Cheap Aquarium Tools & Equipment

by | Aug 19, 2023 | Equipment | 0 comments

Aquarium owners are always trying to save money.  Spending less on aquarium maintenance means we can spend more on new livestock.  There are lots of excellent pieces of equipment where spending a lot of money makes sense (lights, skimmers, controllers, etc), but there are plenty of common items that can make your aquarium easier to operate, while saving you some money.

We assembled this list of items that we use on our aquariums that are available next-day from Amazon prime.  They’re all pretty handy, save us some stress, and are both cheap and reliable.  Stock up on your favorites today and don’t forget to let us know any items we may have missed in the comments!

Turkey Baster

Perfect for spot-cleaning uneaten food or debris from the substrate without disturbing the entire tank.  I always keep one of these hanging right next to the tank, in case I see a crab sitting on my favorite new frag, or a flatworm that my wrasse hasn’t found yet.  Using a turkey baster to spot feed lps is always a lot of fun.

Turkey Baster
  • Round, silicone bulb is comfortable to hold from any angle
  • Clear cylinder allows easy viewing of the contents and volume
  • Easy to read standard and metric measurement markings
  • Fits comfortably in hand, also works well for removing juices and liquid from pan
  • Measures 11″

Nylon Mesh Bags

These food grade mesh bags are perfect for holding media such as activated carbon, a nitrate sponge, whatever.  I put all my dead corals, shells and pebbles in them and then place them in the sump.  This gives the critters more safety to reproduce but lets me easily remove it from the sump when I’m ready to do some cleaning.

Haosens 6 Pack – 200 Mesh Fine Mesh Strainer & Nut Milk Bags, Reusable Food Strainer – Food Grade BPA-Free – Ultra Strong Fine Nylon Mesh – Nutmilk, Juices, Cold Brew, Tea Coffee, Juice Soy
  • 👍 Safe Material: The frame part of the filter spoon is made of high-quality food-grade PP material,and the filter part and the nut milk bag are made of ultra-fine food-grade nylon mesh fabric.Not only are they resistant to high temperatures,strong and durable,but also can be in direct contact with food,safe and harmless.
  • 👍 Super Function: Both tools have perfect filtering effect.The ultra-fine filter allows you to easily filter various beverages, such as milk, coffee, soy milk, fruit juice, rice milk, fruit wine, etc.,as well as an indispensable tool for making all kinds of nut milk and beans dairy products.With them, you can enjoy more pure and silky drinks.
  • 👍 Fine Design: 200 mesh ultra-fine filter screen can quickly and finely filter without repeated filtering;the non-slip handle of the filter spoon makes it convenient to hold,and the small hole at the top is for easy hanging, storage and drying;a drawstring of the nut milk bag is designed to tighten the bag to prevent leakage,also can be hung for storage and drying,the two sides of the bag are sewn with double-track and thread crimping,which is anti-extrusion and does not leak slag.
  • 👍 Packaging and Cleaning: Each package contains a filter spoon and five nut milk bags, allowing you to switch freely between the different filtering needs of beverages;when cleaning, you can turn the filter part out and clean it with detergent and running water,or put it in disinfect in boiling water,and dry as soon as possible after cleaning or disinfection.
  • 👍 Our Services: Great thanks for choosing us and we care about the customer’s purchase satisfaction. If you have any questions while using, just feel free to contact us, we will reply to you within 24 hours and surely offer you a satisfied solution. Our products and services are only designed to enable you to have a better life.



Useful for precise dosing additives and foods.  I like this set because it includes a bit of tubing.  I can use the tubing to position it right behind a powerhead to direct the food, every few minutes I’ll walk by the tank and push another blast of food.  The fish love this method!

2 Sets 300ml 350ml Large Syringes with 55.1 Inch Tubes, Sterile and Individual Sealed, Plastic Garden Syringe for Liquid, lip Gloss, Paint, Epoxy Resin, Oil, Watering Plants, Refilling
  • ✅ Food Grade Syringe: Each syringe is individually sealed, clean, safe and sterile. This big syringe is ideal for measuring and dispensing fluid, chemical, essential oil, inks, lubricant, sealant, glue, adhesives, solvents, garden watering succulents, lab experiments.
  • ✅ Accuracy Measuring: The polypropylene barrel also features clear gradation marks which remain clearly visible even after multiple uses and washes. The rubber tip on the plunger makes a tight seal.
  • ✅ Durable and Reusable: The black rubber tip is coated with medical silicone oil as lubricant, so the plunger can work smoothly. If the original oil is washed off after multiple uses, you can add other oil, like vegetable oil.
  • ✅ Easy to Clean: The plunger can pull right out of the back and the rubber seal can be taken off for cleaning as well.
  • ✅ Package Include: 2sets of (350ml syringe + cap + tip adapter + needle 14G 1.5”) + 1pcs tube 55.1 Inch. If you’re not satisfied with the product, please contact us via email for a prompt and satisfactory solution.


