Aquarium Accessories | Pillar

Tank Accessories

Taking care of an aquarium is a great hobby. Besides providing long hours of enjoyment and release of all the accumulated stress, it also acts as a great avenue for your kids to learn. Learning about the underwater world is great once the child grows up. It not only enhances their knowledge, but also keeps their mind fresh. I am especially talking about mental relaxation here because in today's world, psychological problems have become common.

With all the stress and everything, even the kids nowadays suffer from mental health problems. So for them and adults as well, keeping an aquarium is the right decision.

Adding to the above-mentioned benefits, aquariums also contribute to your health:

  • They benefit your physical and mental health in more than one way.
  • Apart from cheering your mood, they reduce your blood pressure level, your heart rate and body pain.
  • Also, it helps you in getting a good night sleep as the sound of bubbles and flowing water soothes the mood.
  • And if you sleep well, your productivity ultimately increases!

Fish keeping is an art which is being discovered by more and more people lately. It allows you to take the unique opportunity to observe as well as create a whole different world. In this process, you learn about different aquatic animals, their behavior and their lifestyle. Besides, aquariums are a beautiful and fascinating addition to any home or office as people nowadays days have become very fond of adorning their home with different kinds of stuff. Every year, people around the world are discovering the natural wonders of aquariums.

Fish is often thought of as a no fuss pet. While it is true, they require a lot of caring and attention. They indeed do not make your home a mess like dogs or cats but unlike them, they demand special attention and care. So this is the first decision you have to make after finding out how demanding these creatures are, whether you would like to have them or not.

If you are a student, you must be living with your parents, which eases the task of feeding fish and cleaning the aquarium. But if you are a working individual who lives alone, you certainly need to think twice. All the responsibilities that comes with aquarium, are not easy to take care of. It will cost you a lot of time and manpower. However, you can invest in good quality and automatic gadgets to make the task easier for you. But still, man work will be required.

Moving on to the responsibilities that comes with an aquarium, I must tell you that it is not easy. An ill-kept aquarium is very deadly for fish and other creatures so you should learn about it by doing a proper research.

I have prepared a checklist for you which enlists all the gadgets needed to take care of the aquarium and the creatures inside. It includes everything, from very important equipment to less important ones. You can go through it. It will assist you to a great extent in learning about the uses, pros and cons of aquarium gadgets. So here you go!

Aquarium Checklist:

  • Fish tank
  • Tank stand
  • Filtration system
  • Hood or lid
  • Lightning
  • Heater
  • Thermometer
  • Water conditioner
  • Fish net
  • Substrate
  • Siphon
  • Fish food
  • Algae remover
  • Air pump
  • Decoration items

You can even use sponge filters, if your aquarium supports it, for cleaning purpose. We have reviewed the best sponge filters available.

Overflow box is another important equipment for the fish tank. It makes sure that your display tank consistently maintains the optimal level of water all the time. If you are looking for a Sleek HOB read our Reviews of Best HOB with look great.

Picking the right aquarium supplies is one of the most interesting things to do. Doing a good amount of research beforehand relating to which aquarium supplies are best suited for which species, can be a lot of fun. You can do it on your own. Or you can take the help of an experienced individual. Either way, you will get to learn a lot about them and it is also a very interesting task.

We all know that there are a great amount of aquarium supplies available in the market which keeps the options almost limitless. All the supplies available online, come with reviews and all the required information. So with such a great help, nothing could go wrong.

Adding to it, many suppliers even provide a reference book along with the equipment. These reference books come handy at the time of need. Whenever the customer care is out of reach or in case there is no customer care number of the company, you can take the help of the manual.

Choosing the right aquarium supplies can prove to be a hectic task sometimes. So here I have made the task easier for you by explaining some of the most common aquarium supplies and my thoughts on them.

Fish Tank

A fish tank is the basic item needed for keeping a fish inside your home. However, some people choose to skip on it. They keep the fish in a jar or any other type of container. Honestly, it is not at all a good idea to use anything but a real and ideal-sized aquarium. You would risk the marine life if you keep them in any other type of container. Understand that there is a reason why these fish tanks have been created and a reason why people keep using them.

