Best Aquarium Accessories

aquarium accessories

From window cleaners to landing nets, you need to consider different aquarium accessories in order to successfully keep inhabitants in the aquarium

This article will introduce the most important aquarium accessories. Not everything is absolutely necessary, but it makes the maintenance and care of the aquarium a lot easier.

Bucket and hose – the water change

The aquarium bucket and a PVC hose are the basic equipment for every aquarist. When changing the water in the aquarium in particular, it is necessary to buy one or, better still, two 10 liter buckets. The PVC hose should be at least 2 meters long and the diameter of the aquarium hose should be around 16 mm.

Aquarium bucket and hose should only be used for the aquarium so that no foreign or harmful substances (cleaning agents, dirt) from previous uses get into the aquarium. 

Practical tip: Mulm vacuums for changing water clean the soil and change the water at the same time.

How to Do Faster, Easier, and Cheaper Aquarium Water Changes

Water change instructions

Changing the water in the aquarium is pretty easy because we use gravity.

  1. Place the aquarium bucket securely below the aquarium.
  2. Take the aquarium hose and press it completely under water so that all air escapes from the hose.
  3. Seal one end of the hose underwater with your finger
  4. Pull this sealed end down from the water to your aquarium bucket.
  5. Open the hose and the water runs into the bucket.

Water change sets

If the manual method is too complicated for you or you don’t want to lug water buckets, there are also practical water change sets that do most of the water change automatically.

Larger amounts of aquarium water can be changed very easily with it. I can therefore highly recommend the water change set, especially for larger aquariums, in order to change the water quickly and efficiently.

The following are 2 great recommendations of water change sets: 

1.  EDEN AQUA In-Out

The EDEN Aqua in-out water change set contains an aquarium pump with suction protection and a 10m long hose. A hose holder with suction cups is supplied for secure attachment of the hose. The pump is first placed in the aquarium and then in the sink, where it sucks in the aquarium water or fresh water.

2.  Jbl Aqua In-Out

The Jbl Aqua In-Out water change set can be connected directly to the tap in the kitchen or in the bathroom. In addition, 2 thread adapters are included. The Jbl Aqua in out Set has an 8 m long hose with a practical sludge suction attachment.

Mulm vacuum – gravel cleaner – sludge bell

Mulm vacuums or aquarium vacuum cleaners are used to clean the substrate. The sludge consists of bacteria, minerals, plant and food residues and metabolic waste products. This settles on the ground and forms a kind of preliminary stage to sludge. Armored catfish or shrimp eat the microorganisms that live in them and are therefore very grateful for a little muck. The sludge also settles in the aquarium filter and ensures natural filtering of the water through many small bacteria.

Slightly brownish, peat-colored sludge speaks for a good water quality, while grayish to very dark sludge suggests the opposite. Some aquarists do not vacuum this sludge, but leave it in the tank. However, these aquariums often appear “dirty” over time. It is therefore advisable to suck off the sludge a little with each partial water change. There are two best practices for doing this:

Removing Mulm w/Gravel with a vacuum

Mulm vacuum cleaner with water change

The water change is carried out with a sludge bell or a sludge vacuum cleaner. The Mulm vacuum usually consists of a PVC hose at the end of which a bell is attached. This silt bell is passed over the aquarium gravel or lightly pressed into the substrate. The other end is held over a bucket. When sucked in, water flows into the bucket with the sludge that has been sucked in.

This bell or tube can be used to vacuum directly over or in the ground without the aquarium sand or gravel immediately getting into the bucket.

If you want to buy a vacuum cleaner, we can recommend the Dennerle floor cleaner. The aquarium sucker has a practical suction aid, a return valve and a hose holder.

Electric vacuum cleaner without changing water

aquarium accessories
Electric vaccum cleaner without water change

An electric vacuum cleaner can clean the aquarium floor at any time and without changing the water. The battery-operated sludge vacuum cleaner has a filter container that holds back the dirt and automatically returns the aquarium water to the aquarium.

