Controlling the temperature of a fish tank is an important part of any fish tank set up. While there are many cheap options in the market, they do come with a higher cost. Specifically, most of them will either fried or electrocute your fish! Having my fair share of such low grade but cheap heaters, I now only for titanium ones. I find they tend to perform much better and is actually a more value for money product.
Here are 3 of my recommendations. All of them have overall good performances but each of them has one or two downside that you need to be aware of.
The Catelina heater is one amazing piece of accessory. The speed which it can heat up is impressive and you can do it for tanks of any size. My friend borrowed this from me for his 275 galleon tank and he says it heat up the whole thing with no issue at all. That, for me says it all. If you want a reliable heater, then this is a great option.
Besides a powerful heating element, the Catalina heater has also good built quality. I had it for 2 years so there has been no issue so far. If you read the Amazon reviews, most of them are saying the same thing. In the long run, it feels I am saving more money buying a good quality heater like this, rather than buying cheap ones that need replacement every year.
There are other thoughtful designs that make it easy to use. For example, the temperature control is actually outside the tank so you don’t have to stick your hand into the tank anymore. The overall design is also pretty slim, which means it takes up little space in your aquarium.
Unfortunately, no product is perfect so here are the 2 shortcomings I can see.
First, it is important to place the heater is a right position to control the temperature correctly. You will need to monitor on the first few days to ensure everything is ok before leaving it on auto pilot. If you are new to aquariums, this step might be a bit daunting.
Second, the packaging seems cheap even thought the product isn’t. This is not a deal breaker but thought I should let you know.
A lot of what I have said about Cataline heater applies to this Finnex Tube Heater as well. It is well made and more importantly, is able to heat up aquariums effectively. Once at the desired temperature, this heater can maintain so that it is more stable for fishes. Some heaters can heat up but can’t maintain so the temperature will rise and fall frequently, which is not ideal.
In terms of maximum, it can reach above the 92 F that is the ceiling on most of the heaters in the market. For fishes that require a hotter water, the Finnex heater will be ideal. In this area, the Finnex comes out on top as the Catelina can only reach around 94 F.
The Finnex tube heater is also slim in design and can be placed in most positions in the fish tank.
The only complaint I have for this heater is that it doesn’t come with a controller, like what the Catalina will provide. Without it, the heater will continue to heat up the water until your fishes are fried! So, when buying the Finnex, remember to get a controller to go with it. You have been warned!
Viaaqua heater is another good choice although it will not be my top recommendation. Why? The set up is more complicated than the 2 models above because it has 3 parts that you need to link together. One is the heating unit, the other is the sensor and the third one is the controller. The good news is that once they are linked, it works very well as one unit.
There is another downside you should note. The temperature will reset back to 79 F once the power is off such as when you are changing water. I heard that some folks fishes got killed because they forgot to reset the temperature to the right level after cleaning their tank.
Other than these 2 cons, the unit functions as good as Catalina and Finnex. It can heat up water well and hold the temperature steady. One thing good about this, relative to the other models, is the digital display. It makes tuning the temperature much easier and more accurate.
If you have a biocube 29, this particular heater will fit well. I mention this as the Biocube tank has limited height and not all heaters can be used.
One thing you might be wondering is why the focus on Titanium heater rather than glass heater. The reason is due to the some of the benefits that the former will convey. Below are the more detail breakdown of their pros and cons
As you can see, there are plenty of pros buying a titanium heater, which is why I focused on recommending them instead of the glass ones.
Maintaining the temperature of your fish tank is a must do activity. I rather get a good heater that can hold the temperature and is dependable, even though it might be more expensive. Cheap ones will cost you less initially but you pay for it in terms of troubles down the road.