Turtles are cold blooded reptiles and they definitely require heaters to stay alive and to be happy. There is simply no question about that, especially if you live in a place that is not particularly warm to begin with.
However, there are many types of turtle heaters and even more options in each of those categories, so choosing one can be quite difficult. Yet, that is what we are here to help with today, to help you find the best aquatic turtle heater for your tank (the Eheim Jager is our top pick).
|Eheim Jager||25 - 300 W||9.5/10|
|Aqueon Pro||50 - 250 W||9.3/10|
|TetraFauna Aquatic||100 W||9.3/10|
Why Turtles Tanks Need A Heater
Ok, so turtles absolutely need a heater. There is no question about it. For one, turtles are cold blooded reptiles, which means that they need heat lamps and warm water to keep warm. Their blood is cold, so they cannot generate heat on their own. Turtles need to be warm for several reasons, other than the whole freezing to death issue.
Turtles need to be warm in order for their organs to function properly. It is as simple as that. Everything from their heart and lungs to their liver and kidneys relies on outside sources of heat to function. Also, the metabolism of a turtle is dictated by body temperature. A turtle needs to be fairly warm for its digestive system to function properly.
The 5 Best Aquatic Turtle Heaters: Reviews
Here we have what we think are the 5 best aquatic turtle heaters at the moment. Yes, they are all fairly different from one another, but they each come with their own benefits and ideal for different tank sizes. Let’s take a closer look at each of them in greater detail right now.
1. Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater
This is a quite the convenient little aquatic turtle heater. For one, it is fully submersible and made of fairly tough materials. So, you do not have to worry about it being damaged by the water, nor do you have to worry about it cracking and electrocuting everything in the tank.
The shatterproof glass construction of this thing is definitely a bonus, a feature that we always look for in this kind of thing. Being durable and long lasting, plus safe for the animals inside the water, are all things that this heater brings to the table.
We like the Eheim Heater because it is easy to setup. It comes with suction cups, so you just need to stick it against the interior wall of the aquarium, submerged in the water. Heck, it can be put sideways or right side up, which is pretty convenient.
An easy setup is always important in our eyes. On that same note, this particular heater is easy to use and accurate in general. The on/off indicator light lets you know when it is on or off. This 300 watt model is more than good enough for some fairly large turtle tanks though they also do smaller wattage models for smaller sized tanks down to 25 Watts.
This heater features something called a TruTemp Dial, which more or less means that the dial is meant to allow you to easily control the temperature with precision and accuracy. The Eheim Heater can be adjusted from 18 to 34 degrees, a range that is more than enough for any aquatic turtle.
The accuracy of this thing is +/- 0.5 Celsius, which is quite impressive. One thing to note here is that this heater cannot be run when it is not submerged. It will break if you do that, but luckily, it does come with run dry protection, which means that it will shut off when not in the water.
- Easy to set up.
- Maintenance free.
- Very durable.
- Shatterproof construction.
- Extremely accurate.
- Easy to adjust and calibrate.
- Run dry protection.
- Needs to be fully submerged.
- May overheat if left on too long.
2. Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater
This is another easy to use submersible heater option. This particular one is a 150 watt heater, so it will work for tanks about half the size as the first heater. It’s a good option for smaller tanks with limited water and just a couple of turtles.
For one, we do like how the Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater is easy to mount. Just like the first option, it can be mounted vertically or horizontally. Also, it comes with suction cups so you can just suction it right onto the wall of the tank.
Keep in mind that this is a fully submersible heater, as well, it needs to be submerged or else it might break. It does come with run dry protection so it turns off when not in the water, but this is not 100% foolproof. Make sure that it is always fully submerged.
The Aqueon Heater comes with an LED light which indicates whether or not it is running, a useful feature no doubt. This heater is known to overheat sometimes, but it does have overheat protection, so it should turn itself off if it starts to get too hot.
Also, this particular aquatic turtle heater is fully adjustable from 68 to 88 degrees, so the temperature range is pretty good, but not as good as with the first option on our list. With that being said, this thing is very easy to adjust and accurate to within 1 degree Fahrenheit at all times.
- Shatterproof and very durable.
- Long lifetime.
- Overheat and run dry protection.
- LED indicator to let you know when it is running.
- Easy to mount.
- Space saver.
- Easy to adjust and accurate.
- Can overheat at times.
- Always needs to be fully submerged.
- Not ideal for larger turtle tanks.
3. TetraFauna Aquatic Reptile Heater
Going down the list, this is the least powerful heater so far. The TetraFauna Heater is specially designed for aquatic reptile tanks, or in other words, this thing is built to be really tough and durable.
It can withstand a fair bit of wear and tear before breaking, especially thanks to the solid plastic protective cover. Also, this is a 100 watt heater that is good for tanks up to 30 gallons in size, but not more. It is quite a small heater with limited power.
The TetraFauna Heater is also quite easy to mount, as it can be placed sideways or vertically, plus it comes with convenient suction cups for simple mounting. The suction cups are oversized and very strong, meant to deal with active reptiles that might bump into it from time to time.
We do like the extra-long 8 foot power cord, as it does help make life a bit easier for us. One thing that needs to be mentioned here is that while this heater is very accurate, it cannot be adjusted. It will simply maintain the water temperate at a constant 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Easy to mount.
- Stays in place well.
- Very durable.
- Constant temperature.
- Only good for small tanks.
- Temperature cannot be adjusted.
4. Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater
This is the smallest and least powerful aquatic turtle heater on our list. The Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater is a 50 watt heater, one that can handle aquariums up to 10 gallons in size, but no more. In other words, it makes for a good option if you have a single turtle, or maybe 2 turtles. Although it is not very large or powerful, the upside here is that this thing does save quite a bit of space.
The small footprint of it means that you can easily hide it behind something to make sure that the tank does not look cluttered. It’s not the fanciest heater, but it does get the job done quite well. Mounting is easy as it comes with a simple suction cup, plus it can be mounted vertically or horizontally for your convenience.
One thing that needs to be said here is that due to the limited power of the heater, it is really only ideal if your aquarium has a hood or canopy. Without a good hood, the heat will dissipate too much.
Now, this particular aquarium heater is quite efficient and accurate. It does a good job at maintaining a steady temperature at 78 degrees. However, the downside here is that the Tetra Aquarium Heater is not adjustable for temperature. It’s a one temperature fits all kind of scenario.
- Energy efficient.
- Space saver.
- Built in thermostat.
- Good for small aquariums.
- Easy to mount.
- Durability is a little questionable.
- Cannot be adjusted in terms of the temperature.
- Only ideal for very small tanks with hoods.
5. Exo Terra Terrarium Submersible Turtle Heater
This particular heater is a 50 watt option and is advertised as being ideal for aquariums up to 20 gallons in size. However, in all honesty, seeing as the above heater was also 50 watts and only good for 10 gallons, it is safe to assume that this one should only be used for 10 or 15 gallon tanks at the most. It is also necessary to have a hood to stop the heat from dissipating too much with this thing.
Just to be clear, this is a submersible aquarium heater, one that always needs to be submerged in water. Now, unlike the other options we have looked at, while this thing does need to be submerged, it does not come with run dry or overheat protection, so this is something that you do need to watch out for. The casing on the Exo Terra Turtle Heater is made with impact resistant plastic, plus the power cord features a stainless steel protector, so it is quite durable.
We do like this particular heater because it is not too big, so it helps save some space, plus it is fairly easy to conceal as well. Moreover, the Exo Terra Heater is quite easy to mount, as it can be mounted vertically or horizontally using the convenient suction cups that are included.
Finally, this thing is meant to keep the water in the turtle tank at a steady 78 degrees. However, a big downside here is that it cannot be adjusted for temperature.
- Space saver.
- Energy efficient.
- Constant and accurate.
- Easy to mount.
- Requires a hood for proper function.
- Not ideal for larger tanks.
- Cannot be adjusted for temperature.
How Many Watts Do I Need For My Tank?
The answer to this question all depends on the size of the turtle tank in question, or more accurately, for the amount of water in the tank. On a side note, keep in mind that hoods and canopies will keep heat in, and therefore, if your tank has a good hood, the heater you get will not have to bring as many watts to the table (we have reviewed our favorite 3 tanks over at this article).
Generally speaking, a 50 watt heater is good enough for 10 and 15 gallon tanks. A 100 watt heater should be fine for tanks up to 30 and even 35 gallon tanks. 150 Watts is best for 40 or 45 gallon tanks, and so one.
However, once you pass the 200 watt mark, things change a bit. For instance, a 300 watt heater can be used to efficiently heat tanks that have up to 100 gallons of water. Keep in mind folks, it does also have to do with the temperature where you live, or in other words, the ambient room temperature.
What Temperature Should My Turtles Water Be?
For most aquatic turtles, a water temperature between 78 and 82 degrees is ideal. As you can see from the some of the above reviews, some turtle tank heaters are meant to keep the temperature at a steady 78 degrees, which is the ideal water temperature for most species of aquatic turtles that can be kept in home aquariums.
Different Types Of Heaters
The first and most common kind of heater for turtle tanks is the submersible filter. Generally speaking, this is the best kind to go with. Now, they do take up space in the aquarium, but that tends to be their only downside.
They are usually quite easy to mount, they are efficient, accurate, they can usually be adjusted, and they tend to be quite durable too. One of the only other downsides to the submersible heater is that they are exposed to your turtles. In other words, if you have rowdy turtles, they could break the heater.
The in-filter heater is another option that you can go with, although not a hugely popular one. Sure, they get the job done, but they can be a bit of a pain in the butt to use. First and foremost, you usually won’t find a heater that you have to insert into your filter.
Usually, they just come as combination filters and heaters, which can increase the price quite a bit. These heaters can be finicky, a little hard to adjust, and their durability is questionable. However, they are out of the way, so they don’t take up space inside of the tank, plus they are not exposed and susceptible to damage cause by the turtles.
Substrate heaters are another option to go with. These get inserted under the substrate. So, right off the bat, a big problem with these is that you need to put them in the tank before you put the substrate in. At the same time, if something goes wrong with it, you have to remove it from under the substrate to fix or replace it, which can be a real pain.
However, due to the fact that they are out of the way, they tend to last for quite some time, plus they save space, and they are not exposed to your turtles. They are quite efficient, they heat the water evenly, and they help oxygenate the water too.
If you need help finding the right turtle Filter, we have covered a separate review article here covering our top picks.
As you can see, there are a few different types of heaters that you can go with for turtle tanks. However, in our opinion, the best kind to go with is indeed the submersible kind. They tend to be the most reliable and accurate too. We personally feel these 5 options are some of the better options out there for turtles (the Eheim Jager is our top pick). However, the most important thing to keep in mind is to pick the right one for the size of tank that you have.