Top 5 Best Turtle Tank Heaters

turtle swimming in a tank

Are you a new turtle owner and are struggling to find the right tank heater for your pet turtle? Do you want to ensure that all your pet turtle’s heat requirements are met? We have listed some of the best turtle tank heaters below.

A tank heater is essential to keep the water in the tank warm for your turtle. Some of the tank heaters commonly used are Hydor In-Line External Heater, Fluval M Submersible Heater, ViaAqua Submersible Heater, Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater, and Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater. 

Do you want to learn more about picking the right turtle tank heater? Then keep reading to make an informed choice.

Why Do Turtles Need Heat Tank Heaters?

Turtles are cold-blooded creatures belonging to the reptilia class of the animal kingdom. Thus, like all reptiles, they need to thermoregulate according to their environment.

They need to thermoregulate their body temperatures according to the environment. This is why they need a warm environment to keep themselves healthy.

If the temperature drops beyond a specific value, they will slip into hibernation, affecting their bodily functions like digestion and eating. 

Key Factors to Be Considered While Selecting a Tank Heater 

Size of the Tank

The choice of heater will primarily depend on the size and capacity of the turtle’s pet enclosure. With a larger tank, you might have to invest in a powerful tank heater that will heat the tank quickly and efficiently. 

Choosing a weaker heat lamp for larger tanks can lead to problems like a breakdown of the tank heater and overheating. It may even lead to severe and lethal problems like electrocution, harming your turtle’s life. 

For a pet enclosure with 30 gallons capacity, a tank heater of 100 Watts is sufficient. 

If you have a larger tank with 75 gallons of capacity, a tank heater of 300 Watts is required. On the other hand, a smaller tank of 20 gallons requires only a tank heater of 75 Watts.  

Submersible Vs. External Heater

The next factor you should consider while buying a tank heater is whether you want a submersible or an external heater.

A submersible heater is a common choice for turtle tanks. They generally have a tough exterior to prevent the heating element from being exposed. They are also usually safe as their heating element is quartz glass

As the name suggests, an external heater is fitted outside the water tank. It usually involves setting up a water pump to circulate the warm water in the tank.

Pet Safety

The safety of your pet turtle is of utmost importance. While buying a tank heater, you must take into account the safety features and the overall reliability of the heater. 

If you end up buying a less reliable tank heater, chances are it may malfunction and cause harm to your turtle by electrocution. 

Efficiency in Heating

The tank heater should heat the water in the tank sufficiently. If the water temperature drops below a certain level, your turtle may go into hibernation

5 Best Turtle Tank Heaters

1. Hydor In-Line External Heater 

The Hydor In-Line External Heater is an excellent choice if setting up a pet enclosure with an external water heater. 

The Hydor In-Line external heater operates by pulling in the water from the tank and then returning the heated warm water. It uses the convection method and keeps the water warm throughout.

It has an excellent safety feature that prevents the water from overheating and avoids any mishaps caused by getting the water temperature too high. 

This external heater comes in many different sizes. Given that it is an external heater and does the job of heating the tank water well, there is one less item in the pet enclosure, thus making it much cleaner. 

  • An excellent choice for an external heater
  • It provides a safety feature
  • Efficient heating
  • Extremely durable
  • Tiny display 
  • Only used for tanks that use a sump or canister filter

2. Fluval M Submersible Heater 

The Fluval M Submersible Heater is a heater that goes well with both marine and freshwater tanks. 

One of the best features of the Fluval M heaters is that they have a unique reflective technology that blends well with the surrounding technology. 

It also comes with an in-built thermostat and comes with safety features too. The safety features prevent any overheating of the water, which can harm your pet turtle. 

Available in different Wattages in the 50 – 200 Watts range, this submersible heater comes in various sizes.

  • Extremely Reliable
  • It comes with built-in safety features.
  • Mirrors the environment and thus blends well
  • Easy to set up 
  • Sleek and slim in shape
  • Slightly inaccurate 
  • Not to be used in a high-flow area

3. ViaAqua Submersible Heater

The ViaAqua Quartz Glass Submersible Heater is an excellent choice if you are on a budget. 

This heater is fully submersible and comes with many features like resistance to breaking and heat. 

Along with this, it also comes with a temperature gauge and a ceramic heater core. 

Despite being budget-friendly, this submersible tank heater comes along with a lot of features. However, it lacks the auto-off safety feature. Also, the temperature reading can vary slightly, so you might want to invest in a thermometer if you buy this submersible water heater. 

This tank heater is available in different wattages ranging from 50 – 300 Watts. 

  • Superior quality
  • Pocket-friendly
  • Compact and sleek
  • Speedy heating
  • Lacks safety feature
  • Inaccurate temperature reading

4. Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater

One of the best reasons to buy the Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater is that it is made of thermoplastic. This has advantages like the heater will last longer, the risk of it being shattered is minimized, and your pet will not get accidentally burnt by it. 

The Aqueon Prop Adjustable heater has a corrosion-proof aluminum base and is sleek and slim in design. 

This submersible tank heater comes in various wattages of 50 – 300 Watts.

  • Extremely reliable and safe
  • It comes with the safety feature of auto-off
  • No risk of shattering
  • Long-lasting
  • Slightly expensive
  • Lacks screen to display temperature
  • Heats slowly 

5. Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm Heater 

Last on the list is the Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm Heater. This is another submersible heater that comes with a lot of features like a thermostat, auto-off safety feature, and LED display for both setting the temperature and displaying the tank temperature. 

Available in various wattages in the range of 25 – 200 Watts, this tank heater is one of the most accurate when it comes to temperature calibration. 

This tank heater is also shatterproof, thereby removing any chances of accidents happening to your pets because of the heater. 

Along with this,  the Cobalt Aquatics Submersible Heater comes with an auto-off feature that prevents water from being heated after a specific limit. 

  • Extremely safe 
  • Long-lasting 
  • Accurate temperature readings
  • Wide range of wattages for all tank sizes
  • Costlier than most other heaters


When it comes to the safety and well-being of your pet turtle, it is always advisable to go for the equipment that ensures that your pet stays healthy and safe. You must ensure that the tank heater that you choose is suitable for the pet enclosure size and is safe even if it comes at a higher cost. 


What Precautions Should I Take While Using a Submersible Heater?

In order that your pet turtle does not injure itself by hitting itself against the heater, you must place the submersible heater behind some decorative items used in the pet enclosure. 

Also, you should immerse the heater somewhere near the lowest water level of the tank so that it does not get exposed to air and gets damaged. 

What Precautions Should I Take While Using an External Heater?

You need to ensure that the pipes and tubes that need to be fitted with an external heater do not leak. Along with this, you must ensure that the pumps and the external heater should not be operated dry and that, during operation, water flows freely through the heater to prevent scalding your turtle. 

Should I Use Two Heaters?

It is advisable to use two heaters for two main reasons. Firstly, in case one of the heaters stops working, the other will keep the pet tank sufficiently warm enough so that your pet turtle does not go into hibernation. 

Secondly, it is best to split the wattage between two heaters to prevent accidents caused by overheating the water. 

Should I Buy A Thermometer? 

It is always safe to invest in a thermometer to monitor the tank water temperature. Even if your pet’s tank heater has a good thermostat and temperature display, a thermometer comes in handy when your tank heater stops working, and you need to manually monitor the temperature and regulate the water manually.

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