  • Now coming to the size of an ideal aquarium - the larger the better. A large fish tank is the best choice to go for if you have enough money and the required space in your home. You cannot place a 55-gallon tank in a dorm room. It will take up all the space and you will face problems in cleaning and moving out and about at your place. However, for a 20-gallon fish tank, almost anyplace will do. They are neither big nor too small but the perfect size.
  • Smaller fish tanks on the other hand, are also not a bad choice if you want to keep a goldfish. The basic thing to consider before buying an aquarium is to first decide what kind of species you are going to keep inside it. Because, species like barbs and danios obviously cannot survive in a small size tank. While angelfish and discus are not so active species so they are an ideal choice for smaller aquariums.
  • ​​Another point to consider while buying a fish tank is the quality. Fish tanks usually come in 3 types of materials - plastic, glass and acrylic. While plastic fish tanks are perfect for small children who like watching them just for an entertainment purpose, glass and acrylic ones are for adults. Among the two, glass is more delicate while acrylic is a very durable material. Besides this, it is light in weight, not as thick as glass, comes in various shapes and lastly, does not refracts light.
  • While acrylic fish tanks have a lot of advantages, glass ones have their own set. Glass is a very cheap material compared to acrylic. Moreover, it is scratch-resistant, does not turn yellow over time like acrylic and lastly, glass aquarium stand does not need to have a bottom support. Which means, money is saved on the stand as well.
Bestseller No. 1
Tetra Bubbling LED aquarium Kit 1 Gallon, Hexagon Shape, With Color-Changing Light Disc (29040-00), 7.5 x 7.5 x 7.7"
aquarium KIT Hexagon-shaped aquarium kit is perfect for betta fish; COLORFUL Bubbling disc automatically cycles through a rainbow of LED light colors
Bestseller No. 2
Fish Tank
Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand); Kate Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing (Actors)
Bestseller No. 3
Koller Products PanaView 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit - Power Filter - LED Lighting with Multiple Colors
TRENDY DESIGN: Unique shape allows viewing from multiple angles anywhere in the room.; DIMENSIONS: 16.50 L x 10.00 W x 11.80 H Inches.
Bestseller No. 4
Marineland Portrait Glass LED aquarium Kit, 5 Gallons, Hidden Filtration
SLEEK DESIGN: Rounded corners and clear glass canopy allow viewing from multiple angles.; EASY ACCESS: Hinged LED lighting and sliding glass canopy.
Bestseller No. 5
Coral Kingdoms
Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand); Howard Hall Productions (Director); German, Russian, English, Italian, Polish (Playback Language)

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Aquarium Filter

A filtration system is one of the basic equipments required to keep the fish. No one should keep the fish in captivity like an aquarium, without installing a proper filtration system running all day. It is so much important because the marine life is dependent on it. Without it, the fish is certain to die.

An aquarium filter works in 3 different ways - biological filtration, mechanical filtration and chemical filtration. As we know that toxic ammonia is released from fish waste and leftover food. Without a proper filtration system, the ammonia and food pollute the water and ultimately kills the fish.

Bestseller No. 1
Tetra Whisper EX 70 Filter For 45 To 70 Gallon aquariums, Silent Multi-Stage Filtration
FAST SETUP Sets up easily right out of the box – no priming required; CONTINUOUS FLOW Moves water continuously to prevent debris buildup
Bestseller No. 2
Tetra Whisper IQ Power Filter 20 Gallons, 130 GPH, with Stay Clean Technology
SELF PRIMING: Submerged motor starts up with no priming required.
Bestseller No. 3
Tetra Whisper Internal Filter 10 To 30 Gallons, For aquariums, In-Tank Filtration With Air Pump
INTERNAL FILTER Mounts on the inside of your aquarium with clip (included); CATCHES DEBRIS Dense dual-sided mesh filters debris and fish waste
Bestseller No. 4
AquaClear, Fish Tank Filter, 40 to 70 Gallons, 110v, A615A1
Provides optimal mechanical, chemical, and biological filtrations; Filtration volume is up to 7 times larger than comparable fish tank filters

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

So make sure to get the right filtration system installed in your aquarium. Some of the most common types of filters include canister filters, power filters, fluidized filters and wet or dry filters. Choose the right size and type which suits the dimensions of your tank. And also remember that filter cartridges needs to be changed at least once a month.

Water Conditioner

The tap water we use to fill the aquarium contains chlorine and chloramines in it. Both the chemical compounds are harmless to us but the case is not same with fish. These chemicals are very dangerous to marine life and can even kill them. This is the reason why water conditioners are required.

