Categories
Last update: April 7, 2021

My Review of the Aqueon Pro Aquarium Heater (Tested!)

So, you want to find out if the Aqueon Pro aquarium heater is actually any good?

Well, you came to the right place! Today, I will be reviewing this heater to answer just that.

Already decided you want this heater? Buy it here…

Aqueon Pro adjustable heater

With that out of the way, it’s time to jump into my review.

Specifications

Different sized Aqueon Pro aquarium heaters side-by-side comparison

Don’t have much room in your aquarium to spare? Use the following table to determine if the Aqueon Pro will fit inside your aquarium.

Size Tank (up to) Length Width Height
50w 20 gal 8.5″ 1.35″ 1.3″
100w 55 gal 10″ 1.35″ 1.3″
150w 20 gal 14″ 1.35″ 1.3″
200w 30 gal 14″ 1.35″ 1.3″
250w 90 gal 15.5″ 1.35″ 1.3″

Note: All measurements of the Aqueon Pro heater are taken at longest point when resting in the mounting brackets.

If you have a larger aquarium you will need to buy multiple Aqueon Pro heaters.

The following specifications remained constant across all models.

Country of manufacture Italy
Power cord length 6 foot
Temperature range 68 – 88°F
Outer casing Plastic

What’s in the box?

Aqueon Pro aquarium heater, mounting clips and suction cups

Inside your Aqueon Pro box, you will find…

  • 1 x Aqueon Pro heater
  • 2 x Mounting clips
  • 2 x Suction cups

Oh, and an instruction manual. Make sure you read it before setting the heater up in your tank!

Design

Top, bottom and side photo of Aqueon Pro adjustable aquarium heater

Straight up, I am a fan of the all-plastic design of the Aqueon Pro.

A shatter-proof design and not having to deal with condensation on the inside of the glass? What’s not to love!

For what is essentially little more than a black plastic rod, the heater is quite stylish.

Now remember, heaters are not supposed to attract any attention. The ideal heater blends into your aquarium’s background so that you can enjoy your fish without distractions. So, in my opinion, an aquarium heater should look plain.

I am happy to say that the Aqueon Pro checks that box. If it wasn’t for the LED light, I would hardly notice it at all.

At the top of the Aqueon Pro, you find the temperature control knob. Simply twist this to set the temperature for your aquarium, ranging from 68 – 88°F in increments of four.

Adjustable thermostat at top of Aqueon Pro aquarium heater

I discuss this in more detail in the next section…

To hold the heater in place, two mounting clips are included in the box. Attaching the suction cups to the clips takes a little effort, but once they go on, they stay on.

Suction cup mounting clips for Aqueon Pro aquarium heater

These clips easily attach to the narrow section of the heater and can be spaced as you see fit.

Suction cup clips attached to Aqueon Pro aquarium heater

Aqueon seems confident in their design and offers a limited life-time warranty on the heater – the longest of all the heaters I tested.

And that’s really all there is to it. Now, let’s take it for a test drive.

Usability

I could place the Aqueon Pro anywhere in my tank, vertically or horizontally, and the suction cups held strong.

As long as the heating element portion of the Aqueon Pro is placed underwater, you won’t have any problems. To help with this, there is a minimum water level indicator on the rear of the heater.

Aqueon Pro minimum water level indicator

The Aqueon Pro instantly turns on the moment you plug it into your power strip. So, have it in position before you turn the power on. This thing gets hot quickly.

If the water temperature in your tank is lower than the temperature setting on the heater, a red LED light indicates that the Aqueon Pro is heating.

Red LED indicator on Aqueon Pro as it heats up

Once the set temperature is reached, the indicator turns green and remains green as long as the water temperature in your aquarium doesn’t drop.

It’s simple, but effective. The LED light is clearly visible when you glance through the front of your aquarium, allowing you to quickly determine what the Aqueon Pro is doing.

All in all, the heater is great…

That is until you use the temperature dial.

Close-up on adjustable thermostat dial on Aqueon Pro aquarium heater

I honestly found it difficult to determine what temperature I had selected. Sure, if the temperature was listed, it was easy. But say I wanted to select 77°F… I wasn’t sure that I had twisted the knob to the right setting.

What should be a simple task is made even more difficult by the fact that the temperature markings are unevenly spread around the dial.

I reviewed over 15 different brands of aquarium heaters. And not once did I have any doubts that I had adjusted the heater to the right temperature… Until I tested the Aqueon Pro.

Even the cheap and nasty aquarium heaters with nothing else going for them got this right. With no shortage of inspiration, I just don’t understand why Aqueon decided to display the temperature scale like this.

Don’t get me wrong… I love every other aspect of this heater. And even with this minor flaw, I still highly recommended it. It’s just that this was in the running to be the best aquarium heater I tested, but it was disappointing that this was the issue that let the heater down.

