Raising a pet reptile is an exciting task. One of the most critical parts for the reptile owner is to keep the terrarium temperature at an optimum range. Therefore, you must choose the right size and power when you are looking for a heating source for your terrarium setup. If you’re hesitant about which under tank heater to buy, we will help you to decide which is the best option for you. The first step for you is finding the heat source depending on what reptile you have decided to host. Stay with us, because in this post we are about to cover the best tanks heaters available today.
Features that every under-tank heater should have.
We know they’re the favorite choice of most herpetologists, but… What are the keys to the undeniable success of the Exo Terra brand terrariums?
- Flexible and have a strong adhesive layer.
- A fortified cable connection to extend its useful life.
- High-quality nickel resistance capable of working 24/7.
- At least 1-year warranty.
- It should reach the desired temperature in minutes.
- The cord must be compatible with U.S. plugs and require no adapters.
- Its size and power must match the size of the tank for optimal heating.
- Choose the tank heater that fits your budget.
- The under tank heater should come with the thermostat, it is usually cheaper.
Under Tank Heater Thermostat.
The under-tank heater thermostat is the perfect solution to provide a constant temperature for any type of under-tank heater, regardless of its size or power. To make this task much easier, we recommend the use of the latest generation of digital thermostats. These are easy to plug in and operate with LED indicator lights. Most of them can withstand heavy-duty use and are compatible with U.S. electrical standards by having a three-pronged grounded plug.
The producers of Under tank heating pads are aware of the need to control the temperature inside the terrarium and often include the thermostat and the heater under the tank in a combo form. This is very common in the Aiicioo and iPower, although there are many who market them separately. If that’s your case I suggest you take a look at the BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat. This is one of the best digital thermostats that you can connect to a UTH. If you want to know more about it just click on it.
Leopard Gecko Under Tank Heater
Leopard geckos require little space. An adult can live comfortably in a 10-gallon terrarium, but a 20-gallon tank would be nice for extra comfort. It should be noted that since their habits are nocturnal and most of their activity is at ground level, the heat source should be located under the tank. Each heater is designed with dimensions and power capable of heating most commercial terrariums. One of the most commonly used in Leopard Gecko enclosures (10 to 20-gallon low tank height) is the 6¨ x 8¨ under-tank heater that emits up to 8 watts of power in the form of heat. I would particularly recommend the iPower brand but Zoo Med also produces excellent reptile heating mats
Most Popular Under Tank Heater Brands
Terrarium heaters perform a vital function in the reptile ecosystem. They are responsible for facilitating the thermoregulation of reptiles. They guarantee their habitat temperature. which must be in the required parameters. The temperature of the terrarium affects the behavior of the pet, feeding, and even its reproductive cycle. Hence the importance of choosing the heater that meets this important function.
1 Zoo Med ReptiTherm® Under Tank Heater
The Zoo Med Laboratories have been at the forefront of reptile breeding for 40 years. Zoo Med currently holds more than 30 patents and manufactures more than 1200 items, many of them at the company’s headquarters in San Luis Obispo, California. Consequently, Zoo Med’s under tank heater is widely recommended across the world. They are a trustworthy vendor for all reptile related products, and you’ll see why we recommend Zoo Med under tank heaters below.
Zoo Med is a recognized brand in the world of reptiles owners. You will find its products in most pet shops. Its popularity is well-founded. Zoo Med ReptiTherm Under Tank Heaters is ideal as a primary heat source for tropical or desert reptile species. These under-tank heaters adhere permanently to your terrarium, forming a solid bond for optimal heat transfer.
Pros and Cons
- Pros: The heat mat is supple, flexible and ultra-durable. This is composed of high-quality nichrome resistance. It reaches a desirable temperature in minutes. The fortified cord connection makes it last longer. It is water-resistance, enabling safe scrubbing. Its sizes & power suit most commercial terrariums. Its 5’10” cord cable, compatible with USA outlets. It comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Cons: Some users refer it tends to overheat. Uses in combination with a thermostat is a MUST. Zoo Med sells the thermostat separately.
2 iPower Reptile Heat Pad and Digital Thermostat Combo.
iPower is one of the leading manufacturers of grow light systems, which it has supplied to gardeners around the world for over a decade. And you might ask, what does a company know that manufactures growing light systems in the production of reptile heaters? I’ll tell you that their reptile tank heaters are among the most efficient and durable on the market. And if that’s not enough, their value for money competes with big companies like Zoo Med Laboratories.
iPower manufactures several models of heating pads for lizards, snakes, and amphibians. They fit all size reptile tanks. Its versatility allows being used in the breeding of small reptiles, plant germination or home brewing. Its 6-foot cord and standard plug allow the heater to be connected to most North American household electrical outlets.
