One of the main pieces of aquarium equipment that you will need, especially if you are planning on keeping tropical fish, are aquarium heaters, Canister Filters or as some people refer to as fish tank heaters. Their job is to keep your aquarium water temperature controlled. Fish the same as humans are used to natural fluctuations in environmental temperatures, but heaters will make sure that these differences are not harmful to them.
How are they designed
The design of most aquarium heaters is pretty basic, having two components which comprise of a heating element and a thermostat. Just as in your home, the thermostat can be set to maintain a specific temperature. When the water temperature drops below a certain level, it kicks on and heats up the water.
What types are available
There are basically three types of aquarium heaters, and they include glass immersion heaters, under gravel heaters and under tank heating. Each one has a purpose and advantages and disadvantages.
The most popular and inexpensive type is the glass immersion heater. These heaters are made up of a heating element inside a glass tube. If you have a smaller aquarium, then one of these should do the trick. If the tank is larger, than 2 may work, which will also be good in the event that one should fail.
The under gravel aquarium heater is the one of choice if you have a large amount of plant life in the tank. They work by simply a heating element which works underneath the gravel.
The third type is the under tank heater. This works as a heating mat placed under the aquarium tank. This method though is not the best type, as glass does not conduct heat very well, so you are probably better off with one of the other types.
How do you calculate the size you will need
One thing that you need to calculate is the size heater you will need. A good formula to keep in mind is about 2.5 to 5 watts per gallon of water. If you are not sure, the best advice is to talk to your pet shop pros to help determine the size and temperature for your size aquarium tank.
Heater placement is also an issue. What you should do is to place it by the water flow which will allow the flowing water to be heated and dispersed evenly throughout the tank. Any tank size above 40 gallons should have more than one.
You also need to prevent over heating in the tank, as this could kill your fish very quickly. Every type of tropical fish has their own preferential water temperature, so check for this when you decide which type of fish you want to keep.
Keeping the water temperature in your aquarium tank is so critical, and aquarium heaters are the solution to keeping everything at a constant temperature. Keep your fish healthy as thriving.