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Best aquarium thermometer 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated April 1, 2020
Best aquarium thermometer of 2018
The table below summarizes features, and below you’ll find more detailed reviews of each good. Many models on the market may be confusing to a person who is shopping for their first time. I make the search easier for you, by reviewing the best aquarium thermometer on the market. Here are my top picks with detailed reviews, comparison charts and buying guides to help you purchase the perfect item for your needs.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
Why did this aquarium thermometer win the first place?
The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product.
№2 – Aquarium Thermometer
Why did this aquarium thermometer come in second place?
The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery.
№3 – Aquarium Thermometer
Why did this aquarium thermometer take third place?
This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. I hope that the good reputation of the manufacturer will guarantee a long-term work. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment.
aquarium thermometer Buyer’s Guide
Other Great Options To Consider
When it comes to great aquarium thermometers we would of course recommend the above option, but if you don’t see it the same way we always have other options which might suit your needs and likes a little more, so here they are.
Lifegard Aquatics Digital Temp Alert
One of the really neat parts about this particular thermometer is that it has the ability to measure both room temperature and the temperature of the water inside of an aquarium. It uses a normal measuring tool to gauge air temperature while also featuring a submersible probe to measure water temperature. The display features a simply to mount suction cup that you can just stick onto the side of any aquarium. This is in our opinion one of the best digital aquarium thermometers out of our picks.
This is great because you can actually use it to monitor the temperature in terrariums too. The Lifegard Aquatics Digital Thermometer features a high and low temperature alert for the probe and a high and low temperature alert for the room as well. It’s a very accurate and easy to use thermometer with an easy to read digital display. This one is ideal for both saltwater and freshwater applications.
One of the things that we really like about this particular aquarium thermometer is that it is powered by one single LR4button cell battery which lasts a very long time, plus it can be easily replaced as well for continued use.
Another thing that is very beneficial about the Zacro Aquarium Thermometer is that it has a massive temperature range. This thing can measure temperatures anywhere between -50 degrees Celsius and +70 degrees Celsius, making it one of the most versatile thermometers out there.
There is also the fact that this model of aquarium thermometer is extremely accurate and it can measure temperature to within +/- 0.degrees, this being very accurate.
Moreover this thermometer has a large easy to read LCD display so you don’t need a magnifying glass when trying to read the temperature. Even though the screen is fairly large, the whole thermometer is actually pretty small, making it very portable and easy to store in small spaces.
This thing is also convenient because it comes with a suction cup so you can stick the thermometer on the outside of your fish tank, while keeping the temperature probe submerged on the inside of the tank for continuous temperature readings. If you want a durable and accurate aquarium thermometer, this thing definitely makes for a prime choice even as a marine tank thermometer.
Pet Magasin Digital Thermometer
This is a very unique but useful digital fish tank thermometer choice to go with. The Pet Magasin Digital Thermometer is actually also a hygrometer, which means that it can read humidity levels in the air. This is one of the reasons why we really like this model, because it can be used for terrariums and turtle habitats to measure the level of moisture in the air.
Of course, at the same time, it also works really well for measuring the water temperature of aquariums. What is really cool about this model is that you can stick the Pet Magasin on the outside of the aquarium glass and it will use special digital reading techniques to measure the water temperature on the inside.
To attach it, simply remove the protective cover and stick it on anywhere. It uses a special type of glue to stick on, one that does not leave stains or residue, and can be even be re-stuck in a different location. The Pet Magasin Thermometer comes with a convenient LCD display that is large and easy to read, plus it can switch between C and F to suit your preferences. It may not be fully submersible in water, but it does have a tough outer shell and can handle getting misted or sprinkled with water for a prolonged period of time.
KollerCraft TOM Temp Alert Digital Thermometer
This is a fairly advanced aquarium temperature reading device that is fairly durable, very accurate, and will definitely help you keep the temperature in your aquarium at the level which you want it at. It is a special thermometer meant to alert you of changing water temperatures so you can keep your fish alive.
Fluval Submersible Digital Thermometer
The Fluval Submersible Digital Thermometer is really easy to use thanks to the fact that you can just stick it on the inside of your aquarium with the included suction cup mount and let it do its job.
This Digital Thermometer comes with a very large and easy to read LCD display. This makes seeing the temperature reading easy even with the distortions caused by water and glass aquariums. It is sealed in a very tough and durable plastic shell to protect all of the internal components.
This is a fully submersible thermometer, so the manufacturer’s definitely made sure that it won’t leak and damage the electronics on the inside. The Fluval Submersible Thermometer is ideal for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. It won’t corrode, rust, or deteriorate in saltwater. This model may not have any special features, but it does a great job at reading the water temperature in any aquarium.
Aqueon Pro Heater
There are many accessories to aid the fish and the aquatic environment healthy and clean. It introduces reliable, accurate, easy and durable for the aquarium heaters on the market. It has various sizes and fit for any aquarium. All have long time guarantee.
It is also a good kind of submersible heater measured 4x14xinches. It has five different watts. 250W version may raise the temperature 1degrees F and more than room temperature of 90-gallon tank. Pro heater is simple to install.
But you have to follow the instructions to set it from the setup guide. The setting of temperature is in Fahrenheit, and so you need to see horizontally. It also has an indicator light.
Fluval E Electronic Heater
Maintaining accurate temperature inside aquarium is a great factor to keep the fish healthy. The Fluval E heater displays or monitors aquarium water temperature, confirm well-being of the aquarium inhabitants.
