4 Best Water Heater for Turtle Tanks Reviews (On the Budget)

best water heater for turtles

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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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.

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.

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

Why Turtle Tanks Need Heaters?

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.

4 Best Water Heater For Turtle Tanks: Comparison Table

FeatureTetra HT Submersible Aquarium HeaterAqueon Pro Aquarium HeaterEHEIM Jager TruTemp Submersible HeaterFinnex HMK Titanium Aquarium Heater
Power (Watt)50W, 100W, 150W, 200W100W300W50W, 100W, 150W, 200W, 300W, 500W
Tank Size (Gallon)2-10 gal (50W), 10-30 gal (100W), 30-40 gal (150W), 40-55 gal (200W)20-30 gallon159-264 gallons10-20 gal (50W), 20-30 gal (100W), 30-60 gal (150W), 60-80 gal (200W), 80-100 gal (300W), 100-120 gal (500W)
Temperature Range78°F (Fixed)68 to 88 °F65° to 93° F(Not Available)
Special FeaturesRed/Green Indicator Lights, Automatic Thermostat, Shuts off if an electrical short is detectedLED Indicator, Auto Shut-off, Durable Shatter-resistant Construction, Completely SubmersibleShatterproof Glass Construction, TruTemp Dial, Thermo Safety Control, On/Off Indicator LightTitanium Heating Tube, Remote Temperature Sensor, Flame Retardant Grade Heater Guard, Non-Resumable Fuse, Intelligent Memory Chip
Material(Not Available)(Not Specified)Laboratory-grade GlassTitanium

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

4 Best Water Heater for Turtle Tank Reviews

1. Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater

The Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater is adept at maintaining the ideal water temperature, making it a versatile fit for both salt and freshwater community fish tanks. It’s designed to be completely submersible, ensuring safe and effective aquarium temperature control.


  • 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.


  1. Ease of Use: The heater is very user-friendly, and installing it was a breeze. It is designed to be submersible, making it easy to place within the tank.
  2. Availability: I was able to purchase the heater easily from Amazon, and it is also available online for convenience.
  3. Promotional Offers: I was able to avail of some promotional offers and discounts, which made the deal even sweeter.


  1. Limited Information: The lack of detailed information on the product page was a bit disappointing, necessitating reference to the manual and other resources for comprehensive insights.
  2. Lack of Adjustable Temperature Control: The heater comes with a fixed temperature setting, which might not cater to the specific needs of all aquatic species, limiting its versatility.
  3. No Indicator Light: The absence of an indicator light makes it challenging to ascertain whether the heater is functioning or not, which could be inconvenient for monitoring.

In conclusion, the Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater has been a functional addition to my aquarium setup. It’s user-friendly and reasonably priced, making it a decent choice for those maintaining an aquarium.

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

2. 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.

See also  5 Best Canister Filter For Turtle Tank [Reviews & Buyer's Guide]

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.


The EHEIM Jager TruTemp Submersible Aquarium Heater is a modern electronic thermal device with top-notch technology. It offers precise temperature adjustment from 18 up to 34 °C and has a temperature control accuracy of ± 0.5 °C.

The heater is completely submersible and comes with an automatic dry run shut-off feature known as Thermo Safety Control. It has a glass jacket that increases the heating surface and ensures optimum even heat emission. The heating function is indicated by a control lamp.

  • 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.


  1. Versatility: Suitable for both fresh and salt water, it caters to a wide range of aquarium needs.
  2. Precise Temperature Control: The ability to adjust the temperature with such precision is a standout feature, allowing for a tailored aquatic environment.
  3. Safety Features: The automatic dry run shut-off is a thoughtful addition, preventing any mishaps due to overheating.
  4. Optimal Heat Emission: The special laboratory glass jacket not only serves as a heat shield but also ensures even heat emission, maintaining a constant level of heat.


