Aquarium keeping continues to grow and keeps bringing in new hobbyists. There are many different items and tools that can be used to make the hobby easier but there are also many items that are a waste of money. This guide was created to provide information on tools I think are beneficial to making fishkeeping easier. Clicking on the image of an item will take you to the item’s product page.
One of my all-time favorite tools to use in my aquarium is the Maxi-Jet 1200. It is a submersible, multi-use water pump that can be used for many different things. I use the Maxi-Jet while conducting water changes on my reef tank.
I remove water from the aquarium with a tube and gravity. However, putting clean water back into the aquarium was always a challenge with only a tube. Now, I connect a 1/2 inch tube to the Maxi-Jet’s outlet, put the pump into a bucket of clean saltwater, place the end of the tube into my sump, and turn on the Maxi-Jet to begin refilling the aquarium.
Make sure your sump does not overflow when refilling the aquarium. Also, make sure the tube does not move and begin flooding around your aquarium. There are many different pumps out there to use for water changes, another one that does not hurt the wallet is the VIVOSUN 480GPH Submersible Pump.
2. Battery Powered Air Pump
If you are moving and are taking your fish with you or live in an area commonly plagued with power outages, a battery-powered air pump, like MAKERELE Mini Aquarium Portable Battery Air Pump, may be a lifesaver. This little piece of machinery will make storms and outages a little less stressful.
Saltwater aquariums are especially prone to damage without water agitation/movement. A saltwater fish tank may potentially get by without water movement for a few hours. However, that is not worth risking and a battery-powered air pump will help prevent you from constantly having to create agitation manually.
Moving long distances with fish is stressful for the keeper and the fish. Anything can happen during travel but providing oxygen for your fish can help make their journey a little less stressful. This air pump is perfect for that!
The refractometer is a must-have tool for marine aquariums. They are now very affordable pieces of equipment. Test the salinity levels in your saltwater & brackish water aquarium with the refractometer. This is especially important to monitor in nano aquariums where fluctuations are more extreme.
The refractometer is more accurate and easier to use than the hydrometer. The hydrometer requires much more water to test properly. Also, if the hydrometer is not properly rinsed, salt crystals will build up which can lead to inaccurate readings. With proper calibration and care the refractometer is a tool that can be used for years without issues. It pays for itself in a very short amount of time. You can purchase a refractometer for fishkeeping on Amazon!
4. Hanna Instruments Calcium Checker
Water parameter testing continues to change and evolve as the fish-keeping hobby grows. Calcium in the water may be the reason an aquarium has high levels of water hardness. Also, calcium levels are important for coral growth and fish bones. A great way to accurately test calcium levels is using the Hanna Instruments Marine Calcium Checker.
When used correctly, this little instrument will successfully test your calcium levels with a plus or minus 6% accuracy, when aquarium waters are 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius). There are other ways to test calcium levels but the Hanna checker is growing in popularity. It provides a clear reading on a LCD screen. As a result, you don’t have to estimate your calcium level results using other test kits.
5. Scaping and Feeding Tongs
Having sensitive skin is the worst when keeping a saltwater aquarium. Dipping your arm into a deep fish tank to save a frag plug can lead to a day of itching and scratching. Extra long tongs are great for anyone who wants to tinker with their aquarium without having to get their hands too wet. This tool is also excellent when feeding predatory fish such as eels. The fear of getting a good bite from an eel rings in everyone’s head but fear no more with the JBJ Lighting Aquarium Tongs! They can easily grab silversides or other meaty foods.
Some of these tools are must-haves but others just make fish keeping a little bit easier. It may make an annoying task less stressful. But others, like the Hanna calcium checker, may be a new technology that you are interested in trying. Regardless, all of these tools are beneficial in one way or another. If you’re just starting out with saltwater aquariums, check out the Supply List to Setup a 10 gallon Reef Tank!