55 Gallon Fish Tank Full of Water Plants

Top 5 Best 55-Gallon Aquarium Heater 2020 (In-Depth Guide)

As fish are unable to produce their own body heat, they rely on water temperature to prevent them from getting overly warm or cold.

Aquarium heaters are a necessity in certain setups, particularly if you own freshwater fish who originate from hotter climates.

Deciding which type of aquarium heater to use in your tank can be a bit of a head-scratcher, so I’ve put together a list of some of my top recommendations for a 55-gallon aquarium heater.

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Review Summary

Best-All Rounder

Orlushy Submersible 200w Aquarium Heater

It includes adjustable temperature controls and a digital thermostat. You can change the temperature of the heater from 68F to 89F, so it’s suitable for a lot of different types of fish.

Orlushy Submersible 200w Aquarium Heater

This heater is a good selection for most 55-gallon tanks.

Out of all the heaters I’ve reviewed, this one by Orlushy is my top recommendation. It keeps your tank at a consistent temperature and comes with adjustable temperature controls. You also get a digital thermostat with it, which is a nice extra.

Best on a Budget

Aqueon 150w Preset Submersible Heater

The Aqueon 150-watt heater is an affordable option for a 55-gallon tank. It’s small and compact, so it should be easy to hide behind plants and decorations.

Aqueon 150w Preset Submersible Heater

This heater is a good selection for most 55-gallon tanks.

Out of all the heaters I’ve reviewed, this one by Orlushy is my top recommendation. It keeps your tank at a consistent temperature and comes with adjustable temperature controls. You also get a digital thermostat with it, which is a nice extra.

Editor’s Choice

Hygger 300w Aquarium Heater

It’s made from high-quality quartz glass and housed in a plastic guard to provide your fish with extra protection. The highlight of this heater is the impressive number of features it includes.

Hygger 300w Aquarium Heater

My personal favorite choice for a 55-gallon tank. It’s a little pricey but comes with a plethora of features.

This Hygger 300-watt aquarium heater includes a wide range of convenient features. You get a digital controller that allows you to adjust and check the temperature of the heater without getting your hands wet.

Why Do I Need a Heater for my Fish Tank?

Fish cannot produce body heat on their own, so they depend on the temperature of their water to stop them from getting too warm or cold.

An aquarium heater helps regulate the temperature of the water throughout the day and night. Tropical fish require a heater as they originate from warmer climates. For most tropical fish, a water temperature of around 78°F is usually sufficient.

TIP

Some species prefer slightly hotter or colder temperatures, so always double-check the specific care needs of your aquarium’s inhabitants.

What’s Your Tank Size?

The size of your tank is vital for choosing an appropriate heater for your tank. As a rough estimate, you use between 2.5 and 5 watts per gallon of water.

RECOMMENDATION

For a 55-gallon tank, I’d recommend using between a 150-watt and 300-watt heater.

However, this also depends on the type of fish you own and how much the temperature of your water needs to be. 

Aquarium with Different Types of Fish

What Fish Are You Keeping?

The type of inhabitants in your tank is important for working out which wattage heater you should use. If you own fish that live in very warm waters, then a high-watt heater might be a good idea for ensuring the water is heated properly. 

In contrast, if you own coldwater fish, then a heater might not be necessary as long as the room their tank is in remains at a consistent temperature.

Is it Easy to Clean?

Like all aquarium equipment, heaters are prone to getting dirty. Cleaning your heater regularly is crucial for increasing its longevity and making sure it works as intended. 

Before conducting maintenance on your aquarium heater, unplug it first. Cleaning a heater or removing it from your tank while it is switched on can cause it to explode or overheat.

Is it Easy to Set Up?

Installing an aquarium heater isn’t typically very difficult as long as you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Check what type of heater you own to make sure you are setting it up correctly and placing it in the right area.

What Kind of Heater is it?

There are a lot of different types of aquarium heaters you can use in your tank. They all essentially fulfil the same purpose, but some varieties are better for certain setups.