  1. Price: Depending on the wattage and model, the price might be on the higher side for some aquarium enthusiasts.
  2. Size: The heater comes in various sizes, and choosing the right one might be confusing for some users, especially those new to aquarium maintenance.
  3. Availability: While it is available online, stock availability might be an issue, and potential buyers might have to check multiple platforms or stores.

In conclusion, my experience with the EHEIM Jager TruTemp Submersible Aquarium Heater has been overwhelmingly positive. The precise temperature control, safety features, and optimal heat emission make it a top contender in the aquarium heater market.

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.


The Aqueon Pro Aquarium Heater is available in a wide range of wattage sizes, allowing for a custom heating experience for any aquarium. It has a precise temperature dial that ranges from 68 to 88 °F, allowing for complete control of the aquatic climate within a 1-degree difference.

The heater is constructed with durable, shatter-resistant material, allowing for completely submersible and safe aquarium temperature control.

Additionally, it features an LED indicator that lights up red when heating and green when not heating, and it has an auto shut-off feature that prevents overheating.

  • 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.


  1. Versatility: The heater is suitable for both salt and freshwater tanks, making it a versatile choice.
  2. Precise Control: The precise temperature dial allows for meticulous control of the aquarium’s climate.
  3. Safety Features: The shatter-resistant construction and auto shut-off feature add an extra layer of safety.
  4. Visual Indicator: The LED indicator is a handy feature for monitoring the heating status at a glance.


  1. Price: Depending on the wattage, the price may be a bit steep for some users, especially those on a tight budget.
  2. Size Options: While the range of wattage sizes is a plus, choosing the right one can be confusing for first-time users.

Overall, my experience with the Aqueon Pro Aquarium Heater has been positive. The versatility, precise control, safety features, and visual indicator make it a reliable choice for maintaining the ideal water temperature in an aquarium.

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

4. Finnex HMK Titanium Aquarium Heater

The Finnex HMA Titanium Electronic Control Heater is designed with a sleek analog controller and a titanium tube, making it corrosion-resistant and suitable for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.

It maintains water temperature within +/-2ºF of the set value, ensuring a stable and healthy environment for the aquatic inhabitants.

The heater comes with a hang-on hook and an LED power indicator, allowing users to know when the heater is functioning. The titanium heating element is housed in a protective guard, ensuring the safety of both the aquatic inhabitants and surrounding equipment.


  1. Precision Control: The heater maintains water temperature with high precision, providing a stable temperature for the tank.
  2. Durability: The corrosion-resistant titanium tube makes this heater virtually unbreakable and suitable for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.
  3. Safety Features: The protective guard around the titanium heating element adds an extra layer of safety for the aquatic inhabitants and equipment.
  4. LED Indicator: The LED Heating indicator is a handy feature, allowing users to monitor the heater’s status easily.


  1. Price: Depending on the model and wattage, the price might be a consideration for some users, especially those on a budget.
  2. Size Selection: With various models available, choosing the right size for specific needs might be confusing for first-time users.

In conclusion, my experience with the Finnex HMA Titanium Electronic Control Heater has been overwhelmingly positive. The precision control, durability, safety features, and LED indicator make it a reliable choice for maintaining the ideal water temperature in an aquarium.

See also  Will My Turtle Die If The Water Is Too Cold?

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

Best Thermometer For Turtle Tank: Zoo Med Digital Thermometer

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.

What Is The Right Water Temperature for your Turtle Tank?

The right water temperature for a turtle tank depends on the species of turtle, as different species have different temperature requirements. However, here is a general guideline for the appropriate water temperature for common pet turtle species:

1. Aquatic Turtles:

Red-Eared Sliders, Painted Turtles, and Map Turtles:

  • Hatchlings: 78°F to 80°F (25.5°C to 26.5°C)
  • Adults: 75°F to 78°F (24°C to 25.5°C

Softshell and Snapping Turtles:

  • Slightly warmer, around 78°F to 82°F (25.5°C to 27.5°C)

2. Semi-Aquatic Turtles:

Box Turtles:

  • Water area: Around 75°F (24°C)
  • Basking area: 85°F to 88°F (29°C to 31°C) with a basking spot reaching up to 95°F (35°C)

3. Terrestrial Turtles (Tortoises):

  • Do not require water heating but need ambient temperature maintenance.
  • Basking area: 95°F to 100°F (35°C to 37.5°C)
  • Cooler area: 70°F to 75°F (21°C to 24°C)
various equipment for an aquarium
various equipment for an aquarium

Do Turtles Need a Water Heater?