Collection Cups

These are my FAVORITE!  Not only are the most reliable and quick way to pack up some frags for a swap, but I keep them near the tank for cleaning and collecting things.  Examples include the nuisance algae I scrape out, dead frags that are destined for the sump, extra xenia, and other sorts of much.  They’re also great for holding frags before and after you’ve cut them.  I keep a whole pack of 100+ of these in my closet at all times.  Bonus use case: If I catch a bug around the house I’ll put it in one of these with the lid on so the kids can get up close without the bug escaping.

McKesson Specimen Container, Sterile, Screw Cap, Leak-Resistant, 120 mL, 100 Count
  • Sterilized inner surface only
  • 4 oz. / 120 cc, graduated
  • Translucent polypropylene base, polyethylene lid
  • Leak-resistant, screw-on lid


Zip Ties

These are a MUST for any aquarium owner.  Not just to tie cables together, in fact I prefer velcro straps for most things that I plan to move around or perform maintenance on, as I don’t want to be cutting zip ties in the future.  But you can connect zip ties into loops and make strange shapes and chains to control how things “sit”.  What I mean is sometimes cords and cables don’t sit quite right, and some zip ties and a dash of creativity helps a ton when trying to fix something that is creating a drip, or a device that doesn’t fit quite right.  Doing cool things with zip ties should be an olympic sport.

Zip Wire Ties 600Pcs Small Cable Zip Ties with Cable Mounts Nylon Zip Cable Ties Assorted Sizes 4+6+8+10+12 Inch, Self-Locking Tie Wraps Perfect for Home Garden Trellis Office Garage Workshop
  • ►【Wide Zip Ties Assorted Sizes】: Packing Including: 4inch X 250Pcs, 6inch X 150Pcs, 8inch X 100Pcs, 10inch X 35Pcs, 12inch X 35Pcs, Adhesive Mounts X 30Pcs(1X 1 inch, and is basically suitable for any place); This Zip Tie Width 4mm/0.16inch, 20- 50 Pounds tensile strength, It is made with industrial strength 6/6 Nylon, which is safe, and practical for use in everyday
  • ►【Multi- Purpose Zip Ties】: Colaolge Nylon Zip Cable Ties will help you manage disordered cables, wires, and flexible cords. Keep your cables organized and make your life and work easier. Perfect Choice for home, office, garden,garage, travel and workshop tidy, organizing electrical wires, hanging lights and banners, attaching garden fences/ net, plants, securing bike/ car accessories and much more
  • ►【High- Quality Materials】: Our Cable Zip Ties uses the latest certified UL Nylon material(UL 94V-2 Rating), high toughness, anti-aging, not afraid of alkali, oil, UV resistance, good insulation; The Cable Ties can used in temperatures ranges from -31℉ to +185℉ (-35℃ to +85℃), very flexible, UV resistant with high temperature resistance for Anywhere
  • ►【Reliable Cable Zip Ties Set】: Colaolge Self- Locking Zip Ties with a 7- Tooth zip design, strong durable powerful lock(Can be untied undo by a pin or a small nail). Tested to support up to 20- 50 pounds of Weight and Tensile Strength(4/6inch- 20LB; 8/10/12inch- 40-50LB); Includes 30Pcs Adhesive Mounts are fixed by a strong adhesive, with excellent viscosity and durability(about 40 pounds tensile strength). Perfect large size and the hole fits a large range of cable ties
  • ►【Easy to Install and Use】: This zip tie mount base can be used indoor or outdoor. Mounts without tools, just peel the protective layer off the adhesive back and place it on a clean, flat and dry surface, press for about 10 seconds or so to maximize the adhesiveness of the tape. then pass the cable tie through the hole, locking teeth in the cable tie head. You also can use the built-in screw hole for added strength(Screws are not included in the product)


Zip Tie Mounts

Combining these with the zip ties above turns you into an aquarium ninja.  There is literally nothing that you cannot solve with these two items together.  There are thousands of uses for these things.  Don’t sleep on this!

