The correct use of an aquarium heater goes beyond its simple start-up to control the temperature and keep it stable. Hence, sometimes its prolonged use can have a negative impact on the health of fish and other living organisms that are part of these artificial aquatic environments.
A very controversial issue about the use of the heater has been whether it should work full time inside an aquarium or not. The reason for this controversy lies in the fact that, for some practitioners of the aquarium hobby, its constant operation is of great importance regardless of the season of the year, since it has been developed with the purpose of controlling the temperature fluctuations that occur within this environment.
On the contrary, other specialists find it a misconception and not recommended, not only from an economic point of view, given the increase in household energy consumption reflected in the bill. But because in some cases it could, indirectly, promote the acceleration of the metabolism of the fish, especially in the warmer times of the year, thus limiting the ability of them to complete their life cycle within this habitat that has been recreated for them.
It is for these reasons that it is convenient first to know some generalities about the heater, to delve into the subject and thus come to understand when to put it into operation inside the aquarium, regardless of whether it is fresh or salt water.
What is an aquarium heater?
The aquarium heater is a device that works by connecting it to an electrical source, whose purpose is to maintain the microclimate of the fish tank with the appropriate temperature values for the normal development of the vertebrate and invertebrate species present there.
Commercially it can be found in a wide range of power (25 – 500 watts and more) and temperature (18 – 34 °C). This in order to adapt to the different requirements of users in terms of the type of fish, size of the pond and the environmental variables that intervene in the place where the aquarium is to be established or has been located.
Function of the heater inside the aquarium
Similarly, by analyzing its function in detail, we can deduce some reasons that make this instrument one of the important elements for the aquarium that contains it to be successful, not only in the medium but also in the long term. Within them is both temperature control and its stability. In addition, it favors the development of the bacterial population that intervenes in biological filtration, which is very necessary to improve water quality. Fact that reduces the frequent cleaning of the aquarium.
But for these reasons to be carried out, the heater requires the help of a thermostat, which is nothing more than a device that is responsible for automatically turning the heater on or off. The first case occurs when the temperature drops below the established minimum and the second when it reaches its maximum point.
The importance of the heater in the different types of aquariums
When it comes to freshwater or saltwater aquariums, it is well known by all that the characteristics are not the same, since both require different care. In addition, there are notorious differences in the type of fish and aquatic plants to contain in each of them.
Hence, it could be thought that the heater can act differently and present a specific design for each case. However, the best aquarium heaters are characterized not only by the good resistance they offer, but also by the safety and functionality they can provide in both systems.
In this sense, this advantage could be due to the coincidence in the temperature range, since for both cases the majority of tropical species that they harbor need some specific conditions to remain healthy. It should be noted that these can function well in wide temperature ranges that can go from 24 to 28 °C. Likewise, some fish need certain temperature fluctuations to stimulate their reproduction.
On the other hand, taking into account that the heater is related to maintaining the temperature of the water, we do not want to forget to mention that when it comes to cold water aquariums, regardless of whether it is fresh or salty, it is not necessary to install one, since the fish being cold-blooded settle there naturally. Additional care should only be provided in times of frost if the aquarium is in open spaces or outdoors where there is no type of heating system.
When to turn on the heater in the aquarium
Now that this electronic device has been analyzed in detail, all that remains is to determine when it is convenient to start it up. And it is that, when you start in this striking world, one of the recommendations that both suppliers and online tutorials emphasize the most, has to do with the fact that maintaining the temperature is essential to preserve warm water fish..
However, most of these species survive and thrive in temperatures that could range from 24ºC to 28ºC. Range that could very well be established within the home environment depending on the region and time of year with or without the intervention of a general heating system.
From the above, it could be deduced that it is possible to keep the aquarium with the heater off and use it only in those seasons when the temperature can drop below 23°C. As well as adjust it to more or less 26 ° C for its operation, since the increase in temperature is inversely proportional to the availability of oxygen in the water.
In this sense, it would only be enough to carry out adequate monitoring of temperature fluctuations and, of course, have a heater that incorporates a thermostat in its design. In this way, not only could the fish and other beneficial microorganisms that live inside the aquarium be favored, but also contribute in a small but significant portion with energy savings.