Given the long life that our fish and corals have, it’s no doubt that owners will find themselves with a broken heater at least once in their life. Ordering replacements of your exact heater is always a good idea, while getting the heater repaired for a discount or free is even better. No matter your choice there remains one problem. What do you do while you wait for your old heater or new heater to come in? In this one instance I recommend you use a bargain SunSun aquarium heater.
Are these heaters optimal? Not really. They do however come with some strong heating elements well below the average cost of a higher quality heater. Keeping a replacement near by could easily save you from lost fish or stunted coral growth while remaining the cheapest component you order.
The SunSun 500 Watt Heater
Simply put, unless you get a deal from someone you know, no heater can match the SunSun price for such a high wattage.
The 500 watt heater measures at 14 inches long and can heat any aquarium that it fits in, up to 125 gallons in size. As the heat has no special gimmicks the heater can be angled however you like. Just keep the rod submerged and you will have no problems.
Quick Note: The SunSun 200 watt heater has the same design and roughly half the price. If you want a smaller back up keep the 200 in mind.
The heat output is reliable and the heater is covered with a one month warranty. Given one of the main problems with SunSun aquarium heaters is the number that show up and don’t work, the warranty ensures you get a heater you can store for use later. Just be sure to check it actually heats before storage.
Unlike many newer heaters, the SunSun does not have shatter proof glass and only holds a shatter proof design. Essentially this means it has the rubber guards on both ends. This makes the heater able to take most in tank abuse with the big danger being removal of a hot or turned on heater. Remember to always unplug and allow this heater to cool down before removing from water.
One of the more questionable features of the SunSun is the temperature range. Every fish you keep will be covered under this heater no doubt, but take extra care when turning the heat up. The dial atop the tube can be set all the way up to 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Needless to say carelessly turning the heat up too high to make the water heat faster can leave your fish cooked if the heat is not dialed back in time.
Like most aquarium heaters the SunSun does indeed come with an overload switch. This prevents the heater from surpassing the set temperature. This sensor only senses ambient temperature however, meaning if the heater is left in open air it will stay on until it breaks. The SunSun must always be fully submerged
The Big Downside
Before you run out and buy the SunSun remember I only recommend it as a back-up heater. When used for many months in a row the SunSun is proven to have a shorter life span than most heaters. I personally suggest you use the best aquarium heater you can find for full time use. However if you have many valuable fish and coral like I keep, you will want to hold onto a back-up heater as a safety measure. Rather than running to Petco or Walmart for a couple 100 watts, keep a SunSun at home for the inevitable heater breakdown.