4 Best Water Heater for Turtles On the Budget

best water heater for turtles

I think Finnex Titanium Hang-On Heater is the best water heater for turtles on the budget. If you want to learn details about the heater, read the rest of the article.

Finnex Titanium Hand On heaterYou can select a temperature range from 72 to 92 degree Fahrenheit100 to 500 watts powerCheck Price Here
Eheim Jager Submersible HeaterMade from shatterproof glass which is highly durable and reliable25 to 300 wattsCheck Price Here
Aqueon Pro HeaterAuto turn-off feature turns off the heater automatically if it gets too hot50 to 250 wattsCheck Price Here
Tetra submersible Heaterequipped with an electronic thermostat which automatically maintains a constant temperature50 to 200 watts of powerCheck Price Here

Keeping the right temperature is extremely important for turtle keeping. If the temperature isn’t right, then your turtle will face numerous health problems all the time. If the temperature is too low, then the turtle may get sick. On the other hand, if the temperature is too high, the turtle may not come out of the water to bask. Which will eventually make them sick.

Turtles don’t have the ability to control their body temperature. They are ectothermic animals which basically means turtles are cold-blooded animals. The body temperature of the turtle is around same the temperature of the surrounding air and water. For performing various bodily operations such as respiration, metabolism, digestion etc. properly, the temperature range needs to be right.

That’s why it is extremely important to control the temperature of the turtle habitat and keep it constant throughout the year. By controlling the temperature of the habitat, we are actually regulating the body temperature of the turtle.

Fortunately, controlling the temperature of a turtle tank is very easy. All you need to have is a decent heater and a reliable thermometer.

Right Water Temperature for your Turtle Tank

The right temperature for your turtle depends on what species of turtle you have. It also depends on the age of the turtle. you can check out the right temperature range from a care sheet of the turtle species. You can also consult with a reptile vet to know what temperature is ideal for your particular turtle. Here is an excellent resource that contains care sheet of most of the pet turtle species.

Aquatic turtle species such as the red-eared slider, painted turtle, musk turtle etc. do well in a 78-82 degree Fahrenheit (26 to 28 degrees Celsius) temperature environment when they are baby. The temperature should be gradually reduced when the shell length becomes 1.5 inches long. Reduce a degree every couple of weeks and maintain a temperature range between 74 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 24 degrees Celsius).

Sick turtles need warmer environment than a normal turtle. As said earlier, turtles are ectothermic animals. So, when they are sick, we need to raise the temperature of the habitat to help them get better. In general, when your turtle gets sick, raise the temperature of the habitat about 4 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) than the normal temperature.

Do Turtles Need a Water Heater?

Yes, turtles need a water heater in their tank. The heater is an essential element for setting up a turtle tank. Especially, if you live in a place where there is a large temperature swing throughout the year. In captivity, turtles should be kept in a constant temperature range. It will ensure the healthy growth of turtle. We need heaters to control the temperature inside a turtle tank so that it is always in the ideal temperature range depending on the species of your turtle.

Regulating Turtle Tank Water Temperatures

Using a heater is the easiest way to control the temperature of a turtle tank. There are many types of heaters available in the pet stores. However, you need to choose one depending on your tank type, size, and preference. There are various factors to consider when you are buying a heater for turtle tank, such as:

  • The first thing to look for in a heater is the material it is made of. The heater should be made of metal or thermal-resistant material. Glass heaters are not safe for turtle tank. It is because as turtles are bigger and more active than fishes, they may break the heater. Sometimes your turtle may also get electrocuted and severely injured.
  • The next thing you need to look for is the power of the heater. In easy words, the heater needs to be powerful enough so that it can warm up the entire turtle tank. We measure the power of an aquarium heater in watts. Basically the more watt a heater has, the more powerful it is. Your heater needs to have sufficient wattage depending on the size of your turtle tank. Here are some general guidelines to determine the power of the heater according to the turtle tank size:

