Aquariums are a great way to house beautiful fish of all kinds and colors. While they may seem simple, aquariums can be difficult to balance and get right. There are a variety of aquarium sizes, type of fish, and layouts you can choose for your aquarium.
One of the most important elements to consider with your aquarium is the water temperature. In order to regulate the temperature, you will need an aquarium heater.
Why Use an Aquarium Heater?
If you want to have fish that are both healthy and happy, then you need to have an aquarium heater. Fish, unlike mammals like us, are unable to produce their own body heat.
Fish must rely on the temperature of the water around them to help regulate their body temperature. Due to this fact of fish biology, it is vital to ensure your aquarium is maintained at an adequate temperature.
Choosing the Right Aquarium Heater
It’s important to understand the various types of aquarium heaters so that you can find the right option for your aquarium. Besides knowing what each is made to do, you will be able to determine what size of a heater will be right for your aquarium.
There are four main types of aquarium heaters you will come across.
Each type has unique qualities, and each has both pros and cons for using them to heat your aquarium.
Glass Tube Aquarium Heaters
Glass tube heaters are one of the most popular sellers. They come in both submersible forms and a type that clamps on the rim of the aquarium. With these types of heaters, the heating element and thermostat are encased with a tube of glass to protect the electronics from getting wet.
There are a variety of materials used in creating the glass tube, such as quartz, Pyrex and other break resistant materials. When possible, it’s recommended that you buy a thermostat that has higher quality glass in order to lessen the chances of it cracking.
Pros of this type of heater include that:
Cons of this heater type are that cheaper brands may contain inaccurate thermostats, and while the glass tube is made of shatterproof material, it is still possible for them to crack or break.
Titanium Aquarium Heaters
Titanium heaters are another popular choice and can mostly be found in reef aquariums.
A number of titanium heaters come with both controllers and temperature probes that are able to sense the aquarium’s water temperature. When needed, they can cause the heating element to warm up the water.
Once the desired temperature has been reached, the controller will shut off the power going to the heating element until it is needed again.
Pros of this type of heater are that:
Downsides to this type of heater are that they can be considerably more expensive than glass heaters, the heating element can get very hot and melt acrylic, and they best used in sumps and not in display tanks.
Electronic Aquarium Heaters
Electronic Heaters are fairly new to the market but have created a buzz because of their looks and features. These types of heaters utilize electronic thermostats to get a more accurate temperature reading.
These are also great for those who use reefs in their aquariums.
Pros of this type of heater include:
Cons of this product are they cost significantly more than traditional standard glass heaters. There also aren’t a lot of options out there yet, either, since these are fairly new to the market.
Inline heaters are a type of heater that uses water flowing from a return pump that is heading back into the main tank. The return line gets spliced with the inline heater.
These heaters are designed to be outside of your aquarium and are great for avoiding damage that might be caused by falling rock or aggressive fish.
Also, if you are going for a natural look in your aquarium, then this is a great choice as none of the heater’s equipment is inside of the tank.
Pros of this heater are that they do not take up space in your aquarium and have an automatic shut off in case they ever run dry.
Negatives for inline heaters include that you are limited by what type of tubing size the heater can connect to. These heaters cannot be used with a return line that has a high volume of flow.
Another potential con is that these heaters have to be used in a vertical, upright position, which may limit your placement options.
Tips to Prevent Aquarium Heater Failure
Having your aquarium heater fail can be disastrous for your fish. The best-case situation is that the heater shuts down and the aquarium drops a few degrees. The worst case is the heaters can overheat or even crack open.
No matter how the failure presents, it can be potentially fatal for your fish.
Thankfully there are some measures you can take to help prevent catastrophic damage to your aquarium and fish.
Finding the Best Aquarium Heater
It is important to choose the right kind of aquarium heater so that your fish will be healthy and happy. That means they work accurately – read reviews from real users before purchasing. And it means that they will work properly in the aquarium environment you’re setting up.
Review the types of aquariums listed above, and then go research the top choices before you buy. Your fish are worth the investment of time.