Accuracy

I don’t need to tell you that if an aquarium heater isn’t accurate, then it’s as good as useless. You are essentially trusting this thing with the lives of your fish.

So to test the Aqueon Pro’s accuracy, I brought in the big guns…

Thermal imaging camera, thermometer and probe test equipment for aquarium heater accuracy

I wanted to be confident in my review, so I tested using the following equipment…

  • Flir Thermal Imaging Camera
  • Fluke Digital Thermometer and Thermocouple Probe
  • SP Scienceware Liquid Thermometer

All calibrated with NIST certification.

Aqueon claims that the adjustable heat setting is accurate to ± 1°F.[1] That is to say that if I adjusted the thermostat to 78°F, then the water temperature could actually be 77°F, 79°F or anywhere in between.

The crude temperature printings on the adjustable dial made testing this accuracy somewhat difficult. I mean, if I can’t determine what temperature I set the thermostat to, then how can I measure its accuracy?

For the purpose of testing, I pointed the dial to the midpoint of the 76°F marker.

So, the heater should heat my aquarium to 76°F. This was the expected result, and I calculated the margin of error against this.

Across the entire range of heaters, I found that no heater was out by more than 0.8°F. This falls in line with Aqueon’s claims. So the heater is accurate, as long as you select the correct temperature.

Should you buy it?

That wraps up my experience with the Aqueon Pro. And you know what? It proved to be a great aquarium heater.

It hides in your tank, quietly and precisely heating your aquarium, everything an aquarium heater should do.

While I honestly hated the temperature control knob, it’s something that you will set once and then never touch again. And besides, you should double-check the temperature of your aquarium with a anyway – Want an accurate thermometer? Check out detailed review on aquarium thermometers

For the price, you will do no better.

I give it 4.4 / 5 starfish.

Aqueon Pro adjustable heater

What do you think of the Aqueon Pro aquarium heater? Let me know in the comments below!

By Ian Sterling

I've been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it's an addiction. I'm here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.

I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here.

Comments (17)

After 50 plus years in the hobby these are the only heaters I’ll use in my display tank! I do change them out after two years but I haven’t retired any of them, I use them to cycle new tanks and for mixing new saltwater! To date the only problem I’ve come across with the Aqueon Pro heaters is they weren’t recommended for use with my old Inkbird 306 controllers. Actually I just recently pulled one out setting it on a 5 gallon bucket lid never realizing I hadn’t unplugged it. 18 hours latter my wife asked me why it was laying on the lid plugged in! I couldn’t believe it, I had left it plugged in all night! Anyway immediately after unplugging it was just warm to the touch. A few hours latter I put it back into use, it worked just fine bringing my 5 gallon bucket up to 79°F in a short time! These things are work horses, safe, and easy to set.
P.S. No one payed me nor gave me anything for these comments! Maybe I’ve just been lucky, I don’t know, but I don’t think so either, these Pro’s are also very well built with no glass to worry about plus they shut down in low or no water situations! Must be how they earned the Pro designation!

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the feedback. That’s awesome to hear you have had such good success with them – I am particularly impressed it lasted as well out of the tank as it did! I will update this review since Aqueon is updating their line to a new model, they have moved the light to the switch and changed the length of the heaters. I’ll be testing these as soon as they are released.

Ian, I’ve had these for few years after visi-therm. The 2 100w ones are still ok even they are few degrees off ( I use Vee-gee ultra thermometer recommenced by your siite) because I only use them for backup. The main one 250w was bad and almost cooked my fish. The light was off completely and if I used my hand to touch it, it just did not shut off. I called Aqueon and they gave me a replacement. The numbers on this one wasn’t colored in white like the picture you have( numbers on the original were white). This replacement stopped working after about a year(light was still on red but no heat). And Aqueon lifetime warranty meant one time only, no warranty on the replacement. And also, since these are not glass, how can you tell whether they are condensed. The knob on the heater was very easy adjusted by mistake when cleaning. Anyway, I still think they are ok for few years but you should not pay more for lifetime warranty. The ones I had like yours(with blue knobs) were made Italy. The new version is made in China and that’s why I’ve switched to another brand recommended by you as well.

Hi Michael,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

What you are saying is inline with my fear – that Aqueon no longer cares about product quality. While they once made a great product, it may no longer the case. Based on my testing, I cannot recommend their Air pumps, gravel vacuums and water changers. The Pro model I tested was up their with the best but if this has been discontinued then I will need to update the guide to reflect the new model.

The fact that there are different models floating around, manufactured in different factories makes it especially difficult – not everyone may have the same experience as the unit I tested.

I still personally recommend Cobalt Neotherms as being the best heater out there. Unfortunately, they are considerably more expensive than the Aqueon Pro – which makes them less appealing for budget setups. Don’t get me wrong, they are not perfect, as I write this there is no perfect aquarium heater. But in my opinion they are as good as it gets. It’s a tricky one, manufactures seem determined to offer a low cost heater but it often comes as the sacrifice of quality. Not great for those like you and me who plan on keeping fish for years to come and would prefer reliable equipment.

