You’ll agree with us when we say that getting a decent fish tank heater is an essential yet challenging part of building a healthy environment for your fish.
Keeping this in mind, we decided to experiment with many fish tank heaters available in the market and online in order to find out which ones are the best of the best.
In our post today, we’ll discuss what things you should look for in a fish tank heater and how you can judge which fish tank heater would be most suitable for you and your fish.
After rigorous testing and intense discussion, we’ve concluded these three to be the best from among the crowd.
Now, let’s get into the detailed reviews for the top 7 best fish tank heaters.
Best Fish Tank Heater - Best 7 Reviews
1. All-Around Best Fish Tank Heater - Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater Review
This beautiful product is something we were all pleasantly surprised with because it comes from a brand that isn’t very well known. It came from out of nowhere and really blew all of its competitors out of the water (pun intended).
Not only is it designed beautifully and comes with a ton of safety features, but it also manages to heat up aquariums a lot quicker than most fish tank heaters.
It comes with a built-in thermostat that does a great job of keeping the aquarium temperature stable by turning the heater on and off when needed.
It’s suitable to operate within both freshwater as well as saltwater environments.
Features of Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater – Best Fish Tank Heater
- Available in four sizes: 100, 150, 200 and 300 watts
- Weight: 1 pound
- Fully submersible
- Automatic shut-off and other overheating protection features
- Easy to mount
- Fast heating
- Very safe
- Temperature gauge may become inaccurate over time
If you’re looking for a reliable, safe and effective fish tank heater, this is the one for you. It has an attractive design and it’s very easy to assemble and install.
2. Best Quartz Fish Tank Heater - Aquatop Quartz Glass Submersible Heater Review
This heater comes with an easy-to-read interface and a dial that’s beautifully designed so you can easily adjust the temperature even when the heater is fully submerged in your fish tank.
It comes in a variety of sizes which can be appropriate for aquariums ranging from 13 gallons up to 75 gallons. With that much range, these heaters are great for beginner fishkeepers as well as veterans who have a lot larger aquariums.
The suction cups make it very easy to mount onto your aquarium and they do not become loose no matter how many times you adjust the placement of the heater.
Features of Aquatop Quartz Glass Submersible Heater
- Comes in six different wattages ranging from 50 watts to 300 watts
- Fully submersible glass heater
- Suction cups included
- Adjustable temperature
- Highly powerful
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to use
- Compact, modern design
If you’re looking for a compact heater that doesn’t attract too much attention towards itself, this product is ideal for you. It’s very easy to hide with plants and ornaments and even if you don’t hide it, it looks great inside your aquarium.
3. Best Fish Tank Heater with Digital Display - FREESEA Aquarium Fish Tank Submersible Heater Review
The FREESEA Aquarium Fish Tank Heater is a small piece of equipment that packs a very big punch.
It’s absolutely perfect for fish owners that have smaller fish aquariums within their homes especially desktop and tabletop aquariums. It comes in two sizes which makes this heater appropriate for aquariums of sizes between 1 and 15 gallons.
You’ll find that this fish tank heater is extremely easy to use as the LED display clearly shows what temperature is currently set and you can easily adjust it to have the aquarium temperature at whatever you would like.
Features of FREESEA Aquarium Fish Tank Submersible Heater
- Dimensions: 7.9 inches by 3 inches by 2 inches
- Comes in two wattages: 25 watts and 50 watts
- Temperature range: 63 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit (17 – 35 degrees Celsius)
- Automatic shut-off
- LED Display
- LED display is bright and easy to read
- Reliable safety features
- Easy to operate
- Easy to assemble
- Small in size
- Not appropriate for larger aquariums
If you’re looking for a heater with an easy-to-read interface, this product was made for you. It’s incredibly compact and lightweight and works very effectively in small fish tanks.
4. Best Durable Fish Tank Heater - Hygger Submersible Aquarium Heater Review
Many fishkeepers are fed up of aquarium equipment that starts malfunctioning after a couple of months. It’s something that has become a more common problem as of late as cheap manufacturers are looking to take advantage of the booming trend of fishkeeping.
However, among so many flimsy fish tank heaters, this product definitely stands out from the crowd as being a sturdy, well-built piece of equipment. It features an incredibly sturdy guard that protects your fish from coming into contact with it.
It’s very effective at heating up an aquarium and it has a built-in shut-off feature that turns the fish tank heater off as soon as the temperature starts to rise above the set amount.
Features of Hygger Submersible Aquarium Heater
- Comes in two wattages: 100 watts and 300 watts
- External temperature controller
- Long power cord
- Attractive, modern design
- Guard for protecting fish from contact
- Highly durable
- Easy to install
- Built-in LED light may disturb your fish
If you’re looking for a long-lasting heater that will heat your aquarium consistently and reliably, this product is perfect for you. You’ll have it installed in no time and it’s incredibly simple to operate.
5. Best Hang-On Fish Tank Heater - Finnex Electronic Controller Aquarium Heater Review
Submersible heaters are quickly becoming very popular among most aquarists but many fishkeepers still prefer the hang-on type fish tank heater. For them, this product is a breath of fresh air.