Today you will get technically advanced submersible aquarium heater to maintain temperature; the Fluval E series features VueTec technology. The LCD monitor will show you the accurate temperature of the aquarium.
At the time of normal operation, the temperature display changes color when the aquarium water temperature varies from the preset temperature. External temperature or heat sources cause the rise of aquarium temperature rise or fall; the colored screen may flash potential risk.
Features of Fluval E Electronic Heater
Gives accurate temperature setting for having dual temperature sensors. You can set the temperature in 0.Degree increments.
ViaAqua Gass Submersible Heater
The heater is fully submersible and has four wattages. The heater is made with high quality, has a built in thermostat, break resistant glass which automatically maintains water temperature.
The reading of temperature is red for more visibility as the suction cups make the setting easier. They can maintain capacities between 1to 80 gallons.
Aqueon 50W Pro Heater
Aqueon Pro Heater comes with an auto shut off when water comes to an end and automatic restart if placed back in the water. The tool features with an aluminum core to distribute heat evenly, and the submersible heater is designed from shatterproof plastic (no glass).
Keep fully submerged, horizontally or vertically, in your aquarium along with added suction cups.
Big control knob makes temperature modifications simple in easy degree F increments. UL listed. The length, of the cord, is six feet for marine aquariums and freshwater.
The name of the heater is hanging heater. It usually hangs over the tank with the help of glass tube which houses the heating element can be immersed in water. The immersible heater is a common thing and best for the people who like to keep fish.
As heater is added water, it is more efficient than the immersible heaters. You should be sure that there is much space left around the heater to give your fish enough room to move fish freely. Moreover, the heater should not touch the gravel as heat conductivity can destroy or crack the glass.
This type of thermometer is generally considered the costliest of them all, especially when you get the best digital aquarium thermometer. But then some reliable digital thermometers are actually very cheap, even though they are very accurate. They’re not affected by the ambient room temperature.
The setup is usually a probe paired with a digital display that’s easy to read. In some cases, the temperature reading is in both °C and °F. Generally, there’s a wire that connects them to each other, but some have a wireless connection. Many of these gadgets are powered by batteries, but some can be plugged into a power outlet.
In some cases, the probe is left there in the tank to monitor the temperature constantly. It may even have an alarm feature that lets you know when the temperature goes out of your preferred range. It’s very robust as well and is just about unbreakable. If you’re looking for the best aquarium thermometer, you’ll need to look in this category.
Sometimes these are called LCD thermometers because they have some sort of LCD display. Some manufacturers have even taken to calling these things digital thermometers, but they’re not comparable to the true digital thermometers listed earlier in this article. Make sure you’re not getting a mere LCD thermometer when you want a digital one.
These things are located on the outside of the tank, and that makes their readings much less reliable. Their readings can be affected by the air temperature in the room. And it’s not good at all if they’re placed in direct sunlight or near heaters, vents, and other locations or items that can affect the temperature. You don’ also want to place it below the gravel level, as it won’t be as accurate then. The LCD is also best viewed straight on, so place it where you can see it easily.
How to Use It
In general, you use the thermometer to record the temperature of your aquarium water. In some cases, you can even monitor your temperature constantly so that you’re alerted when the temperature drops or climbs over your preferred temperature setting or range.
If you have a large tank, you can use several thermometers to monitor various parts of the aquarium. Just make sure that the temperature display is easy to see so that you’ll know the temperature right away.
TOOGOO Digital LCD Thermometer
Let’s start with a very affordable and basic digital thermometer like this one. It offers a 25mm X 12mm LCD screen, with a 1-meter cable connecting it to a probe.
It’s very compact and it’s smaller than your hand. It weighs just 3.ounces, so it doesn’t offer much weight when you install it using the suction base.
The Keynice Digital Thermometer is a unique thermometer designed for many temperature monitoring applications including aquariums.
This temperature monitor is not designed specifically for aquarium use.
It must be powered by a USB power source. This could be a phone charger or a computer.
Keep in mind that there is no data monitoring. The USB cable is only for supplying power to the unit.
The back-lit color LCD display shows a sweep pattern that displays temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius. A switch on the back of the display unit allows you to select F or C readout.
The temperature probe is made of stainless steel and the manufacturer says it is saltwater-safe. The display box is small, measuring 1.inches x 1.inches. The temperature range is 5°F to 230 °F.
I really don’t like having to stick anything to my glass tanks, and suction cups and adhesives are even more problematic when you have an acrylic tank. This is why I use a digital monitor. And when it comes to digital monitors, I always recommend the AODE.
It doesn’t have the alarm feature, but that’s okay. That can be more trouble than it’s worth, especially when you can’t adjust the preset temperature range. With the AODE, you get the most important features in a thermometer: affordable, accurate, and easy to use.
Easy to maintain
Another aspect of appropriate buying is about how easy to maintain the heater. Either cleaning or maintaining becomes harder than you can think and the heater has the same reality about the difficulty in maintaining and cleaning. That’s why we recommend you to buy heater giving you a lot of ease in cleaning and maintaining. Besides, you have to think about some additional features you will get from choosing the heater product. You need to buy aquarium heater bringing special features like a temperature scale or a thermometer equipped with the heater. The digital aquarium heater will help you provide certain temperatures which are strictly maintained in the certain range. Exactly, the control of temperature is very important for any fauna in the tank which is temperature-sensitive.
