Hey. I just arrived at my college today and got a fish. I’m currently housed in a triple which leaves very little room for a fish. Before heading out to the store to get my new little bud I was just wondering what type of heater i should use on my 1 gallon corner tank? The tank has an undergravel filter, and live plants will be going in with it to help keep it a healthy and natural place for my new study buddy. Please help me out. And unfortunately until I get a new housing assignment my lack of space is causing me to keep this small tank.
A: Congratulations on your new betta and adventures in college. I too lived in a triple as a Freshman and know how tight the space is and just like you, I got my very first betta in college too. They make for a great dorm-room pet as long as your roommates are cool about them.
One gallon tanks can be difficult to heat. The small water volume leaves it open to severe fluctuations and most aquarium heaters aren’t made for such small containers. If your room is quite cool you may be able to use the Hydor Mini-Heater. At just 7.5 watts it is one of the only water heaters made for tiny aquariums. It is important to note that these heaters do not have an automatic shut-off when they reach the desired temperature like most aquarium heaters have (for larger tanks). This means you could easily overheat your water posing a danger to your fish. If you choose to go with a mini-heater you should absolutely have a thermometer in the tank and you should check it frequently. On warmer days you may need to unplug the heater completely.
Your other option is to go without a heater at all. I typically do not recommend this, but if you keep your Betta in a warm, stable location it may be a safer alternative especially if you can’t be around enough to monitor the Mini-Heater.
Mini-heaters can be hard to track down. If you can’t find one at your local fish store you definitely can find them online. Good luck.