SaleBestseller No. 1
API TAP WATER CONDITIONER Aquarium Water Conditioner 16-Ounce Bottle, White (52C)
Contains one (1) API TAP WATER CONDITIONER Aquarium Water Conditioner 16-Ounce Bottle; Neutralizes chlorine, chloramines and other chemicals to make tap water safe for fish
SaleBestseller No. 2
Aqueon Aquarium Tap Water Conditioner, 16-Ounce
Use when filling aquarium with tap water, performing water changes or adding fish; Instantly makes tap water safe for fish
Bestseller No. 4
API STRESS COAT Aquarium Water Conditioner 16-Ounce Bottle
Contains one (1) API STRESS COAT Aquarium Water Conditioner 16-Ounce Bottle; Makes tap water safe and protects fish with dual-action formula
SaleBestseller No. 5
Tetra AquaSafe Plus, 8.45 Ounces, aquarium Water Conditioner And Dechlorinator, Model Number: 46798162681
ADVANCED FORMULA: Neutralizes or removes harmful chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals.; PROTECTS FISH: Enhances protective slime coat to help wounds heal.

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The aquarium water conditioner neutralizes the effect of both the chemicals and makes tap water safe for fish. Most of these conditioners are available in liquid form. You just have to add a few drops of it to the bucket and the rest it will do. Just a bottle of it lasts for months, which makes it a reasonable product.

Fish Food

Feeding your fish with the right food is crucial for their survival. There might be different types of food available for different kinds of fish but you need to consider a number of things before purchasing them like,

  • Size of pellets should be according to the mouth of the fish.
  • Find out if the food floats or sinks in the water. The one that floats is perfect for surface-feeding fish while the one that sinks to the bottom is perfect for the rest.
  • Hardness of the food - as the freeze-dried food may be difficult for them to swallow.
  • Nutrient requirement of the fish - some fish feed on vegetables while some are carnivores.

There are several food options available out there that you can give to your fish. All you need to know is the right brand to buy. Some of the top branded fish food are: TetraMin Tropical Flakes, New Life Spectrum Thera-A Medium 2mm, Tetra Veggies Algae Wafers and so many more.

Bestseller No. 1
Tetra TetraMin Plus Tropical Flakes 7.06 Ounces, Nutritionally Balanced Fish Food, With Added Shrimp (77243)
CLEAR-WATER FORMULA: Won’t cloud water when used as directed.; Age Range Description: All Ages
SaleBestseller No. 2
Tetra TetraMin Tropical Flakes 2.2 Ounces, Nutritionally Balanced Fish Food, Model Number: 46798771043
COMPLETE DIET Nutritionally balanced for optimal health; CLEAR-WATER FORMULA Won’t cloud water when used as directed
SaleBestseller No. 3
Tetra Goldfish Flakes 2.2 Ounces, Balanced Diet, Clear Water Formula
Age range description: All Ages; Procare is a health-enhancing blend containing omega-3 fatty acids
Bestseller No. 4
SaleBestseller No. 5
Wardley Pond Fish Food Pellets - 5 lb
Highly digestible formula specially designed for the energy needs of koi and goldfish; Scientifically designed to fulfill the energy needs of koi and goldfish.

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Some people feed their fish with human food. It does not work that way as fish thrive on food that is high in protein content and human food cannot fulfill that requirement. Some people feed the fish with bread or rice which are rich in carbohydrates. But the organisms cannot fully sustain on such food. However, you can give them some raw or cooked plain fish meat but with no additives.

Automatic Fish Feeders

Feeding Fish at regular intervals and in prescribed quantities, plays a very important role in growth of fish in a proper way. If this is not followed fish can become constipated and sick. If fish is fed too much food, it can even bloat up and become obese.

Underfeeding or Non Regular Feeding is also a big problem which may lead to sickly looking fish and may lead to diseases in fish due to low immune levels.

Automatic Fish Feeders are god send for fish lovers as they dispense right amount of food at right intervals, which keeps the fish feeding necessities taken care of. There are no chances of missed feeds with automatic fish feeders.

Do look at our Researched Buying Guide of Automatic Fish Feeders for more info.

Air Pump

This is one aquarium equipment that is either necessary or optional, it all depends on the type of filter your fish tank has. If you are using a filter that requires an air pump to work, then it is necessary. However, if you are using an external power filter or canister filter, then an air pump is optional.

