Shopping for someone special this season? Or maybe you’re looking for ideas on how to spend that cash or the gift cards you just got. Either way, you’re in for a treat. Take a look at all the gizmos, gadgets, and tech in this list of 51 great gifts for saltwater aquarium lovers.
It can be to buy something for that guy or gal on your list who already has everything–that’s why this list is so big, you’re bound to find a great gift for that saltwater aquarium lover that they don’t already have–and they’ll be super-impressed that you were able to find something so perfectly suited for their hobby.
Great gifts for saltwater aquarium lovers (under $20)
If you are looking for just a little something to brighten their day without breaking the bank, check out these items
1. Every saltwater aquarium lover has to keep their water pristine and stable. The fastest and easiest way to check how much salt is in the water is to use a Hydrometer, like this Deep Six Hydrometer. The best part about this gift is that even if they already have one, they wear out (actually by getting salty deposits and getting stuck) pretty easily. You can help him, or her keep their tank in tip-top shape by swapping out the old hydrometer for a new one.
When you see your saltwater aquarium lover playing around in their tank, are they wearing gloves? They better be. I have been stung, bitten, and cut. Help protect those hands you love so much by buying a set of nitrile rubber gloves that will come up past their elbows. And if your aquarium lover already has a set…see if you can sneak a sniff…chances are good that they smell pretty ripe by now. Time to switch them out. You’ll both appreciate it.
At just a few dollars, another great gift for saltwater aquarium lovers is the Ammonia Alert badge from Seachem. They’ll be even more impressed when you tell them that you think it would be great to use it in their quarantine tank since they are more likely to get an ammonia spike there.
This Holdfast product from Instant Ocean only costs just a few dollars, and it is a reef-safe two-part epoxy that can be used to keep things together, like live rock or frag plugs in their tank. This gift might not look like much, but it is also fun to play with. The two-part epoxy is actually a ‘tube within a tube. Part 1 is in the center, part 2 is just outside the center. You cut off a chunk and rub it between your fingers, which causes a small chemical reaction, and heats up the putty, and then ultimately bonds the two rocks together.
Some of the most popular reef fish do best when fed seaweed or macroalgae, which tends to be sold as these compressed sheets. The easiest way to do that is with a clip that sticks to the glass, but the inexpensive clips tend to have suction cups that either unattached or get yanked off when the fish feed aggressively. This is the top-of-the-line Veggie clip that comes with a powerful magnet. Even though it is top of the line, it is still under $20 buckaroos.
Get them a copy of 107 Tips for the Marine Reef Aquarium, we’re not saying you think they need some tips, but hey, every little bit helps. Compared to many other books about the saltwater aquarium hobby, this one is inexpensive and a fast, fun, helpful read.
The AccuDrip Acclimator is a handy tool that will remind them what a great gift giver you are at their happiest moments (when they get a new fish or coral ready to go in the tank). This makes acclimation a breeze. Hang the engineered curved end over the side of the tank. Drape the tube into the acclimation bucket or container. Squeeze the little bulb to start the siphon and use the thumbwheel to control the flow—instant acclimation.
Great gifts for saltwater aquarium lovers to help them keep things neat and tidy (still under $20)
Let’s face it, there are two types of aquarium lovers out there–the super meticulous aquarium lovers and everybody else. The great news is that the first group will love the items on this part of the list and the other group desperately needs them.
This first item is a magnetic glass cleaner that can help clean algae and debris on the inside of the aquarium glass without ever getting their hands wet. There is one big name brand (MagFloat) that dominates the market. You can’t go wrong purchasing a MagFloat. But the magnetic cleaner shown below is dramatically less expensive. Actually, it has more functionality, with attachments that will help them remove the toughest hard algae buildup–and all at a fraction of the cost. The product reviews speak for themselves.
We all know it is a mess under the fish tank inside the stand. Help them get organized with these handy labels.
Great gifts for saltwater aquarium lovers–to help keep their fish and themselves safe
Water and electricity don’t mix. Yet somehow, we get away with it as aquarium lovers. The problem is that occasionally things go wrong–equipment malfunctions, wires fray, or water gets in where it doesn’t belong. This can cause stray electrical voltage leaks into your tank, which can hurt you and your fish. When you stick your hand into a tank with stray voltage, the electricity zips through you to get to the ground. The best way to avoid that is to not have stray voltage in your tank. The second best way is to use a grounding probe like this.