Submersible Heater

Submersible heaters go directly in your tank, normally next to your filter inlet for maximum efficiency. They are housed in a thick plastic or glass casing with a coiled element inside. Most submersible heaters have an LED light that notifies you when the heater is switched on.

Glass submersible heaters are at a higher risk of shattering if they get too hot…

Glass submersible heaters are at a higher risk of shattering if they get too hot. This can occur if the heater is removed from the water without being turned off first.

Hanging/Immersible Heater

This type of heater hangs over the top of your aquarium, with the heating element positioned inside the water. To use a hanging heater, you need a hole in your hood so it can fit snugly over the back of your aquarium.

NOTE

Hanging heaters are normally less effective than other types of heaters. They’re also not the best option for saltwater and brackish tanks.

Substrate Heater/Heating Cable

A substrate heater is typically used in conjunction with another heater. It includes a long heating cable that is affixed to the bottom of your aquarium.

NOTE

Substrate heaters are a good choice in planted aquariums as they increase water movement in your substrate, which is beneficial for your plants’ roots. 

Unfortunately, this type of heater can be expensive and difficult to get hold of.

In-line Heater

In-line heaters are put on the outflow line of your filter. This enables them to warm up the water that is pumped back into your aquarium. 

NOTE

An in-line heater is typically made out of heatproof plastic. As this type of heater requires you to have a large number of components outside of your tank, it is prone to leaking. 

Filter Heater

Some types of filters come with a heater built into their units. This allows the heater to instantly increase the temperature of the water that is deposited back into your tank. 

Goofy Fish Near Red and Green Plant
Goofy Fish Near Red and Green Plant

Where to Place/Install an Aquarium Heater?

Different types of heaters require different placements in your tank to work efficiently. Submersible heaters are positioned inside your aquarium, ideally next to your filter. Hanging/immersible heaters are placed on the back of your tank, with the heating element inside the water.

Different types of heaters require different placements in your tank to work efficiently…

Substrate heaters/heating cables are affixed to the bottom of your tank, and in-line filters are put on the outflow line of your filter. Filter heaters are pretty self-explanatory as they are already installed in your filter!

Do I Need Two Heaters?

For the majority of aquariums, you don’t need two heaters. However, some aquarists prefer to use two heaters in large tanks (normally one on each side of the aquarium) to keep the temperature of the water more consistent.

Additionally, using a heater with an excessively high wattage can cause the unit (and water) to overheat. Some fishkeepers prefer to use two low-watt heaters in their tanks to decrease the chances of this occurring. 

How Much Electricity does an Aquarium Heater Use?

Your electricity provider, the size of your tank, and the wattage of your heater all come into play for calculating how much electricity your aquarium heater uses.

Look at the back of your heater to determine its wattage and multiply the wattage by the amount of hours it is turned on for each day. Then, multiply this number by the number of days in the month, and divide this total by 1000 to work out the overall kilowatts. 

TIP

For example, if you own a 500-watt heater that is turned on for 24 hours each day in a 30-day month, it will use around 360 kilowatts. If your electricity provider charges 10 cents per kilowatt, then your heater should cost around 36 dollars to run each month. 

Do I Need to Check my Heater? 

Checking your heater on a regular basis is important for ensuring there are no faults with the unit. 

Checking your heater on a regular basis is important for ensuring there are no faults with the unit… 

When you first get your aquarium heater, install it and monitor the temperature of your tank to make sure it is working correctly. If your heater comes with a temperature gauge on the unit, use a separate thermostat so you can double-check the reading.

This is especially true for heaters that come with adjustable temperature controls as some don’t always have the most precise reading. It’s a good idea to frequently check your heater’s functionality to avoid any potential disasters.

TIP

Additionally, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when you’re installing your heater. For example, if you’re using a submersible heater, don’t place it outside of your tank!

55-gallon Aquarium Heater Reviews

Best All-Rounder

Orlushy Submersible 200w Aquarium Heater

It includes adjustable temperature controls and a digital thermostat. You can change the temperature of the heater from 68F to 89F, so it’s suitable for a lot of different types of fish.

Orlushy Submersible 200w Aquarium Heater

This 200-watt heater from Orlushy is my overall recommendation for most 55-gallon tanks. It’s also available in lower and higher watts.

My favorite feature about this heater is it includes adjustable temperature controls and a digital thermostat…

My favorite feature about this heater is it includes adjustable temperature controls and a digital thermostat. You can change the temperature of the heater from 68F to 89F, so it’s suitable for a lot of different types of fish. For the most part, the heater is able to regulate the temperature of your tank fairly well.

The heater is made from 2mm thickened quartz glass and is small in design to make it easy to hide in your aquarium. Once the desired temperature of the water has been met, the unit automatically shuts off.

This aquarium heater also has an LED light to notify you when it is actively heating, which is useful. 

NOTE

One of the drawbacks with the Orlushy 200-watt heater is the unreliability of the digital thermostat it comes with. Additionally, the adjustable temperature controls are not always precise.

Specs

  • Aquarium Heater Type: Submersible
  • Material: Quartz glass
  • Size: 11” in length
  • Weight: 14.4 oz (with packaging)
  • Adjustable Temperature Controls: Yes

Pros

  • Adjustable temperature controls
  • Comes with a digital thermostat
  • Works well for keeping aquarium at a consistent temperature

Cons

  • Adjustable temperature controls are not always precise
  • Digital thermostat can be unreliable

Best on a Budget

Aqueon 150w Preset Submersible Heater

The Aqueon 150-watt heater is an affordable option for a 55-gallon tank. It’s small and compact, so it should be easy to hide behind plants and decorations.

Aqueon 150w Preset Submersible Heater

The Aqueon 150-watt heater is an affordable option for a 55-gallon tank. It’s small and compact, so it should be easy to hide behind plants and decorations.

It also comes in a 200-watt version if you require a slightly more powerful heater for your aquarium.

It’s made out of shatter-resistant quartz glass and has an automatic safety switch-off to prevent it from overheating…

It’s made out of shatter-resistant quartz glass and has an automatic safety switch-off to prevent it from overheating. When the heater is turned on, an LED light is activated to notify you. This is useful for spotting faults or problems with the unit.

The heater is preset to 78°F, which is suitable for most tropical species. However, if your tank’s inhabitants prefer slightly warmer or colder water, then this could be an issue as you are unable to adjust the temperature.

NOTE

The main issue with this heater is that it sometimes has difficulty maintaining temperature. It also doesn’t seem to last as long as other heaters, which means its effectiveness declines rather rapidly. 

Specs

Pros

  • Small and compact size
  • LED light indicator to let you know when unit is on
  • Automatically switches off when water has met desired temperature

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with adjustable temperature controls
  • Can have problems with keeping water at a consistent temperature

Editor’s Choice

Hygger 300w Aquarium Heater

It’s made from high-quality quartz glass and housed in a plastic guard to provide your fish with extra protection. The highlight of this heater is the impressive number of features it includes.

Hygger 300w Aquarium Heater

My favorite product on this list is the 300-watt aquarium heater from Hygger. It’s made from high-quality quartz glass and housed in a plastic guard to provide your fish with extra protection.

The highlight of this heater is the impressive number of features it includes…

The highlight of this heater is the impressive number of features it includes. You can adjust the temperature (from 61F to 90F) of the heater using a digital controller. This controller also allows you to check the temperature of your water. 

On the display of the controller, there are two LED lights that light when the heater is actively working and when it is switched off.

Being able to have full access of your heater on a separate device is really convenient. It also means you don’t need to get your hands wet!

When your tank reaches its desired temperature, the unit automatically switches off. Additionally, if the water rises over 97F, the heater also turns itself off. I appreciate this as sometimes heaters can malfunction, which can have disastrous consequences on your tank.

NOTE

My only issue with this heater is that the thermostat isn’t very exact. It can sometimes give you a different reading to the actual temperature of your aquarium.

Specs

Pros

  • Includes a controller to access thermostat and temperature controls
  • Safety features
  • Automatically switches off if temperature of tank gets too hot

Cons

  • Thermostat can be unreliable

Fluval M Submersible 200w Aquarium Heater

Fluval’s 200-watt submersible heater is a good option for a 55-gallon aquarium. It’s made from shock-resistant Borosilicate glass with a high-density ceramic heat stick.

