Hidden Heater?


Is there such a thing as a hidden heater? A heater that looks like something else. Could look like a rock.

Even a matt black heater would be okay. Something that does not stand out in the back of the tank.


They do make heater ropes that go in your gravel. Not sure how good they work though.


The best I come up with is just trying to use plants to hide them.

I think fluval makes one that’s mostly black but it’s rectangles shaped and quite large. They also have one with a mirror finish so the idea is that it reflects of plants and decor to help blend in. But it’s not much of an improvement.

Marineland used to have a Stealth line years back and they were great heaters and “stealth” however after a few years there was a recall because they’re was an issue with leaking.They were the best I ever saw for being easy to hide.


One trick is to curl some mesh into a cylinder shape, cover with moss, and then circle the vertical heater with it, leaving maybe an inch gap between. Or, if you have a black background, put the heater in the corner and slide a black piece of plastic (or box) into the substrate in front of it. Tends to disappear if done right.


I ran across a company that made heater covers.... I'll try to find a link?
They looked like decorative rock

Here is just one, but there are lots more..

3D Background Heater Cover


In considering these alternatives, do you need to consider water flow?


Did you find a heater cover?
I originally looked at under-gravel heaters, but those are hard to get in the US.
I now have an inline heater, but that works only with a canister filter. Two options of invisible heaters.


Jungle Bob Aquarium Heater Cover Freshwater
Here is a link to a heater cover^

I don't know what tank you have or are setting up, but the smaller all-in-one tanks sometimes have room to hide the heater in the casing.

You could also put the heater horizontally across the bottom of the tank and hide it well.

You could get a black heater and also use a black background, its very unnoticeable and looks clean.

Fluval M series heaters say their chrome somehow blends into the background by reflecting the colors of the rocks/plants etc. Dont know how accurate or well it works ...


A good way to hide one is with a section of 3d background, the cheap hollow kind. Most of those can be stuck in the tank with suction cups. If I were going that route (I almost did, had one in hand before I built the 3d tank) I was going to put squeegee rubber around the perimeter of the hollow back ground to stand it off the tank wall a bit but keep it fry and snail safe.

Set it up so the intake for your hob and the heater sit behind it, drill a bunch of tiny holes in the under sides of the features of the chosen background, and make sure to distribute the holes to spread the flow across it.

Easy math is involved, if you use a 1/16" drill bit you need about 65 holes to get the same amount of surface area to match your (likely) 1/2" intake tube on the hob. I usually double the holes if I'm doing a project like this, it reduces velocity at the intake holes and allows some room for error if some holes get plugged. Alternatively, you can cut shapes out of some features and put black coarse sponge in there and have a more worry free intake system.

You could do a 3d feature in the corner of a tank instead of the whole back, or you could set up an external filter with an inline heater. Sumps work too. My 3d tank has the sump built in in one corner, in that nano sump I have a chamber after my bio media chamber specifically for heaters. That hides the heaters for 3 of my tanks, and they heat very evenly. My newest 29 project has the heater behind the corner matten.

In considering these alternatives, do you need to consider water flow?
Yes, water flow is very important for the heater to run efficiently if you want an even temperature from edge to edge. Some giant tanks may be set up with a heater localized and set up with the flow blocked to add temperature zones for various species but I don't think that's your goal. If you were to do a heater cover that doesn't have a concession for flow in the design, the heater will always think it's the right temperature as it heats a very small area of water. That small area of water will transfer heat to it's surrounding water but not at a rate that is comparable to a heater sitting in a higher flow location. Likely it would heat the tank to several degrees under there target set temperature with a hot spot the fish cannot access that is the correct temperature.

Additionally, I'm not sure I've ever measured "hot" water in the hob with the heater very close by; but if you recall the thread about heater placement from last year someone mentioned a possibly excessive temperature in the hob if the heater were too close. I know I have always said I get the best performance from traditional gear with the heater 1.5-3" away from the hob intake sponge, that is still true in my case. I have monitored temperatures in my sump chambers and in my Hobs with digital remote bbq thermometer to monitor high/low temps and efficiency. You could do that with your new set up and tinker until your happy.

So... Which tank are you making pretty? Got another thread on it?


if you have filtration you can put it near that so the heat will disperse through the tank, and u can hit to two birds with one stone with hiding them. a problem with hiding the filter and heater is that it wont be able to effectively go throughout the tank like it needs to. i usually hide mine behind like plants or a thing of wood. i put mine horizontally ontop of the gravel which helps. i also slope the gravel at the end to make it even harder to see. hope this helps!


I have removed the heaters from all my tanks. The 40 breeder with the canister heater stays between 76 and 78. It seems the canister is heating that tank a bit. The other tanks stay between 72 and 75. They have guppies, snails and shrimp. I think that temp is okay. The only fish that might prefer it a little warmer is my Betta. He now lives in the 40 breeder with the Rasboras and a few guppies I could not catch. I think 76 to 78 is okay for him. Might have to use heaters in the winter. We do not use heat unless it gets really cold (by Florida standards). Sometimes the house temp gets down to mid to low 60’s. We turn the heat on if it gets much colder than that. I am not sure how low the tank temp would get. I might have to put heaters in the tanks in the winter time.

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