Aquarium Heaters

13+ Best Aquarium Heaters: Detailed Features, Pros and Cons 

Heating is a crucial factor for many varieties of aquarium fish, both in freshwater and saltwater tanks. 

Different from humans, fish cannot adjust their own body temperatures. That’s the reason why you need an aquarium heater. Fish rely on the water to maintain their temperatures, so it’s vital that you keep the water in your aquarium as consistent as possible. 

A great deal of fish need warm water to live, so if you don’t live in a year-long warm country, you might need an aquarium heater to ensure your tank is at a stable temperature. 

This writing below will help you understand the reason for getting a heater, the types of aquarium heaters, and bring you some most recommended heaters for aquarium

Let’s start now! 

Why Do You Need an Aquarium Heater? 

It’s integral to get an aquarium heater to mimic the water conditions and natural environment that specific fish used to live in. 

A heater helps increase the water temperature of the tank from 70 to and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, sometimes lightly cooler or warmer depending on the species you are housing. 

Besides, the heater aims to keep a steady temperature using a thermostat which is often in-built. Changes in water conditions can result in stress to fish which can be lethal if they are exposed to lengthy periods of stress. 

Maintaining the water temperature stable replicates the natural environment as large bodies of water (like the sea) do not dramatically and swiftly change in temperature. 

In addition, it is crucial to remember that the weather in some counties is too hot, and the temperature of tanks can be too high. In this case, you can use aquarium coolers rather than heaters. 

Some decide to place more than one heater in their tank, particularly if the tank is big and is kept in a cold room. This is good as if the first heater doesn’t work, the second will make sure the water is at the appropriate temperature. 

How Many Types of Aquarium Heaters?

There is a range of types of aquarium heaters. The one you buy will depend on your aquarium size, the fish species you are housing, and your personal preferences.

Here are the five popular types of heaters, including submersible, immersible, in-line, substrate, and filter. 

Submersible heater 

Submersible heaters are one that stays under the water. The heater should be put near the inlet of the filter so it warms the water up when it comes back into the aquarium. 

This heater contains a coiled element wrapped in a glass or toughened plastic tube. The glass material might be easily cracking if the unit overheats, while tough plastic is less prone to cracking. 

These heaters are often equipped with an LED light near the top, which will let you know when the heater is on. 

Immersible/ Hanging heater 

An immersible heater (also known as the hanging heater) hangs over the top of your aquarium, and the heating element (wrapped in a glass tube) sits in the water to warm the tank. 

These might be the most widely-used heaters for new freshwater aquariums and are often included in a starter pack. 

You will need a hole in the hood of your aquarium to enable the heater to stay over the top of it. This sort of heater is less effective but does offer basic heating. Hanging heaters are not recommended for brackish or saltwater tanks. 

In-line heater 

This aquarium heater can be placed between the sump or filter so that it warms the water up on the way back to the tank. 

It is often made of heatproof plastic, so it won’t start fire. This heater is suitable for those who raise aggressive fish who might fight with equipment such as some cichlids. 

Substrate heater 

These are usually used as an addition to other heaters and come in the form of writes which are adjusted onto the base of the tank. 

This sort of heater soared in popularity in the 1990s, particularly in planted aquariums as the heating raises gentle water movement, which can promote the growth of roots. 

Filter heater 

Some filters already have heating elements, so that as the water passes via the filter, it is also heated up. The most popular filters having heaters include canister and power filters. 

Top 13 Best Aquarium Heaters That Meet Your Requirements 

1. Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater 

Aqueon Pro Adjustable Aquarium Heater

Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater has some wattage options, including 50,100, 150, 200, and 250 watts, so it is suitable for most tanks except for very large ones. The quarium heater is designed with a durable and solid outer shell that is shatterproof and shock-resistant. 

You can use this heater for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. You can set it up horizontally or vertically, depending on your requirements. 

The heater is fully submersible, so you can pop it right in the aquarium. To avoid overheating and running dry, it will automatically turn off if it is not completely submerged. 

With Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater, users can adjust the temperature between 68 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, there is a LED light that tells you whether the heater is on or off. 