75 liters water (20 gallons tank): 75 watts

150 liters water (40 gallons tank): 150 watts

250 liters water (65 gallons tank): 250 watts

300 liters water (75 gallons tank): 300 watts

  • Keep in mind that if the environment is too cold, then you might need a more powerful heater than a normal one. On the contrary, if the weather is warm, you might be able to get away with a less powerful heater. If for any reason you need to use more than one heaters in the tank, then add up their watts to measure the total wattage.
  • When you are using a submersible heater, make sure that it is placed in such a way that remains always inside the water. If there is no water around the heater, it may burn out in an instant and cause severe damage to the tank. Also when performing water changes, make sure that you’ve turned off the heater and pulled out the plug from the socket.
  • If you have a considerably large tank, then it might be better to use more than one heater in the tank. It will ensure proper temperature control even if one of the heaters get broken. Moreover, with more than one heaters, you can get more wattage which is essential to control the temperature of a large tank.
  • You should get a heater that can operate in a temperature range between 73 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Adult turtles will do fine in cooler temperature than that. Baby or hatchling turtles require a bit warmer tank than the adult ones.
  • Don’t go over the board with temperature. Too much temperature is bad for a turtle tank. It will encourage bacteria growth inside the tank which is unhealthy and risky for turtles. Moreover, it may discourage the turtles to bask which can cause severe health issues.
  • Heaters are something you don’t want to go cheap for. Cheap heaters are extremely risky and unreliable. I have seen hundreds of aquarium accidents due to a cheap heater. So, rather than looking for a cheap heater, look for a high-quality reliable one.

Types of Underwater Heaters

There are actually many types of underwater heaters that are designed for using in an aquarium. All of them do the same function, that is heating the water. However, there are certain advantages and disadvantages in each type of heaters. Let’s discuss briefly about them:

Submersible Aquarium Heaters:

Submersible aquarium heaters need to placed entirely in the water. You can either place them horizontally or vertically. They are usually rod-shaped with a knob to control the temperature range.  Submersible aquarium heaters are the most popular one because of their cheap price and availability. They are also very efficient and heat up the water very quickly.

Another good thing about using submersible heaters is, you can easily change the position of the heater. However, do not place them too near to the substrate. Also, place them in a place where the turtle can’t access it easily. Otherwise, your turtle may break down the heater and cause an accident. I love submersible heaters because they are very easy to use and provide much more accurate readings.

Aquarium Substrate Heater:

 It is another type of aquarium heater. Though they are not as popular as submersible heaters, many people use them because they don’t kill any space inside the tank. The way this heater works is, you need to place it under the substrate layer, whatever substrate you have such as sand, gravel or fluorite. As it is placed below the substrate, it is not visible.

Aquarium substrate heater works like a coil. It is more suitable for larger tanks rather than small tanks. They are much more expensive than submersible heaters and efficiency is less.

External In Filter Aquarium Heater:

Many people do not want to use a heater directly inside the tank. If you are one of them, an external in filter will be a good choice for you. These heaters are designed to work outside the main tank, typically in an external filter like a canister filter. By installing the heater inside the canister filter, you’ll get the desired water temperature without placing the heater inside the main tank. It also reduces the possibility of any accident.

If you want to use an external in filter heater, make sure that it has a water flow rate equal or more than the water flow rate of a canister filter. The fittings of the heater should also match with the filter hose.

External in filters will burn out if they are operated in a dry environment. So, after installing the heater, make sure the filter is filled with water and the pump is running. Only after then turn on the heater. I love the fact that you can use these heaters outside the main tank, which also reduces any chance of accident. However, they cost much more than submersible heaters which is a downside for many owners. If you are interested in this type of heaters, you should check out Hydor’s external in filter. They are the best in the market.

My Favorite Type of Aquarium Heater:

Among all of the types of aquarium heaters, I love the submersible heaters most. There are many reasons for preferring them over other types of heaters, some are:

  • They are very effective yet do not cost a fortune. Most people can get them easily from any pet store.
  • The installment is very easy and straightforward. You can also change the position and set it up in any way you want.
  • They provide much more accurate reading than any other types of aquarium heaters.
  • Submersible heaters are available in a large range of wattage power. So, you can easily get the one your tank requires.

How to Calculate the Required Power of Heater?

Always calculate the required wattage before you get a submersible heater. there is an easy way to calculate the required wattage. Here is the way:

For every 10 gallons of water for 10-degree temperature range, you need 25-watt power. So, suppose you have a 55 gallon tank. Now divide it by 10. We get 5.5. Now all you need to do is multiply 5.5 by 25, which results in 137.5 watts, which is the required wattage for your 55 gallon tank.