Air pump gives direction to the items which require air to move. In most of the aquarium, it is a must for promoting gas exchange between the water and atmosphere. Without it, the marine life will not get enough oxygen. It is powered by a magnetic arm that vibrates a rubber diaphragm which pushes the air through a nozzle.

Read our In Depth Reviews of Top Air Pumps for choosing a suitable air pump for your setup.

Bestseller No. 1
Tetra Whisper Air Pump 20 To 40 Gallons, For aquariums, Powerful Airflow, Non-UL Listed
POWERFUL: Tetra Whisper Air Pump provides dependable airflow to your aquarium.; NON-UL LISTED: Reliable performance at an economical cost.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Tetra Whisper Air Pump 20 To 40 Gallons, For aquariums, Quiet, Powerful Airflow
POWERFUL Tetra Whisper Air Pump provides dependable airflow to your aquarium; QUIET Patented dome shape suspended motor and sound-dampening chambers for quiet operation
Bestseller No. 4
Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump 4 Watt 4-LPM 2 Outlets with Accessories, Adjustable Oxygen Pump for 20-100 Gallon Fish Tank
Uniclife Adjustable aquarium air pump is perfect for both Freshwater and Marine Aquariums.
SaleBestseller No. 5
AQUANEAT Aquarium Air Pump 300GPH, for up to 200 Gallon Fish Tank, Powerful Hydroponic Aerator Pump, Adjustable Oxygen Bubbler
Adjustable Airflow: a control knob allows you regulate the air flow as needed.; Perfect for oxygenating aquarium, aquaponic/hydroponic system, and small ponds

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you use a hang on the back power filter, the water coming from the filter outflow automatically creates enough surface movement. As a result, you need not spend so much money on air pumps if the filter creates a waterfall.


If you own a tropical aquarium, getting a heater is essential. As most of the fish require a particular temperature to survive, the aquarium heater keeps the water temperature constant. These heaters can be hanged to the sides or submersible in the tank. They also have a numerical setting or simply an increase and decrease setting. According to me, the submersible one is a better choice. It might cost you a bit more but trust me, they are worth it.

It is rated in watts for tanks of different sizes. You have many options to choose from - glass material or plastic material. Some of them even make use of different colored lights to tell when the tank is on heating mode and when it has reached the set temperature.

Read our Detailed Guide of Best Aquarium Heaters to choose one for yourself.

Under tank heaters are also available in market to keep the water temperature stable for reptiles, amphibians and plant terrariums.

Water Chiller​s

Like Heaters, some Tank Setups require water chillers to cool down the water. Chillers may be required depending on the type of fish as some fish like colder water, water heating due to lights, pumps, wave maker etc., overall environment where aquarium is kept.

They come in different types, sizes and models for different kind of aquarium setups. Need more info? Read all about Aquarium Water Chillers.

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Some fish species stay on the surface of the water and jump here and there. If your tank does not have a canopy, there is a great chance that the fish might jump out of the tank and die. So having a canopy can avoid such unfortunate accident. Moreover, it also slows down the evaporation of water.

If you have a tropical aquarium, canopy can help slow down the release of heat. Eventually, it saves you a great amount of electricity as the heater need not be turned on so often. Most canopy comes with light fixture which makes the aquarium look 10 times more beautiful. Moreover, live plants also require adequate lightning to survive.


When a lid and light are joined into one unit, it is called hood. The lid covers the top of the tank and prevents the water from evaporating and it also keeps the fish from jumping out which helps maintain the water level in the tank. It also protects the light from getting wet. This combo is a great purchase as it is made of plastic which makes it less expensive, weigh less and unbreakable. On the other hand, glass lids are easier to clean, allowing more light to enter the tank and provides a tighter coverage.

Bestseller No. 1
Marineland LED Light Hood for Aquariums, Day & Night Light
DOMED HOOD Sleek design with energy-efficient LED light bar; SIZE Measures 24 inches by 12 inches
SaleBestseller No. 2
All Glass Aquarium Fluorescent Strip Light, 24-Inch
Replacement lights for Versa-Hoods and Full Hoods, can be used anywhere lighting is needed
Bestseller No. 4
Marineland 32996 LED Aquarium Light, Natural Shimmering Light
NIGHT LIGHT EFFECT Enjoy your aquarium at night by switching to the blue night light mode; RUBBER FEET Use with a glass canopy – rubber feel minimize slipping
Bestseller No. 5
All Glass Aquarium AAG25916 Fluorescent Strip Light, 16-Inch
All-Glass Strip-Lights are used with Versa-Tops for proper aquarium lighting; These are exact strip-light replacements for Full Hoods

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Aquarium Stand

Aquarium stands are a must for large and medium sized aquariums. If you do not have a furniture with smooth surface, you might be needing a separate stand for it. It not only makes the aquarium looks even better but it also keeps it safe. Some people keep the fish tank on floor which is an absolutely absurd idea. In this angle, you cannot only view the fish, but it also makes the tank vulnerable to breakage.