When the power goes out, the fish and corals can live without the electric lights. They can live for a while without the heater or any filters, but the things they need the most in a power failure are oxygen and moving water. This Battery backup air pump is just what you need. Plug it into the wall. It only turns on when it detects a loss of power. This is a gift of peace of mind and emergency preparedness, making it one of the best gifts for saltwater aquarium lovers.
This little gadget has gotten me out of more than one jam. Did you know that your car could act as a portable generator to run a few aquarium items in a pinch? All you need is this car power inverter. Start your engine, plug it in the cigarette lighter, and plug in your equipment with a really long extension cord and you can run the life-sustaining systems even in a storm (at least for a little while). It’s not a full replacement for a backup generator, but it can get you through in a pinch.
A great gift to help your aquarium lover grow healthier corals
Remember, the corals in your aquarium lover’s tank are animals, not plants–and animals need to eat, generally speaking. Reef roids are a fantastic food for all of those tiny mouths in the tank.
The Sea Squirt feeder is my personally preferred tool to feed those tiny coral mouths. It might look small in the picture, but the telescoping tubes and clever engineering will allow the wielder to reach any part of the tank and direct a tiny burst of food to the hungry mouths.
Your aquarium lover works hard to make their tank look great, but truthfully, our tanks are a delicate balance. A shift in water parameters or a pest that makes it into the tank can cause havoc. ReVIVE Coral dip is one way to help keep the bad guys out and help keep your corals looking great.
Your corals and invertebrates need calcium–lots of it. Kalkwasser is the least expensive and most popular supplement for raising calcium.
Make your tank smarter.
This programmable, smart power strip is a great gift for the saltwater aquarium lover in your life because it provides endless opportunities to program and control all the gadgets, gizmos, and gear running their tanks. It works with Siri, Alexa, and Google assistants or simply with the manufacturer’s smartphone app. No more yanking cords to do a water change or to clean the filter–just say, “Alexa, turn off the return pump,” or “Alexa, time for a water change.”
As mentioned above, the power strip works with your smartphone device and the free app provided, but it’s way cooler using voice control and an Echo Dot.
Preparing for a rainy day: gifts for saltwater aquarium lovers to be ready for anything.
Even if your aquarium lover has the best gear out there, the unfortunate truth is that it does wear down or break down. Saltwater is simultaneously life-sustaining for so many creatures–and also extremely tough on ‘things.’ Help them be ready for those equipment emergencies by preparing in advance for some of the most likely situations.
This purchase involves a little more planning and knowledge of the pumps in the tank. If you don’t know, you may be able to get away with a polite question to figure out what model return pump they have. Most pumps have a spongey-looking thing, like in the image below, that keeps the pump from getting clogged up and damaged. The problem is that these wear out, break, and sometimes just fail altogether. They aren’t that expensive, and having an extra one around can be very handy in an emergency or during maintenance.
Pumps will wear out, too, after years of service that you never gave a second thought to. Help them be ready with the gift of an extra return pump.
Unfortunately, heaters go bad–and when they do–bad things happen. Having an extra one on standby can be a big help in emergencies.
Curl up with a new book
Keep track of your progress, water parameters, and quarantine with the Reef Journal, a great gift for saltwater aquarium lovers.
Read up on your corals:
Curl up with a bestselling aquarium book
Try something new:
Get some culture–a phytoplankton culture
Perhaps the aquarium lover in your life wants to learn how to culture your own phytoplankton. It’s sort of like making sourdough…only with a strange-looking green liquid.
Hatch some brine shrimp
Buy them a brine shrimp hatchery and start growing your own live food for your corals and smaller fish.
Don’t forget the brine shrimp eggs (that’s what you need to hatch and grow brine shrimp)
If you want to learn more about growing brine shrimp, check out this article first.
Culture some copepods
Another great live food and source of biodiversity for a reef tank is live copepods. You can order them online, and the aquarium lover in your life can either add them to the tank or sump area for an instant boost of invertebrate life, or they can use them to culture and grow their own.
