There are various types of aquarium heating and cooling systems on the market, and they’re not all created equally. So before you buy any heater or fan for your saltwater aquarium, take some time to look at what’s out there. Think about the size and placement of your aquarium and the number of people who will likely be using it. You’ll also want to think about the cost and whether the investment will be worth it in the long run.
There are two primary types of aquarium heating systems- surface-mounted and water-impermeable. Both types have their pros and cons. Before choosing a system, you should decide how many gallons of water your aquarium can safely contain. It’s also a good idea to get a gauge to determine the right temperature for your aquarium.
You can choose from an array of aquarium heaters that use electricity or gas to power them. Electric aquarium heaters are inexpensive and easy to operate. Just turn it on, and it should do the job just fine. But if you want true instant energy, you’ll probably want to invest in a high-voltage system. Water-impermeable aquarium heaters are usually not very expensive, but they tend to take up more room than electric units because of the special housing and the pipes involved.
But even if you have both types of units, you may still need a thermostat to maintain a constant temperature. Thermostats control temperatures and are easy to use with aquarium tanks. Tankless aquariums, by contrast, don’t have temperature controls on the tanks themselves. They use a heating element that “freezes” the water between the heater and the tank so that the temperature inside the aquarium is constantly monitored.
As aquariums heat up and cool down, you’ll need a way to monitor their temperature. The easiest way to do this is to place a special thermostat inside the aquarium. Most of them are rectangular and about an inch by an inch. These thermostats come with built-in thermometers and read a resistance value to determine what temperature the water is holding at any given moment. You simply program it to your desired temperature and then leave it to regulate the temperature as the aquarium heats and cold shrinks. Some people even use it as a safety device to make sure that aquarium plants don’t overheat.
You also need to pay attention to how you “cool” your aquarium. If you’re using a tankless aquarium, you can remove the top of the tank and attach a hose to the rear of the aquarium, then set the aquarium on top of the hose and gently push it down into the aquarium. This takes the full heat of the tank and forces it down through the hose to the aquarium, where it warms up and pumps the water into the fish tank. Some tankless units require the fish to be in water for a period of time before it will cycle through the cooling process; check with the manufacturer for specifics.
Heater type is another important factor when choosing aquarium heating equipment. One of the easiest ways to heat an aquarium is by using an aquarium heater, which sits directly on top of the aquarium and pumps in the heated air. You can choose from many different types of aquarium heaters; you can get ones that can be plugged into a standard wall outlet, ones that require a power adapter to be plugged into the electrical grid, and ones that are solar powered and work off of energy from the sun. Many of the solar powered models allow the user to set the temperature they want and then have the unit automatically turns on and run while the aquarium is being heated. Solar powered units are generally easy to operate and require no maintenance.
Whatever aquarium heater type you choose, you’ll want to make sure that it has a temperature gauge that is reliable. Some aquarium heaters have digital temperatures, so you can monitor the water temperature yourself; however, if this isn’t possible, you should be able to judge how the tank is doing by looking at the numbers on the digital display. The best indication of water temperature is when the water looks dark gray, and the bottom of the tank is not moving. If you do not see any signs of growth on the bottom of the tank, or if the bottom of the tank is moving, you probably do not need an aquarium heater at all. A bulb or light will usually do the job just fine.