How to Hide Your Aquarium Heater?

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A sound heating system is necessary for all aquatic setups. It’s even vital in many of them, based on the system’s layout, whether there are any plants, the fish’s temperature requirements, and many other factors.

The problem is that some heaters are large, bulky, and lack any aesthetic value. So, they disrupt the habitat’s visual harmony because of it.

How to solve the problem? Easy – you hide them.

Today, we will discuss how to achieve that since the endeavor is a mix of science and art. Let’s get into it.

6 Best Ways to Hide Aquarium Heater

The heater is an important piece of equipment because it prevents temperature fluctuations throughout the day.

But the tank’s aesthetics are also important, albeit not as much, but still. So, how do you mix the two?

I have 6 solutions for you:

1. Use Plants to Cover the Heater

This appears to be the most intuitive solution because it’s simple and it works. Your heater will most likely be attached to the filtration system.

So, you can use taller and richer background plants to cover both of them in one go. It may not be perfect since the equipment may be partially visible behind the plants, but it will greatly diminish the heater and filter’s visual prints.

Just be careful about the type of plants you’re using and their proximity to the filtration system. The filter may suck in the plant’s leaves and get clogged or simply perform poorer.

Tweak the filter’s power accordingly and plant your plants at a safe distance to prevent that.

2. Use an Inline Heater

Inline heaters are quite popular among aquarists due to them not taking up any tank space. Inline heaters are not submersible, so they go outside of the tank.

The heating process is different compared to submerged heaters, as inline heaters consist of a rod that takes in water, heats it up, and pours it back into the tank.

The inline heater has several other benefits, other than being easily kept out of sight. One of them is the even heat distribution, as the heater uses an output to disperse the warm water uniformly in the tank.

This prevents the emergence of hot and cold pockets, which are typical with standard submerged heaters.

It also doesn’t hurt that the heater is easier to hide and takes up no tank space.

3. Use Canister Filter with In-Built Heater

Canister filters are among the most effective filtration systems available. They go outside the tank and rely on intake and output hoses to move the water in and out of the filter.

This makes them more robust because they’re not limited by the space available in the tank. So, you can get intricate and large systems that perform mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration, all in one.

Some filters also come with heating systems incorporated. Such is the case of Oase Biomaster Thermo canister filters with built-in heaters. These pieces of equipment will spare a lot of tank space by eliminating the need for submerged heaters.

You can find Oase Biomaster filters at various prices, generally around $250-400, depending on the filter’s size, type, and whether they have built-in heaters or not.

4. Use Aquarium Decorations

This is another useful and reliable hiding tip since it relies on the environment itself to cover the heater.

If possible, you can use rocks and other tank decorations to hide the filter and the heater. Just make sure you don’t commit to it 100%.

If the tank’s layout doesn’t allow you to stock the rocks or the decorations to hide the equipment, don’t force it.

You may risk losing stability and causing the elements to crash, trapping your fish, breaking plants, and even cracking the tank if they’re heavy enough.

The idea is to mix utility and safety as much as possible. Try out different variations and use different elements to hide the equipment without risking breaking the entire system.

5. Place the Heater Close to the Substrate

This is a good method, provided the tank’s layout allows it. You can move the heater deeper into the tank, as close to the substrate as possible. If you can do that, the environment will do the hiding work for you.

Especially if you have a lot of plants, rocks, decorations, driftwood, and other aesthetic elements covering the substrate.

Unfortunately, this solution only works in some aquatic setups, but not all. The main concern relates to bottom feeders and other fish species that prefer to lurk around the substrate. You don’t want them to run into the heater and get burned as a result.

Also, make sure that the substrate particles cannot enter the heater.

6. Use an Optical Illusion

Most aquarium heaters are black. There are some grey ones available out there as well, but we’ll focus on the black ones for now. If you have such a black piece, consider using a black panel to cover the tank’s back wall, where the filter and heater are located.

Doing so makes the heater a lot less visible since the panel and heater’s color will mix together, essentially camouflaging the equipment.

Not to mention, the black panel will also create a beautiful contrast with the more colorful plants and fish swimming in front of it. This is a good option if nothing else works for you.

Finally, you can always mix things up and use more than one hiding technique. So, you can use a black panel, plants, and rocks to cover the heater.

Or you can move the heater close to the substrate and use various substrate decorations to hide it.

If I were to recommend anything, go for an Oase Biomaster Thermo canister filter. These pieces of equipment come with incorporated heaters and provide ideal filtration while taking up no tank space. It’s a win-win, in my book.


Aquarium filters and heaters are indispensable, but this doesn’t mean they should disrupt your tank’s visual harmony.

You now have the tools to prevent that, so use them wisely.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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