We all have that friend or family member who is either an aspiring aquarist or the ultimate aquarium lover. So, when it’s time to start thinking about a gift for that person, considering your options can be very daunting, especially because there are so many to choose from. Plus, it can be a little harder if you’re not an aquarist yourself.
I’ve put together a great list of options that will inspire you. From accessories and clothing to clever aquarium gadgets, here are seven of the best gifts for aquarium lovers. I’ve even thrown in a few tips on how to get gift ideas from your aquarist.
Top 7 Best Gift Ideas for Aquarium Lovers
Automatic fish feeders are a life-saver, quite literally. Especially when you’re going on vacation or when you have a busy schedule. They’re even good for people who just want one less thing to do when it comes to caring for their fish. See my article here, which will give you a great round-up of the best and most affordable automatic fish feeders on the market.
When choosing an automatic fish feeder, you’ll want to consider a few things:
- The kind of fish
- Number of fish
- Type of food
- Remote controlled, app-controlled, or neither?
I highly suggest opting in for an automatic fish feeder instead of a vacation block since the latter can wreak havoc on your water quality. And if you have several fish, there is normally not enough food in the vacation block to feed all of them, which results in a feeding frenzy (or dead fish) once you get home.
2. API Freshwater Master Test Kit
These are a necessity that is often overlooked and underappreciated – unless a water quality catastrophe is at hand, then many aquarists are left scrambling to pick up a water test kit. But if they were gifted one, then they will always have it handy! Aquarium water test kits are a very practical aquarium lovers’ gift – not only are they essential for a healthy tank, but it’s also a small chemistry kit making a beginner feel a little like a mad fish scientist. Check out the API Freshwater Master Test Kit!
Most aquarium water test kits test for pH, nitrite, nitrate, carbonate, alkalinity, and/or general water hardness. It’s a good idea to have a test kit for checking ammonia levels too, as this chemical is officially known as the “silent fish killer.” Some well-known aquarium test kits are:
- Tetra EasyStrips 6-in-1
- API Freshwater Master Test Kit (comes in Saltwater, too)
- API Test Strips Freshwater and Saltwater
- Red Sea Fish Pharm
- NovoBlue 14-in-1 Water Test Kit Tester Strips
Do you know an aquarist who has a more advanced aquarium set up, such as a coral reef system or a high-maintenance aquascape environment? Maybe your aquarist lives in an area that has consistent power outages or hurricane/tornado threats? If any of these speak to you, a battery backup system is crucial. I go into depth about aquarium battery backups in my article here, but in short, battery backups help to maintain the life support systems of your tank. Take a look at this Battery Backup as a gift!
Here are some great reasons a battery backup would be a good gift:
- All essentials (filters, pumps, air supplies, heaters, lighting) can be connected to the battery backup
- Crucial for delicate aquarium environments needing the essentials
- Reduces aquarium casualties in case of a power outage
- Gives you peace of mind while you’re gone for an extended amount of time
- Protects your investments, since it all adds up!
Be sure to check out my article on battery backups to find the best option for your aquarist. You can find a reliable one at a range of prices.
4. Submersible Pump with Tubing
Submersible pumps can be a game-changer in the fishkeeping hobby. When having to change the water, many people use a gravel vacuum to drain water into a bucket; this can be very time-consuming. When I owned a 240-gallon tank, there was no way I was going to fill up and carry a 5-gallon bucket of water 48 times. Here you can find the Submersible Pump with Tubing.
When doing water changes, I invested in a submersible pump and some tubing. I secured the tubing to the pump, laid the tubing to where I was draining water, started up the pump, and let the pump do its thing. In about 10 minutes my tank was drained to 25%; I’d stop the submersible pump and then refilled my tank using my garden hose.
A submersible pump is also known as a sump pump, a submersible pump is the most important part of a sump setup because it is the main connection between the sump and the aquarium. But what is a sump system to begin with? According to my article About Sumps and Sump Pumps, it’s a secondary water reserve for an aquarium that holds extra water and houses aquarium accessories that would clutter up the main tank.
The submersible pump is more common in marine and reef tanks since they take a lot of equipment to mimic a natural, tropic environment. They pull in water from the filter, then push it back into the tank (or chillers or UV sterilizers). Some things to look for in a submersible pump:
- Rate of water flow: some pumps are fixed, while others are adjustable
- Removable filters: for easy cleaning and maintenance
- Running temperature: if the sump pump has a high running temperature, then a chiller will be necessary, too, to keep the temperature of the pump down.
- Noise and energy: submersible pumps are quieter than inline pumps
A good tubing option is the No products found. – it’s durable, flexible, and safe for fish and plants, and resists algae growth.
This, my friends, is your easy button. Gifting an aquarium kit to a novice aquarist is a no-brainer. It’s basically a collection of fish-keeping supplies that offers the bare essentials in keeping fish. These are perfect as a whole gift set because you won’t have to buy everything separately. I go into detail about the best aquarium kits here, but a few things to consider when purchasing one are:
- Acrylic or glass: aquarists highly recommend getting glass tanks because they last longer and don’t scratch as easily as acrylic. If you’re looking for a tank with a funky shape, then you’ll likely need to get acrylic.
- Size, shape, and fish: the shape, size, and whether or not it has a filter are things to look at when getting a kit. If it’s for a goldfish or betta, then a small one will do. But for a few small fish or more variety, then definitely opt-in for the larger tanks.
Most aquarium kits will have the essentials, such as a filter, and some will provide food, lights, and maybe even substrate. There are plenty of stylish, contemporary-looking tank kits on the market, including the Hygger Horizon and LifeGard Aquatics. The EcoQube Aquarium is unique in that it is a betta-sized aquaponics filter system kit. It’s worth checking out.
These last two show that the best gifts for aquarium lovers don’t always have to be just for the tank:
6. Aquarium Enthusiast T-shirts
A fun t-shirt is always a great gift for anyone that’s in the fish-keeping hobby. Beginners to advanced aquarium nerds will confidently sport a shirt with a catchy design showcasing their undying infatuation with aquariums. Take a look at some of these examples:
How to find out what they want
Even though my list of inspirations may have the perfect gift idea, it never hurts to find out exactly what they might want or need.
Tip #1 Aquarium detective
That’s right, here’s permission to be an aquarium detective. If you get the chance, snoop around the aquarist’s tank and gadgets and make a list of the items they have… or don’t have. If you’re not able to be the sneak, ask a roommate, partner, or someone who is around the aquarium often. That way you’ll at least know if you’re doubling up on something they already have.
Tip #2 Have a chat
As casually as possible, strike up a conversation about the person’s aquarium and see where it leads. Most aquarium lovers would love the opportunity to talk about their tanks. Some ice breakers are, “Got any new fish lately?” “So, how’s the tank doing?” or something more specific, “How did your aquarium go after that massive power outage?” It may be a good time to mention that you heard about this cool thing called a battery backup, or if they’re coming up to a long vacation, then you could ask if they have, “one of those automatic fish feeders.”
Tip #3 Be outright
If you’d prefer to be more upfront, you can always ask the person to make a list of any aquarium dream items. They’ll at least know you’re interested, and you’ll always have a go-to list of items to check off – kind of like an aquarium accessories bucket list.
Finding the perfect gift for your friend or family member doesn’t need to be a time-consuming, agonizing experience. Hopefully, this list of the best gifts for aquarium lovers gives you the inspiration you’ve been looking for. You can also use my tips on how to find out exactly what they want for future holidays, birthdays, or other gift-giving celebrations. And, of course, if you’re an aquarist don’t forget to pick something up for yourself!