Thoughts on choosing the right aquarium supplies:
Picking the right aquarium supplies can be one of the most interesting aspects of the the hobby. Researching which aquarium supplies are best suited for the species being kept or the size of the tank can be alot of fun.
There are so many different aquarium supplies available today that choices and options seem almost limitless. And for all the choices available, there are mounds of information available on the internet. On top of all the information, nearly every hobbyist and store clerk has an opinion about what to do under any given set of circumstances. So the whole process of choosing aquarium supplies can feel overwhelming at times. And it can get really expensive, really fast. To help, here is an ever-expanding list of some of the more common aquarium supplies and some general thoughts on each.
Aquarium Supplies List
Aquarium Air Pump: An air pump is one of those aquarium supplies that is either necessary or optional. If a hobbyist is using a filter that needs an aquarium air pump to work, then its necessary. If an external power filer or canister filter are being used, then an aquarium air pump is probably optional. An aquarium air pump can be used to operate decorations that require air to move, power in-tank corner filters, sponge filters or under gravel filters, and to power air stones.
A common aquarium air pump is powered by a magnetic arm that vibrates a small rubber diaphragm. The diaphragm then pushes air through a nozzle. An aquarium air pump is often rated for tank size. Some air pumps have one or more diaphragms and output nozzles depending on their capacity. The height of a tank can also be a factor in choosing an air pump. The taller the tank, the more air pressure will be needed to pump air to the lowest parts of the tank. Therefore, a more robust air pump will be needed. Many hobbyists often spend a little extra money to get an aquarium air pump with a capacity larger than their tank size so they have the option add additional decorations later on.
Aquarium Air Stone: An aquarium air stone one of the more inexpensive of the aquarium supplies available. An aquarium air stone is used by many hobbyists to create a decorative look, as it provides a stream of fine bubbles cascading up to the surface. An aquarium air stone does not add oxygen to aquarium water per se, but it can help oxygenate a tank by providing increased surface area where air contacts the water. The bubbles from an air stone also agitate the surface of the water which may be good for low-tech tanks.
Aquarium Backgrounds: Another one of the optional aquarium supplies are aquarium backgrounds. Having aquarium backgrounds are so much nicer than having a back-of-tank showing a blank wall and a bunch of danging black wires. They can be elaborate colorful scenes made out of molded plastic, or colorful scenes printed on glossy roll paper. Aquarium backgrounds can also be as simple as colored wrapping paper or colored poster board affixed to the back exterior tank glass.
Aquarium Buckets: One of the most often overlooked of the aquarium supplies are Aquarium Buckets. They should be chosen wisely and be used exclusively for partial water changes and tank maintenance. They should not be used for ordinary cleaning. Aquarium buckets should be of the sturdy variety with strong handles and have an edge design that makes pouring easy.
Aquarium Cabinet: An aquarium cabinet is one of the nicer, and more expensive, aquarium supplies. An aquarium cabinet is more like a of a piece of furniture than a simple aquarium stand, and it can really add beauty to a tank and to a room. An aquarium cabinet is also nice because it has doors under the tank so all of the external filters, tubing and power cords can be hidden from sight. Aquarium cabinets are made to match specific length and width dimensions of a given tank size.
Aquarium Cover: An aquarium cover is one of the most needed aquarium supplies as it secures the top of a tank. Its very important to keep a tank as covered as possible to protect aquarium water from dirt, dust or other objects falling in. An aquarium cover is also necessary to keep inhabitants in a tank from escaping, especially freshwater snails. Many aquarium start-up kits come with an “all in one” aquarium hood and light combination unit. More advanced setups have a hinged clear glass aquarium cover so more sophisticated lighting options can be added above the tank.
Aquarium Filter: A fish tank filter is one of the most important aquarium accessories a hobbyist can choose. There are many different brands, types and styles to choose from, with some performing better in some ways than others. But regardless of the the choices, what is most important is how the filter performs in the areas of Mechanical, Chemical and Biological filtration.
Aquarium Fish Net: One of the most common of all the aquarium supplies is the aquarium fish net. Hobbyists almost always have at least one on hand in case a tank inhabitant is lost. An aquarium fish net can be purchased in many small, medium and large sizes, and the size of the fish net generally corresponds to the size of the tank. Many fish keepers use a fish net size proportionate to the size of the species being kept as well. Hobbyists may also keep a net that is large for the tank size. A large net can be used as a tool to skim wide areas of aquarium water for excess floating debris.
Aquarium Gravel Vacuum: An aquarium gravel vacuum is one of the most needed aquarium supplies. Used to keep the buildup of organic matter in check, an aquarium gravel vacuum allows hobbyists to remove uneaten food, dead plant matter, debris and feces from the bottom of the tank. If organic matter is not removed and is allowed to build up, hobbyists can experience ammonia spikes, high nitrate levels and other water quality issues over time. There are several types of gravel vacuums available. One type is a simple siphon cleaner with a wide aperture plastic cylinder for dipping into gravel or substrate. The dipping cylinder is attached to long narrow tube that siphons debris and tank water into an aquarium bucket. Another common type of aquarium gravel cleaner is battery operated and filters water back into the tank while trapping debris in a fine mesh net filter.
Aquarium Gravel: After selecting a tank, one of the first decisions hobbyists make about aquarium supplies is what to do about the bottom of the tank. Many new hobbyists purchase start up kits that come with a small bag of aquarium gravel. Others just grab a couple bags on display because they are a pretty color. But there is alot more to think about than just picking a color. Aquarium gravel comes in many different sizes, and selecting the best size gravel for the type of species being kept is something to consider. Another consideration is whether the tank will have live plants. If live plants are on the horizon, it may be best to avoid common aquarium gravel all together and graduate up to a quality, nutrient-rich plant substrate.
Aquarium Heater: An aquarium heater is one of the necessary aquarium supplies when keeping a tropical tank. If keeping Goldfish, an aquarium heater is considered by many to be in the the optional category. An aquarium heater keeps aquarium water temperate stable and within a safe range. An aquarium heater is rated by watts for different tank sizes. There are many different types and styles to choose from. Some are made of glass and some are made of plastic. Some types are meant have their components above the water and other are submersible. And some aquarium heaters use different colored lights to differentiate between heating mode as opposed to when the set temperature is reached.
Canister Filter O Rings: One of the aquarium supplies that is often taken for granted. Canister Filter O Rings can damage easily, so its always a good idea to keep a couple spares on hand.
Power Filter Impeller Assembly: Another one of the aquarium supplies that is often taken for granted is the power filter impeller assembly. If a power filter impeller assembly cracks or wears out it may not hold its position properly in the unit. The power filter can make loud crackling noises and not pump properly as a result. In some cases it can stop working all together. So its a good idea to keep a spare impeller or two on hand.
Plant Substrate: Choosing plant substrate over aquarium gravel is one of the most important choices a hobbyists can make regarding aquarium supplies. This is especially true if the the tank is going to have live aquarium plants. Its a good idea to choose a nutrient rich plant substrate to help rooted plants thrive in their aquatic environment.
Another available supplies list for hobbyists.