Aquarium stands are available in 3 types of materials - metal, wood and mixed media. You can choose from these 3 depending on the type of aquarium you have.

  • Metal fish tanks are exclusively designed for glass fish tanks as they only support the edges. Secondly, they do not provide storage space for fish tank equipment. Since the stand is made up of metal, it is vulnerable to corrosion. However they are pretty cheap and easily available.
  • Wooden fish tanks are best for people who love decorating their home with fancy furniture. These tanks come in various shapes and sizes which makes them perfect. They have enough storage space for fish tank equipment below. And lastly, they provide full base support to the aquarium which makes them ideal for acrylic fish tanks.
  • As its name suggests, Mixed Media is a mix of wood and metal. It provides full bottom support just like wooden fish tanks but the fasteners are made up of metal. However, they are a bit expensive.
Bestseller No. 2
Imagitarium Newport Wooden Tank Stand - for 20 Gallon Aquariums, 24.75 in
Clean modern design; Fish tank stands assemble quickly with easy to follow instructions; Adjustable protective nylon leveling feet
Bestseller No. 3
Imagitarium Brooklyn Metal Tank Stand - for 40 Gallon Tanks
Made with durable solid steel and sturdy construction; Fish tank stand features adjustable feet for leveling before you add your tank
Bestseller No. 4
Coralife Designer Biocube Stand, 23/32
Tinted acrylic Panels and slim Black handles; Shelf for convenient storage of tools, equipment and food
Bestseller No. 5
Aquatic Fundamentals, 30/38/45 Gallon, Black Upright Aquarium Stand, Made in The USA
Stand Holding Capacity: 30/45 Gallons, 450 Pounds; Product Dimensions: 37. 37"L x 13. 2"W x 28. 25"H

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Fish tank stands are not essential for very small aquariums. Like a bowl-shaped one with hardly one goldfish inside. Such aquariums can be put on a study desk or table.

Gravel Vacuum or Siphon Cleaner

If organic waste is not removed from an aquarium on time, it can spike the ammonia level, nitrate level and other issues. In such cases, an aquarium gravel vacuum comes handy. It is a very important aquarium supply. It allows people to clean up the tank without putting their hand inside. With this equipment, you can remove uneaten food, debris, feces from the bottom and dead plant matter easily.

The siphon cleaner comes with a wide plastic aperture cylinder for cleaning the gravel or substrate. The dipping cylinder is attached to a long narrow tube which draws off the debris and tank water into a bucket. These are another type of cleaner also available which is battery operated and unlike the previous one, it filters water back into the aquarium, while collecting the waste in a fine mesh net filter.

Fish Net

Fish net is one of the most common aquarium supplies. Aquarists often keep one spare fish net with them for emergencies. They are used to catch fish and also to clean the debris or leftover food inside the tank. It can also be algae or some dead organism.

It comes in various sizes - from small to large. The size of these nets are generally dependant on the size of the aquarium and sometimes, also on the size of the species living inside. You can buy a large fish net for cleaning purpose. While for catching purpose, a medium or small sized fish net will do.

Bestseller No. 2
Marina 3-Inch Blue Fine Nylon Net with 10-Inch Handle, Aquarium Maintenance Tool, Blue, 11273
Allows for easy fish tank maintenance; Great to use in either a freshwater fish tank or a salt water fishtank
Bestseller No. 3
Penn-Plax QN2 Quick Net for Fish – 2” x 1.75” | Strong and Durable | Safely and Easily Move Fish, Blue, One Size
DIMENSIONS: the net portion of this fish net is 2” x 1.75”.; Age range description: Young Adult
SaleBestseller No. 4
Pawfly 4 Inch Aquarium Net Fine Mesh Small Fish Catch Nets with Plastic Handle - Green
The 4 inch net is a most common size for shrimps, small fish, and aquatic plants.; Net measures 4" L x 3.5" W x 10" Handle, with 2.5" deep net pocket.
SaleBestseller No. 5
Pawfly 6 Inch Telescopic Aquarium Net Fine Mesh Small Fishnet with Extendable 9-24 inch Long Handle
Frame size 6" W x 5" H with 4 inches deep pocket is great for up to 4 inch fishes.; Hanging ring added on handle end so that it can be simply hang up when done.

