Wondering what accessories you need for your planted aquarium?
I bought many tank accessories over the years, used them once, and never touched them again.
This list highlights the best planted aquarium accessories that I frequently use.
1. Aquascaping Kit
Having an aquascaping kit is vital for any planted aquarium. Your plants will grow, so you’ll want something to trim them. This is called the art of aquascaping. I picked up this kit from Amazon, and it works well.
You can get away with using regular scissors you have lying around the house, but this kit will make your life easier. The tools in this kit are made from stainless steel and won’t rust.
2. Aquarium Brush Cleaner
Algae is inevitable. There are ways to keep it under control, but you’ll want something to scrape it off your glass. I bought this brush from Amazon, and it works well.
My dad has been using a Dobie sponge for decades. Just ensure you only use it for your aquarium and don’t get any soap on it.
When I started out, I used a magnetic scraper but stopped using it. I feel like it wasn’t as efficient as using a brush. Plus, it was easy to make sudden movements that scared my fish. Many people use it, but it’s not for me.
3. Stainless Razor Scraper
This stainless algae scraper is a game-changer. It helps you flawlessly remove the algae from the more challenging spots. It’s also great for any water hardness build-up on the brim of your tank.
My biggest concern was scratching my tank’s glass… but it’s a forgiving blade. I use this in combination with the aquarium brush above. The dream team!
If you run into an algae issue that isn’t a quick brush, reference my how to get rid of algae naturally. I cover a few easy solutions to help you get it under control.
4. Gravel Siphon
A gravel vacuum (also called a siphon) is essential for two reasons…
- Performing water changes
- Cleaning the debris
Before learning about these, I would do water changes with an old cup. An absolute rookie mistake!
Save yourself time and purchase one of these. Recently I set up a 20-gallon tank and bought a Python Siphon. While it’s much better quality than the cheaper one, the setup takes too long. If I had a 50-gallon, I would set it up properly, saving me time.
Keep that in mind. Sometimes it’s better to keep it simple.
I use that cheaper siphon with a 5-gallon bucket for my 20-gallon and it works well.
If you’re filling up your aquarium for the first time, a kitchen colander could be helpful. Yup, you read that right. A kitchen colander spreads your water out so it doesn’t disturb your plants or substrate. You can use any colander.
5. Microfiber Cloth
I get water on the outside of the glass whenever I do tank maintenance. And unless you’re some magician, you will too.
A microfiber cleaning cloth is the best way to clean your glass. You can get one at one of your local shops; it doesn’t have to be specific.
6. Water Testing Kit
Keeping your water healthy is vital. I heard someone say once that “you’re not a fish keeper, you’re a water keeper.” And the more I get into this hobby, the more that statement rings true.
Knowing the pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels will help prevent health issues. Although I will be real, I don’t use this kit as much as I’d thought. It’s good to have around anytime you notice something’s wrong. But you don’t need to be testing your water a lot.
7. Specimen Container
The specimen container is one of the most underrated fish aquarium accessories. I use it to put my brush and aquascaping kit in when I’m not using them. But you can also use it to attach to the side of your tank to hold your fish if you need to do tank maintenance.
I also used it to drip acclimate my Cherry Shrimp. The main thing I like is that you can attach it to the side of your tank, making it easily accessible.
This one isn’t a necessity, but its incredibly convenient.
8. Super Glue
I remember watching videos of people using superglue to attach wood/plants to rocks. This surprised me because I thought it would leach toxins. Most superglue brands will be fine, but to be safe, this is the one I use.
It’s useful to have around when you’re rescaping your tank and want to make sure everything stays in place. I’d suggest wearing gloves when working with super glue. When you get it on your hands, it’s very tough to get off.
9. Drip Acclimator
Depending on the hardiness of the fish you stock in your aquarium, a drip acclimator will be handy. The purpose is to get them acclimated to your water parameters gradually.
If your fish are sensitive and you put them into your tank without acclimating, they could get shocked and die. For most fish, you can float the bag without drip acclimating.
However, if you put shrimp in your tank, they’re more sensitive, and you’ll want to use a drip acclimator.
10. Fish Tank Net
The ideal size of your net will depend on your tank and fish. I started with a 5-gallon aquarium and some neon tetra, so I picked up this nano net. Keep in mind you get what you pay for. It’s built cheaply, and the metal would often bend. Not a big deal, but still annoying.
Looking back, I would’ve spent a little more for a sturdier net. I would’ve bought the Aquarium Coop net. It’s made of sturdy plastic and won’t rust.
I hope you found this list of supplies helpful. It’s a resource I wish I had when first starting.
These are the accessories I actually use – not just a list of everything I could think of.
Happy fish tanking!