Most saltwater aquariums will require an aquarium heater to maintain an water temperature. An appropriate temperature for most saltwater fish, corals and invertebrates is between 74 and 82 degrees with most hobbyists aiming for 78 degrees.
Aquarium Heater Types
Although there are many types of heaters, a submersible Titanium Heater is the most appropriate for saltwater aquariums. Unlike Glass Heaters they are difficult to break and won’t will release contaminants into the water if cracked. Titanium and steel heaters are nearly unbreakable. This can be particularly important in the event of a live rock slide or if you plan to keep large aggressive fish.
To determine the appropriate size heater for your aquarium, start by calculating your aquarium’s water volume. Remember to include water in the Sump, reactors and plumbing. Then, multiply the total water volume by five. For example, a 50 gallon aquarium will require a 250 watt aquarium heater. This is a general rule of thumb and other aspects should be taken into consideration such as climate, aquarium location and additional heat sources.
Aquarium Heater Temperature
After an appropriate temperature has been reached, it is crucial to maintain a constant temperature with as little fluctuation as possible. Hobbyists located in climates with varying outside temperatures should be prepared with a both large heater and fans or a Chiller.
One of the leading causes of heater malfunctions is the built in thermostat. Never trust the built in thermostat as they have been known to fail in the on position. Some hobbyists have the opinion that two smaller aquarium heaters is better than using one large heater. Since many aquarists push the upper temperatures with Metal Halide Lighting Systems and large pumps, even a small heater can produce enough heat to cook our tanks if stuck in the on position. Also, having two heaters doubles your risk of a heater malfunction.
It is important to use an additional temperature controller with any aquarium heater. Typically you set the built in thermostat slightly above what the temperature controller is set to. If for some reason the temperature controller malfunctions or is set incorrectly, the built in thermostat will turn it off. For example, set the aquarium heater to 79 degree and the temperature controller to 78 degrees.
Aquarists have two temperature control options. A standard temperature controller can control heaters, fans and chillers. The second option is to purchase an Aquarium Controller to that can control temperature, lights and pumps.
Remember to select a high quality titanium heater or steel heater for your aquarium. When determining the appropriate aquarium heater size, remember to consider factors such as climate, aquarium location and additional heat sources. Rather than using two small heaters, purchase a temperature controller to maintain a constant temperature and reduce the risk of aquarium disaster.