I do plant to update this guide when I get my hands on the new version

But at the moment it doesn’t look like they have been released yet.

Hi Ian and every one,
I had use aqueon pro heater for few years, my 100w is my first one and still working like a charm but I had have use the 200w it’s gone after few months use, I bought one in petco and other one on eBay but both die after few months, 100w still working in good condition.

Hi Ramymond,

That’s interesting, thanks for sharing your experience! I’ll be testing the new 200W when soon to see if this trend continues…

I bought the 50 watt and needed the temperature in my tank to be 78°. I have two thermometers and when I put the heater in the water I set it until the red light came on which was 84°. A 6° difference between the heater and the thermometers is very distressing and I would not recommend this heater whatsoever. I’ve used crummy little ones that were pre-heated with no control and they worked a lot better than this one. Everyone says that when it hits the right temperature there’s a green light. I don’t have any light. I only get a red light for a second or two when it goes on. For me this was a waste of money and a piece of junk. A very expensive piece of junk.

Hi Lyn,

Thank you for your feedback. It sounds like you might have a faulty unit, which is possible with an aquarium heater – have you tried contacting aqueon for a replacement? I’m sorry to hear about your poor experience with this heater!

No I did not call for a new one. I have decided to go with another brand. I have been reading reviews on how this particular heater has major flaws and is literally killing fish either cooking them or the heater doesn’t work or after a short period of time toxins start to come out and one reviewer said there was some sort of a surge and when they put their hand in the aquarium they actually got a shock. The reviews are scaring me so I am going to be going to another brand. any other brand has got to be better than this one. I have been doing fish for over 40 years in using heaters and I have never had one like this one. Aqueon is not a great brand not even for aquariums. Their filters are horrible and you always have to replace them. I’m glad you had a positive experience.

I completely get where you are coming from. Unfortunately, if you read any review section, you’ll see many horror stories. People are more likely to leave a review if they have a bad experience than a positive one. Even my favorite of all the heaters I reviewed and used for years and years myself, the Cobalt Neotherm, has some pretty scary reviews.

At the time of writing this, there is no aquarium heater than can guarantee 100% that it won’t fail. And truth be told, there never will be.

With that said, I agree with you that by and large aqueon is an unreliable aquarium brand. While their older heaters were good (depending on where it was manufactured, mine was from Italy) I have not had a chance to test their new batch. Based on my reviews where I have compared hundreds of products, their gravel vacuums, water changers, and air pumps all failed terribly and I do not recommend them as a brand.

Thanks for this review. It has confirmed my experience and suspicions. I am only one year into the hobby and have gone through too many (smaller) Aqueon heaters. My 10w, 25w, 50w and today my 100w Aqueon Pro failed in four different tanks. The smaller ones I found to be inaccurate and then one just died. Today my water is 66 degrees using the 100w Pro in a 20-gallon. It has only been in use for four months! I was gone most of yesterday and just discovered this upon a.m. feeding. Fortunately I just bought two spares (both Aqueon, a 50 and a 100w as that is what is available to me) but not again. I am done with this brand.

Hi Deb,

Unfortunately, this feedback is becoming considerably more common. I suspect quality has gone down hill recently.

I have a 250 Watt Aqueon Pro Heater for my 55 gallon tank. Last week upon returning home saw all my Cichlids were dead. Water was extremely warm. The heater had literally cooked my fish. Heater was split the length of the shaft. It was extremely upsetting. I have had Cichlids for 20 years. They were healthy and active prior to this horrible incident.
Heater was only about 9-10 months old. Neither fish store nor heater manufacturer has offered anything after learning of this incident. I am extremely upset over this.

Hi Lee,

Thank you for your feedback, this is the one heater I plan to go back and re-test since Aqueon no longer manufactures the product in Italy. It appears that since the change, customer complaints have increased.

I have 40+ tanks and at least half had/have aqueon pro in them.
I liked the ability to see heater was on and working with green light even if it wasn’t heating. Also the plastic housing was great.
However, as I have so many I don’t know exactly how long they’ve lasted,but no longer than a year and a half. Some maybe only 6 months. As the plastic casing splits. At least 15 or so have split on me and stopped working.
I 1st usually notice the indicator light is dimmer than usual. After inspection I’ll find a split.
I have been shocked 2or3 times also. Which is no fun.

Definitely don’t recommend these. I do have 3 of the new design. Have not had issue yet. Fingers crossed.

Hi Alex,

Thank you for your feedback. I’m currently testing the new design as we speak, with help from members of my local fish club. So far so good, but unfortunately, it’s possible for Aqueon to change where/how they manufacturer it all of a sudden so it’s hard to make a future proof recommendation. I am still of the opinion that the design featured in this review is amazing, as long as you have one that was made in Italy. When they swapped countries quality dipped.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *