As cold-blooded animals, pet turtles need a little extra help from their owners to regulate their body temperatures. A tank heater is an essential item that should be included in all turtle tank setups. As you shop for tank heaters, you’ll come across many different options, and they’ll all have unique features and varying wattages. Our reviews will help you sift through some of the best turtle tank heater options so that you can find the best fit for your turtle tank.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Aqueon Pro Aquarium Heater||
|Best Value||Fluval Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater||
|Premium Choice||Cobalt Aquatics Electronic Aquarium Heater||
|OASE Indoor Aquatics HeatUp Adjustable Fish Heater||
|Aquatop Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater||
The 10 Best Turtle Tank Heaters
1. Aqueon Pro Aquarium Heater – Best Overall
|Wattage Options:||50W, 100W, 150W, 200W, 300W|
The Aqueon Pro Aquarium Heater is the best overall turtle tank heater for most tank setups. It’s an adjustable tank heater that has a temperature range of 66°F to 88°F. The temperature dial allows you to make adjustments by 1 degree so that you can make the most precise temperature changes to your tank. The heater also has an LED light that turns red when heating and green when it’s stopped heating.
Another great thing about this heater is its safety features. The body is made with durable shatter-resistant material. It automatically shuts off to prevent overheating and will also shut off if the temperature dial touches the bottom of the tank.
The only downside of this heater is that it can be a bit finicky. It’s important to position it correctly in your tank and ensure that the body is fully submerged, as improper positioning can cause the heater not to heat the tank to the right temperature.
2. Fluval Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater – Best Value
|Wattage Options:||50W, 100W, 150W, 200W, 300W|
If you have a basic tank setup and don’t need a bunch of fancy features, the Fluval Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater is the best turtle tank heater for the money. This submersible tank heater is made with a high-density ceramic heating element, and it’s safely encased in shatter-resistant borosilicate glass.
The design is a bit bulkier and longer than other tank heaters, and it may be too long for smaller tanks. However, it’s made with reflective technology to make it less visible inside a tank. The heater comes with dual suction cups for easy installation inside the tank. It also has a 3-year warranty.
3. Cobalt Aquatics Electronic Neo-Therm Pro Submersible Aquarium Heater – Premium Choice
|Wattage Options:||25W, 50W, 75W, 100W, 150W, 200W|
If you’re looking to splurge a little, the Cobalt Aquatics Electronic Neo-Therm Pro water heater is a viable and reliable option. Don’t let its look fool you. Though it has a wider design than most other submergible tank heaters, it lies flat and can easily be hidden behind some aquatic plants or tank décor. It’s also shatter-proof, and its built-in thermal protection circuitry will automatically shut down to prevent overheating.
This heater has a very sensitive thermometer that can detect temperatures within a plus-minus range of 0.5 degrees. Its LED display simultaneously indicates the heater temperature setting and the current water temperature.
4. OASE Indoor Aquatics HeatUp 50 Adjustable Fish Heater
|Wattage Options:||25W, 50W, 100W, 150W, 200W, 300W, 400W|
OASE creates tank heaters with a wide range of wattages, so you’ll have an easier time finding an appropriate heater for your tank size. This heater has a temperature range of 66°F to 90°F, and it has a secondary temperature dial to help you make precise temperature settings. Once you set the temperature, the heater’s bi-metal technology will automatically monitor and control temperature levels. The LED light will indicate when the heater is working. The heater also has a thermal shut-off switch to prevent overheating. In addition, the technology and design of this heater are also energy-efficient to help you save on your electricity bill.
Overall, this tank heater has a safe and sleek design. However, it doesn’t include a thermometer, so you’ll have to purchase a separate one as an added safety measure to ensure the tank temperature is always at the right setting.
5. Aquatop Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater
|Wattage Options:||50W, 75W, 100W, 150W, 200W, 250W, 300W|
The Aquatop Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater has a slim and sleek design and is made with high-quality insulated glass. It’s extremely user-friendly and easy to set up. Once you install this heater in your tank, you can make temperature adjustments simply by turning the temperature dial. The thermometer is large and easy to read, so you can quickly know if you need to make any adjustments to the tank temperature.
This tank heater is priced on the lower end, and it does lack some of the fancy features you’ll see on more expensive heaters. However, it reliably gets the job done. So, it’s still a considerable option, especially if you already have other tank accessories and just need your tank heater to do its one job.
6. Eheim Jager Thermostat Aquarium Heater
|Wattage Options:||50W, 75W, 125W, 150W, 200W, 250W, 300W|
This Eheim Jager Thermostat Aquarium Heater has a simple and straightforward design. It’s one of the more budget-friendly options, and although it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, it’s capable of performing all the basic functions. It has an easy-to-read control lamp and is fitted with a safety layer made of laboratory glass that also increases the heating surface in your tank. It also has an automatic dry run shut-off to ensure your aquarium doesn’t overheat.
Just keep in mind that the control dial for the temperature can be a little stiff and difficult to turn. It’s also important to properly calibrate the heater and thermometer before submerging the heater in the tank. Improper calibration can cause the heater to give off improper levels of heat.
7. Penn-Plax Cascade Heat Preset Submersible Aquarium Heater
|Wattage Options:||150W, 200W|
This tank heater is easy to install and use. It comes preset to 76°F, but you can quickly change the temperature setting if you need a warmer or cooler tank. The heater is fully submersible and can be positioned both vertically and horizontally. It’s made with heavy-duty, shock-resistant glass and is designed to keep the tank temperature within 1 degree of accuracy consistently.
The only downside of this tank heater is that it only comes in two wattage options: 150 watts and 200 watts. So, it’s not designed to be installed inside smaller tanks or extremely large tanks.
8. ViaAqua 300-Watt Quartz Glass Submersible Heater With Built-In Thermostat
|Wattage Options:||50W, 100W, 200W, 300W|
This tank heater is made with shatter-resistant quartz that’s also protected with waterproof double insulation. It’s fully submersible and has a highly visible thermostat and a light indicator that turns red every time the heater is raising the temperature. The heater core is made of ceramic to help disperse heat evenly.
When using this tank heater, it’s especially important to ensure that it’s fully submerged. Users have reported that it can overheat and break if parts of the glass are exposed. So, make sure to keep an eye on the tank’s water line to make sure the heater always stays completely submerged.
9. Hydor ETH 300 In-Line External Aquarium Heater
|Wattage Options:||200W, 300W|
If you’re looking to make space in your tank or want to clear up the clutter, this external tank heater can help spruce up the appearance of your tank. It currently only comes in two wattage options, so it’ll be too big for smaller tanks, and it requires some assembly. However, you can find easy-to-follow instructional videos to install this heater quickly.
The heater is specifically designed to prevent overheating, and it constantly cycles the water in your tank. It has a high-precision temperature dial, and it also has an automatic shut-off feature if the temperature goes above your desired setting.
10. VIVOSUN Submersible Aquarium Heater With Thermometer Combination
|Wattage Options:||50W, 100W, 200W, 300W, 400W, 500W|
This water tank heater is a viable option if you have a particularly large tank setup because you can purchase models with up to 500 watts of power. This fully submersible heater comes with a separate thermometer to help you monitor and maintain safe water temperature levels in the tank.
The temperature control is made with an intelligent IC chip to ensure tank levels stay within 2 degrees of the current temperature setting. The heater also has a detector that enables it to automatically shut off if it’s not fully submerged so that you don’t have to worry about it overheating. Rather than being made with traditional glass, this heater is made with titanium alloy, so you don’t have to worry about the potential of glass shattering in your tank.
While this heater performs well in the beginning, many users report that its performance starts to fade after about a year. The longevity of this product is inconsistent, so you may have to prepare yourself to purchase a replacement sooner rather than later.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Tank Heater For Your Turtle
It can be overwhelming to purchase a turtle tank heater if it’s your first time shopping for one. Focusing on a few key things will help you stay focused and buy the right kind of turtle tank heater. Here are some factors to consider while shopping.
Finding the correct wattage for your tank will help make maintaining the correct temperatures easier. If the wattage is too low, you risk keeping your tank cold or overworking the heater. If the wattage is too high, you risk overheating your tank. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to use about 2.5–5 watts per gallon. So, 75 watts would be appropriate for a 20-gallon tank, and 150 watts would be appropriate for a 40-gallon tank.
The temperature of your tank water will depend on the species of your turtle. In general, the water temperature for turtle tanks should be between 75°F to 82°F, and the temperature can drop to about 65°F during the nighttime. So, you don’t really have to look for a tank heater with a wide temperature range. Just make sure to talk with your veterinarian to determine the optimal temperature settings for your turtle. Then, you can select a tank heater that meets those requirements.
Most turtle tank heaters are made with some sort of durable glass or quartz. Make sure to check the quality of the tank heater’s casing to ensure it is thick enough and shatter-resistant. You can find some tank heaters that have an extra protective casing or are made with another material, like titanium, to prevent shattered glass from spreading around your tank.
Internal vs External
Most turtle tank heaters are installed internally. They usually come with suction cups so that you can easily stick them to the side of your tank. However, no matter how discreet the design, they’re still fairly noticeable. External heaters help the appearance of your tank look cleaner. However, they require additional setup and usually have to be compatible with your filtration system. External tank heaters may help the interior of your tank have a tidier appearance, but they tend to take up a good amount of space outside of the tank. So, it’s important to have a space where you can hide the heater from view.
Out of our reviews, the Aqueon Pro Aquarium Heater is the best option because it’s easy to use and has all the right safety features in place. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly tank heater with a basic design, the Fluval Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater is a viable choice. If you want to splurge a little, the Cobalt Aquatics Electronic Neo-Therm Pro Submersible Aquarium Heater has a lot of good features that you’ll actually use.
Featured Image Credit: Mehdi Photos, Shutterstock