More than 11 million American households have freshwater fish as a pet. They’re the third most popular pet, behind dogs and cats. Although many think fish are an easy pet, there are several things they require to stay healthy.
One of those necessary items is a fish tank heater. Many wonder if you really need a fish tank heater and, if you do, how can you choose the right one with so many options? Continue reading to learn how you can make the best choice for your fish tank.
Do You Need a Fish Tank Heater?
Many people can’t help wondering if a fish tank heater is even necessary for their set up. While it depends on many factors, the majority of fish owners will require a heater. But why?
Most fish purchased as pets are freshwater. They’re naturally cold-blooded and use the water to regulate their body temps. While occasionally fluctuations in temperature won’t do harm, consistently cold water places strain on the fish’s body.
The majority of pet fish do best at water temperatures of 78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is only an average number, however. Be sure to do your research on your specific fish species to determine their optimal tank temperature.
Consider Your Home’s Average Temperature
The water in your fish tank without a heater will be roughly the same as the internal temperature in your home. Consider what you set your thermostat at. It’s essential to know your home’s average temperature when figuring out the right fish tank heater.
Most people will have their homes averaging around 70 degrees, within a degree or two. At this home temperature, you’ll need to raise your tank about ten degrees for optimal fish health.
Basic Formula for Figuring Out the Right Wattage
If you keep your home around the average temperature, you should only need to raise the water about ten degrees. This section will describe how to figure out the right wattage in this situation. If you need to increase your tank temperature by more than 10 degrees (for those who keep their homes cooler), the next section has some extra tips to help.
Experts generally recommend five watts of heat per gallon of water. This is a baseline for raising your tank water about ten degrees. It’s important to note that this formula works best when using premium aquariums with a lid that helps seal heat and condensation.
Using this formula, you would need a 25-watt fish tank heater for a five-gallon tank. A 20-gallon tank would require 100 watts, and a 75-gallon tank would need 400 watts.
What to Do if You Need to Raise Tank Temperature More Than 10 Degrees
Some people keep their homes cooler than 70 degrees. If your home is kept at 65 degrees, you’ll need to raise the tank water more than ten degrees. In this situation, experts recommend simply upgrading to the next available size of heater. For example, you’d use a 50-watt heater for a five-gallon tank instead of a 25 watt.
Do You Have More Questions About Choosing the Right Fish Tank Heater?
Choosing the right heater for your home aquarium involves understanding how to raise the water to the optimal temperature. This can be done using the simple formula described below.
Do you have more questions about choosing the right fish tank heater?
Check out our other blog posts. You’ll find blog posts on related topics to help you dive deeper into the subject.