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Top Five Beginner Heaters

Updated 2024

Heaters, heaters, and more heaters! While they may seem straightforward, there are some differences to consider. You’ve got your glass, plastic, and titanium ones, each with its own perks – as long as they’re well-made and remain unbroken.

Personally, I’ve mainly stuck with glass heaters throughout my entire saltwater aquarium journey. Sure, I’ve had a few accidents and broken some along the way, but I love how quickly and efficiently they heat the water.

Now, here’s a crucial tip: always get the right size, or better yet, buy two that fit your tank perfectly. No matter how well-made they are, all heaters will eventually fail, and you don’t want your livestock at risk. With a larger heater, you risk overheating, and with a smaller one, you risk freezing your fish on a cold winter night.

Here’s my best advice: grab two perfectly sized heaters, set one at 78 degrees and the other at 74 degrees as a backup. And if you really want peace of mind, invest in a cost-effective temperature controller. This Inkbird model is my top choice – it’s truly worth it!

For those on a budget, a glass thermometer is the way to go. Personally, I rely on Eheim Jager heaters for my display tanks, but there are a lot of good glass heaters out there.

Keep in mind that most thermometers may need calibration or could be off by 1-2 degrees, so it’s a good idea to opt for a cost-effective thermometer.

If you’re concerned about the fragility of glass heaters, you might want to explore other options that are less prone to breaking. Enjoy your search for the perfect thermometer!

5. BRS Titanium Heater Element

Rather than summarize, here is the description direct from Bulk Reef Supply!

A Reliable Long-Term Heating Element!

We have been on the hunt for a reliable heating element that solves a lot of the issues we currently have with other heaters in the hobby. We have always had issues with heaters that have built-in controllers and segregating the controller out from the heater allows it to do a single job, keep your tank warm. Each heater is fully submersible and lets you place the heater right where you need it without any compromises. 

  • Shatterproof
  • Fully Submersible
  • Includes Suction Cup Mounts
  • Corrosion Resistant Titanium Body
  • 6-Foot Power Cord
  • 3-Year BRS Warranty

Four Sizes Available:

  • 100W – up to 40 Gallon Aquariums
  • 200W – up to 75 Gallon Aquariums
  • 300W – up to 100 Gallon Aquariums
  • 600W – up to 200 Gallon Aquariums

4. AquaEl Ultra Heater

AQUAEL has created a new generation of aquarium heaters distinguished by their impact-resistant plastic housing and high-precision electronic thermostats, making them ideal for sensitive species and tanks with large and strong fish or water turtles.

  • Temperature Regulation
  • Overheat Protection
  • Fully Electronic
  • High Precision
  • Thermometer Function
  • Unbreakable Housing
  • Dual Suction Cup Mount
  • Ultra-Slim, 1/3″ Thin Profile

The Ultra Heater employs a one-touch control system featuring a single button surrounded by a ring of LEDs to indicate the current and set temperatures. Temperatures can be set in the range from 68-94 °F, making it useful for treating various fish diseases, including ich or white spot. Additionally, the Ultra Heater features a built-in system to prevent overheating and an exceptional degree of accuracy with just +/- 0.25 °C temperature variation.

Power (Watts)25W50W75W100W150W200W
Aquarium Capacity (Gallons)3-7 G (10-25 L)4-13 Gal (15-50 L)9-20 Gal (35-75 L)16-26 Gal (60-100 L)24-40 Gal (90-150 L)34-53 Gal (130-200 L)
Heater Length (in.)6.42″ (16.3cm)6.42″ (16.3cm)8.2″ (20.8cm)8.2″ (20.8cm)10.8″ (27.4cm)10.8″ (27.4cm)
Heater Thickness (in.)1/3″1/3″1/3″1/3″1/3″1/3″
Accuracy (°C)+/- 0.25+/- 0.25+/- 0.25+/- 0.25+/- 0.25+/- 0.25

3. Innovative Marine Helio PTC Smart Heater

The Helio line from Innovative Marine are a new line of aquarium heaters utilizing advanced PTC (positive temperature coefficient) technology to exceed current reef aquarium heater standards for improved safety and reliability. Unlike traditional heating elements that utilize resistance wires to generate heat, the Helio heaters were developed utilizing PTC technology from the aquaculture industry, which relies on solid-state ceramic chips that are programmed to reach a predetermined temperature. Thanks to these smart ceramic chips, the heaters are naturally resistant to overheating, and the PTC smart controller continually communicates with and monitors the heating elements to maintain a stable temperature.