Turtles, depending on the species, may require a water heater to maintain an appropriate water temperature in their habitat. Here’s a general guideline:

Aquatic Turtles:

Aquatic turtles, such as Red-eared sliders and Painted turtles, typically require a water heater. They thrive in water temperatures between 75°F and 80°F (24°C and 27°C). A water heater helps in maintaining a stable water temperature, especially in colder climates or during the winter months.

Semi-Aquatic Turtles:

Semi-aquatic turtles, like Box turtles, may not require a water heater if they have a suitable basking area with appropriate heating. However, if they spend a significant amount of time in the water, maintaining the water temperature can be beneficial.

Terrestrial Turtles:

Terrestrial turtles, such as Tortoises, do not need a water heater as they do not live in water. However, they do need a suitable heat source to maintain their body temperature, such as a heat lamp.

Specific Requirements:

Different species of turtles have specific temperature requirements, and it is crucial to research the needs of the particular species you are caring for. Additionally, baby turtles may have different needs compared to adults.


Regardless of the species, it is essential to monitor the water temperature regularly using a reliable aquarium thermometer to ensure it remains within the safe range for the turtle.

Health Implications:

Maintaining the correct water temperature is crucial for the turtle’s health. Inadequate temperatures can lead to a weakened immune system, making the turtle more susceptible to illnesses and infections.

How To Choose The Perfect Water Heater For Your Turtle Tank?

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:

Look for metal or thermal-resistant material

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.

Power Of the heater according to the tank size

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

Think about the climate

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.

Careful placement of the heater

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.

See also  Turtle Basking Light Guide for Absolute Beginners

consider more than one heater for large tanks

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.

functional temperature range: 73 to 85 degrees fahrenheit

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.

too much heat can be bad

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.

don’t look for cheap options

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.

a corner of aquarium with water filter and electric heater
a corner of aquarium with water filter and electric heater

3 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:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 For Turtle Tank?

Calculating the required power of a heater for an aquarium involves considering the volume of water in the tank and the difference between the desired temperature and the room temperature. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you calculate the required heater power:

Step 1: Determine Temperature Difference

  • Measure the ambient room temperature where the aquarium is located.
  • Determine the desired water temperature for your aquarium based on the species you are keeping.
  • Calculate the temperature difference (ΔT) between the desired water temperature and the room temperature.

ΔT = Desired Water Temperature – Room Temperature

Step 2: Calculate Aquarium Volume

  • Measure the dimensions of your aquarium or refer to the manufacturer’s specifications to find the volume.
  • If the volume is given in gallons, you can convert it to liters using the conversion factor: 1 gallon≈3.78541 liters

Step 3: Calculate Required Heater Power

  • A general rule of thumb is to use a heater with a power output of 3−5 watts per gallon of water for a temperature increase of 5−10 degrees Fahrenheit (3-5 degrees Celcius)

Use the following formula to calculate the required heater power (P) in watts:

Example Calculation:

  • Suppose you have a 20-gallon aquarium.
  • The room temperature is 68°F, and you want to maintain the water temperature at 78°F.
  • The temperature difference (ΔT) is 78°F−68°F=10°F

Aquarium Size vs Water Heater Power


This table is based on a typical temperature difference of 10°F (5.5°C).

For larger aquariums, or as a safety measure, using two heaters of half the recommended wattage at opposite ends of the tank can help in maintaining a more uniform temperature and act as a backup in case one fails.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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