It features an incredibly sleek design that would look great inside any aquarium you decide to hang it in. It blends into the environment wonderfully and does a great job of heating the aquarium.
The hang-on hook that comes with it makes it very easy and simple to mount the heater onto your fish tank no matter what its shape or size is.
Features of Finnex Electronic Controller Aquarium Heater
- Comes in six different wattages ranging from 50 watts to 500 watts
- Titanium tube
- External analog temperature control
- Appropriate for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums
- Hang-on hook
- Easy to mount
- Precise control
- Cost-efficient heating
- Very short warranty period
If you’re looking for a hang-on fish tank heater as opposed to a submersible one, this product is definitely for you. It’s incredibly lightweight for its operating capacity and the external controller makes it very easy to adjust.
6. Best Fast-Heating Fish Tank Heater - Fluval E Electronic Heater Review
The Fluval E electronic heater is a wonderful piece of equipment that really took us by surprise because of how well it performed in many of our different-sized aquariums.
It features an incredible colored display which flashes with different colors in case it detects temperatures going out of the optimal range.
It has a safety shut-off feature and also comes equipped with a fish guard that protects fish and invertebrates from touching the fish tank heater.
Most fish tank heaters take about 4 to 6 hours to fully heat an aquarium but this one was able to heat our fish tank in about 3 hours which was incredibly surprising to us.
Features of Fluval E Electronic Heater
- Available in three wattages: 100 watts, 200 watts and 300 watts
- Dual temperature sensors
- LCD temperature display
- Temperature range: 68 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 34 degrees Celsius)
- Colored display alert system
- Slim, compact design
- Easy-to-read display
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Setting it up horizontally may cause you to void the warranty
If you want a heater that can quickly heat up your aquarium then, look no further than this product. It’s impeccably designed so that no mishap ever happens while it’s in use and it comes with an incredibly long warranty period.
7. Best External Fish Tank Heater - Hydor In-Line External Heater Review
The Hydor In-Line External Heater is a wonderful piece of equipment that is for people who don’t want their heaters to be submerged inside their aquariums.
It’s a heater that connects between your filter and aquarium and it does a very effective job of heating the filtered water before it enters your aquarium.
There’s a dial on it which is easy to grip that you can utilize to set the appropriate temperature you want.
Having a heater outside your aquarium as opposed to inside it also means your fish will have a lot more room to explore and swim around.
Features of Hydor In-Line External Heater
- Comes in two wattages: 200 watts and 300 watts
- Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums
- Comes with necessary tubing
- Easy to install
- Easy to use
- Safe from overheating
- Readings are usually off by a degree or so
- Not suitable for smaller aquariums
If you’re looking for an external in-line heater that’s incredibly simple to install, this is the product for you. It’s beautifully built to last you a long time and it has a self-limiting PTC heating element that prevents it from overheating.
Do I really need a fish tank heater?
That all depends on the type of fish you have. If you have coldwater fish such as Koi or Goldfish, you won’t require a fish tank heater (unless you live in an overly cold region).
However, if you’re planning on keeping tropical fish such as Minnows, Carps, Cichlids, etc. then you’re going to need a fish tank heater. These fish require a very stable temperature of normally somewhere between 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 28 degrees Celsius).
Please do not skimp out on a fish tank heater if you’re intending on keeping tropical fish. Even if you think you’ll be able to maintain the temperature without a heater, you’re still going to need it during the winter or just on colder days. Heaters do a great job of keeping the tank water temperature stable and you definitely don’t want your fish being subjected to colder temperatures as it can lead to several problems such as lethargy, weakened immune systems, and even death.
Are fish tank heaters safe?
If you buy your fish tank heater from a reliable and reputable brand, you can be sure that they’ve taken every precaution to make your heating equipment safe. It’s important that you take important precautions as well such as turning it off at least 30 minutes before any water changes or regular cleaning within your aquarium.
Unfortunately, mishaps can happen as no aquarium equipment is bound to work 100% consistently 100% of the time but if you take the necessary precautions, you can dramatically decrease the chances of anything bad ever happening.
What are some things to think about when buying a fish tank heater?
There are some aspects you should ponder over before going out to buy a fish tank heater as they can help you make your decision easier about which fish tank heater to buy. Some factors to think about when shopping for a fish tank heater are:
Heaters can be a very dangerous piece of equipment if they malfunction so you need to ensure that the fish tank heater you’re getting is reliable and is constructed well from high-quality materials that will not break down over time.
It’s a good idea to look at reviews online to make sure that the fish tank heater you’re getting doesn’t have a lot of negative reviews about it malfunctioning or breaking down.
Also, try to get one that comes with a warranty so that even if it does break down, you’re able to get a replacement or some sort of compensation for your troubles.
This goes without saying but of course, you want to get a heater that is able to accommodate the size of your aquarium. It’s important to think about the operating capacity of a fish tank heater in terms of the size of the fish tank. If you get one that’s too small for your fish tank, it won’t be adequate enough and will be a waste of money. If you get one that’s too big, it might be overkill and you may end up increasing your tank water’s temperature to a dangerous level.
