Can You Put Your Fish Tank Heater Sideways? 4 Reasons Why You Should!

Estimated read time 4 min read

In this article we’ll explain the best way to position the heater in your aquarium and whether it’s best to install them sideways (horizontally) or straight up/down (vertically).

That said you may be wondering;

Can you put your fish tanker heater sideways?

You Can Place Your Fish Tank Heater Sideways. Not only are you able to place most fish tank heaters sideways, but it is actually recommended for better dispersal of heat throughout your tank. 

However, some heaters require you to place them vertically, let’s dive into these questions a bit more.

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4 Reasons Why You Should Install Your Heater Sideways (Horizontally)?

It is often recommended to install your heater horizontally towards the bottom of the tank for best results.

There are multiple benefits to installing your fish tank heater sideways. A few benefits include:

  1. It better disperses heat
  2. Less likely to have to turn it off during partial water changes
  3. Less time to heat your aquarium.
  4. It works best if you don’t have a filter.

Let’s review each reason in a bit more detail;

1. Horizontal Heaters Disperse Heat Better Throughout Your Tank

It is a well-known fact that heat rises, even in water. Therefore, placing your heater horizontally across the bottom will allow the heater to cover more tank space, thus creating more rising heat.

A vertically placed heater will not be able to disperse the heat throughout the entire tank because the heat will only rise in that one spot.

Water-flow from the filter will carry some heat throughout the tank, but not as well as when the heat is coming from a long section at the bottom.

2. Makes Water Changes Easier

Although it is best practice always to turn off your water heater when changing out water, you may not have to if your heater is placed horizontally towards the bottom of the tank.

Due to the heater being placed so low, the water will not fall below the heater’s waterline. Therefore, there is no need to turn it off when doing a partial water change.

3. Horizontal Heaters Heat Your Tank Faster

This is an arguable benefit, but generally, if you place your heater horizontally rather than vertically, it will get your tank to the desired temperature faster.

This has to do with the fact that the heat is more evenly distributed using a horizontal heater.

Therefore, the entirety of the tank reaches the correct temperature more quickly.

When using a vertical heater, if not properly positioned by a water stream, parts of the tank will heat up more quickly than others.

4. Horizontally Placed Heater Work Best For Minimal Water Flow

If you don’t have a filter, you probably don’t have a lot of water flow.

The flow of the water is what helps evenly distribute the heat throughout the entirety of the tank. If the water movement in your tank is minimal then the heat won’t be as evenly distributed.

However, if this is the case, a horizontal heater will work best to heat the entire tank because heat rises evenly.

Simultaneously, a vertical one will be much less effective at evenly heating a tank with low water flow.

Related: Where Is The Best Place To Put A Fish Tank Heater

How To Know If Your Heater Needs To Be Placed Vertically

Most of the time, you can place your heater horizontally.

However, there are exceptions;

You should always read the user’s manual to determine the orientation your heater requires.

A few examples of heaters that are required to be installed vertically are:

  • Aqueon Preset Aquarium Heater
  • Aquatop Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater

Is It Okay To Place A Heater Vertically Even If It Can Be Placed Horizontally?

Some may choose to place their heater vertically to hide it behind the decor in their tank. This helps to keep the aesthetic of the tank the way they like it.

If the heater can be installed in any orientation, then it’s okay to install it vertically.

Some people might find that there is not much of a difference between how well the heater works based on its orientation.

However, most people find that horizontal heaters work best.

RelatedHow To Use A Fish Tank Heater

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