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Aquarium Lights

As I have told you earlier, the lights often come packed with the lid but you have the option of purchasing them separately. If you are a beginner, then I would recommend you to go for fluorescent or led lights. They are easy to maintain, operate and do not heat up the aquarium quickly. Also, they are comparatively cheap.

Have a look at Review of 8 Best LED Lights and Best Aquarium Lights Overall.

SaleBestseller No. 3
NICREW ClassicLED Plus Planted Aquarium Light, Full Spectrum LED Fish Tank Light for Freshwater Plants, 18 to 24 Inch, 15 Watts
Ideal for freshwater or saltwater fish and medium-high light level plants; This product is recommended for use over glass or acrylic canopy-covered aquariums
SaleBestseller No. 4
AQUANEAT LED Aquarium Light Full Spectrum for 18 Inch to 24 Inch Fish Tank Light Fresh Water Light Multi-Color
Fits aquarium tank from 18" to 24" in length with adjustable mounting brackets; Mode: all lights on and all lights off
Bestseller No. 5
Fluval Fresh and Plant 3.0 LED Light Fixture, 46 Watt
Includes six unique band waves for full spectrum results

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Light options include incandescent, led, halogen, mercury vapor, metal halide and fluorescent.


Aquarium thermometer is a liquid crystal stick-on which gives the temperature of water. It is inexpensive. Thermometers are essential if you are planning of breeding fish inside the fish tank or in case you want to keep a delicate fish.

Bestseller No. 1
Marina Floating Thermometer for Betta Fish Tank with Suction Cup, Aquarium Thermometer, 11201A1
Easy to read floating aquarium thermometer with suction cups; Includes a safety zone indicator appropriate for most tropical fish
Bestseller No. 3
Zacro Pack of 2 LCD Digital Aquarium Thermometer Fish Tank Water Terrarium Temperature
Large, easy to read lcd display; compact design for discrete use; Powered by one lr44 button cell (included)

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Live Bacteria Seeding Product to establish Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

If you have purchased a new aquarium, it obviously is not cycled. If you do not treat such aquariums to establish a proper nitrogen cycle, the ammonia will quickly build up and eventually kill the fish.

Once you put a fish inside the aquarium, ammonia starts building up continuously. After sometime, when the aquarium is well-established, there are lots of good bacteria set up which feed on the toxic ammonia. It usually takes 4-5 weeks to build up the necessary quantity of good bacteria. The process is so slow that when it eventually happens, fish are long dead. But fortunately, the live bacteria products available in the market make it so much easier to cycle a newly established aquarium.

Gravel or Substrate

Gravel inside a fish tank, gives it a more natural look. When aquariums look natural, it is a treat to the eyes. Moreover, it is also a threat to the marine organisms living inside for whom, it mimics their natural habitat. Some species can do good without gravel but some species like corydora catfish, find it hard to live in an unnatural habitat. They love digging around the soft and fine substrate.

Earlier, I had a misconception that aquarium gravels are just like any other gravel we find on the road side. They are dirty and needs to be cleaned a lot before being placed in a tank. But overtime, I learnt that the gravel we find on roads might be dirty but the ones underwater are as clean as they could be. There is no need to clean them especially with a cleaner.

Gravel comes in various shape, sizes and colours. If you need more information of different types of Gravels read our Aquarium Gravel Guide.

  • Aquarium gravels come in various sizes and shapes. You can select the best one according to the type of species you have kept.
  • Another point to be noted is whether the fish tank has live plants in it. If it has, and they are kept on the horizon, it will be the best to avoid common aquarium gravel and go for a quality and nutrient-rich plant substrate.
  • So you can just place them from underwater, into the tank or you can wipe it thoroughly with freshwater but do not use detergent or any cleaning agent.

Detergents leave toxic chemicals inside the tank which are unsuitable for marine life. So it is advised to not use them while cleaning inside the tank. However, they can be used to clean the outer surface.