Advantages

  • Able to use for both freshwater and saltwater tanks
  • Easy to adjust the temperature
  • Completely submersible with run-dry protection 
  • Be positioned vertically or horizontally 
  • Lifetime guaranty provided 

Disadvantages 

  • No mounting gear included

2. Uniclife Submersible Aquarium Heater 

Uniclife Submersible Aquarium Heater

Uniclife Submersible Aquarium Heater

This is a small yet efficient submersible heater for small aquariums. It comes with 25 and 50 watts options. Users can adjust the temperature from 61 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a wide temperature range, making it ideal for tropical fish. 

The Uniclife Heater is totally submersible. It consists of a solid glass housing and does not leach out electrical currents, thereby keeping your fish safe. In addition, the manufacturer provides an easy-to-use thermometer that lets users keep tabs on the water temperature with ease. 

Advantages 

  • Wide temperature range 
  • Provide a separate thermometer
  • Be mounted vertically or horizontally 

Disadvantages 

  • Only fit small tanks

3. Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 

Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater

This heater is a fully submersible one that offers a number of power levels (25,50,75, 125, 150, 200, 250, and 300-watt options). That makes it a great choice for almost every size of the tank. 

As the heater is fully submersible, users can stick it right into the aquarium. It is also built with a run-dry protection feature, which means the heater will stop working when it is not totally submerged. 

The Eheim heater can be adjusted between 65 and 93 Fahrenheit to satisfy the needs of your tank. Besides, it includes a TruTemp dial for precise heater calibration. The on/ off indicator light shows you whether it is running or stops working. 

Advantages 

  • Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater tanks
  • Various wattage options
  • A calibration dial
  • Broad adjustable temperature range

Disadvantages 

  • Require good water flow 
  • Leave a quite large footprint in your tank 

4. Hydor In-line External Heater 

Hydor In-line External Heater

One noticeable feature about this heater is that the in-line enables the heater to sit outside the tank. In other words, there is less gear in the tank and more water and room for your fish to swim in. Hyper has created the first external heater for aquariums with the unique PTC (Positive Thermal Coefficient) technology. 

The self-limiting PTC heating element ensures maximum safety against any possibility of overheating. The unique technology combined with the high quality of the components ensures a long-lasting heater. 

If you want your viewers to concentrate on the efforts and design within your aquarium and not on the hardware, you should consider this Hydor In-line External heater. Since the heater connects to the outflow of any canister filter on the rerun from any sump to the aquarium. This then evenly delivers heat across the tank while sitting hidden beneath your tank in the cabinet. 

This heater comes with 200 and 300-watt options. The circulation through this heater enables it to work far more effectively. 

When it comes to setting the working temperature, you just need to use the red dial on the outside of the heater. The temperature settings are clearly marked, and when it is defined, the unit is found to be very stable. 

The heater is made from durable plastic. Inside the heater is a glass tube through which the water flows. Encased the glass tube is a conductive heating element that warms the water when it passes through the tube. Each end of the tube is linked to a connector and sealed with a rubber gasket. 

Advantages 

  • Does not take much space in your tank 
  • Simple to set the temperature 
  • Prevent any risk of overheating
  • Slick operation and patented technology  

Disadvantages 

  • Must be installed vertically 
  • Not ideal for setups with hard plumbing 
  • Can only use with vinyl tubing 

5. Fluval E-electronic Heater 

Fluval E Series Advanced Electronic Heater

The Fluval Electronic heater designed with VueTech technology ensures peace of mind by constantly showing real-time water temperature. With a small digital microprocessors tracking system with dual temperature sensors, this heater constantly tracks and shows aquarium water temperature, guaranteeing the safety and well-being of your tank inhabitants. 

Fluval has invented an incredible feature that lets you set the temperature in 0.5-degree increments. This is done by using the red lever at the top of the unit, the big plus and minus symbols make it easy to adjust the settings. 

Additionally, the manufacture has developed an integrated fish guard that offers advanced protection for your fish. The protective casing prevents fish and decorations from reaching or damaging the heater core. 

Remarkably, as mentioned above, the E series heaters show the tank water temperature in real-time. The screen changes colors to display safe zone temperature and high/ flow fluctuation alerts (± 1 °C or ± 2 °F). A green screen indicates that the temperature is in the ideal range, a blue means too low of a temperature, and a red one suggests too high of a temperature. 

Advantages 

  • Advanced electronic heating
  • Color changing real-time temperature display 
  • Sleek design 
  • Easy to use 

Disadvantages 

  • High water flow required 
  • Some report issues with fluctuating temperature 

6. Hygger Digital Quartz Aquarium Heater 

Hygger 200W Digital Quartz Aquarium Heater

Unlike others on the list, this aquarium heater consists of three different parts: heating unit, temperature probe, and control unit. 