The heating film and new insulation increase heat transfer in a uniformly through the terrarium. Once the thermostat is on, the iPower heating pad reaches the desired temperature within minutes, making it more energy-efficient. The 3M adhesive paper provides a strong grip, but also excellent thermal conduction over the entire contact area for optimum heat transfer. And last but not less, it is waterproof and durable with a 1-year warranty. One of the best parts about this heating pad is that it comes with a digital thermostat as a package. Consequently, it makes for the perfect heating source combo for your pet
Pros and Cons
- Pros: Optimum heat transfer for reptile terrariums. Heat Mat (6″x8″ Watt: 8W) & Digital Thermostat. The digital thermostat rages between 40°f – 108°f. Heat Pad 3M adhesive Paper for a stronger grip. 120V and Standard USA Plug. No adapter needed. Waterproof and moisture-proof design. Suitable for turtles, snakes, lizards, spiders, etc. Year Manufacturer warranty.
- Cons: Adjusted price with excellent value for money.
3 Aiicioo Under Tank Heater
There is not much information about the Aiicioo company. The truth; its online presence is almost non-existent, of course, excluding the Aiicioo Under-Tank Heaters that they sell like hot cakes in Amazon. A large number of American herpetologists appreciate Aiicioo Under-Tank Heat Pads. They are reliable, durable and economical. In addition to the advantage that they are sold together with the thermostat, essential element for the automatic control of the temperature.
The Aiicio Under Tank Heater is some of the best terrarium heating sources on the market. They have several features that make them the favorite of thousands of reptile lovers. It is durable, versatile, waterproof, and provides a stable heat with a power-efficient consumption of 8, 16 or 24 watts maximum, depending on the selected model. The new design upgraded the adhesive material, The new one is more solid, forming a stronger bond for optimum heat transfer. They come with a digital thermostat, which is an advantage above the competitors. The cord for the temperature probe and grounded 3-prong plug measure an extended 6 feet in length, designed to suit almost any application you can imagine.
Pros and Cons
- Pros: Digital thermostat and under tank heater combo. Reptile under tank heat pad for 24 hours of use. Upgraded adhesive material, stronger than others. Thermostat easy to use. 3-button interface. Waterproof and easy to clean. 1-year warranty
- Cons: Price above average.
Under Tank Heater’s Size for 10-20 gallons terrariums
The Under tank heat pads are produced in sizes and powers, which ensures the proper heat transfer for most commercial terrariums.
In the case of a 10-gallon reptile tank, the majority of them have a rectangular base of 20 ” x 12 “. They are not usually very high, so the placement of the heater is usually below the base. In the case of the 20-gallon terrariums, the case is somewhat more complicated. There are more diverse in terms of dimensions, although the favorites still have a rectangular shape, as are the cases of the Exo Terra 24″ x 18″ x 12″ 20-gallon terrarium.
In both cases, 8-watt under tank heater can be used, as long as they conform to the dimensions of the terrariums mentioned above. Therefore, any heater with dimensions of 6″ x 8″ or 8″ x 8″ and 8 watts of power will do the job.
Right under tank heat pad for a 30-40 gallon reptile tank.
With 40 gallon terrariums, measuring 36 x 18 x 18, you’ll need a more powerful heater. The specialists strongly recommend the use of 16-watt heaters, capable of heating the interior of the terrarium in a stable way, at all times, even when the temperatures drop in winter.
Fortunately, there are a variety of very good heaters in that range. one of the most popular is the Zoo Med Reptitherm 16 watts. But if you prefer the complete set you can get the Ipower Under Heat Mat 8 “x 12”, 16W that comes with its digital thermostat.
Are the under tank heater safe?
Heaters are safe to handle, place and clean. Most if not all are waterproof and are insulated by a thick rubber coating. However, we must make sure to disconnect it from the power before carrying out any cleaning or maintenance work on the heating. It is advisable to perform periodic checks to detect possible breaks in the cable or internal resistance. otherwise, these heaters are very reliable and the most powerful only emit 24 watts of power, which in normal conditions is not enough to cause burns.
Where to place the under tank heat pad?
Heaters can be placed under the base of the tank or on the tank wall. This last configuration is usually used in high terrariums, where tropical climbing species are housed.
Which is the best under tank heat mat for a leopard gecko?
