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Hello.

I am thinking of getting an Aquarium heater for my tropical fish tank but how to I know how many watts heater to get? Is there a general rule of thumb of watts per gallon as far as aquarium heaters are concern?

Thanks.
 

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typically 3-5 watts per gallon is recommended. Where are you located that you're keeping a tropical tank with no heater?
 

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It depends a lot on the temp where the tank is. I've found for my situation all of the guidelines give me a much larger heater than I need. I like to use smaller ones. Less chance of cooking the tank.
 

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+1 on smaller heater so you don't cook tank when it eventually gets stuck on (seems all of mine eventually do this).

How many WPG you need depends on how much above the ambient temperature you want to keep your water. If your house never goes below 70 and you want the tank at 75, you don't need much to heat it. However, if you want your tank at 80, and plan on going on vacation for a week in the winter and leaving the house temp at 55, you'll need a pretty strong heater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
typically 3-5 watts per gallon is recommended. Where are you located that you're keeping a tropical tank with no heater?
Florida. Its like summer year round here.

Basically, I need a heater to fight the cold of my air conditioner.

My goldfish tank(no heater) seem to be kept around 70 degrees naturally.

My tropical I guess should be kept around 75 degrees right?

So we are talking about maybe 5 degrees.

Thanks.
 

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I agree that the greatest consideration should be the ambient temperature of where you're keeping the tank. I prefer the house cold espicaly at night with a sleeping temp of 60-65 and rarely let the house get above 72 during the day. Because of this I'll purchase the next model up from what the manufacture recommends. This poses some issues as you have to play a bit with it to have it sit at your desired temp. For instance one of my heaters is set at 74° to maintain 76° in one tank. Another tank I also have set to 74° but to maintain 78°-79°. The one heater that I remember not having this issue with (regardless of whether it was adequate or overpowered) was the jäger(sp???) heaters. Those I would also purchase overpowered models but they always provided consistent temps. If they were set at 74° and 78° that was the resulting temperatures respectively.
 

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Some people have great luck out of some heaters. Other people have terrible luck out of the same brands of heaters. I guess I'm on the terrible luck side.

I had 2 glass finnex heaters shatter in 2013, then the other 2 glass Finnex heaters died in 2014 (all 4 bought Between November 2012 through January 2013), so I swapped to Eheim Jagers as each of those Finnex heaters died. The last of those Ehiem Jagers were replaced in December 2015, because 2 died in the off position & 1 stuck in the on position. The one that stuck in the on position cooked an entire 54 gallon tank of 2-3 year old fish that were worth a minimum of $400 when bought as babies, so I happily pulled the last functioning Ehiem Jager out of the tank, cut the cord & trashed it. It might have worked for years, & was in a 55 gallon guppy tank, so no huge loss if it failed, but why risk it? I am currently running Hydor inline heaters on 2 tanks & Aqueon Pro heaters on 4 tanks (no glass to potentially break).

The best advice I can give is to research the heck out of it & don't skimp on that heater. Brands that were great many years ago, might be junk now, or maybe only one model is junk & the rest are still great. Research, research, research. Good luck.
 

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@Tazalanche thanks for your reply! It is one of the few I have gotten from many posts over the last week. I didn't even get a notification that you added to the thread.
I now realize that I should subscribe to the thread to be notified when there is new action. If you don't quote a post or use the user name no notification is sent I guess.

I am researching a great deal.. and I am finding what you have experienced. It is a mixed bag of reviews. I am thinking of going with an inline Hydor heater. I am also doing inline CO2. Lots going on under the tank. :)
 

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First off, I prefer Ebo-Jager-Eheim heaters - I have some that are 20 years old. And some that are 10. And some that are 5. I hear good things about Aqueon.

I find most people vastly oversize their heaters - I rarely use anything bigger than a 150. (My 60g in the garage uses a 150w - it was fine until the temperature remained under 50 degrees (in the garage) for consecutive days - then I just threw another heater in it-we all keep spares, right?)

Tropical freshwater fish are used to temperature fluctations. When my clown loach tank hit 92 degrees I started floating ice in it until the heat wave passed. They didn't change their behavior at all - though my synodontis became much more active. In the winter, I let them get to 69 degrees before I add another heater.
The tanks in the house I set at 74 degrees - which means they are off all summer as my AC is set at 75 overnight and 80 during the day. In the winter, the tank heater only has to work to raise 12-14 degrees at most - so I again I use a 100-150w heater for any tank size. If the tank temp drops down to 70 over night a few times.... no biggie. And the bigger the tank, the less drop I get... so again... 100-150w.

I prefer to let my fish have some temperature fluctuations - most people are not comfortable with that - people strive to create ocean like conditions - same temp year round. I find the cooler temps in winter allow fish to live longer - 8-10 year old fish are common for me - and we are talking otocincluses and rainbows and the like, not big bruising cichlids.
Also, what wears out a heater is the constant on/off cycling it does. An oversize heater will click on and off more often than an undersized one - or as I prefer - a proper sized one. Its no different than your home AC unit. (also, use two small heaters instead of one big heater - can't cook your fish that way)

Lastly, as others have said, it depends on where your tank is, what fish you have, whether your tank is insulated (Styrofoam on back?), and what range of temperatures that area is exposed to during the day/night.

I hope this helps.
 

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First off, I prefer Ebo-Jager-Eheim heaters
I would have bought a Jager 50W yesterday if the salesperson at the LFS hadn't recommended a 25W for my aquarium. Unfortunately, they didn't have the 25W Jager. I like the Jager's size (I suspect the size of a heating element is important), the calibration feature, and of course its reputation.

The Cobalt NeoTherm looks great too.
 
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