The heating unit has a built-in heater guard that will protect fish from approaching the actual heating element and getting burned. 

The temperature probe is at the end of a thick wire that you suction cup to the back of the aquarium. It’s typically a temperature sensor that delivers information to the control unit.

The control unit is a small plastic box with a big digital temperature reading. The control unit will decide the working mode of the heating unit. Without the control unit, the heating element will keep working and overheat the tank. 

It is super easy to set to adjust the settings on this heater. The control unit has a single button that allows you to scroll through settings for 61 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you go past the number you need, you just keep pressing the button, and it will be back to the start after the maximum degree.

Advantages 

  • Take up less space 
  • Simple to set the tank temperature 
  • Indicator light for both standby and active heating modes 
  • Prevent fatal injuries thanks to the heater guard 

Disadvantages 

  • Quite difficult to install 
  • Struggle to maintain a stable temp throughout the day 

7. Hygger Submersible Aquarium Heater 

Hygger Digital Titanium Submersible Aquarium Heater 

Another option from Hygger, this fish tank heater is completely submersible with water horizontally. With 2 suction cups, it can be mounted on the aquarium. Put it near a strong water flow so that the entire aquarium would be at the same temperature. It is equipped with a separate controller where you can amend temperature from low to high without taking the heater out of the tank. 

Markedly, this heater is totally shatterproof since there is no glass in the construction. It’s made from heavy-duty and durable titanium. Because it has the excellent feature of being anti-corrosion, it is proper for freshwater, saltwater, and reef tanks. 

With an incredible built-in external electronic thermostat, the heater provides a dual LCD display that clearly tells the temperature settings in either Celsius or Fahrenheit. It will stop working when the temperature reaches exactly your wanted temp. Heating temperature varies between 32 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Advantages 

  • Very little water temperature fluctuation
  • Durable construction
  • Sleek design

Disadvantages

  • Only used for glass tanks
  • Limited mounting or housing options 

8. Finnex Titanium Heater

 

Finnex Deluxe Titanium Heater

This Finnex aquarium heater includes titanium heating tubes that are visually indestructible and corrosion-resistant, suitable for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. The titanium housing will resist damage a traditional heater would face. Besides, the heater uses a plastic guard to keep other pieces of equipment and livestock from approaching the heating tube. 

This package covers a digital controller and an Ultra Sleek Finnex 800 Watt Titanium Tube. This digital controller keeps the water temperature within +/- 2 degrees Fahrenheit of the set value, offering a safe, healthy, and consistent temperature for the aquarium. 

Noticeably, the heater comes with automatic shut-off overheat protection features. As the water temperature is higher than the high-temperature alert setting value, the alarm will begin beeping. Then the heating process will be turned off automatically. 

Advantages 

  • Titanium-built design
  • Provide a digital controller
  • Three wattage options (300, 500, 800 watts)

Disadvantages 

  • No adjustment dial
  • Not ideal for smaller tanks 

9. Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater 

Hygger Fast Heating Titanium Aquarium Heater 

With a big, easy-to-read LED temperature display, you can make sure that your tank is at the precise temp. This submersible aquarium heater is made of premium titanium and double-sealed by a black protective guard. That means if your fish touch it they won’t be burned. The heater is also resistant to explosion and corrosion. 

It has run-dry protection that automatically shuts the unit off if the water is too low. In addition, there is an external temperature control that allows you to adjust the temp without getting your hands wet. The 500-watt heater will fit fresh or saltwater aquariums with 60 to 120 gallons. 

Advantages 

  • LED digital display controller 
  • Real-time temperature reading
  • Anti-dry protection 

Disadvantages 

  • Only suitable for larger aquariums

10. Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater 

Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater 

If you have a limited budget and are looking for a decent heater for your tank, the Orlushy heater can be a good choice. 

The heater is a submersible one built with explosion-proof glass, protecting your fish from any fatal injuries. It comes with a wide temperature range, from 68 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit. Users can set the heat via a temperature control knob on the heater and can know whether it’s working via the red indicator light. 

Moreover, this submersible heater includes a digital thermometer that helps keeps track of the water temperature with ease.

Advantages 

  • Affordable 
  • Built with explosion-proof glass
  • Support both Celsius and Fahrenheit

Disadvantages 

  • The heater needs constant adjustment. 
  • The temperature keeps fluctuating. 