Fluval M Submersible 200w Aquarium Heater

Fluval’s 200-watt submersible heater is a good option for a 55-gallon aquarium. It’s made from shock-resistant Borosilicate glass with a high-density ceramic heat stick.

Due to the slim design of this heater, it is very easy to hide behind plants and decorations. I like that unit is reflective to mirror your tank’s surroundings to make it blend in further.

The Fluval 200-watt heater comes with adjustable temperature controls that span from 66F to 86F, so it’s adequate for a wide range of fish…

The Fluval 200-watt heater comes with adjustable temperature controls that span from 66F to 86F, so it’s adequate for a wide range of fish. You also get a digital thermostat with the heater that enables you to monitor the temperature of your tank.

A slight downfall with this heater is that it struggles to keep larger aquariums at a consistent temperature, particularly temperatures over 82F. This shouldn’t be a huge issue unless your tank’s inhabitants require especially warm water.

NOTE

Strangely, the heater doesn’t appear to be fully submersible as it has a 1-inch line for minimum and maximum water level. This means the top of it has to be positioned slightly above your water line.

Specs

Pros

  • Slim, reflective design
  • Adjustable temperature controls
  • Comes with a digital thermostat

Cons

  • Can have difficulty heating to temperatures over 82F
  • Not fully submersible

MingDak 300w Submersible Aquarium Heater

Made out of titanium metal, MingDak’s 300-watt aquarium heater is explosion-proof and shatter-proof. This means there’s no risk of it cracking from overheating.

MingDak 300w Submersible Aquarium Heater

Made out of titanium metal, MingDak’s 300-watt aquarium heater is explosion-proof and shatter-proof. This means there’s no risk of it cracking from overheating.

Made out of titanium metal, MingDak’s 300-watt aquarium heater is explosion-proof and shatter-proof…

With the heater, you get an external temperature controller that provides you with a quick and convenient way to change the warmth of your tank. It can heat your aquarium from 68F to 94F, so it’s ideal for most species of fish.

The heater features an LED display to let you know the temperature of your tank, as well as indicator lights to notify when the unit is switched on and off.

If the heater gets too hot or detects a water shortage, then it automatically switches off. This is useful if you ever forget to turn off the heater during tank maintenance. 

NOTE

A couple of negatives with the MingDak 300-watt heater are its poor longevity and the unreliability of its temperature controls. The heater doesn’t seem to be as long-lasting as other types of heaters and can often give off an incorrect temperature reading.

Specs

  • Aquarium Heater Type: Submersible
  • Material: Titanium
  • Size: Unknown
  • Weight: 14.4 oz
  • Adjustable Temperature Controls: Yes

Pros

  • Shatter-proof and explosion-proof
  • Adjustable temperature controls
  • Automatically turns off if water gets too hot or shallow

Cons

  • Not as long-lasting as other heaters
  • Temperature controls can be slightly off

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Best-All Rounder

Out of all the 55-gallon aquarium heaters on this list, I think the Orlushy Submersible 200w Aquarium Heater is the most favorable option. It’s not too expensive and comes with adjustable temperature controls that span from 68F to 89F.

The heater keeps the temperature of your tank fairly stable and also includes a digital thermostat. My only gripe with the Orlushy heater is the minor unreliability of its temperature controls and thermostat. 

I don’t think this a huge issue, however, as you can simply use a separate thermostat to double-check the temperature of your aquarium. 

Best on a Budget

If you’re searching for a more budget-friendly heater for your tank, then the Aqueon 150w Preset Submersible Heater is a suitable choice. The only problem with this heater is that it has a preset temperature of 77F, which means it doesn’t always keep the warmth of your aquarium consistent.

Editor’s Choice

My personal favorite is the Hygger 300w Aquarium Heater as it comes with a lot of features. It’s a little costlier than the other heaters, but for good reason. 

You get a digital controller with the unit that allows you to conveniently change and check the temperature of your tank without getting your hands wet.

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