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By Lorraine | 16 March 2020 | 0 Comments

What Kinds of Aquarium Heaters Are There and What Is My Fish Tank Heater For?

An aquarium heater is a kind of fish tank equipment used to maintain the temperature of the fish tank water, or more precisely, to prevent the temperature of the fish tank from falling below a certain temperature.

Most aquariums have heaters, but people often ask questions about these very common fish tank equipment. There are several types of aquarium heaters, internal (the heating element is in the fish tank) and external (the heating element is not in the fish tank). There are two types of external heaters: in-line heaters and in-filter heaters, although in-sump heaters are occasionally mentioned. There are three types of internal heaters: hanging, submersible, and substrate. All heaters also need a
 thermostat to switch the heater on and off as necessary to maintain the desired temperature.

Hanging Aquarium Heaters

Hanging heaters are the most common and cheapest heaters. Nearly all aquariums are equipped with a hanging heater to help newly aquarists maintain the correct water temperature for freshwater tropical fish.
These heaters (as the name suggests) hang from the top edge of the fish tank, usually behind the fish tank, and have a glass tube with a heater element inside. A hanging heater requires you to make an opening in the fish tank cover to accommodate the heater's head, but most fish tank covers have a section designed to accommodate a hanging heater or filter.
It is also important to ensure that your safe heater is right for the aquarium so it doesn’t get knocked about, as this can break the glass sheath on the heater, posing the risk of electric shock to you and your fish, and even the risk of fire.
It's important to note that hanging heaters are not suitable-or even dangerous-for marine or brackish water aquariums, as salt can enter the tube and cause corrosion or electrical shorts.

Submersible Aquarium Heaters

The submersible aquarium heater can be completely immersed in the water of the aquarium. Because these heaters are fully submersible, they are usually more effective than hanging fish tank heaters. These heaters can be placed in the lower water areas. Submersible aquarium heaters can be placed vertically, horizontally, or at an angle, but vertical or horizontal placement works best. If your submersible heater has an internal thermostat, it is usually more efficient if you position it horizontally in the tank, and fairly low in the water column. This will help the thermostat get an accurate reading on the tank temperature and correctly activate and deactivate the heater.
Submersible heaters are usually attached to the rear of the tank with a suction clip. It is important not to keep the heater close to the gravel, as the difference in thermal conductivity between water and gravel can cause the heater's glass to crack. It is also worth noting that you leave enough space between the heater and the side of the gravel and water tank to ensure that no fish will get caught against the heater and get burned.

Aquarium Substrate Heaters

The least common internal aquarium heater is the aquarium substrate heater whether for hobby or pet keeping. The substrate heater consists of a coil or grid of wire in an insulator buried in aquarium gravel or substrate. The wire itself is the element for the heater, and when the heater is on, this wire becomes warm and heats the gravel in the tank. The heat is then radiated from the gravel to warm the water. When the water becomes warm enough, the thermostat will switch the heater off.
Substrate heaters are considered a particularly beneficial planting tank, where gravel may act as an insulator, keeping plant roots too cold. With a substrate heater, this problem is alleviated because the heater keeps the gravel well and warm and keeps the plant's roots comfortable.

In-Line Aquarium Heaters

In-line aquarium heaters are external aquarium heaters, which are self-contained but located on or along a part of an external pipe. This is usually a pipe for an aquarium filter or other external aquarium equipment.
In-line aquarium heaters require a water pump to pass water through them. All heaters require water flow. The water is drawn from the water tank, through a tube or pipe, through a heater, and the heated water is returned to the water tank.

In-Filter Aquarium Heaters

Some models of fish tank filters are usually canister filters, but sometimes there are power filters or other types of filters with built-in heating elements. These heaters heat the water passing through the filter and return the heated and purified water to the aquarium. Because these filters are inside the filter and are usually integrated with the filter, they are called in-filter heaters.

In-Sump Aquarium Heaters

Occasionally you may have heard of in-sump aquarium heaters or sump heaters. Usually, this type of heater in the aquarium is nothing more than a submersible aquarium heater installed in the water tank of the trickle filter, not in the aquarium itself. This configuration provides better safety for fish by minimizing the risk of aquarium heaters. More and more militant fish such as Oscars make it less likely to crash or fall into the aquarium heater and break it. It is unlikely that the aquarium heater will be compensated while the aquarium is cleaned and the fish is caught in the back of the aquarium heater and burns.

Other Considerations

It is important to make sure that your fish tank heater is set up so that the fish is less likely to get caught between the heater and other things, such as decoration, the sides of the fish tank, or gravel from the fish tank. It is also critical to ensure that there are enough other hiding places in the fish tank through proper aquarium decoration so that the fish does not feel that the only hiding place is against or behind the heater. A fish that gets stuck between the aquarium heater and something else is definitely at risk getting severely burned, and even fish that feel there is no place else to hide can receive life-threatening burns from your aquarium heater.
Make sure there is water between the tank heater and other surfaces, especially around the components inside the heater. If the glass sheath of an aquarium heater comes in contact with aquarium glass, gravel, or decorations, this may cause glass temperature gradients and cause the glass to break. This exposes you and your fish to electric shock and may pose a fire hazard.
When you first set up your fish tank, or when you get a new heater for your aquarium, remember to always let the new aquarium heater sit in the water of the fish tank, with the heater properly set up for at least half an hour. Turn the heater or start setting the thermostat afterward. This will give the heater time to reach temperature equilibrium and prevent the glass from cracking due to temperature differences when the heater elements are activated. Also, it is important to make sure that the heater has been unplugged for half an hour or more before removing it from the fish tank. Make sure the glass is cool. It is impossible to break the glass in contact with air (or other surfaces) or due to water evaporation and prevent the heater damage from causing damage by burning or melting anything it may be set on.
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