Since aquarium is available to find in certain sizes, choosing the proper size based on your need is very crucial. For example, you have to choose one of the tanks depends on the temperature, size, and water volume in the fish tank. In figuring the size, it is better for you to start it from the right temperature subtraction based on the temperature which is required. Afterward, determine the tank size and you will find it easier after doing the previous measurements. Generally, a heater with 50-watt aquarium heater for each of gallons should be used for delivering five degrees of heat. Surely, you will need more heaters if you have larger tanks and place heater on one of the tank end. It is conducted for ensuring whether the water inside the tank is evenly heated. up to 6gallons.
If you want a powerful heater for an aquarium with the cheapest price, submersible heaters will be your best one to choose. That’s all about the guide in buying the best aquarium heater for your fish tank. We hope you will get the right one which is suitable to your need.
The Insider Pick
Keeping pet fish is something of a science. To build a great aquarium for your fishy friends, you need a good fish tank. Whether you want to start out small or go big and bold, the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set is the perfect beginner tank and our top pick for the best fish tank overall.
There is something about a beautifully maintained aquarium that eases the mind and soothes the soul. Lush aquatic plants, natural décor elements, and colorful fish come together to create something amazing that anyone can appreciate and any aquarium hobbyist can be proud of. Keeping a fish tank at home does come with its challenges, but the beauty of a healthy and thriving aquarium is a reward in and of itself.
Whether you are a seasoned aquarium enthusiast or a newcomer, your success in the aquarium hobby hinges on the choices you make when starting out. First and foremost, you need to choose the proper fish tank to sustain the kind of aquatic environment you want to cultivate. From there, you’ll need to outfit the tank with the necessary equipment and decorate it according to your liking before adding your fish and other tank inhabitants.
Although the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set is our top pick, for various reasons laid out in the slides below, you should also consider the Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium Kit, the Fluval Spec V 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit, the Tetra 20-Gallon Aquarium Kit, the Marina LED Aquarium Kit, and the SCA Starfire 50-Gallon Glass Aquarium Kit.
For someone who has never owned an aquarium before or doesn’t have too much experience in the hobby, our experts recommended starting with a 20-gallon tank or larger because it’s harder to mismanage and better able to rebound from chemical spikes. Although this may seem counterintuitive, small fish tanks are much harder to keep than large fish tanks. A small ammonia spike can be tolerably diluted in a 30-gallon tank but lethal in a 10-gallon one. The smaller the tank, the smaller the margin for error. If 20 gallons sounds big to you, we promise: It’s not as big or daunting as it sounds.
Our experts recommended starting with a 20-gallon tank or larger because it’s harder to mismanage and better able to rebound from chemical spikes.
Tanks generally come in two materials: glass and acrylic. After researching both, we think glass is the better tank material for any aquarium under 7gallons. Glass tanks cost a third or a quarter as much as acrylic tanks, plus they scratch far less easily and won’t yellow or fog with age. Acrylic tanks are shatterproof, which makes them a better pick for huge, public aquariums. They’re also lighter, but that doesn’t matter much since you’ll be filling the tank with hundreds of gallons of water anyway. “I always recommend glass over acrylic, unless you go over 300 gallons. Then people get more curious, they see big beautiful fish and want to tap on the glass,” Pacific Aquarium’s Chi Cho said.
No aquarium can clean itself, so you’ll need a strong filter to remove the rotting food, sunken fish poo, and other decaying organic material that naturally accumulates in a thriving fish tank. You’ll encounter three types of filtration—biological, mechanical, and chemical—and all three are important, so we looked for filters that offered the option to do all three, all while processing the entire volume of a tank twice in an hour. While many different types of filters exist, we looked only at power filters, which hang on the back wall of the aquarium and use an electrical pump to move water through the filter media. This type is the most common filter for freshwater tanks, and also the kind our experts recommended. In addition, we calculated the maintenance costs of all the leading aquarium filters (how much the replacement cartridges and sponges cost, and how often you need to replace them), as the best filters should be affordable to maintain.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Note that the Marina kit lacks a heater. A tank kit that’s missing such a vital piece of equipment may not seem like much of a kit in the first place. But no kit in our test group includes everything you’ll need to start an aquarium, such as a year’s supply of food and water conditioner, a gravel vacuum, or even fish. Since you’ll be buying those supplemental pieces of equipment anyway, we think it’s not a big deal to add a heater (such as our pick, the 100-watt Eheim Jäger) to the mix, as it will also be a much higher-quality, adjustable heater than the one found in other kits, and it’ll make keeping your fish healthy easier. Also, the preset heaters found in most kits can sometimes be calibrated wrong, and without the ability to adjust the temperature manually, that could be fatal to your pets. There are certain things you just can’t upgrade in a starter tank, such as the light (which is generally attached to the lid) or the tank itself. So we think buying a tank with the highest possible quality of those irreplaceable parts is the best choice, and that choice is the Marina kit.
A good starter kit with a heater
This kit has all the essentials, as well as a heater. The overall quality of its equipment is inferior to that of our main pick, but compatible equipment is easy to find at any fish store.
