How Much Will A Fish Tank Heater Raise Your Electric Bill

How Much Will A Fish Tank Heater Raise Your Electric Bill

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If you’ve tried working out the running cost of your fish tank, you may already know that your electric budget will most definitely bump up, meaning you’ll have to dig a little deeper into your pocket every other month.

Well, I’ve been in that point in my life, and during my short stint playing FBI, I worked out aquarium lights and heater are badass electric-hogs.

Your aquarium heaters will primarily drive up your electric bill during winters, and more if your fish tank is in a room that’s not heated or well insulated.

Although in summer, even in cold regions, the aquarium heater consumes less electricity. The lights will use vastly more power than the heating unit.

Regarding heater size (read more), I did not see much difference. A larger sized heater will warm your tank faster but consume a lot more power during that period. And a smaller unit will run longer but use up less energy.

I also didn’t find one exceptionally energy-efficient aquarium heater, but the more quality brands like Eheim seemed to work better, and at a slightly lower cost than ‘off-the-shelve brands I’ve never heard of’ heaters.

Given that background, I’ve shared some of the insights I picked up, which I’m sure will answer a few questions you might have on the use of aquarium heaters.

Please read on.

How Much Does an Aquarium Heater Cost to Run

As you would expect, the cost of running an aquarium heater will vary.

Most times, the dimension of your tank, time of the year, and the overall air temperature in your aquarium room dictates how much more money you’ll part with at the end of the month.

But overall, a 150 watts heater on for 24 hours, as it would during winter, in a 30 to 50 gallons aquarium, will cost you anywhere from 20 cents to slightly over half a dollar worth of electricity depending on your local supply charges.

Having said that, please note that using a bigger heater, like a 300 watts unit, will not do much to bring the cost down.

The only benefit you’ll get is you won’t have to run it all day, but the amount of energy needed to raise your tank temperature so many degrees will remain the same with different size haters.

As such, the only real way I found to save money is to keep your fish tank in the warmest room in your house during the colder months or insulate your tank.

Of course, these hacks are a little overkill if you only have one fish tank with a single heater in there, but with more than one conveniently huge aquarium or when running two units, then the tricks might come in handy.

Should You Leave Your Aquarium Heater On All Day

I really do not think you need to manually turn off your aquarium heater unless you want to take it out of the tank for whichever reason.

This is because almost all units available in the market today are somewhat programmable, meaning you can preset the ideal temperature for your fish tank and your heater will automatically stop warming the tank once the water reaches the appropriate temperature.

But as always, there are a couple of caveats.

First, if your heater is running your electric bill too high, you might be tempted to switch it off prematurely, if not for nothing else, to at least save you some coins on the annual electricity cost.

It might also be that one of your fish like resting on the heater, and you are afraid he might get burned; trust me, it happens.

Well, here are a few unwritten rules I follow.

  • First, when the colder months of the year come around, I move my tank into a room that is well insulated or one that needs heating anyway. This way, my aquarium water will reach the preset temperature faster, so I won’t need to run my fish tank heater all day.
  • If hack number one is too much, as it would be with big or many fish tanks, consider including a lighting gear within the thermal environment of your tank that’ll help keep your aquarium warm for a long while.
  • Alternatively, you can choose to insulate your tank suitably. For instance, get a cover if you do not have one already to ensure the heat stay within the tank environment instead of escaping into the sometimes colder room.
  • Keeping your room well insulated will also help warm your fish tank faster, meaning the heater can stay off longer, and the energy cost of heating will be fairly-small.
  • Finally, remember I said that running a bigger heater in your tank will not precisely lower your electric bill. However, a unit with more wattage is an ideal option if you want to reduce the on-time of your heater.

Overall, these tips are necessary when it’s cold, but on blistering hot days, which might be few and far between, running your heater for fewer hours in a day is acceptable.

Energy Efficient Aquarium Heaters

As I mentioned before, I did not find a single fish tank heater that is downright energy efficient, but quality brands like Eheim have better units with longer and fatter coils, that tend to rate a lower wattage for the same size tank compared to other makers.

Many of these quality fish tank heaters also come with a smart control function that features an intelligent circuit board, which facilitates precise temperature sensing..

…and conveniently turn on and off at the preset time keeping your electricity bill only next to necessarily high.

As such, you’ll be right to consider quality smart aquarium heaters to be energy efficient even though it might be by a stretch of the phrase definition.

Final Thoughts

Your aquarium heater will undoubtedly raise your electric bill, but the effects are only apparent in the long run.

This means you may not notice the difference month to month, especially when running a small and nano aquariums with just one unit that’s 150 watts or less.

But once you cumulate the extra pennies over time, you will definitely realize a difference in about a year or so.

Another thing that comes out clearly is that the extent of the extra cost you incur depends a lot on the season and the environment in and around your fish tank, including the impact of your local area climate.

For this reason, you will not get a single figure that represents or fit every aquarium situation or period. It will vary from one home to the other and even between different rooms in the same house, and keep fluctuating through the year.

Lastly, how and where you place your fish tank heater also plays a pivotal role in how heat is distributed in your fish tank, which prevents hot spots, and in turn, keeps your electric bill down.

Here is the right way to place your heater in the fish tank.

Thats all, enjoy the hobby.

Eddie Waithaka

Resident Content Creator and Marketer at AquariaWise who talks about aquariums and fish and aquascapes a lot.

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