The leopard gecko is a small animal, this is usually held in terrariums of 10 to 20 gallons capacity, low height, so it is recommended to use heaters 6x 8 inches and 8 w of power. Preferably of the brands Zoo Med, Ipower or Aiicioo.
Can I use an under-tank heater as a secondary heat source for a bearded dragon?
Bearded dragons are majestic reptiles that reach great size. When juveniles they may be housed in a 40-gallon tank, but adults require a terrarium in excess of 60 gallons. These reptiles have diurnal habits and need in their configuration periods of light and darkness of 12 hours each. The main source, in this case, is the mercury bulbs, but if the weather conditions prevent reaching the temperatures required by the animal, you can use a 16 watts heater for the 40-gallon tank and one of 24 for the 60-gallon tank. These heaters are an excellent secondary source of heat.
A simple way to check if our reptile is comfortable and the temperature is optimal is to observe its feeding and displacement.
When temperatures are lower than recommended they lose appetite and tend to lethargic.
May I use an under tank heater for plastic terrariums?
You may place an under tank heater in a plastic terrarium without the risk of melting. Yes, you may, if you take some safety measures.
To avoid overheating and the unlikely melting of the plastic is that as a rule, you MUST use a thermostat. It will be configured for a maximum of 100 Fahrenheit, in the case of green iguanas.
Considering that the melting point of different types of plastic varies widely, generally at temperatures above boiling water (212 Fahrenheit). The probability that a heater of 8, 16 and even 24 watts of power will reach those temperatures.
Should I use an under tank heater for plastic terrariums?
No, you shouldn’t. Plastic is a terrible heat conductor. In order to heat the reptile tank, reaching the optimum temperature, the UTH would have to work above its normal parameters.
In many cases the optimal temperatures would not be reached, seeing you forced to buy a one of greater power and size. This has at least 3 downside effects.
- Unnecessary expenditure of money.
- The terrarium hot zone now occupies more than half of the reptile’s tank, altering its habitat.
- Plastic terrariums are neither aesthetic nor durable and tend to turn yellow with heat and time.
How to set an Under Tank Heater properly.
At this point, we will assume that the pad size and type have already been selected. It is common sense to place the heating pad before any other operation when the terrarium is still empty. Trying to orient the pad and ensure good contact is difficult without turning the terrarium.
As a rule, the heater is placed at one end of the base, covering 1/3 of the base of the terrarium. Nevertheless, you may also place it on any wall. This area is commonly called the hot zone. The temperature emitted will pass through the terrarium walls and substrate, creating a temperature gradient throughout the enclosure. In this way, a hot zone is obtained, just above the heater. In the opposite zone, the cold zone is where the live food and the water bowl should be placed. To check temperatures are within the recommended range, you can make measurements at different points of the terrain, at different times. For this you can use a simple thermometer o if you want to make things easier, you can purchase a reliable infrared thermometer, so you can take measurements fast and effortless.
The bottom of the terrarium should be cleaned thoroughly before installation. A good glass cleaner will be sufficient to remove any dirt or grease that may affect the adhesive of the pad over time.
Determine in advance the final position and orientation of the pad. Once the pad contacts the glass, it is quite difficult to remove.
Installing the under tank heating pad
The adhesive of the pad is exposed when we remove the paper cover, leaving the pad as if it were a big sticker. Rest a short edge of the pad along with the glass and then, with a swaying motion, gently slide the pad over the glass. Only enough pressure should be exerted, and care should be taken not to bend the pad too much.
Once in place, the pad can be pressed firmly against the glass, paying close attention to the corners and around the power cord. An added benefit of installing in an empty tank is the ability to look through and see where the pad is or is not making good contact.
Spacers to Avoid Overheating
The last step is to install the plastic “feet” included in the lower corners of the terrarium. These tiny bumpers adhere permanently to the terrarium molding and effectively elevate it from the surface on which it rests ¼” or so. This space allows for easy exit of the power cable from the bottom of the terrarium, and also allows excess heat to escape, preventing malfunction or overheating.
If you need a heater for under the reptile tank, the recommended brands are Zoo Med, iPower and Aiicioo, although there are many others with excellent results.
For 10 to 20-gallon glass reptile tanks we use 8 watts 6″ x 8″ heating pads. In slightly larger tanks from 30 to 40 gallons capacity, we should use 8×12 inch thermal mats, that emit about 16 watts of power.
and for large terrariums, such as Carolina Custom Cages from 50 to 60 gallons the 24-watt heaters with 8 x 18 inches.
ALWAYS connect a digital thermostat to the Under Tank Heater. This will prevent possible accidents and your terrarium will stay warm 24 hours if supervised.