The Aqueon kit looks almost identical to the kit I tested from Tetra, in appearance, light, and add-ons—I had to label them so as to not mix them up during testing—but it distinguishes itself with a slightly better filter (though one that’s still notably inferior to the Marina filter). Both the Tetra and Aqueon filters use a cartridge containing activated carbon and dual-sided mesh, but the Aqueon model also includes a slot for an extra filter pad meant to remove ammonia. We also preferred Aqueon’s instruction packets, which cogently explain how the filter works and how to assemble it. Tetra’s manual is much more sparse and refers to the cartridge only as a Bio-Bag, which feels condescending to people who want real information. But the Aqueon filter is not too powerful, so you should be careful not to overstock the tank with too many fish (the general rule is inch of fish per gallon of water—so you can have no more than 2-inch-long fish in a 20-gallon tank).
A note on preset heaters
After researching nearly a dozen aquarium lights and testing five, we think the Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED is the best light for most aquariums. At just inches wide and less than half an inch tall, it’s the slimmest, sleekest light of the bunch, but it still illuminates the corner of a tank more evenly than lights twice its size. The Current USA model also features seven customizable blue and white light settings and dimmable control to suit your preference. If you have a 20-gallon tank, we recommend the 24-to-36-inch model, which features 6white LEDs (6,500 K) and 3blue LEDs (445 nm).
To test the lights, we placed each model over a filled 20-gallon aquarium in a pitch-black laundry room and took photos of the light they cast using identical settings on a digital camera. These pictures displayed striking differences between lights that looked pretty similar during the day—which shouldn’t matter much to you or your fish, but could make a big difference in the health of your plants.
The Current USA model provided even, uninterrupted light to all corners of the tank. The chunkier Marineland and shorter Aqueon light fixtures both produced a harsh spotlight in the center while leaving the corners dark. The short docking legs of the Current USA light make it lower profile than other models, allowing the upper rim of the tank to obscure the direct light of the LED strip. The result: a tank with the pleasant appearance of a softly glowing box. The tall legs of the cheaper Nicrew and pricier Finnex lights we tested both stood an inch or two above the rim, which left the bright circles of the strip visible from a head-on view.
The Current USA model was not the brightest light of the bunch, so if you want a planted tank, you may be better off with the Finnex light (it won’t affect the fish one way or the other). But the Current USA light’s slender size and customizable glow make it the perfect light for most tanks, and it’s still bright enough to support plants that require low to moderate light.
The Marineland Bio-Wheel LED Aquarium Kit 20 came with the second-best filter of the bunch, but its light was dim and the kit cost one and a half times as much as all the other kits at the time of our testing.
We were intrigued by the affordable Elive Aqua Duo 20 kit’s optional aquaponics filter, which allows you to grow a terrestrial plant on top of the filter to help reduce fish waste. But the setup looked a little strange, and as the tank was explicitly designed for this aquaponics setup, it makes little sense without it.
The Tetra 20 Gallon LED Aquarium Kit looked almost identical to the Aqueon kit, except with an inferior filter and five free plastic plants. We value the filter more.
Other than the Aqueon 20 High tank, we couldn’t find any other similar-size glass tanks available online from reliable retailers due to how hard it is to ship just one empty glass box. But you can buy this tank, or others like it, at your LFS or pet superstore.
The Marineland LED Strip Light was affordable, but the body of the light was far too wide and dim to compete with the superior and cheaper Nicrew.
The Penn-Plax Aquarium Heater, though three-quarters the size of the Eheim Jäger, stood out much more due to the bright blue color of its internal thermometer.
While we appreciated the Finnex Compact Electronic Titanium Heater’s external temperature selector, we struggled to find a place to put the controller where it would be easily accessible but not an eyesore.
The Aqueon Submersible Aquarium Heater had temperature markings only every four degrees, the same issue we found with its more indestructible twin.
Pacific Aquarium’s Chi Cho recommended the versatile DeepBlue Professional BioMaxx Power Filter ADB8870(for up to 30 gallons) as a runner-up to the AquaClear. This filter contains two deep buckets that can each hold one piece of foam and one cartridge, or any kind of custom filtration media. But unlike with the AquaClear model, the preset cartridges don’t include ceramic stones.
The Marineland Penguin Power Filter 150 stood out for its innovative Bio-Wheel, a rotating cylinder meant to maximize habitable surface area for bacteria. But the filter contains just one cartridge, which means your tank will cycle again when you replace it.
The Fluval C-Series Power Filter’s five-stage filtration system looks just as effective as that of the AquaClear, if not more so. But those five parts (instead of the AquaClear’s three) all need to be cleaned and replaced on different timelines and are available mostly in aquarium specialty stores, so it’s more difficult to maintain this model well and procure replacement parts.
API’s Tap Water Conditioner, Aqueon’s Water Conditioner, and Tetra’s AquaSafe Plus all have positive reviews and seem to work well, but they each treat only gallons per teaspoon as opposed to Seachem Prime’s 50 gallons.
Fluval’s Water Conditioner has positive reviews but treats a meager gallons per teaspoon; per ounce, it’s the second most expensive conditioner we tested.
Water test kit
Testing strips, such as API’s 5-in-Test Strips and Tetra’s EasyStrips 6-in-Test Strips, are a recently popular alternative to solution kits. After you dip these small tabs of paper into your water, they change color to reflect the test results. But currently a box of 2strips will run you around half the cost of the API Master Test Kit—testing just once for pH, nitrite, nitrate, and water hardness costs around 50¢. On the other hand, testing once for pH, high-range pH, nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia with the API Master Test Kit costs just 16¢. Strips are also an all-or-nothing kind of test, as each strip contains colors for those five parameters. We like how the Master Test Kit allows you to test for just one compound at a time. In addition, since high ammonia levels are one of the most common downfalls of a tank, we think a good kit must contain an ammonia test.
