Every Christmas I like to at least set a spot of money aside to get something new or fun for my fish tanks. If you’re a fishkeeper yourself or you’re shopping for an aquarium hobbyist loved one, then this list might give you some ideas!
I like Christmas because, for me at least, it’s a good time to justify buying something a bit indulgent that I otherwise wouldn’t go for. Treat yourself, or a loved one, to something cool this year!
When you look at aquascapes and planted tanks online, sometimes it can feel impossible to compete. Because no matter what you do, your plants just don’t grow. Well, that’s probably because your lighting is inadequate! So, why not gift yourself or a loved one the kind of aquarium light that is going to get your greens growing?
I love Finnex products. They are top quality, but don’t cost you as much as competitors like Fluval. It’s true that the Fluval Plant 3.0 has a phone app, but the Finnex equivalent is less expensive and has a neat remote to give you advanced control over both the light spectrum and timing.
Fluval Plant 3.0
Putting Kessil (affiliate link) lights aside, the Fluval Plant 3.0 is, in my opinion, the best aquarium light for the average planted tank owner! The app is incredible, the PAR numbers are what you’re looking for, and Fluval sell it with a three year warranty (as long as you purchase from an official vendor—check with Fluval first to be sure).
Finnex Stingray 2
A lot of people look at this as a budget option when it comes to planted tank lighting, but it really isn’t! As you can see in A Gamer’s Wife’s YouTube video here, it puts out some serious numbers and will definitely be able to grow plants for you! Give it a try!
P.S. Subscribe to Gamer’s Wife, you won’t regret it–awesome fishkeeping channel.
NB – remember, lighting isn’t everything though. You’ll also need to throw in some fertilizer, check out my favorite here (affiliate link).
People say you can never have too much filtration. And hey, I’m not wading into that argument, because it’s outside my pay grade. However, I know I like a lot of filtration, and I know what filters I like. So here are my favorites.
What better present to get yourself than a Fluval FX6? I probably don’t need to tell you about the FX6, but in case you’re unfamiliar I’ll let Fluval themselves tell you how great it is in the video below.
The Fluval G6 is also another good option—think of it like the high tech cousin to the FX6. Check out the video below to see all of its awesome features.
Awesome Aquarium Foods
If you’re buying for somebody else, and aren’t sure what to get them, then food might be the way to go. Your first instinct might be “well, jeez, that’s a boring gift, isn’t it?”
Little-known fact about us aquarium hobbyists is that we love trying out different foods on our fish. Especially high quality foods like Sera and Hikari! So here’s a short list of some cool foods you might want to grab for the aquarium hobbyist in your life.
Sera O Nip
O-Nip tabs are hands down my favorite food these days. They’re such a fun treat for your fish. More than that though, they’re also very nutritious for your fish (as you’d expect for a Sera product).
The tablets are quite different to other fish foods, they’re not meant to be just dumped in the tank and left to float or sink. Instead, you take a Sera O-Nip tab and press it against the inside of your aquarium glass, sticking it in place.
What happens next is quite entertaining, all your fish will come to the front of the glass to peck at the little tablet.
As you can imagine, this food is aimed at smaller community fish. It wouldn’t really be suitable for a big midas cichlid to just gobble up in one bite.
However, it is great for the fry of larger fish! It’s good because it’ll hang around stuck to the glass for a while, and will slowly break down into much smaller particles and then float in the water column. This will allow your fry to either peck at the tablet on the glass, or they can feed off the little bits floating in the water.
Fluval Bug Bites
I like bug bites because my fish like bug bites. In fact, just about every fish I’ve ever tried bug bites with like them.
The name for this product comes from the fact that it is made up of 40% black soldier fly larvae. Add salmon to that as a second major ingredient and you have a highly nutritious food for your fish.
When I say “Hikari ANYTHING” I really mean that—I’ve never been disappointed with a Hikari food. And the beauty is, Hikari produce specialized food for so many different types of fish. Check out this list:
- Cichlid Food
- Algae Eater Food
- Blood Red Parrot Food
- Carnivore Food
- Sinking Food
- Goldfish Food
- Betta Food
- Freeze Dried Blood Worms
- Krill Based Food
- Discus Food
Decoration & Aquascaping
You can get rocks just about anywhere—you can find them out in nature, or you can buy them at your local DIY store.
But, there’s a reason professionally aquascaped aquariums consistently use certain types of stone. It’s because those particular rocks have interesting shapes and details that create intricate shadows and provide an overall appealing aesthetic.
So, if you want your planted tank to look as good as what the pros put together, then you might want to consider investing in some of the rock they use!
But, rocks aren’t the be all and end all of your aquarium’s hardscape—you can also utilize driftwood.
Check out some of these cool options below.
Awesome Aquarium Gadgets
How about a cool gadget? Who doesn’t love a gadget gift?
And there are some super cool tech for aquariums these days, and it really makes the hobby even more fun!
A PAR meter is a luxury tool for the planted aquarium enthusiast. With a PAR meter you’re able to measure the amount of “photosynthetically available radiation” reaching the leaves of your plants. This allows an aquarist to make informed decisions about lighting, and therefore the amount of CO2 and nutrients. A really useful tool, for sure.
Seneye make a great reef monitor set for saltwater tanks, but the PAR meter that comes with it is great for freshwater planted tank users.
Infrared thermometers are cool for aquarium hobbyists because you can point it at the water and get a quick temp measurement to compare with a thermometer.
If you keep any fish outdoors during the summer or perhaps if you keep pond fish outdoors all year round, an infrared thermometer is good to help keep on top of fluctuating temperatures outdoors. The best thing is they’re not too expensive either.
Aquascaping is a perfectionist’s pursuit. Therefore, any perfectionist—especially an aquascaping perfectionist—needs an appropriate set of tools. Snippers for snipping excess growth and looooooong tweezers for planting delicate foreground plants.
If your gift recipient keeps aquarium plants and doesn’t already have a set of these, then this could turn out to be the perfect holiday season present!
Python No Spill Clean & Fill
The python is a serious quality of life improvement when it comes to changing water. No more carrying buckets. This device has a valve that you switch to switch it from drain to fill and off you go—all with one high quality hose. Excellent stuff.
Check out their YouTube guide on how it works to see exactly why you need this to make your water changing life a thousand times easier!
Whenever I want to add something interesting to a tank I usually grab a different variety of anubias. Anubias is an awesome genus of aquatic plants that compromises tons of fun species. You can find big big, round leaf species, or long narrow leafed species. In fact, some planted tank hobbyists setup aquariums with nothing but different species of anubias to show just how varied of a setup you can have while only pulling from one single genus!
But, anubias isn’t the only fun and easy to grow aquarium plant that makes a great gift to yourself or a friend. There are some other classics like java fern!
Both make great gifts for aquarium hobbyists, no doubt.