Normally, the rule of thumb is to get a fish tank heater that operates anywhere between 2.5 – 5 watts per gallon. So, if you have a 20-gallon aquarium, you should get a fish tank heater that operates anywhere between 50 and 100 watts.
If you’re unsure what the wattage of your fish tank heater should be, we suggest getting a fish tank heater that is adjustable. That way you can tweak it according to your liking so it works well with your aquarium.
What are the different types of fish tank heaters available in the market?
The different types of heater available in the market are:
These are the most common types of heaters. An Immersible heater is also known as a hanging heater because it features a heating element that hangs within the water in order to heat it. These types of heaters are usually very cost-effective.
These heaters are completely submerged within the water inside your aquarium. Just make sure they aren’t touching the substrate or any aquarium decorations and that your fish have plenty of room to swim around them.
An in-line heater is installed between your filter and your aquarium. It heats up the filtered water before it enters your fish tank. These are normally very efficient for larger aquariums.
They are a lot less common and have started to go out of style because they’ve been proven to be ineffective compared to other types of heaters. They work by having a heating coil at the bottom of the fish tank which heats up the substrate.
How do I set up my fish tank heater?
Here are some easy steps to set up your fish tank heater:
- Examine the heater before installing to make sure nothing is broken.
- Find a suitable location for your fish tank heater in your aquarium. Make sure the glass is clean at that location.
- Use suction cups provided by the manufacturer to firmly mount the fish tank heater to your aquarium.
- Let your fish tank heater lie within your aquarium for 15 to 30 minutes before turning it on.
- Turn your heater on and adjust it to the desired temperature.
- Keep monitoring the temperature over a 24-hour period to make sure nothing unusual is happening. Take the necessary steps if anything does happen. If not, you’ve just successfully set up your fish tank heater.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can my fish hurt themselves if they touch the heater inside the aquarium?
Normally, fish tank heaters’ bodies don’t get hot enough to burn fish unless there’s some issue with the equipment. Be sure to get your fish tank heater from a reputable brand that does not have problems like overheating. Other than that, many fish tank heaters even come with guards that protect the fish from even coming close to the fish tank heater.
Where should I place my fish tank heater on my aquarium?
It’s a good idea to position your fish tank heater near an inlet or circulation pump. This will ensure even distribution of heat throughout your aquarium.
Most submersible heaters can be placed horizontally near the bottom of your fish tank but you can also place them vertically if you wish.
How much energy does a fish tank heater normally use?
As we discussed above, the rule of thumb is to get a fish tank heater that works at somewhere between 2.5 watts and 5 watts per gallon. So, the amount of energy that your fish tank heater consumes really depends on how big of an aquarium you have.
Should I leave my fish tank heater on indefinitely?
Yes. Most heaters are intended to stay on 24/7. They shut themselves off and turn themselves on as needed in order to keep the aquarium’s temperature stable.
There do exist fish tank heaters that merely heat up an aquarium and you have to manually switch them off and turn them back on according to the aquarium’s temperature but we highly recommend that you stay away from such kinds of heaters as they can be very dangerous and are very tedious to operate.
What’s a reliable way to monitor whether my fish tank heater is doing its job effectively or not?
We highly recommend getting a thermometer. Most fish tank heaters come with a built-in thermometer but will still suggest that you invest in a separate one. Place this thermometer as far away from your fish tank heater as possible inside your aquarium and monitor it in order to find out whether your fish tank heater is doing its job or not.
Can my fish die if the water gets too hot?
Yes, this can happen if the temperature becomes drastically high. Fish breathe through oxygen that’s dissolved in the water. Warmer water tends to hold less oxygen and thus, your fish start having trouble breathing.
Can my fish die if the water gets too cold?
Yes. Cold water can lead to lethargy in fish. They may start refusing to eat the food you give them, may go into hibernation and eventually, starve themselves to death.
How long does it take for a fish tank heater to start working?
It normally takes about 4 to 6 hours. It takes even longer if you don’t have anything to circulate or move the water such as an air pump, filter, airstone or a circulation pump.
Can I put a fish tank heater in a plastic fish tank?
Yes. You can definitely use a fish tank heater in a plastic fish tank without having to worry about the heater melting the plastic or anything of the sort. Water is a great insulator and the heat does not nearly get high enough to damage your fish tank in the slightest.
Do tetras need a fish tank heater?
Yes. Tetras are tropical fish that require the temperature to be between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, you’re going to have to invest in a fish tank heater if you plan on keeping Tetras.
Heaters can be a complicated piece of equipment to buy and you definitely want something reliable as this is something that can kill your fish if you don’t buy the appropriate one.
After much deliberation, we’ve decided that the Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater is definitely the best of the bunch. It’s incredibly effective, it heats up aquariums very quickly and is extremely easy to use.
This brings us to the conclusion of our post for the best fish tank heaters.
Give us feedback and let us know what heater you’re using for your fish tank.