To explain it more clearly, suppose your 55 gallon tank has 62 degrees Fahrenheit temperature. You want to raise it to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. For this, you need a heater of 137.5 watt power minimum. For raising the temperature to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, the power of the heater should be at least 275 watt.

Here is a list of my recommended 4 best water heater for turtles on the budget:

1. Finnex Titanium Hang On Heater:

Finnex Titanium Hang On Heater

Finnex Titanium Hand On heater is great for temperature control and keeping a constant temperature in a turtle tank. It is made from titanium tubes which are corrosion resistant. The durable body makes it almost impossible to break.

The heating tubes are very efficient and warm up the water very quickly. Also, as it is very compact in size, you can easily hide the heater behind some decoration. The heater also offers a precise control knob with hang on hook. You can check if the heater is operating by the indicator LED.

  • Hard, durable body makes this heater almost impossible to break.
  • Sufficient for a 100 gallon tank as it offers 100 to 500 watts power.
  • You can select a temperature range from 72 to 92 degree Fahrenheit.
  • You can control the heater with an analog controller which can be placed outside the tank. So, you don’t need to wet your hand for controlling the temperature.
  • The LED indicator lets you know if the heater is operating or not.

Click here to check out the current price of this heater at Amazon.

2. Eheim Jager Submersible Heater:

Eheim Jager Submersible Heater

Eheim Jager is another great choice for a turtle tank. The heater is made from shatterproof high-durable glass. You can adjust the temperature range between 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

Due to the thermos safety control feature, unlike other submersible heaters, it won’t get burn if operated in a dry environment. There is also an ON/OFF indicator which lets you know if the heater is working properly or not.

The heater comes with mounting bracket along with suction cups which lets you place the heater anywhere you want easily.

  • Made from shatterproof glass which is highly durable and reliable.
  • Precise temperature control from 65 to 93 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Included thermos safety control for preventing any type of accident.
  • ON/OFF indicator lets you know if the heater is operating or not.
  • Easy recalibration
  • Offers 25 to 300 watts
  • Can automatically turn itself off if the water level gets too low or the temperature rises too high.

You can get Eheim Jager at a great price from Amazon. Click here to check out the current price.

3. Aqueon Pro Heater

Aqueon Pro Heater received lots of positive feedback from the customer over the years. I have found it to be a pretty solid heater for a turtle tank.

  • you can adjust the temperature between 68 to 88 degree Fahrenheit with an accuracy of +/- 1 degree.
  • Made from shatterproof material which is very hard and sturdy.
  • The auto turn-off feature turns off the heater automatically if it gets too hot. When the temperature cools down, the heater starts again automatically.
  • The LED indicator shows red when the heater is operating and green when it is not.
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

To check out the latest price on Amazon, click here.

4. Tetra Submersible Heater:

Tetra Submersible Heater

Tetra submersible is relatively a cheaper heater with much reliable temperature control. It can be a good option for those who are on a tight budget.

  • It has an indicator which shows if the heater is currently working or not.
  • Offers 50 to 200 watts of power.
  • The heater is equipped with an electronic thermostat which can automatically adjust to keep the water temperature at a constant level, 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The heater is very easy to install and operate. Everything is explained on the label information.
  • As it is quite a cheap heater, anyone can get it for his turtle tank.

You can check out the latest price on Amazon from here.


turtle tank thermometers

Though most heaters come with a thermometer of their own, most of the time they don’t produce an accurate result. That’s why it is not smart to rely on the heater-thermometer alone. I always recommend getting a high-quality reliable dedicated thermometer for monitoring the temperature of your turtle tank.

You need at least two thermometers for your turtle tank: one for measuring the water temperature and the other for basking area temperature. When getting a thermometer for your turtle tank, avoid any type of poor quality glass thermometer as these get broken easily.

I think Zoo Med’s aquatic turtle digital thermometer is the best one in the market for using in a turtle tank. It is made from high-durable material and provides a very accurate result. Also, the digital display makes it easier to monitor the temperature.

Replacement battery is included with the thermometer. It is also completely submersible inside water. The thermometer measures temperature in Fahrenheit scale. You can easily place the thermometer anywhere inside the tank with the suction cup.

So, this is my detailed guide on the best water heater for turtles on the budget. I hope the article has helped you regarding how to heat a turtle tank and choosing the best heater for your turtle.

Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping turtles as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my turtle keeping knowledge with you.

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