Aquarium HeatersThe care and maintenance of a home fish tank is not to be undertaken lightly but has it’s rewards as well. The best piece of advice for a successful fish tank is to make sure you setup and maintain the tank properly. Make sure that you use an aquarium heater, to maintain the proper water temperature for the type of fish you plan to keep.
Aquarium HeatersLee Dobbins
Fish are "cold blooded", meaning that they can't maintain their body temperature, and therefore most need their water to be heated. Coldwater fish, like Betta's and goldfish like their temperatures to be between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit, so if your keep your home at that temperature all year long you may not need a heater.
Tropical fish, being from the tropics, prefer a warmer climate and should have their water between 75 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is critical to purchase a good, reliable aquarium heater since fluctuating water temperatures can make your fish sick or kill them! Corals in particular do not tolerate temperature fluctuations, so it doesn't pay to get the cheapest aquarium heater since in the long run you could pay the price in lost fish.
Generally, you will need 5 watts of heater for each gallon of aquarium, so if you have a 20 gallon aquarium, you will need a 100 watt heater. In a large aquarium it is recommended that you divide the load up between 2 heaters so the water gets heated evenly (and also if one fails you at least have some heat until you can get to the store to replace it). So for the 20 gallon tank, you might want to buy 2, 50 watt aquarium heaters and place them at opposite ends of the tank. If you keep your house very cold, you may want to get a higher wattage heater since the colder the room, the harder the heater will have to work in order to keep the tank at optimal temperature.
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