Learn how to breed saltwater fish
Observing the natural behaviors of the fish and corals in our tanks is what saltwater aquarium lovers love to do. Perhaps the coolest thing is when the environments we make are so perfect that the fish go about doing their business–which is to say…they make other smaller versions of themselves. This book is a great guide that teaches the basics of breeding saltwater fish.
Learn how to frag your corals
If the aquarium lover in your life has corals, then this is a great book for them. Fragging corals is kind of like pruning a garden plant, which is sometimes regular and necessary maintenance–however, an amazing aspect of corals is that the part of the coral that was trimmed can almost always start an entirely new coral colony. The process of doing that is called ‘fragging.’ So give the gift of knowledge and teach them How to Frag Corals. Give an aquarium lover a coral frag, and they’ll grow one colony. Teach an aquarium owner to frag, and they’ll have infinite colonies.
Tools for cutting
Some of the corals we grow are stony and need to be cut or sawed in order to frag. This may seem traumatic, but it isn’t usually. A Rotary tool is a handy gadget to have around the house and is great for fragging corals.
If the power tools seem a bit much, they can do some manual pruning with these cutters.
Gear for attaching
Once they have cut the frags, they usually need Frag Plugs to attach the small coral pieces.
And Cyanoacrylate glue for attaching
These racks help keep the frags organized and growing in the right part of the tank for lighting.
Racks for up high
Racks for down low
Add some mangroves
Mangroves are an amazing plant. They are capable of growing/living in saltwater, so many of us add them to our tanks or refugia as a decorative element, and the mangroves purify the water and your air for you (a small amount). Very cool
Gifts for saltwater aquarium lovers: the gift of a DIY project
There are approximately one million cool DIY aquarium projects that start with aquarium-safe silicone.
In our hobby, we go through salt like it’s water…You could buy them a bucket of their favorite salt mix. That would be a great gift for a saltwater aquarium lover.
Test strips for staying on top of water quality and water changes.
Expanding their base of operations
One fish (tank), two fish (tank), redfish bluefish. No matter how many tanks the aquarium lover in your life has, they can probably still use just one more. I’m serious. A new tank could be used to keep coral frags, pair up some clownfishes for spawning or even keep a species or two that are incompatible with some of the fishes in their main tank.
Add to their rock collection. Live rock is essential in a saltwater aquarium–for cover, protection, and it acts as a home for millions of bacteria that help keep the water clean and liveable. The easiest stuff to buy comes shipped to your door ‘dry,’ but it will quickly become live rock once they add it to their tank.
This awesome gadget helps make acclimating the new fish they buy super easy. Plus, every time they buy a new fish (which is always a great and positive moment), they will think about you.
Or you can get them a new light for their sump/refugium to help grow beneficial macroalgae to keep the water clean and grow some invertebrates.
If they like gadgets and want to keep their water free from parasites, you could buy them a UV Sterilizer to help keep pests down.
They also might want a media reactor, like this one, to make it super easy to keep calcium high or remove phosphates from the water.
Do you know where they get the water for mixing their salt? Does it come right from the tap? This RO/DI unit purifies the water coming out of the tap to help them make perfect aquarium water with each and every batch.
Water flow is vital in a saltwater aquarium. This is generally accomplished with pumps in the tank–and you can almost always use another pump because you want the currents in the water to be all mixed up. Help them create some great water flow by adding a GYRE pump like the one below.
Another great gift for a saltwater aquarium lover is a Macro lens for taking great pictures of their corals and to make the polyps pop!
Chances are good that they are already using a protein skimmer, but did they get one of the best or an inexpensive model? You could help them upgrade their protein skimmer or buy their first skimmer if it is a new tank.
The last and perhaps most expensive gift for the saltwater aquarium lover is for the guy or gal who has everything. Reef fishes and corals are used to living in water that stays extremely stable from day to day. A chiller is used to take excess heat out of the water on those super hot days or when the windows are open.
I know it can sometimes be a bit intimidating to figure out what to buy as a gift for saltwater aquarium lovers–because we are so particular about the things in our tanks, and the gadgets and gear can seem so technical–but I’m confident that after reviewing this list, you should be able to find several gifts that would be perfect for them.
Was there anything here you were looking for but didn’t find? If so, please leave a comment below to let others know, and so that I can update this post, too. Thank you!