The big advantage is that the sludge is filtered out and no water is lost. So you can relax and suckle for as long as you want without changing the water.

Landing nets and fish nets

Landing nets or fishing nets are an essential part of the aquarium hobby. There are different sized fishing nets depending on the type and size of fish. The mesh size must also be adapted to the fish population, as it can happen that some fish species can get caught in the net with their fins. Fine-meshed nets are suitable for smaller fish species such as guppies or neons, while larger nets must be used for example for angelfish. This saves the animal’s unnecessary stress in the event of a necessary catch.

It is better to buy larger fishing nets with which you can still maneuver well in the aquarium, because you can catch even small fish better with a larger fishing net.

For aquariums up to 112l, we recommend this 15cm landing net and a 10cm safety net. The corresponding XXL nets with a diameter of 20cm are suitable for larger aquariums.

There are small nano nets for a nano aquarium. We have had very good experiences with the Nano Shrimp Net landing net from Dennerle.

How to Net Aquarium Fish

Window cleaner and algae magnets

There are many different products on the market for cleaning aquarium glass from the inside. Useful helpers for cleaning aquarium glass are algae magnets, preferably floating algae magnets. These are easier to handle and can then be removed from the aquarium basin again as they float up. This avoids dangerous falling onto the ground. Disc magnets are available in different sizes.

Cleaning gloves made of cotton and coated aluminum fibers. The aquarium gloves offer quick and easy cleaning not only of the glass pane. The aquarium technology and all furnishings such as stones or roots can also be cleaned. These cleaning gloves are well suited for aquariums where you can still reach the bottom with your hand.

Aquarium glass cleaner

Aquarium glass cleaners are scrapers with a blade or sponge attached to them, with which solid deposits and algae can be removed from the glass very easily. However, it is important to ensure that the side edge of the blade is protected so that it does not cut into the glued glass. The window cleaners attached to a stick are suitable for tall aquariums.

Electric aquarium glass cleaner

With an electric aquarium glass cleaner, aquarium glass can be cleaned more easily and quickly. The battery-operated window cleaner is waterproof and works similar to an electric razor. It has a long blade that is moved in rapid impulses. This makes it very easy to clean dirty or calcified aquarium panes with the electric aquarium pane cleaner. You can effortlessly remove stubborn dirt such as spot algae, brush algae or lime. An electric aquarium window cleaner is therefore particularly suitable for seawater aquariums.

The EHEIM window cleaner power Cleaner also has an attachable extension handle to quickly clean larger areas and high aquariums. You can easily see all the dirt, thanks to the LED that you can activate.

Thermometer

With a thermometer you have the temperature of your aquarium under constant control. A possible failure of the heater or seasonal temperature fluctuations are noticed more quickly. Make sure you have an easy-to-read scale and a high-quality suction cup. Alternatively, digital thermometers with sensors are also available.

Automatic feeder

An electronic aquarium feeder can be used if you want to achieve regular feeding and accurate feed dosing. These can be individually adjusted and dosed depending on the type. These devices are particularly suitable for longer absences (vacation time).

Tweezers, pliers, scissors or gravel spatula – aquascaping set

We recommend that you buy at least 30 cm long tweezers and aquarium scissors for working in the tank. These two simple tools make plant care a lot easier for you.

An aquascaping set contains all the tools you need for simple plant and substrate maintenance. We recommend these sets especially for nano aquarium owners, as there is naturally only little space in the nano cubes.

When you are choosing aquarium tools, make sure that they are made of stainless steel. Stainless steel tends to last longer.

Aquascaping set

A so-called aquascaping set is ideal for perfect plant care in the aquarium. Especially if you own a nano aquarium, you will quickly notice how practical such a set is in such a small and narrow aquarium. I own this set and I am very satisfied.

The aquascaping set should at least consist of tweezers, scissors and a gravel spade.