XHF 100 PCS 3/4″ Black Self Adhesive Cable Zip Tie Mounts Wire Cable Clips Holders Management Anchors Organizer Holders Squares(HS-101S)
  • High quality material:XHF Adhesive Zip Tie Mounts are manufactured from 3M Strong Adhesive and PA66 nylon.
  • Mounts without tools. Simply peel off the backing paper and place firmly on a clean, dust-free surface for best adhesion.
  • Suitable for cars, house and office, can be applied to various cables such as computer cables, TV cables, Christmas lights cable, USB cables and so on
  • Note: Clean the surface of the dust before use,3M glue is best to be glued once and should not be disassembled repeatedly. After applying self-adhesive glue, it should be used 24 hours apart.
  • If you have any unsatisfactory, please just contact our kindly customer service. Our Top Priority is your satisfaction, and stand behind our products 100%.Choose XHF risk today.Click the Orange Button to Buy Now!


Gardening Shears

There are a ton of great coral shears that are perfect for the average coral thickness, however when you need to chop something really thick like the base of a massive frogspawn colony, or break apart some branching live rock, these shears are your friend.  They are super heavy duty, don’t rust out quickly, and are inexpensive.  I recommend giving them a dip in freshwater after each use to extend their lifespan.

3 Pack Garden Pruning Shears Stainless Steel Blades Handheld Pruners Set with Gardening Gloves
  • 【Make Pruning Work Easier】Rust-resistant stainless steel blade are sharp and Long-Lasting for easy and smooth cut.Anti-slip and ergonomic handle make the gardener clippers more comfortable in your hand.Easy-open spring action reduces hand fatigue while cutting. you can easily to cut without damaging the vital stems and branches of your plants.
  • 【User-friendly Safety Lock】These garden shears have locking mechanisms to keep the sharp blades securely closed when not in use.It is easy to maneuver and can effectively reduce accidental injuries. And the closing mechanism is firmly enough, you don’t need to worry the plant pruning shears will get locked accidentally during use.
  • 【Garden Gloves for Hand Protection】One size fits most. This Gardening gloves,made of soft & comfortable cotton fabric,can protect yourself from dirt, skin wounds and nasty splinters when doing yard chores. The grip latex coating provides anti-slip or sure control when grabbing garden & yard tools.
  • 【Widely used】This gardening shears set comes with 3 different blades for a variety of general pruning tasks.It is ideal for harvesting or trimming herbs,flowers,house plants, hydroponics,bonsai,cutting stems or light branches,or other cutting needs in the garden. It would also be a perfect gift for a gardening friend.
  • 【After Sales Service】 Reliable Customer Support. Please feel free to tell us if you have any questions about our garden shears pruning. Note:Keeping your pruner shears cleaned and well-oiled can extend their lifespan.Please dry and clean it after use.✅Note: The colors of the garden pruners and gloves will be shipped at random.✅


Spray Bottles

I keep a number of these around the tank for lots of purposes.  They are paired with a roll of paper towels that sits inside my stand.  The first bottle has glass cleaner for the outside of the tank, to make it sparkle after I’ve given it a good cleaning.  The second bottle holds RODI water, for cleaning off salt creep without adding anything toxic to the tank.  I also use this second bottle in the tank itself to blast certain corals (mostly SPS) for flatworms.  The third bottle has plain water and sits near the tank strictly as a warning my cat that he will indeed get sprayed with it if he tries to go fishing as he likes to do.

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Rectangular Bucket

This is still my favorite bucket for tank maintenance after trying really every other option.  It’s big and can easily hold a media chamber, my skimmer collection cup, and a ton of dirty water.  It’s super easy to empty into a toilet because of its shape, and it’s also a bit easier to hide near my tank without wasting a lot of space.  You can also use it as a small cleaning bucket for parts, for example doing vinegar baths.  The sides aren’t too high so you can get your hands into it yet it doesn’t really allow water to splash out unless you’re really moving it around a lot.

