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5 Best Turtle Tank Heaters

Most recommended
Glass Submersible Heater
  • Brand: ViaAqua
  • Size: Pack of 1
  • Fully-submerisble
A good choice too
Explosion Proof
  • Size: 300 W
  • Fish Tank Heater
  • Notice Please
A good choice too
Aquarium Heater Fish
  • DaToo Aquarium Heater
  • BPA Free
  • Attention
Glass Adjustable Heater
  • Size: 200 Watts
  • UL Approved
  • 200W
Aquarium Heater 500W
  • More Safety Guarantee
  • 12 Month

Choose the Best Turtle Tank Heater

Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Turtle Tank Heaters

3 users answered this survey. Please help us improve this review!

0.00% of users selected Glass Submersible Heater, 100.00% selected Explosion Proof, 0.00% selected Aquarium Heater Fish, 0.00% selected Glass Adjustable Heater and 0.00% selected Aquarium Heater 500W. Every month we analyze your answers and change our rating.

To provide the optimum living environment for your tropical or freshwater fish, an aquarium heater is required to maintain a proper temperature in the tank. An aquarium heater is needed to raise the water to a temperature at which your aquatic creatures can thrive. Turtles are unable to generate body heat, making it necessary for pet fish to have a good turtle tank heater in order for their immune systems to function properly.

The goal of a turtle owner is to replicate the natural aquatic environment for pet fish and other aquatic creatures in order to keep them healthy and stress-free. It’s critical to consider the size of your tank when selecting from among the range of submersible heaters and other types of heaters accessible because smaller tanks necessitate smaller aquarium heaters.

Finally, the sort of turtle you are caring for is important, since many turtles native to warmer climates require to swim within particular temperatures in order to survive. You’ll need to pick the proper fish tank heater for your freshwater or marine aquarium setup to support the health and longevity of your aquatic creatures.

The right tank heater will make all the difference for your turtle. Whether you’re looking for a simple and affordable model or something with more features, this guide got you covered! In this article, turtle owners will be reviewing some of their favorite models on the market and answering frequently asked questions about them. Read on to find out which one is best suited for your needs – you won’t regret it!

ViaAqua Quartz Glass Submersible Heater with Built-in Thermostat – the Editor’s choice!

The build quality of the ViaAqua thermometer is excellent, and it seems like something you could keep for a long time. This heater comes with a number of standard features that you would expect in a more expensive model. A solid quartz construction that is heat-resistant and shatterproof is included. There’s also an accurate temperature gauge.

This thermostat is included in this heater to keep temperatures steady in tanks up to 75 gallons. Because the visible reading isn’t very accurate, you’ll need an extra thermometer. However, each set will maintain a precise and dependable temperature. The temperature dial lacks increments, so you’ll have to do some testing when you first install it.

  • Made with durable quartz glass;
  • Can be fully submerged;
  • Visible temperature setting;
  • Good for saltwater and freshwater;
  • Has an indicator light;
  • Not overheating issues;

  • No auto-off feature;
  • Doesn’t have suction cups;
  • No increments on the temperature dial;
  • The temperature gauge is not accurate;

This is the best submersible aquarium heater for aquariums of up to 75 gallons. It’s suitable for both saltwater and freshwater use. It has a temperature range of 68 to 93F and is made of high-quality quartz glass that can withstand abuse and damage.

Boxtech Aquarium Explosion Proof Submersible Thermostat – the best for durability!

The Boxtech tank heater is protected by quartz glass, which has a three-year lifespan. The milky glass is extra thick, making it difficult to shatter or explode.

The manufacturer claims that the power cord is safe, and you won’t have to worry about electricity leaking since it has been approved by UL. It’s horizontally submersible for optimum water flow in the fish tank, with a maximum deep water immersion of 19.5 inches.

The small profile black plastic barrier allows you to disguise the heater in the aquarium tank. For concealing, this heat has a sleek and tiny design. It’s simple to use and adjust the temperature settings. You may set the temperatures precisely as desired without getting your hands wet using an external temperature controller.