You need two bags of Seachem’s Flourite Black to fill a 20-gallon tank, whereas just one of CaribSea’s Eco-Complete will do the trick. And one bag of the Seachem substrate costs as much as a CaribSea bag. Some owner reviews also say this Seachem substrate is better for aquariums that focus more on plants than on fish.
We looked into some other popular siphon models with different features, but none stood out as being quite as useful as the Terapump.
The snaking, 25-foot-long Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System comes equipped with a nozzle that can attach directly to your faucet, allowing you to pump water directly from your sink into your tank. But we don’t recommend pouring untreated water directly into your tank; the toxic chlorine could shock your fish, even if you add conditioner right after.
The battery-operated Eheim Quick Vac Pro’s ability to suck out sludge without removing water sounds great for spot maintenance, but you’ll still need to remove dirty water one way or another.
Many aquarists swear by Hikari’s Micro Pellets fish food, and we liked that it didn’t come as a flake. But this food contains just 4percent protein, which pales in comparison to the 4percent protein of our pellet pick from New Life Spectrum.
Pacific Aquarium’s Chi Cho also recommended Ocean Nutrition Community Formula Flakes, a food that has 48.percent protein but is hard to find online.
We also looked at traditional scrapers, such as the Penn-Plax WZ20 Wizard Aquarium Scraper and Scrubber Combo Kit. But the stainless steel scraper looks unnecessarily harsh for normal algal growth, and some owners report that the head falls apart after some scrubbing.
The API Algae Pad for Glass Aquariums was particularly cheap, but we preferred scrubbers with handles so you don’t have to worry about sticking your whole arm into dirty aquarium water.
Introducing your fish and plants
Once you have had a couple of days to make sure everything is working as it should and to allow the tank to settle, it’s time to think about adding some aquatic plants to your aquarium.
These can either be planted in the substrate with weights, or left in the miniature pots they can often be bought in. Real plants are a great hiding place for shy fish, and really add depth and movement to the tank. Lots of different types of plants are available for your aquarium, and most aquatic specialists and larger pet shops will stock a good range and be able to advise you of the best types to buy.
After about a week once the tank has had time to settle, comes the fun part- choosing your first few fish.
It’s important not to overstock the tank, and also not to add too many fish all at once especially in the early stages, to avoid overloading the tank’s developing ecosystem.
Suggesting what specific types of fish to buy for a new tank is almost impossible, due to the sheer number of species and the ranges available in different areas.
Take advice from experienced staff when buying, and they will guide you through the selection process with advice on ease of keeping, compatibility of species, and space required.
Always pick strong, active healthy looking fish- avoid fish with damaged fins, or that appear listless.
Never buy a fish, even a healthy looking one, from a tank containing dead or dying fish.
Get your new fish home from the shop as soon as possible, and then acclimatise them to your tank slowly.
Keep the tank light off while introducing the fish, and for the first couple of hours afterwards.
Float the bag the fish are in on the top of the tank water, gradually adding water from the tank into the bag over half an hour to an hour, until the temperature in the bag and the tank match.
Then, gently release your fish into their new home. Do not feed them on the first day, and feed lightly until they have fully acclimatised and you have judged the appropriate amount of food for them.
There’s some good news!
You can get your first fish to start the cycling process very soon after getting your fish tank set up. You only really need to wait for the temperature in the aquarium to be stable – and in the right range – and to be sure that all the equipment is operating correctly and that nothing leaks. This can sometimes be accomplished in a few hours, but you may want to wait a couple of days, or at least overnight.
How Often to Get New Fish
In addition to limiting the number of fish you get at any one time, you also want to limit the frequency at which you get fish.
You generally want to wait at least two weeks between introducing new additions to your fish tank. This gives time for the biological filter to get caught up again. This time also allows the new fish to get used to the fish tank, and the older, more established fish to get used to the new additions to your fish tank.
In addition, this wait also gives time for any disease introduced by the new fish to rear its ugly head so you can deal with that issue without also having the stresses of additional fish being added to the fish tank.
You never want to introduce new fish to your fish tank while a disease is evident or within four weeks after you have completed treatment of a disease.
When setting up an aquarium, there are many aspects to keep in mind.
Between the plants, the gravel, the filter, and lighting, there are an abundant amount of decisions to make and lots of choices.
However, one important item that sometimes gets overlooked is the fish tank heater.
Different fish require different temperatures so make sure you research the needs for the particular varieties you decide on.
Turn It Up
Fish typically need water temperatures of 80 degrees or higher; in order to reach and maintain these temperatures, a water heater is necessary.
Just like tanks come in many different shapes and sizes, aquarium heaters come in a wide range of sizes with an assortment of features and at a variety of price points.
One of the most important aspects of aquarium water temperature is STABILITY.
As a rule of thumb, water temperature should not change more than a couple of degrees on a daily basis.
A stable heater that can maintain a constant water temperature is a must.
Hanging heaters are designed to hang over the side of the tank similar to the way a filter hangs on the side of the tank.
The heating element itself obviously hangs on the inside of the aquarium.
The controls for the heating apparatus are situated on the portion that sits outside the tank for easy access.
