Most of the equipment and supplies used for a reef tank are purchased at a local fish store (LFS) or an online aquarium supply store. But what about shopping at a grocery store or hardware store? Yes, these types of stores stock plenty of handy household items for a reef tank. Here are some products you should consider having on your shopping list.
#1 Turkey Baster
A turkey baster is great for feeding fish. I put frozen food in a cup with tank water, stir it up with a turkey baster and then squirt it into the tank. A turkey baster can also be used to blow detritus off of rocks and into the water column, where it can be removed via mechanical filtration. Accumulating detritus can spike nutrients and lead to algae outbreaks. A baster also works well for dislodging pests such as AEFW. AEFW won’t be completely eliminated by basting corals but it can help to mange an infestation. Dislodged AEFW’s can be sucked up with the turkey baster or gobbled up by fish.
#2 Vinegar or Muriatic Acid
Performing regular maintenance is critically important for preventing equipment breakdowns. I soak pump parts in a one part vinegar and one part water solution for thirty minutes. This makes it much easier to remove any gunk or calcium deposits that have accumulated on the parts. Muriatic acid can also be used for this purpose.
#3 Tooth Brush
I typically use a tooth brush to clean pump parts after a vinegar soak. A tooth brush also comes in handy when cleaning probes or sensors and they are great for removing algae from rocks or frag plugs.
Dirt that builds up on tubing and rollers inside peristaltic pump heads can be very hard to remove. Using Acetone on a paper towel or rag makes it easier to remove these stubborn deposits.
#5 Power Washer
Need to clean up a pump, skimmer or another piece of equipment that has a lot of crap on it? Blast them with a power washer. Every now and then I use a power washer to clean algae off the egg crate in my frag tanks. I picked up a relatively inexpensive electric power washer a couple of years ago and it has been an invaluable maintenance tool.
Over the years I have pilfered a number of pieces of Tupperware from our kitchen for my reef tanks. Yes, I have quite a stash in my fish tank room. Kudos to my wife for not giving me too much grief on this front. I use Tupperware for many things, including storing supplies, dipping frags to remove pests and for mixing and dispensing additives.
#7 Super Glue
Generic Super Glue is great for attaching coral frags to ceramic frag plugs.
#8 Scrub Brush/Bottle Brush
#9 Silicone Grease
Applying silicone grease to o-rings will ensure they are properly seated, which can prevent leaks. Silicone can also increase the life span of an o-ring.
#10 Zip Ties
I have probably used hundreds of zip ties during my reef keeping career. They are mainly used to keep power cords organized and safely secured. I also use zip ties to attach little pieces of PVC pipe to egg crate in my frag tanks. These PVC legs elevate the egg crate. Holes are drilled in the pipe and zip ties are inserted into the holes and wrapped around the egg crate.
Ok, what else? Well, razor blades are very helpful for scraping algae or coralline algae off of aquarium glass. Additionally, hydrogen peroxide can be used for a number of things such as spot treating algae. Need to save money on calcium and alkalinity supplements? Pick up some inexpensive Pickling Lime at the grocery store. It contains 100% food grade Calcium Hydroxide, the same ingredient used in Kalkwasser.
Finally, you can raid the liquor cabinet if you need help controlling nutrients. Dosing vodka can promote beneficial bacteria growth, which can help to reduce nitrates and phosphates.
If you would like some help with a new tank build, including help designing a custom aquarium, or help re-configuring your current setup then you can visit this page for more information. And if you are looking to add some equipment, I do sell GHL, Pax Bellum, Reef Octopus Calcium and Kalk Reactors and Royal Exclusiv products, including Dreamboxes, which is the equipment I use and recommend. I also sell Reef Brite metal halide and LED fixtures as well as Maxspect & IceCap Gyres.
As for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my YouTube channel. For an even deeper dive into reef tank care you can check out my Reef Keeping Master Class. This online course is an immersive and one of a kind educational tool designed to help reef aquarium hobbyists build and maintain a beautiful SPS reef tank. The course is a series of video presentations with some supplemental video from my YouTube channel. There are also quizzes to help students retain and understand the information presented in the course.
Need some frags…..I can help with that as well 🙂 Please visit my SPS Frag store to see what is available.