  • Durable;
  • Automatic digital controller;
  • External temperature regulation;
  • Shatterproof;
  • Explosion-proof;
  • Can be easily hidden in a tank;
  • Fully submersible;

  • Water flow could be better;
  • Can be too hot for a turtle to handle;
  • Poor customer service;

Do you want to know when an aquarium heater has explosion-proof capabilities? This Boxtech device will never let you down. It has the greatest quality and includes energy-saving features. The product is highly variable, so you can rest confident that your fish are comfortable and safe at all times.

DaToo Submersible Adjustable Fish Tank Heater – the best for small tanks!

The DaToo Aquarium Heater is perfect for keeping our cherished fish comfortable. The heater is a cause of concern and provides a pleasant living environment for your beautiful fish. It’s made from shatterproof and wear-resistant microcrystalline glass.

This efficient heat is suitable for both fresh and saltwater. The shape of this heater is constructed of high-quality BPA-free plastic. This heater was created utilizing an automatic method with an on/off switch.

  • Comfortable environment for a turtle;
  • Made with durable ceramic glass;
  • Adjustable temperature control;
  • Good price point;

  • Very short power cord;
  • Can heat up very quickly and boil the water;

The DaToo 100-watt heater is a budget-friendly option for your turtle tank. It has variable temperature control, which is convenient. The heater is enclosed in a plastic casing to add further protection for your turtle.

Aqueon Submersible Aquarium Heater – the best for being accurate!

Another of Aqueon’s submersible heaters with comparable characteristics to the previous models. The power and sizes range from 50W to 250W, with temperature adjustment capabilities (68 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit).

The improved accuracy of the thermostat is one degree higher than previous models. It also has an LED light that indicates when the heating is on and has been switched off by turning green and red colors on. The product is said to be shatterproof, which is critical for fish safety.

This heater differs dramatically from the others in its class. It includes an automatic safety shutoff and overheating protection feature. You may save your fish’s lives with this function. Once the water reaches the desired temperature, the device is automatically shut off via a safety shutdown mechanism.

  • Can be fully submerged;
  • Automatic shutoff if the device overheats;
  • Shatter-resistant;
  • For tanks up to 75 gallons;
  • Automatic temperature adjustment;
  • Lifetime warranty;
  • Precise;

  • Some malfunctions can be dangerous for turtles;
  • Inconsistent performance;

This heater device is composed of shatter-proof material that is completely submersible, so you may install it either horizontally or vertically. Furthermore, it includes a tiny LED light that comes on when the aquarium heater is switched on.

BOEESPAT Fish Tank Heater with Anti Scald Protector – the best for large tanks!

This Boeespat fish tank thermometer features a high-quality glass construction that is waterproof. As a result, this aquarium heater will serve you for many years and has exceptional longevity.

This heater, unlike the others on the market, has no risk of fish punching or scalding themselves. It’s great for tanks of all sizes, including aquariums. The best feature of this product is that it allows for temperature customization. All you have to do to adjust the temperatures with this device is turn the knob at the top.

  • Safe for turtles;
  • Waterproof;
  • Smart temperature control;
  • Suitable for large tanks up to 120 gallons;
  • Made with durable titanium steel;

  • Short power cord;
  • Accuracy issues;
  • The temperature may fluctuate;

The exterior shell of this device is made of ABS, and it is enhanced by an MCH aluminum ceramic heating system. It has been equipped with an LED indicator that displays, whether it is operating effectively or not to assist you in determining its condition.

The Buyer’s Guide

Why Do Turtles Need a Tank Heater?

Turtles are ectothermic, or cold-blooded, animals that take the temperature of their surroundings to maintain their own body temperature. The heat of their environment affects a lot of their metabolic processes, such as eating and digestion. They may soak in front of the heating lamp if they need to warm up or swim about to cool down.

Turtles can also spend a significant amount of time in the water, which is where they get their food. Because turtles like warm water, keeping it at an appropriate temperature at all times is critical.

Many people who own turtle tanks never use them. You should always have one in your tank because it is a very useful tool, whether you are keeping an adult or juvenile turtle. Though they can withstand wider ranges of temperatures, adults live best at certain temperatures. Hatchlings and youngsters require heaters to keep their metabolisms active so that they can digest properly and grow rapidly.