Casabella Plastic Rectangular Cleaning Bucket with Handle, Clear, 4 Gallon
  • 4-GALLON RECTANGULAR CLEANING BUCKET: Great for a variety of cleaning tasks and designed with a large opening to accommodate most mop styles and sizes
  • INTEGRATED BOTTOM CHANNELS: Channels along the bottom of the bucket allow dirt and debris to settle, keeping the water clean longer so you can change it less frequently
  • INTERIOR MEASUREMENTS: Interior calibrated measuring strip makes it easy to measure precise quantities of cleaning solutions, detergents, soaps, and water without needing a measuring cup
  • CONVENIENT AND PORTABLE: Pour spouts and side grips on both ends make it easier to empty the bucket, and the attached handle allows for comfortable transport from room to room
  • COMPATIBLE WITH CASABELLA STORAGE CADDY: Measures 19.25″ x 11.75″ x 10.25″ and can be paired with the Casabella Storage Caddy (sold separately) to add storage for cleaning supplies and accessories


Infrared Thermometer

This is a simple way to measure the temperature of just about anything.  Basic uses are to spot check the temp in your tank, sump, water change bucket, frag bags, etc.  You can also use it to check the external temperature of pumps, lights, anything really.  The more we measure the more we know and the better we can engineer reef aquariums in our homes.

KIZEN Infrared Thermometer Gun (LaserPro LP300) – Handheld Heat Temperature Gun for Cooking, Pizza Oven, Grill & Engine – Laser Surface Temp Reader -58F to 1112F – NOT for Humans, digital
  • ACCURATE – Our laser thermometer gun has an emissivity range of 0.1 to 1.0 for precise readings across different surfaces and conditions. For best results, the reader should be 14″ away from the object.
  • VERSATILE – Use this handy laser temperature gun at home and in industrial settings. Check the heat of your oven or griddle, complete HVAC projects, measure the temp of any vehicle’s engine, and more.
  • EASY TO USE – Simply scan the surface of your object, hold down the trigger of the IR thermometer gun, and release to get live temperature readings anywhere between -58ºF and 1112ºF (-50ºC and 600ºC).
  • BRIGHT DISPLAY – Each infrared temperature gun has a large, backlit LCD screen, so you can easily read temperatures in the dark. With 2 AAA batteries included, powering up the thermal gun is a cinch.
  • NOT FOR HUMANS – This temp gun thermometer is NOT suitable for human/internal body temperature use. It is designed for repairs around the home, cooking, HVAC and automotive use, and other DIY jobs.


Switched Power Strips

Most of the important stuff in your aquarium should be on a controller, in case you need to adjust things remotely over the internet.  But there are a number of maintenance things that I’ll do frequently where I don’t want to have to plug something in, I just want a quick switch to turn off and on.  This one is metal so it should be placed in a dry area, but there are indeed strips that have plastic on the outside.  I use these to control things like my return pump which should always be on, powering off water mixing pumps, mixing buckets, and sump area maintenance lights.

CRST 6 Outlet Metal Power Strip with Individual Switches, Mountable Heavy Duty Power Strip for Garage Workshop, 1200 J Surge Protector Power Strip 15A Circuit Breaker, 6FT Extension Cord 15A/1875W
  • [Individual Switches] 6-outlets surge protector power strip with individual illuminated switches offer you the flexibility to turn off the equipment independently, saving you energy and money.
  • [Ultral Heavy Duty] CRST metal power strip with 1.5mm extra-thick aluminum alloy housing and reinforced engineering plastics covers make it extremely strong and durable.
  • [Full Protection] 1200 joules of protection protects your electronics from damage caused by surges, spikes or power outages. 15 amp circuit breaker is equipped with instant response to catastrophic events and overloads for maximum protection. 14AWG UL listed extension cord with 3-hole grounded plug brings more comprehensive safety protection.
  • [User-friendly design] 6ft cord with hook & loop fasteners, individually controlled switches, flat plugs with 45° angle, hanging slots for installation support, and widely spaced receptacles, all of these features improve the user experience in detail and bring you more convenience.
  • [Environmentally friendly & 18-month warranty] The easily recyclable aluminum profile housing and individually controlled switches make it an excellent environmentally friendly product. You will get a hassle-free 18-month warranty and friendly customer service.


Heavy Duty Scissors

Ah, the workhorse of any saltwater aquarium. These don’t rust, and they can cut through all soft tubing, plastic frag bags, soft corals, etc.

OXO Good Grips Multi-Purpose Kitchen and Herbs Scissors
  • Stainless steel design slices through cardboard, twine, meat, vegetables and more
  • Micro-serrated blades grip items securely and prevent slipping
  • Herb stripper effectively removes fresh herbs from tough stems
  • Cushioning pads on grip absorb pressure while cutting
  • Blades separate for thorough and easy cleaning


I hope this list was helpful, maybe you found a new tool you never had, or considered a new use for an existing gadget.

Get salty!

  • Josh Saul

    Josh Saul is a technology consultant for large global banks. He has been involved in the aquarium hobby for 20 years and has been SCUBA diving for more than 30.

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