heater you want to test into the bucket and see if it warms the water. I would recommend adjusting the heater’s dial to 80~ ° F to guarantee it warms passed room temperature.

How to keep a fish tank warm without a heater?

Long term, you can’t keep your fish tank warm without a heater unless you keep your house at the appropriate temperature. However, if your house temporarily lost electricity, there are ways to slow down your aquarium from cooling.

  1. Wrap and cover your fish tank with towels for insulation
  2. If possible, fill bottles with warm water and place bottles in fish tank
  3. Remove some cool water and replace with warmer water
  4. Purchase a gas powered generator to use during outage

There are probably other ways to heat your fish tank without power but there are the first that come to mind.

Final Notes

Aquarium Heaters are an incredibly important piece of equipment for most freshwater and saltwater fish tanks. Without them, it would be nearly impossible to keep many of the fish we enjoy. I hope this list of fish tank heaters gives you an idea of the many options available and allows you to choose which is best for you.