11. Marine Helio PTC Aquarium Heater 

Innovative Marine Helio PTC Aquarium Heater 

This aquarium heater might cost more than others but will be worth your investment. 

The heater really stands out from the crowd with its PTC technology. The technology uses solid-state ceramic chips that are programmed to increase up to a specific predetermined set temperature. 

The PTC self-regulating and its components run safely and effectively in a harsh marine reef aquarium environment. The intelligent PTC controller will link the gap between hobby-grade and commercial heating systems. The small controller’s processor comes along with the PTC heating elements to hold your temperature consistent. 

Every piece of the Helio heating system was designed to work efficiently together. Commercial grade titanium heating screws and sheaths avoid corrosion. Scarce earth magnetic heating element holders ensure optimal water flow. Fast disconnects for the controller’s temperature sensors and heating elements make it easy for maintenance and upgradeability. 

Advantages

  • Able to warm the water in a short time
  • Alert users if there is any unexpected temperature fluctuations
  • Require less energy 
  • Patented PTC technology 

Disadvantages 

  • Quite expensive 

12. MarineLand Precision Heater 

MarineLand Precision Heater

MarineLand Precision Heater

This is another submersible aquarium heater suitable for both saltwater or freshwater setups. The MarineLand heater has a 150-watt capacity and is proper for a 150-liter tank. 

It is equipped with an advanced heating element that guarantees the commendable transfer of heat. Additionally, there is a thermal switch that ensures the heater automatically turns off whenever the temperature of the tank rises above the preset value and then works again after it must have cooled down. 

Moreover, the tendency of getting high visibility of the temperature display is further improved by the easy-to-view sliding scale integrated into the heater. Plus, the heater comes with an adjustable temperature with which the temperature can be easily adjusted up or down by 1 degree Fahrenheit. Thanks to the mounting bracket, you can view the temperature display from various angles. 

Advantages 

  • Easy to operate
  • Easy-to-view sliding scale for checking the temperature
  • High durability 
  • Thermal protection feature

Disadvantages 

  • Not perfectly calibrated
  • Quite noisy 

13. FREESEA Aquarium Heater 

FREESEA Submersible Aquarium Heater 

One outstanding feature of this aquarium heater is its portable design and oval appearance. It is a good choice for a small fish tank with a capacity between 3.7 – 37 liters and has a power wattage of 50 watts. You can use this heater to get the temperature range from 15 to 34 degrees Celsius. 

While its heating rod can be completely immersed in water, its control switch box is often above the water. Besides, the Freesea heater contains an inbuilt temperature control chip multi-functional LED digital display feature to show the heater’s state when it’s on. 

What’s more, the heater provides a thermostat that temporarily terminates heating as the temperature rises above the desired value and only restarts if the temperature gets lower, thereby guaranteeing that the temperature is kept at a consistent rate. 

Advantages 

  • External temperature control 
  • Accurate temperature reading
  • Cover a broad range of temperature
  • Easy-to-view temperature display

Disadvantages

  • Not proper for large aquariums

Quick Comparisons of the Best Aquarium Heaters

#Product NameImagePriceAction
1Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater$$Buy on Amazon!
2Uniclife Submersible Aquarium Heater$$Buy on Amazon!
3Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater$17.99Buy on Amazon!
4Hydor In-line External Heater $$Buy on Amazon!
5Fluval E-electronic Heater$54.29Buy on Amazon!
6Hygger 200W Digital Quartz Aquarium Heater$$Buy on Amazon!
7Hygger Digital Titanium Submersible Aquarium Heater$59.99Buy on Amazon!
8Finnex Deluxe Titanium Heater$ 104.9Buy on Amazon!
9Hygger Fast Heating Titanium Aquarium Heater$63.17Buy on Amazon!
10Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater$23.79Buy on Amazon!
11Innovative Marine Helio PTC Aquarium Heater$413.99Buy on Amazon!
12MarineLand Precision Heater$32.99Buy on Amazon!
13FREESEA Submersible Aquarium Heater$17.24Buy on Amazon!

That’s all about the best aquarium heaters on the current market. We hope that the article somehow helps you understand more about aquarium heaters and then come up with the best option for your tank. 

The most appropriate heater is the one that works best for your setup and your tank’s size. Let’s weigh up the pros and cons of each item carefully before making any decision.

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