Features

  • Corrosion resistant PTC titanium element
  • Titanium remote sensor
  • Magnetic sensor holder
  • Magnetic heating element holder
  • Fast warm up with low surface temperature
  • Solid State Ceramic Chips regulate heat
  • Long Life, energy efficient
  • Audible Alarm
  • 5 Year manufacturer warranty

Each piece of the Helio heating system was created to work together. The PTC smart controller has been fitted with a titanium remote temperature sensor and dual heating element power lines. Since each heating element has its own built in temperature regulation system, there’s safety in redundancy from the controller’s temperature sensor. And if dual heating elements are employed, there is yet another level of safety added to the system. Commercial grade titanium heating sheaths and screws prevent corrosion. Rare earth magnetic heating element holders allow optimal water flow. Quick disconnects for the controller’s temperature sensors and heating elements make for easy maintenance and upgradeability.

Model

Wattage

# Elements

Tank Size

Element Length

100W Helio

100

1

10-25 gal

5.75 inches

200W Helio

200

1

25-50 gal

7.0 inches

200W Helio (Dual)

200 (2x 100)

2

25-50 gal

5.75 inches

350W Helio

350

1

50-85 gal

15.25 inches

400W Helio 

400

2

50-100 gal

7.0 inches

500W Helio

500

1

85-125 gal

15.25 inches

700W Helio (Dual)

700 (2x 350)

2

100-170 gal

15.25 inches

1000W Helio (Dual) 

1000 (2x 500)

2

170-250 gal

15.25 inches

2. Sicce Scuba Contactless Aquarium Heater

Cutting-Edge Aquarium Heater Technology

  • Available in Multiple Sizes
  • Built-in NFC Technology
  • Shatter-Resistant Glass
  • On/Off Indicator Light

Sicce is elevating the aquarium heater game with their Scuba Contactless heaters. They feature patented “contactless” temperature control, allowing for effortless adjustments and temperature checks via the free ContrAll app. Temperature can be adjusted from 59°F to 95°F with a precision tolerance of just ± 2°F.

On top of that, an energy-saving mode can be activated in the app which will maintain a stable temperature with half the energy consumption once the set temperature has been reached.

 50W100W150W200W250W300W400W
Aquarium Capacity10-15 US Gal20-35 US Gal31-45 US Gal40-60 US Gal53-75 US Gal65-90 US Gal80-125 US Gal
Wattage50 watts100 watts150 watts200 watts250 watts300 watts400 watts
Power Cable Length7.3 feet7.3 feet7.3 feet7.3 feet7.3 feet7.3 feet7.3 feet

1. Eheim Jager TruTemp Heater 50W-300W ~ $24-$33

These Eheim Jager heaters have been a solid choice for me, having owned about 10 of them over time. They’ve never failed me, except when I accidentally drop them and they shatter (my own clumsy fault!). On the bright side, they are quite affordable.

As with any product, you’ll find mixed reviews on Amazon, but that’s the case with all heaters out there. Eventually, every heater will face wear and tear, and no heater is perfectly accurate. That’s why I always emphasize the same points:

1. Buy the correct size heater for your tank.
2. Invest in a second backup heater and set it two degrees cooler.
3. Consider using the Bayite Temperature Controller to safeguard your precious livestock.

These Eheim Jager heaters are fully submersible and come with a calibration dial for a more accurate reading. They are great heaters offered at a decent price, making them an excellent choice.

Available sizes and their corresponding capacity:

– 50 watts: up to 16 gallons
– 75 watts: up to 26 gallons
– 100 watts: up to 40 gallons
– 125 watts: up to 53 gallons
– 150 watts: up to 79 gallons
– 200 watts: up to 106 gallons
– 250 watts: up to 159 gallons
– 300 watts: up to 264 gallons