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Plant Substrate

Plant substrate are a replacement to aquarium gravel. You can choose either of them. But to make that decision easier for you, here is an important point to be noted: Plant substrate is a great choice if your aquarium has live plants in it.

This is because plant substrate are rich in nutrient content which makes them great for the plants as well as other organisms. It is better to choose a nutrient-rich item for the fish tank in order to help rooted plants thrive in their aquatic environment.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum, For Fish Tanks, 4.4 lbs., 12693
Fluval Stratum is made of mineral rich volcanic soil; Stimulates strong aquarium plant growth
Bestseller No. 2
Flourite Dark, 7 kg / 15.4 lbs
No laterite needed; Perfect for planted aquariums; May be mixed with other gravels; The Premium Substrate For the Planted Aquarium
Bestseller No. 5
AquaNatural Diamond Black Quartz 10lb, Premium Gravel and Substrate for Aquariums, Fish Tanks and terrariums, 2-4mm
Aquarium Safe - 100% natural; Promotes good bacteria growth because of it's large surface area

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Decoration Items

Aquarium decoration items include plants, rocks, caves, tree logs, live plants and castle. All these things come together to mimic the natural habitat of marine life. Some of the fish like hiding behind these items, thus adapting their natural habitat inside a closet. Thus it helps in displaying more of their natural behavior.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Florida 10 Species Live Aquarium Plants Bundle
Provide natural resting and hiding places for your smaller fish and invertebrates
Bestseller No. 3
Aquascaping: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planting, Styling, and Maintaining Beautiful Aquariums
Hardcover Book; Farmer, George (Author); English (Publication Language); 200 Pages - 11/10/2020 (Publication Date) - Skyhorse (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 4
Aquarium Plants: 30 Easy Low Light Aquarium Plants for Beginners
Amazon Kindle Edition; Vagon, Viktor (Author); English (Publication Language); 40 Pages - 01/26/2021 (Publication Date)

Last update on 2021-04-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Besides, these items altogether, make the aquarium 100 times more beautiful. They make the fish tank eye-catching and soothing as they make it look so real. Such aquariums are great to look at and they also help in soothing the mind and soul of people.

Before putting any of these items inside the fish tank, make sure that they are made for aquarium use. This is so because some non-aquatic decoration items are known to leak chemicals. These chemicals possess a great risk to the lives of marine organisms. So keep in mind to purchase aquatic specific decoration items only.

We know that movement of fish is hypnotizing. So when they move about in the aquarium, it is a treat to the eyes. It looks great at first and eventually soothes your mind. It also makes the fish feel safer and happier.

So these are the 17 items needed to maintain a fish tank. Some of these items are basic requirements of aquariums. Which means that either the fish cannot survive without these items or the aquarium remains unhealthy without them. The rest of the equipments mentioned are not basic and fish and tank can survive without them. But only the type of aquarium you have can decide whether you actually need the rest of secondary items or not.

This list will help you calculate how much it will cost you to take care of a fish. So I comprehend that by the end of it, you must have got a fair idea about whether you want a fish or not.

I have said it before, and I will say it again that fish keeping is not an easy task. You should do it only if you are hundred percent ready. I have seen many fish tank owners who had a bad experience with their first aquarium and they gave up almost before they even started. So do not get overconfident. Keeping these basic factors in knowledge and planning in advance, will help the potential aquarium owners avoid common pitfalls. Planning is of vital importance for the experienced owners as well.

Two of the most important and basic issues to consider while setting up a new aquarium are cost and size. In both these cases, people usually underestimate the rest of the important things and make compromises. This is the stupidest thing to do while purchasing an aquarium as it will clearly cause you problems later on.

You can make compromises with the price, but when it comes to quality, you should not do it. It will risk the life of fish. For help, you can make a thorough checklist or go to a pet store. Write down the cost of all the items that you are interested in to buy. Then take a second look at the list and determine the final cost, before you take a decision.

In case your budget is very tight, you can take help from your friends and family. What I mean to say is, you can ask them to give you different items from your checklist on your birthday or graduation day or on any other occasion. That way, you can get started without having to buy inferior equipment. It might also happen that they gift you what you want without even asking your or without even waiting for any special occasion.

So, you can try this trick! It helps most of the time. All the best for your new aquarium! I hope you ace at handling it.

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[Revised and Updated for July, 2019]
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Written by Debra Hutchinson, founder of FishXperts

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