Similar to the submersible heaters mentioned earlier, make sure to keep the water level higher than the heater so as not to damage it.
External or Inline Heaters
External or inline heaters are attached downstream from the water pump, which is located outside of the aquarium.
Water is pumped into the filter then into the water heater, so the clean water is heated before it enters the aquarium environment.
These fish tank heaters are especially useful if you have live plants in the tank that might spread onto the heater causing it harm.
Overly aggressive fish might also try to take a bite out of your heater, so an external heater will keep it protected.
External heaters are also known to be more accurate, keeping your water temperature steady.
Installation and Use
All heaters, regardless of their position relative to your tank, have different controls.
Make sure to read the manual that comes with your heater prior to using it for the first time and definitely before adding fish to your aquarium.
Many internal heaters come with suction cups that will adhere to the side or bottom of your tank but check the packaging for this information before you buy.
If they do not come with the proper installation hardware, make sure you purchase it separately.
Some heaters come with integrated temperature gauges to keep an eye on the temperature in the environment.
Again, if this hardware is not included in your heating solution, pick up a separate thermometer before you leave the pet store.
Allow plenty of time for your aquarium water to heat up prior to adding fish, so that the glass and water can obtain similar temperatures and prevent the glass from breaking.
Pick the Proper Heater
A common guideline for selecting a fish tank heater is to choose one that can output to watts of power per gallon.
The wattage of the heater determines the capability of the unit’s ability to heat and maintain the temperature within the aquarium.
For example, a 29-gallon aquarium using a 29-watt heater would equate to watt per gallon, which is not enough to maintain a suitable temperature.
These are probably the most well known and are based on the colour change of the indicator caused by the level of hydrogen ion concentration of the water. The resulting colour is then compared to a standard colour chart corresponding to a known pH. Some of the drop tests can measure a broad pH range (e.g. 3–or 4–10), but I found them quite inaccurate in acidic conditions. You could get better results with tests in the range 6–7.or 7.4–9.
These can give you a quick, albeit often less accurate result. Just dip the test strip in the water and match the colour on the reference chart or use your camera phone to take the readings for you. The test strips are sensitive to high humidity and can age quickly, so always keep the tub closed.
Using a handheld or built-in electronic pH meters eliminates the use of indicators and also gives you an option to quickly check the pH in several tanks or monitor it in a permanent way. The most frequently used probes have a glass electrode and a reference electrode. They determine the pH of the water by measuring the voltage (potential) between them. The results strongly depend on the sensitivity and the quality of the probe, so it’s worth investing a bit more in a reliable meter to ensure you have accurate results. Some will even control and maintain the pre-set pH for you. Another issue that can have a strong influence on accuracy is calibration. Electronic pH probes must be calibrated regularly. The cheaper versions use only a one-point calibration (at pH7), but the better ones have two- or three-point (at pH4, pHand pH10) calibration. Check the manual as to whether your probe requires dry or wet storage, as the dried out electrode will deliver false results.
Fish tanks that have a strong gravel bed like the plant fish tanks, can use substrate aquarium heaters to maintain constant temperature. These heaters use wires as heating elements that can be buried in the gravel bed. This will transfer heat from the bottom to the water.
Now if you are a huge fan of keeping fish and has a large aquarium you need the in-line heaters. Not, only they are efficient at maintaining water temperature in larger aquariums, but also safest as they prevent any contact between the fish and the heater. These aquarium heaters have a sump or filter that is used to provide a safe water heating environment.
A variation of the in-line fish tank heater, the in-slump heaters are larger but easier to maintain. If you don’t want to maintain the sump or filter often and also have enough room in your aquarium to accommodate a giant fish tank heater, it is the ideal type.
Fish keepers choose these aquatic creatures because they require minimum attention. There is no point in buying a fish tank heater that will require high maintenance. Know this fact that aquarium heaters have an underlying maintenance that ensures they are working efficiently without compromising on the safety of comfort of your fish. Fortunately, the fish tank heater market is very competitive and there are heaters available that are easy to maintain and clean. There is no way you want to spend hours struggling to keep it clean and working. Now there are some additional features to look for in a fish tank heater that makes it easy to maintain. Does it have an LCD display that helps to keep the track of temperature at all times? How about aquarium heaters with thermometer? Do you want the heater controller to be above the tank? All these choices highly personal and you have to decide on your own how easy it will be for you to maintain the fish tank heater based on its advanced features.
This gorgeous, contemporary fish tank is a perfect home for betta fish, crustaceans, or other small fish. It has separate compartments for each betta. Its cascading waterfalls and stylish curved design make it a great aquarium for any home or office.
The waterfall ensures there is a continuous flow of filtered water. The compartments have frosted panels which prevent the fish from seeing each other.
The great thing about the compartments is that they are big enough and allow the betta fish to swim around. They are also small enough and don’t take a lot of space.
The tank uses Aqueon filtration. A medium-size filter cartridge is provided – as is food and water care samples. It has a fill indicator window that allows you to see the water level simply by glancing.