Very good plant care sets also offer curved aquarium tweezers and curved aquarium scissors with which you can get to places that are difficult to access. A practical case is usually included for the clean storage of the 5-part aquascaping set.

You can order other good aquascaping sets from Amazon very easily at low prices.

Aquarium tweezers or pliers

Long aquarium tweezers (30 cm) or plant tongs help when inserting plants, pulling out plant remains or dead animals. The plant tongs are ideal for particularly high aquariums, as you can no longer reach down to the ground with your hands. With the aquarium tweezers, frozen food or live food can be ideally offered to the fish underwater. There are both straight forceps and curved forceps. You can find a large selection of tweezers on Amazon.

Aquarium scissors

We also consider aquarium plant scissors to be indispensable. The scissors should be 30 cm long so that you can cut back the aquatic plants further down in the aquarium. Due to the sharp cut of the aquarium scissors, the plants are cleanly cut and can sprout again vigorously. Curved scissors are particularly suitable for cutting in hard-to-reach places. Here you will find a good selection of plant scissors.

Gravel spatula and flattener

The gravel spatula or “sand flattener” is an often underestimated tool. This tool can be used to smooth and model the aquarium substrate. Good gravel spatulas have two ends of different widths with which you can either work on larger areas or create the substrate in the smallest of spaces (e.g. nano aquarium).

On Amazon you will find a good selection of aquarium spatulas to choose from.

Aquarium pad

Aquarium pads serve to protect the glass, to level out uneven floors and to isolate the tank. These consist largely of foam and can usually be cut to the size of the pool. An absolute must for every aquarium.

Digital timer

If you want to save yourself some time or are not at home regularly, then time switches are ideal. However, only the lighting should be controlled, as the filter and heater should not be switched off in the meantime. Plants and animals can develop optimally thanks to the precisely regulated lighting times.

Rearing / quarantine tanks

A small replacement tank, possibly made of plastic, can be used for rearing or as a quarantine tank for sick animals. These often need targeted medication, which can be dosed more easily and have no effect on the retracted pelvis.

Water test – test strips or drop test case

An aquarium water test helps you to precisely measure the quality of your aquarium water. A water analysis by the waterworks only gives you an initial insight into the water values ​​in your region. However, the water from your aqueduct can have different water values. Therefore, we advise you to measure carefully with a water test set / case.

Modern water tests for aquariums can determine the important measured values ​​of water chemistry very precisely. You can reliably test the water hardness, the PH value and many macro nutrients (e.g. nitrate, phosphate, potassium, carbon) and micro nutrients (e.g. iron, copper, chlorine).

The aquarium test strips are used for quick orientation of the basic water values ​​such as water hardness, PH value, nitrite and nitrate. However, the color scale of the test strips is relatively coarse, so that no precise water values ​​can be determined.

It is more precise with a so-called drop test, which can be bought cheaper in a test case or set. I can recommend this JBL test case. In this type of aquarium water test, like in chemistry lessons, liquid reagents are dripped into a glass until the color changes.

With the drop tests, all important water values ​​in the aquarium can be tested very precisely. In addition to the basic values, all macro and micro nutrients can also be precisely determined with this water test. 

Best tip: Buy a drop test case, because this type of aquarium water test is more precise, can determine more water values ​​and is more durable than test tires.

Before setting up your aquarium, you can test the tap water with the aquarium water test. For example, the hardness of the water and the pH value directly determine which fish you can successfully keep in your aquarium. If your water is too hard, you can use an osmosis system, for example, to mix your tap water with soft water.

When your aquarium is set up, you can use the water test to track the nitrite peak (NO2) so that you can then safely insert the aquarium fish. Nitrite is deadly to fish. It is therefore essential to wait for the unique nitrite peak when entering the aquarium.

If your aquatic plants do not grow or wither, it is often due to a lack of nutrients. The best way to determine which and how much plant fertilizer you should add to your aquarium water is with the aquarium water test set (drop test).

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