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Choosing your perfect aquarium heating

There are lots of components to a successful aquarium set-up. Aquarium heating, water filtration, and the nitrogen cycle, are such methods that must be utilized.

Many fish require heated water because they come from a tropical climate and will die if kept in cold tanks. In colder countries like the UK, you need to have a quality tropical tank heater that will keep your fish, and the water they swim in, at the perfect temperature and happy all year round. 

Finding the perfect aquarium heater can seem like a challenge; even a quick Google search for aquarium heaters revels hundreds of brands, makes, models and types. If you do not know what you are looking for, then you might find yourself paying too much for a tropical fish heater that is not right for your new fish tank.

To help, I've put together this guide to choosing the perfect tank heating product, so that you can create the ideal environment for your pet fish. 

Types Of Aquarium Heating

Searching for a new aquarium heater will throw up a lot of fancy technical terms and brand names, but in reality, there are  4 main types of aquarium heater:

Aquarium-heatingHeater Inside Tank

1. Immersible tank heaters

    Also known as ‘hang on heaters’, immersible tank heaters hang over the side of the tank. The control panel needs to be out of the water at all times, which can be a challenge for some aquarium owners, as can the setup process, which is long and arduous. 
    Despite these challenges, these solutions are common and cost-effective. As such, they’re popular with beginners who have bought their first aquarium and are looking for new aquarium heaters that will create the perfect water temperature. 

2. Submersible tank heaters

    While slightly more costly than immersible tank heaters, submersible tank heaters have a lot of benefits. They’re easier to configure and can be fully submerged in the water, making them a more discreet option for anyone who doesn’t want a large heater hanging off the side of their fish tank.
Submersible Tank HeaterSubmersible Tank Heater

This type of aquarium heating is slightly costlier compared to immersible heaters. The good news is that it can be completely submerged, inside the fish tank. Configuring temperatures is also not as difficult as the immersible tank heaters.

Perhaps the key feature that attracts most fish hobbyists, to this type of fish tank heater is the fact that it can be hidden from view. 

Therefore, this particular type of heater is quite costly compared to standard ones. The other setback is the fact that you can’t repair these in the case of damage since the tube is totally sealed, and cannot be accessed.

3. substrate Aquarium Heaters

Substrate heaters are composed of wires which run through the bottom panel of the tank and heat the water.

The warmth rises through the tank, keeping your fish at the perfect temperature. These solutions are cost-effective and hidden, so if you don’t want to see your aquarium heater and instead look at your beautiful fish, then this could be the ideal solution for you. 

4. Filter Heaters

Some fish tank air filters come with built-in aquarium heaters, meaning that you can combine the two solutions and save yourself space on your aquarium. These solutions are often costly, but they combine two purposes and last for a long time. As such, you might think of them as an investment.  

choosing The Right Type Of Heater

Initially, you need to consider what sort of heater your new fish tank needs. The amount of heat that your tank will require will depend on its capacity, as the more water there is in the tank, the more power your heater will need to get the tank to the ideal temperature.

You also need to consider the temperature of the room when choosing an aquarium heater. If the room temperature is low and the tank placed near to an exterior wall, then you will need a more powerful heater to keep your fish warm. 

Consider keeping your fish tank near to an external heat source, such as a radiator, and away from exterior walls and openings. By choosing the perfect spot for your fish tank, you’ll reduce the amount of work that your aquarium heater has to put in to keep your fish tank at the right temperature. 

Other factors that you should consider when seeking a new aquarium heater include:

  • The types of fish in your tank : If you have a lot of curious fish that like to nibble, such as barb fish, then you might need a discreet heater that they can’t eat. However, if most of your tropical fish are bottom feeders, then you might find that they get too warm if you install a substrate aquarium heater. Think about the species of fish that you have and their temperament, so that you can choose a heater that suits them. 

  • Cost : Your budget will have a massive effect on the aquarium heater you choose to buy for your new fish tank. If you don’t want to pay a lot for your setup, then choose a cheaper heating solution. However, more expensive models and types of heater could save you money in the long run, so think about the future when selecting your new tank heater. 

  • Appearance : A fish tank isn’t just a home for your pets; it’s also a bold decoration for your home. An impressive aquarium setup can transform your home, so you need to consider the look you’re going for when you choose an aquarium heater. If you want a high-tech setup, then an immersible tank heater might be perfect, but if you’re looking for a sleek, elegant look, then try to find something more discreet, like a substrate or submersible heater. 

Do Your Homework Before You Buy 

The best piece of advice I can give any novice is to research every product on the market before you make your purchase. This approach doesn’t just include your aquarium heater: you also need to research your new fish tank, fish tank accessories and even the fish you put in your tank before you buy anything. 

By doing your homework, you’ll be able to create the perfect fish tank set-up that looks amazing in your home and keeps your new fish happy and healthy for many years to come. 

At Which Fish Tank, I regularly post new articles and reviews of the latest fish tanks and accessories, so you can learn more and find the perfect solution for you.

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