What to inspect
Often times you will see a listing where the seller is trying to sell a complete setup with fish, coral/plants, live rock, etc included. I would advise against purchasing the livestock unless you are experienced with handling an aquarium move. Moving an aquarium, especially a large aquarium is one of the most stressful activities you can undertake in the hobby. If the seller has a rare fish or coral that you want, consider purchasing it separately and quarantining it until your tank is established. I would not factor in the price of livestock on a listing. Try to negotiate with the seller to purchase only the equipment. Often times, the seller can give the livestock to a local fish store or advanced hobbyist who has the means to handle the move. If you chose to purchase livestock, the safest livestock to purchase would be live rock. Live rock can be stored in a black tote from a hardware store with a power head and heater. Corals can be safe to purchase as well, but given the availability of frags these days, I would recommend just getting frags from a local reefer when your tank is ready.
Prices for listing are often not firm – especially on craigslist. If you find a listing that is new and listed under the title of a moving sale or “must sell quickly” jump on it right away. The newer the listing, the better the chance you will have at negotiating a better price. Many of people who list on Craigslist just want to get the aquarium out of their hands as soon as possible versus getting the best price for it. Even if they have a price listed, ask the seller what they would take for it to get it off their hands that day. You would be surprised how often you will get a lower number than what it is originally listed for. The worst thing that can happen is they say no and you just wait another week for a good listing to pop up. People exit the hobby all the time and good deals are literally a dime a dozen especially if you live in a big city.
Where to Start
There are three kinds of tank systems: freshwater, saltwater, and brackish water. The easiest of the three to set up and maintain are freshwater systems. These particular systems do not require as many chemical additions and are cheaper to set up and maintain. For a beginner a freshwater system is the way to go. Once you have decided on a water type you should come up with a plan for your tank. Where is it going to go? What kind of fish do you want? How big of a tank do you want? Do you want live plants or invertebrates? These are all things that you should explore before purchasing a tank.
How Big And Where
First things first; pick a room. Keep in mind, you don’t want the tank to be near windows that get a lot of sun as this will lead to an increase in algae growth. You also don’t want the tank to be positioned where people have the chance to knock into it. The best place is in a room, say the living room, along a wall where it can be admired, easily maintained, but not in any danger of being ran into. The tank should also be near electrical outlets since you will need to plug in the pump, heater, air pump, and any lights you may have on the system.
Once you have a tank picked out its time to select a stand. Of course many pet stores sell tank and stand combs for a discounted price, some even include pumps and other necessary accessories. A good stand will have places for you to store your chemicals, fish foods, cleaning supplies (gravel wash tube and hose), as well as extra filtration and decorations. Ideally the stand will also have an aesthetic appeal and compliment the beauty of the tank. A lot of people try to be crafty and make their own stands by buying wood that the hardware store. Be very careful if you choose to go that route. Remember a gallon of water weighs roughly nine pounds, then add in rocks and gravel and you are looking at a very heavy aquarium. A 30 gallon freshwater tank can weigh over 320 pounds. That is a lot of weight for the stand to have to support.
Substrate and Water
Now that you have a tank and stand and they are in the location of your choice you should add your substrate. The type of substrate will dictate what kinds of fish you can have. For example you wouldn’t want to put a fire eel in a tank that has a rocky gravel substrate because the gravel would scuff up the eel’s nose. There are a good number of freshwater fish that should only be placed in tanks with sandy bottoms: knife fish, eels, freshwater rays, ect. However gravel tanks do have some advantages, one of the best is that they are easier to maintain since the substrate will not be sucked up through the gravel wash tube as easily. Gravel is also often cheaper than sand and can add more color to the tank if desired.
Before the substrate is added to the tank it should be thoroughly rinsed with water. This will remove any dust, dirt, and debris from the substrate. After it has been rinsed you can carefully pour into the tank and smooth out the top layer. At this point you can also add any decorations you desire. Keep in mind that fish do sometimes need places to hide in order to feel safe, especially after they have been put in a new environment. I’m not saying you need a replica of Spongebob’s pineapple, but a few nice rocks or plants should do the trick.
Now its time to add water. Add the amount of water your tank holds. Once the water has been added you need to condition it so that it will be safe for your fish. There are several different brands and kinds of treatment. Some even have elements to help cycle your tank so you don’t have to buy different chemicals. This is also the point at which you should install your filtration. How you go about this stage depends on the kind of pump you have. Most models have a bio-wheel and a place for a carbon filter, usually incased in floss. It is important to note that all filter media should be rinsed before it is placed in the tank.
You should also place your heater and air pump at this time. The heater is simple. It is going to heat the water to a specific temperature and shut off when not needed. Many heaters have several different temperatures for you to choose from. You can even buy heaters that have been preprogramed to only go up to a specific degree point. From your air pump you will have a line, called airline tubing, and then an air stone. This air stone is very important. It is going to aerate the water in the tank, stabilize the pH, and help to maintain a uniform water temperature throughout the tank. To avoid air going into your filtration pump place the air stone on the opposite side of the tank.
Once you have all of this in place it is time to test the water. Depending on what kind of fish you want in your tank you might have to make adjustments in your water chemistry. Some fish prefer a warmer tank with a slightly higher pH, while others like colder waters. If you need to adjust the quality of your water at all you can buy specific chemicals to do what you need. All the tests you need to run on your water can be done by purchasing a water quality kit, or testing strips, from your local pet store.
This is probably the most important part of set up. Without going into too much detail you are essentially allowing good bacteria to grow on your biological filter. What this will do is when you have fish in your tank the good bacteria will be able to use the nitrogen in the ammonia. This will prevent your water from becoming toxic to your fish.