If your turtle gets sick, you may also need to raise the average temperature in the water to assist it in battling disease and infections more successfully.

If you’re looking at a heater that wasn’t designed specifically for aquariums or for use in water, be sure it’s safe to use in an aquatic tank [1]

Types of Turtle Tank Heaters:

1) Submersible Heater

A submersible heater is a tiny, portable heating device that works underwater. They are useful, simple to install, quick, and effective. They’re typically inexpensive. To avoid accidents and malfunctions, they should be kept at a safe distance from the substrate [2].

2) Substrate Heater

Substrate heaters are excellent for small aquariums. They’re hidden beneath the substrate. Water plants grow faster when they’re placed below the root layer, which is where they operate. Their major benefit is that they are virtually undetectable and provide an efficient heating method. They do, however, tend to be more costly than other heaters.

3) In-Filter Heater

The in-filter heater, as the name implies, is placed inside the filter. Inside the canister filter specifically. This heater’s main benefit is that it is protected from pet “assault”. Owners of aggressive fish in particular will find this to be advantageous. They are also quite costly.

4) External Heater

For people who don’t want an unattractive stick spoiling the view of their tank, heaters that operate outside the aquarium are a welcome alternative. They’re less popular than submersible heaters, perhaps because they necessitate the use of canister filters and some aquarists feel set-ups for external in-line heaters to be difficult.

If you’re still hesitant about having to connect a heater to your filter’s tubing (leaks are possible) but don’t want a submersible heater in your aquarium, there is another external heating option. There are canister filters on the market that include space for a heater, making it simple to conceal this equipment so you can enjoy your turtle tank to the fullest [3]

5) Undergravel Heater

The idea of an undergravel heater is something that many aquarium hobbyists are familiar with. Theoretically, this sounds like a great hiding place for your turtle tank’s undergravel heater, but it isn’t. Undergravel heaters are meant to assist plant growth and, even though their efficacy is debatable, they do so in limited ways.

6) Heating Mats

Heating mats, like undergravel heaters, aren’t a good approach to keep your turtle warm. These heating pads, which are placed beneath the tank, should be utilized by terrestrial reptile breeders only.

7) Heating Rocks

A warm rock ornament with a heating element might be an excellent inconspicuous way to adjust the temperature in your turtle aquarium, but presently all of the models for sale are designed for use with terrestrial reptile cages. Don’t put them in your tank with water – they’re likely not waterproof!

Main Features:


Many different sizes and types of aquarium heaters are available. The wattage of a heater may range from a modest 10W to a highly powerful 800W or more, depending on the model. There are three things to consider when choosing a heater size for your turtle tank: wattage, aquarium size, and ambient temperature.

The table below should give you a good starting point if your turtle tank is located in a place that stays at room temperature and isn’t required to be heated more than 10 degrees. It assumes that 1 gallon of aquarium needs 2.5 Watts to heat it 10F. It considers the most popular aquarium sizes and heater wattages. 

For example, heating a 15-gallon aquarium with 50W of electricity would require 37.5W, but 37.5W heaters do not exist. The nearest realistic alternative is 50W [4]


The wattage is a very important factor to look at when purchasing a heater for your turtle tank. You want to make sure that the wattage of the heater is appropriate for the size of your aquarium. 

For example, if you have a 50-watt heater and try to use it in a 20-gallon tank, you will likely overheat your tank. Conversely, using a 100-watt heater in a 20-gallon tank may not be enough to heat it properly

This chart will help you determine which turtle tank heater is best for your tank:

  • Up to 15 gallons equals 50 watts;
  • Up to 30 gallons equals 100 watts;
  • Up to 45 gallons equals 150 watts;
  • Up to 65 gallons equals 200 watts;
  • Up to 80 gallons equals 300 watts;

Temperature Accuracy

It’s important that your turtle tank heater be accurate within a degree or two. Otherwise, you could be dealing with some serious health problems for your turtles. Many of the best aquarium heaters on the market have built-in thermostats to ensure accuracy


Heaters are made to be durable and last for years with proper care. However, some models are more durable than others. It’s important that you do your research before purchasing a heater in order to find one that is built to last.

Ease of Use

Some heaters are difficult to use, especially if this is your first time purchasing one. Make sure that the heater you choose is easy enough to set up and use.


