Previous to my current venture I've only had one heated tank; it's got a heater from god-knows-where on it, but it works fine. Now I need a quality heater to put on a 25 gal. Any suggestions for good heaters? I don't really have a budget, but I would prefer things under $50.
I am a fan of the Aqueon heaters. Adjustable, submersable, plastic covered aluminum (no glass) and has red light / green light indicators of operation. For a 25g, you should get a 100w (or 150w) heater for around $20-$25.
The Tetra or Top Fin or whatever are poop. I have used the Tetra in a pinch, and you couldn't give one to me for free. Hate those things. I wouldn't heat up a cup of coffee with those.
I have used (and still use!) old school Marineland Visi-Therm heaters. I have two running on my 55g that are ten years old. They've were in use for about 3 years and stored improperly the rest of the time. And they're still running like a boss! My other Visi-Therm did spring a leak after storage, but that one was was about used for 5 years more than the others. So, they seem like real work horses. Have good reviews. When they die, I'll probably replace them with the Aqueon Pro below.
I just bought a new Aqueon Pro 100W for my 25g. Has good reviews. Since its encased, it seems like a good choice for larger and/or more active fish. And it looks ninja, really doesn't detract from the vista at all.
I've also heard great things about the Hydor Theo. Though, they're ugly as all get out.
My LFS uses all three of these in their tanks, and has for years. So, to me, that's a concrete endorsement.
I don't know about the higher end models, like Fluval, Eheim, JBJ, etc. Maybe someone else can educate us on those.
As an aside, its interesting how the WPG recommendations have changed. It used to be 3-5 WPG depending on size. Now its how many gallons you have AND how many degrees above room them the water needs to be. The new guidelines make much more sense! YAY for logic!
Eheim is my favorite brand but pretty much any brand will do.
IMO heaters often seem to be the shortest lived piece of equipment on a tank. From what I have experience the more you pay for a heater the sooner its going to break. Submersibles while more popular are more problem prone. I use glass heaters ATM and prefer them. I had a hydro theo that tried to cook my fish after two years. I've had two rena smartheaters that didn't make it a year before malfunctioning. A lot of people liked the stealth heater especially with their life time warranty, but there was a very large recall on these heaters earlier this year. My oldest submersible is over 4 years old, but its label is long worn off. It also has a lot of condensation inside it and has for over a year now, but just keeps chugging away lol. I honestly like non-submersible hang on the side heaters. Out of the 6 different heaters I've used my cheap little hagen elite radiant heater is the most reliable and easiest to use. I've even accidentally submersed it and it was pretty easy to fix. If a submersible malfunctions its pretty much trash since you can't really open it up to fix it. Non-submersibles are all too easy to take apart and fix. Heaters have quite simple designs, why they can't make a submersible that works reliably is beyond me. I don't care about looks, equipment has never bothered me much in that since. To me a heater looks like a heater weather is black or glass. With glass ones you can at least see inside them and notice if there is problem down the road. Like with submersibles a lot of time its condensation, they can work for a long time with some condensation inside them, but eventually they are gonna short out or malfunction. Its at least nice to be able to see this coming instead of having those black heaters just die on you one day out of the blue.
I think I'm going to go with an Aqueon. Thanks for all your help, everyone! I'm so happy to have found an active forum! ^-^
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