The easiest way to cycle a tank is to let it run for a week or so on its own. You can feed it with chemicals, ammonium chloride, during this time if you so desire. However this step can be bypassed if you have a water conditioner that contains ammonium in it. You can also, towards the end of the cycle add a couple of hardy fish, like tetras, to help speed along the cycling process. These fish have a higher tolerance to changes in ammonia levels and help to provide the good bacteria with nitrogen products to feed on so that they can multiply.
One easy way to tell if your tank is cycled and ready for fish is if you have an algae bloom. You will know if you have one. Your water will go from crystal clear to cloudy, it may is be almost milky. Do not panic! This is a good thing. Simply do a 10-15% water change every other day and this will help lower the amount of bacteria in the water. Once the bloom is over you should have beautiful crystal clear water again and you are now ready for the fun part.
Betas, however beautiful, are not the only kind of freshwater aquarium fish.
Now that you have your tank set up and cycled it is time to get your fish! You should be careful not to add too many fish at one time however tempting it may be. If you add too many fish at once you will shock your system and could cause an ammonia spike. This could kill of of those fish that you spent so much time preparing for.
A lot of people don’t like the idea of freshwater tanks because they think all they will be able to get are betas and goldfish. Or people assume that because a fish lives in freshwater it will not be as colorful as a saltwater fish. This is simply not true, although you can keep a beta with a good many number of tank mates. There are dozens of species of freshwater fish that come in dazzling colors. Gouramis, discus, and cichlids all come in different colors and are just as pretty as saltwater fish. Though be advised, discus require near perfect water quality at all times and could die if there are even slight variations. Tetras, barbs, and danios are also nice schooling fish that add a sense of completion to any aquarium.
There are a few things that you must keep in mind when selecting your fish. Do they all have the same water quality needs? Will the all get along? (You don’t want several different kinds of aggressive fish in your tank) How big will they get? How many can you have in your tank? All of these questions can be answered by researching specific species online or going to your local pet store and talking with the fish staff there. A word of warning, you will find biased people on the internet and in stores it is best to do your own research and compare your findings.
Buy a as large a tank as you can reasonably afford. A 2ft/60cm tank is the recommended minimum size.
You need a heater for a tropical aquarium. But no heater is required for goldfish or temperate fish.
Ammonia and nitrite test kit is essential for a new aquarium to test for fish waste build-up.
Filter – a canister or even a sponge filter is necessary for biological filtration to break down fish waste. A sponge filter will need an air pump to power it.
Fish food. A good quality fish food that is made for the type of fish you keep. Remember some fish are carnivorous, some are mainly herbivores, while most are omnivores.
Plants. Plants help remove fish waste(manure) from the water and provide a healthier more natural looking environment for the fish. You can choose from floating plants, rooted plants and non-rooted plants such as moss balls.
It is not essential to have gravel or sand but most people prefer it because it gives a grounding to the aquatic scene. Plants can be potted in pots with soil topped with gravel for better growth.
A thermometer is essential for a tropical aquarium to check if the heater is heating the water to the ideal temperature for your fish. This varies depending on which species you have. However, there is a range of temperatures that fish tolerate.
How to set up your fish tank
A fish tank when filled with water can get heavy so it needs a floor that can support it. Most floors in modern houses do this with ease. You can place an aquarium on a fish tank stand or a cabinet. A fish tank cabinet is preferred because it has been designed to support the weight of a tank of water. Home furniture can be used as long as the top surface is straight and has vertical support in the middle which will prevent the cabinet from bowing. If you buy a larger tank then a proper fish tank cabinet or stand is a must.
The stand or cabinet has to be level under load. The floor might not be level so use a spirit level on top of the aquarium and adjust things until the aquarium is sitting level. Before filling the aquarium use a cushioning material underneath the tank, ie between the tank base and the top of the cabinet. Polystyrene foam is ideal and helps distribute out any unevenness.
Setting up a maintenance routine
1.Do an algae scrape of the front of the aquarium. It is better for the health of the aquarium if you do not scrape the side and back panes of the tank. If you are a meticulous person then you can also scrape the side panes as well but leave the back pane alone. Syphon 10-20% of the water into a bucket and sift the syphon through the sand/gravel to disturb any food or fish droppings that are trapped in the gravel. Pour away the bucket of water but be careful not to pour away any accidentally syphoned gravel. Wash this gravel and put it back into the aquarium.
Next, mix up a bucket of water with hot and cold tap water until it is the same temperature as your aquarium. Add your dechlorinator to the bucket of water. Then add this water to your tank. Top up your tank until full again.
Check there is a good flow from the filter. If the flow is slow then squeeze the excess mud from the filter and throw the mud away. Do not wash the sponge with tap water because that will kill the nitrifying bacteria on the sponge. Just squeeze the sponge by hand and then wash your hands.
Check your plants. Prune any dead bits and remove any dead plants.
Sit back and relax and enjoy your aquarium. You have passed the hardest stage of fish keeping. Now everything becomes easy and should be a more relaxed routine.
A key part of aquarium maintenance is the water change, which should be performed about every two weeks. In most cases, 10-15% of the tank volume is sufficient. A good method is to replace the water extracted while vacuuming the gravel, which will eliminate uneaten foods and other residues that settle on the substrate.
Well water is usually harder than tap water, but is chlorine/chloramine free.
Filtered water should also be checked on a regular basis and should be considered part of your aquarium maintenance routine. The filter membranes could be damaged or may require replacement prior to the expiration date.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your aquarium thermometer wisely! Good luck!
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