When it comes to safety, your turtle tank heater’s only purpose is protection.

If your turtle’s temperature drops too low, it may go into hibernation, which is a dangerous condition in captivity. As a result, you’ll need a heater to keep them safe, but also one that won’t cause additional issues.

There is a slew of horror tales about individuals buying low-quality heaters that shatter or overheat. This may severely harm your turtle, and in most situations, it might have been prevented by spending an extra twenty dollars on a superior heater on day one.

Some of the security measures to look for include auto-shutoff mechanisms, shatterproof materials, shockproof designs, etc. These features will keep your pet safe and give you peace of mind [5].

Heating Efficiency

It’s critical to get a heater that can heat the water in your turtle tank. Most of the time, this is easy to accomplish by matching the wattage with the tank size recommended but occasionally a low-quality heater just isn’t enough.

All of the heaters on this list are powerful enough to withstand the same tank size for each wattage choice they provide (sometimes even larger). There’s no use buying a heater if it can’t keep things warm.

Additional Recommendations:

Get a Thermometer

Always have an extra thermometer on hand to supplement your safety procedure’s level of redundancy.

Even if your heater is the greatest of its kind, things may go wrong. External data where you can check that the water temperature is correct is priceless.

They’re so inexpensive that there’s no reason not to get one. You’ll feel better knowing your turtle is secure and comfy [6]

Consider Using Two Heaters

It’s also a typical practice among turtle experts to utilize two heaters. While this may seem like overkill at first, there’s a reason for it.

Splitting the required wattage between two water heaters on both ends of the danger spectrum guards your tank against damage.

If one of them goes down, at least you’ll have one source of heat until you can replace it. While the remaining heater will be overwhelmed, it’s better than nothing!

It’s also beneficial in preventing your tank from overheating. This is because each heater will not have the required wattage to damage your aquarium.

How To Set Up Your Heater Properly [7]?

Read and understand your heater’s user manual carefully. Take note of any precautions you’ll need to follow, especially if you’re plugging it into an outlet. Test your water heater using clean water. You may test its heating capacity in a tiny tub before increasing the amount of heat. Make sure you use a thermometer that is correct for your boiler.

If your heater is submersible, make sure it’s out of the way of your turtle.

If it’s an external heater, double-check that the water pump or canister filter is set up correctly and that the water flow is appropriate before turning it on.

Once the temperature is stable, you may add your turtle to the tank.

Turtle Tank Heater Safety Precautions:


Using an accurate thermometer to check the water temperature is essential for turtle safety. Before putting your turtle in the water, double-check that the water temperature is correct.

An LCD thermometer strip displayed on the inside of the aquarium is an inexpensive technique to keep track of the temperature in your tank. These might be placed outside the tank to observe the water temperature (ensure that they read through the glass). Another may be put near to or within reach of your basking area to monitor the hot section. 

Thermometers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including ones with a metal probe that provides an exact reading, aquarium thermometers, and temperature guns. Although glass thermometers are available, they are generally avoided since these might be cracked if your turtle shakes them out of the way.

Tips for users: keep 2 thermometers in the water just in case one break (you may not notice it) and maintain a consistent regimen to track the temperature of your tank (for example, during feeding time) so you may detect any significant changes immediately.

Heater guard

Heater guards are a protective covering used to keep aquarium heaters safe from damage. Turtles may break aquarium heaters since they can get rather hefty and are natural diggers. The heating element becoming exposed and being accidentally burned or electrocuting your turtle will be protected by this, as turtles can occasionally break aquarium heaters. 

Even for those aquarium heaters with a cage around the heating element, putting a second plastic cage between your turtle and the heater is often a smart safety measure. 

Dual heaters

Using two lesser-powered heaters in your aquarium is a smart way to prevent overheating and ensure you have a backup heater. The wattage of these two heaters should be equal to or greater than the tank’s power rating. For an 80-gallon tank that needs 300 Watts to warm, for example, use two 150-Watt heaters [8]

If one heater fails, it won’t have enough wattage to adequately heat the tank, and if one breaks, your water will not immediately cool down. It will also assist in maintaining a constant and stable temperature throughout the tank.

