How Does an Aquarium Heater Work?
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How Does an Aquarium Heater Work?

Most fishes in the aquarium come from waters with temperatures usually above the normal room temperatures at home. This is why many fish owners incorporate the use of heating devices in their tanks.

About Aquarium Heaters

Most fishes in the aquarium come from waters with temperatures usually above the normal room temperatures at home. This is why many fish owners incorporate the use of heating devices in their tanks. An aquarium heater is a tool that helps aquarium owners keep the temperature of their aquarium water warm. The water in the aquarium needs to be kept at certain temperatures for it to be a suitable habitat for either saltwater or freshwater animals. The range for these types of aquariums can range from 22 to 30 degrees Celsius or 71 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Aquarium heaters can come in various forms. The most popular of these heaters for aquarium are glass immersion heaters, heating mats and undergravel heating.

Glass Immersion Heaters

A heating element is the core of the heater and it is often enveloped in glass or ceramic material. This is then contained in a glass tube which gives it the ability to be immersed in the aquarium water. This glass tube has an adjustable thermostat that can be used to maintain the aquarium temperature by switching on the heating element. Traditional thermostats use a bimetallic strip composed of two metals that expand at a different rate each as the temperature changes. Modern thermostats use microchip technology instead of bimetallic strips, producing more accurate temperatures because of its digital nature. Most glass immersion heaters are usually fully submersible.

Heating Mats

Mats made of metal or plastic can be placed underneath the aquarium as heating devices. Being a flat pad, it provides even heating for the aquarium from the bottom. It uses a thermostat to maintain and control the temperature in the aquarium, thus, preventing overheating and killing the fishes in the tank. This type of heater should always be monitored because they are more prone to malfunction, which can be very destructive, not only for the aquarium inhabitants, but to the aquarium owner's home as well. Heating mats that malfunction may cause death to aquarium animals and even cause a fire to start.

Undergravel Heating

For those having lots of plants inside their aquarium, using an undergravel heating device can be an ideal choice. This form of heating is implemented by burying a heating cable under the aquarium substrate. The aquarium substrate is composed of the materials found at the bottom of the aquarium that include gravel and sand. The heat from the cable is effectively conducted by the aquarium substrate, making it an efficient heating system for the aquarium. The heating cable is controlled by a thermostat. Because it is in a form of a cable, heat may not be dispensed equally throughout the aquarium. This type of heating system benefits plants more than animals, but it is still a very effective device to maintain the overall aquarium temperature.

For first time fish owners, it is recommended to ask for assistance when choosing an aquarium heater, as use of one may depend on the size of the tank or the kind of tank to be set up. Regular monitoring of water temperature is also encouraged.

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