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Top Five Beginner Heaters

Updated 2023

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 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 76 degrees as a backup. And if you really want peace of mind, invest in a cost-effective temperature controller. The Bayite 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 more affordable choices available as well.

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. ViaAqua Quartz Heater 50W-300W ~ $14-$18

At the #5 spot, we have a budget-friendly heater that I haven’t personally used. This heater is designed to be installed vertically and, like all heaters, it’s highly recommended to pair it with a temperature controller for added safety.

Most thermometers, unless they are high-end, have a 1-2 degree temperature swing. While this isn’t necessarily harmful, maintaining a more consistent temperature for your livestock can reduce stress.

The Via Aqua Heater is available in four sizes, so make sure to choose the appropriate one for your tank:

– 50 watt: 8.2”, suitable for up to 13 gallons
– 100 watt: 10.7”, suitable for up to 25 gallons
– 200 watt: 12.5”, suitable for up to 50 gallons
– 300 watt: 14.8”, suitable for up to 80 gallons

4. Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm Heater 50W-300W ~ $60-$81

Now, let’s talk about the Cobalt heater. While it’s on the expensive side and shares similar failure rates with other heaters, it does have some unique features. The heater is shatterproof, displays both the actual and set temperature, and its slim design allows it to fit into tight spaces.

Although it offers these benefits, I would still recommend investing in a temperature controller, which means you’ll be spending nearly $100 altogether.

Is it worth the price tag? Personally, I lean towards no, but it has its fans. The Cobalt heater is accurate up to 0.5 degrees, making it suitable for those who desire a shatter-proof heater with a distinctive design.

Here are the available sizes and their respective capacity:

– 25 watts, suitable for up to 6 gallons
– 50 watts, suitable for up to 12 gallons
– 75 watts, suitable for up to 20 gallons
– 100 watts, suitable for up to 29 gallons
– 150 watts, suitable for up to 40 gallons
– 200 watts, suitable for up to 55 gallons

3. Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater 100W-300W ~ $17-$20

At #3 on the list is this budget-friendly glass heater, which I currently use in my 40-gallon quarantine tank. Compared to the #5 heater, the glass here seems thicker, and it even comes with a rubber bumper on the bottom for added protection.

While it is fully submersible, like all glass heaters, it requires careful handling as it can be somewhat fragile. To ensure peace of mind, I highly recommend getting two of these heaters and pairing them with the Bayite Temperature Controller. The best part is, you can easily find these items on Amazon.

Here are the available sizes and their corresponding capacity:

– 100 watts: 9”, suitable for up to 30 gallons
– 150 watts: 9.5”, suitable for up to 50 gallons
– 200 watts: 11”, suitable for up to 60 gallons
– 300 watts: 11”, suitable for up to 80 gallons

2. Hygger Titanium Heater & Controller 50W-500W ~ $50-$93

I’ve had great success with Eheim Jager heaters for years, but I must admit that the Hygger Titanium heater is a strong contender for my #1 choice!

However, there are a couple of downsides to consider. First, the temperature probe on the controller isn’t replaceable, so if it malfunctions, you’ll need to buy a new controller. Second, the controller can only be used for one appliance, unlike the Bayite controller, which allows you to plug in both a heater and a cooling fan.

The real selling point of this heater is that it’s made of titanium, making it virtually indestructible. Plus, the fact that you can get a 100-watt heater and controller combo for under $60 is just slightly more expensive than a cheap glass heater with the Bayite controller.

If you’re like me and have a history of breaking glass heaters, it’s worth spending a few extra bucks for the durability of a titanium heater.

Available sizes and their corresponding capacity:

– 50 watts: up to 10 gallons
– 100 watts: up to 25 gallons
– 200 watts: up to 45 gallons
– 500 watts: up to 120 gallons

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