How to Heat a Turtle Tank?

In general, keeping adult turtles does not require heating their tank, but if you have a baby turtle, you will need to do so. This is because, as you can imagine, baby turtles are developing and need their metabolism to be active in order for them to digest food quickly.

The adult turtles will not grow anymore and will not require as much energy to go into the process of growing, so it’s not necessary to heat your adult turtle tank.

Turtles are hardy and can withstand a wide range of temperatures.

Higher temperatures also aid in the prevention and treatment of diseases and illnesses.

The temperature in the turtle tank will vary depending on the turtle you have, but here are some guidelines:

  • Hatchlings (newborn turtles): 75-80F;
  • Baby turtles (up to 1 year): 72+ F;
  • Adults: 68+ F (or stick to room temperature);


Do turtles need a water heater?

Yes, turtles require a water heater for environments with low ambient/room temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Turtles are ectothermic (cold-blooded) creatures that use the temperature of their surroundings to control their own bodies. Higher water temperatures will be required for hatchlings and juvenile turtles since heat aids in their development and metabolism [9]

What is the proper temperature for a turtle tank?

Day and night, the water temperature should be between 72 and 77F. The wet side of your turtle’s habitat should be maintained at a temperature of 75 to 85F [10].

Are turtle aquarium heaters safe?

Turtles have been known to get burned from aquarium heaters, so it is important to use a heater guard or make sure your turtle cannot access the area where you place the heater.

Keep in mind that some turtles are very persistent and if they see something interesting (like an exposed heating element), they will investigate. A fully protected tank with proper water temperature should be enough to prevent any accidents regarding this issue. 

How can I keep my turtle tank warm?

Without a heat lamp, the best way to keep a turtle warm is with [11]:

Direct sunlight

The easiest and least expensive way to keep a turtle warm without a heat lamp is to put your turtle tank in direct sunshine. The ideal situation is for the tank to be placed next to a window. Ideally, place it near a window that receives the most amount of sunlight per day.

This may be better than a heat lamp since the sun is more natural to a turtle. Because water takes so long to cool, it may even assist to keep the water warm throughout the night, even if it’s cold outside.

It’s crucial that your turtle has access to light and heat. It might be the case if your turtle isn’t developing because you don’t provide them enough light and heat.

Heat rocks

In turtle tanks, hot rocks are a new fad that is gaining more and more popularity. These rocks are fantastic since they serve as beautiful decorations while also keeping your turtle warm. Simply drop the rock into the tank and connect it to a power source.

This large rock is likely to be used as your turtle’s basking area. It can reach a temperature of 85F, which is ideal for most pet turtles.

Adding warm water

You can also assist keep your turtle comfortable by changing the water in the tank on a regular basis. This will almost certainly have to be done at least once a day, making it mostly a short-term solution. You may accomplish this by heating up a bowl of water in the microwave for one minute.

Make sure there is no steam coming from the water before you put it into the tank while you want the water to be warm. Some experts recommend keeping a thermometer in your tank so you can monitor the water temperature and know when to add more.

Warm water may also assist in diluting the water in your turtle tank and keeping it clean. You can also warm the water using a turtle hydrometer.

Heating pad

A heat lamp or a heating pad on the outside of your tank are two options. Experts don’t recommend placing it inside the tank because some turtles might bite into it. Near the basking area, you can easily attach the heater to the back of the tank with tape.

It’s a good idea to have a thermometer on your turtle aquarium’s land area so you can check the air temperature. The ideal air temperature for most pet turtles is between 75 and 85F.

Incandescent light bulbs

If you don’t have the funds to buy a heat lamp, you can instead install an incandescent light bulb on top of your turtle tank. While this will cost you somewhat more in power, an incandescent light bulb has a high wattage and generates a tremendous amount of heat.

It also produces a greater number of UV rays than other light bulbs. If you decide to use this, all you need to do is leave it on during the day. It’s critical that your turtle doesn’t get access to the light bulb.


Candles are yet another option for keeping your turtle tank warm without a heat lamp. Because this poses a fire danger, it should only be utilized as a last resort. The candle should be placed approximately 2 inches from the tank. You should also stay nearby and keep an eye on the candle to ensure that it does not tip over.

