Aquatics Unlimited: Articles: Aquarium Heaters
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3

Aquarium Heaters

for the week of 9/10/98

Every year when the weather turns cooler, we begin to receive calls from customers who have sudden outbreaks of "ich" or other disease, or lose fish for no apparent reason. Often, we find these problems to be caused by temperature fluctuations that could have been prevented by a good aquarium heater. As cold-blooded animals, fish are very sensitive to changes in water temperature: a few degrees drop in a 24 hour period can lower their resistance to common infections like "ich;" a larger drop can kill some fish outright.

Selecting a good heater. Heaters vary considerably in price, performance and features. Low-priced models (about $10) generally have poorer quality thermostats, and do not keep the temperature as stable as mid- or higher-priced units - even when new. And as they get older, they become even less reliable. Mid-price heaters (about $15-$20) generally perform adequately for most tanks and have a somewhat longer functional life than low-priced models. The best heaters (about $30-35) generally have more accurate, longer-lasting thermostats, and often include extra features like submersibility and easy-set temperature markings.

Getting the right size. For our Wisconsin climate, a good rule of thumb is to allow about 5 watts per gallon for tanks up to 30 gallons, and 3-4 watts per gallon on larger aquariums. As such, a 30 gallon tanks would typically use a 150 watt heater (30 gallons x 5 watts) and a 55 gallon might use a 200 watt. Too small a heater may lead to chilling on cold nights, while too large a heater could lead to "boiled fish" - especially if the heater is of poor quality or getting old.

Heater Placement. Water current ditributes heat, so place the heater near an outside power filter, water pump, or aerating device. This will not only prevent hot and cool spots in the aquarium, but will also extend the life of the heater by reducing the number of times the thermostat kicks on or off.

Check Temperature Regularly. Even the best, most expensive heater doesn’t last forever. As the thermostat wears, tank temperatures begin to fluctuate more and more drastically. Finally, the thermostat may "stick," causing the heater to remain on and raise the temperature well beyond the safe range. If a stable tank temperature gets harder and harder to maintain, it may be time to replace the heater.

"Tip of the week" appeared regularly in 1999 and 2000.

Copyright © 1998 Aquatics Unlimited
All rights reserved.

Local Specials

Through 2-25-18

Zebra Danio, Gold Zebra Danio, White Tetra & Black Tetra ONLY $1!

Discus 10% OFF!

Driftwood 10% OFF!

Select Clownfish 50% OFF!

Select Saltwater Snails 20% OFF!

Select Piranhas $9.99!

Buy 3 Shrimp & a Morimo Ball Get a Free Java Moss Cup!

2.5 Gallon Tank $13

5.5 Gallon Tank $14

10 Gallon Tank $17

15 Gallon Tank $35

20 Gallon High Tank $36

20 Gallon Long Tank $36

29 Gallon Tank $56

30 Gallon Tank $66

30 Gallon Breeder Tank $75

37 Gallon Tank $76

38 Gallon Tank $82

40 Gallon Breeder Tank $95

45 Gallon Tank $107

50 Gallon Tank $151

55 Gallon Tank $117

65 Gallon Tank $159

75 Gallon Tank $148

90 Gallon Tank $255

120 Gallon Tank $414*

125 Gallon Tank $342*

150 Gallon Tank $591*

180 Gallon Tank $715*

210 Gallon Tank $808*

65 Gallon Overflow Tank $249*

75 Gallon Overflow Tank $280*

90 Gallon Overflow Tank $336*

120 Gallon Overflow Tank $556*

125 Gallon Overflow Tank $478*

150 Gallon Overflow Tank $779*

180 Gallon Overflow Tank $852*

210 Gallon Overflow Tank $953*

Select Aqueon Pine Black Stands 20% OFF!

REWARDS account may be required for special pricing. You may sign up and use the special pricing the same day!

* = SPECIAL ORDER; 100% deposit required

** = while supplies last

*** = specially marked tanks only; selection may vary during the sale

Aquatics Unlimited | 3550 S. 108th Street | Greenfield, WI 53228
Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. | Phone: 414-543-2552 | Fax: 414-543-4929