New Tank Shopping List - Climate Control
Unless your aquarium is in a room held at 78 to 80 degrees F 24/7/365, you're going to need a heater to keep your fish, coral, and invertebrates happy and healthy. Heaters for our saltwater aquariums range from inexpensive glass heaters with a built-in thermostat to more robust titanium heating elements combined with external controllers containing built-in redundancy. Find out which heaters we like best in our Best Heaters Buyers Guide.
Some heaters, those without any built-in control, will require a temperature controller to turn them on and off. But those that do feature built-in control can still benefit from a temperature controller where it can add a layer of protection and redundancy to your system. In fact, we always recommend at least one layer of redundancy in your aquarium heating system to avoid overheating. Some controllers, such as the InkBird WiFi Heater Controller or Neptune Systems Apex can even notify you when the temperature of your aquarium is too high or too low.
It might seem obvious to seasoned reefers, but it's important for new saltwater aquarium keepers to not overlook the importance of having a reliable way to measure the temperature of the aquarium water. Whether it's a simple stick-on thermometer or something a little more accurate like the Hanna Checktemp, a thermometer allows hobbyists to quickly detect any deviations and take immediate action to rectify them, creating a stable and thriving aquatic ecosystem.
With LED light fixtures becoming the norm, excess heat is rarely an issue. However, for some reefers who live in warmer climates or are still using metal halide lighting, a chiller or fan may be necessary to keep the water temperature within the acceptable range. If you only need to lower the water temperature by a degree or two, we highly recommend starting with a fan to provide evaporative cooling. Fans are less expensive than chillers, quieter, and consume less energy than chillers.