What happens if a turtle gets too cold?

Cold-stunned turtles have a slower metabolism, putting them in a deep slumber. Turtles that become too cold are prone to “cold-stunningness”. These turtles get so chilly that they actually become motionless [12].

Does a turtle need a heat lamp?

The short answer is no. Turtles are cold-blooded animals, meaning they use the temperature of their environment to create energy for movement and metabolism. They do not need a heat lamp if they have access to natural sunlight or some other form of UV light.

Can the Aqueon heater be fully submerged?

No adjustments are required with Aqueon Preset Aquarium Heaters. The preset temperature has been set at 78°F, which is suitable for most tropical fish. This 50W submersible unit, which is suited for aquariums up to 20G in size, is made of shatterproof quartz glass and includes an automatic safety shut-off to avoid overheating [13].

Can you put your turtle tank outside?

Depending on where you reside, putting an aquatic turtle outside may be something you can only do for a few months during the summer. Aquatic turtles may be able to live outdoors all year in warmer climates. Some species may be hibernated outdoors, although this is not without peril [14].

Do red-eared slider turtles need a heat lamp at night?

You don’t need a UV-B light or any other kind of lighting over the winter for your turtle to thrive. The whole purpose of UV-B light is to simulate sunlight. To provide heat and UV-B light so that indoor turtles can live comfortably.

It’s not necessary to keep your lights on all night.

What you may require, on the other hand, is a heat source. Especially if it’s getting really chilly at night. Experts recommend adding another heat source if the air temperature falls below 50F where your aquarium is kept.

A ceramic heat emitter can help to retain some heat on the basking area, and a turtle water heater may help maintain the water temperature. The water heater is by far the more essential of the two. In my experience, many red-eared sliders sleep in their basin at night [15]

How many gallons can a 50-watt heater heat?

 A 50-watt heater can heat up to a 20-gallon tank.

Is LED light OK for turtles?

A screen should be placed under basking or heating lamps that get hot (incandescent, halogen, or mercury vapor bulbs) because they occasionally explode when splashed with water, and the glass may harm your turtle. Because they seldom if ever erupt or shatter, fluorescence and LED lighting do not require screens [16].

Useful Video: How to HEAT A TURTLE TANK

Final thoughts 

Hopefully, this guide has helped you to understand the importance of choosing a tank heater that is right for your turtle. If not, turtle experts recommend reading our article on how to choose the best heaters for aquatic turtles and other small species. And if you’re still unsure about what model will work best for you, don’t worry – there are plenty more reviews in the blog post! Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to read through all these posts and learning from them – it means a lot. Happy pet parenting 🙂 


  1. https://reptileknowhow.com/turtles/best-turtle-tank-heaters/#Why_Do_Turtles_Need_A_Tank_Heater
  2. https://www.thecrittercove.com/best-turtle-tank-heater
  3. https://www.buildyouraquarium.com/turtle-tank-heater/
  4. https://www.buildyouraquarium.com/turtle-tank-heater/
  5. https://www.aquariumsource.com/turtle-tank-heaters/
  6. https://www.aquariumsource.com/turtle-tank-heaters/
  7. https://reptileknowhow.com/turtles/best-turtle-tank-heaters/#How_To_Set_Up_Your_Heater_Properly
  8. https://reptileknowhow.com/turtles/best-turtle-tank-heaters/#How_To_Set_Up_Your_Heater_Properly
  9. https://reptileknowhow.com/turtles/best-turtle-tank-heaters/#How_To_Set_Up_Your_Heater_Properly
  10. https://www.petsmart.com/learning-center/reptile-care/a-set-up-guide-for-new-turtle-parents/A0026.html
  11. https://theturtleexpert.com/how-to-keep-a-turtle-warm-without-a-heat-lamp/
  12. https://www.turtlehospital.org/news/cold-temperatures/
  13. https://www.aqueon.com/products/heating/preset-heaters
  14. https://www.thesprucepets.com/aquatic-turtles-and-outdoor-ponds-1238361
  15. https://www.turtleholic.com/red-eared-slider-lighting-requirements/
  16. https://www.myturtlecam.com/lighting.php