This article will feature a glimpse into some of the gadgets used in the marine aquarium hobby. The author frequently receives emails asking for input on products, however this article is intended to introduce readers to the vast world of aquarium products. Several of the items mentioned here have not been used by the author and should not be viewed as endorsements.
Ahh, the joy of handing out fish goodies to bright eyed young hobbyists.
It’s that time of year again. One of my favorite times of the year is when reef people around the world celebrate a Holiday Season. For me, this means the pleasure of attending another Reef Geek Holiday Party. These events are typically designed for a bunch of “Fish Geeks” to get together and enjoy the company of other overly obsessed hobbyists. Another enjoyable part of these events are seeing new aquarium products, with freebies and donations as well.
For some of you in large hobbyist clubs and public aquaria the fun and games of Reef Parties is all too familiar. For everyone else, here is a look into what you may be seeing in stores this Holiday Season.
Inspired by a Fish Geek Holiday party last year, the author awoke one morning to find a digital thermometer wrapped up nicely by a loving wife.
Nothing beats hanging around with fish friends.
During a Fish Geek Holiday party a power point presentation is shown describing holiday gift ideas and descriptions of donated products.
Shown here are examples of items donated and given away at a Fish Geek Holiday Party.
Low Budget Items
Can you believe all the little things you can buy in this hobby? I believe it to be only second to the scuba diving hobby. From digital thermometers to hand held magnifying glasses to fish foods to hermit crabs, low budget items are everywhere. Some hobbyists have even been known to make Christmas Stockings that are stuffed with all aquarium related items.
Not sure what will be in your stocking this year? Try wishing for one of these stockings stuffed with fish food samples and aquarium additives.
Some Fish Geeks have everything for their tanks, but a little bit of fish room décor is always an option.
Tired of trying to read that little algae covered glass thermometer which is always turned around backward? Try using a small out of site digital thermometer.
Some items need to be replaced continuously. For that reason some activated carbon is always a good gift.
For our readers in the Southern Hemisphere we should mention that the upcoming summer season is upon you. Now may be a good time to add a fan or two above your tank.
If you are tired of seeing your spouses aquarium covered with that dirty film on the glass/acrylic then this is for you. Magnet cleaners are cheap and easy to use for removing algae from the front of an aquarium.
Not often used in reef aquariums, but still intriguing items, mood lights offer a different perspective and look to the aquarium.
Moon light systems are designed to give your aquarium that nighttime glow. Often cheap to buy and commonly made at home these lights are increasingly popular.
Time to clean the tank? Hate that coralline algae on the front? Try using a scraping tool like those shown here.
Some test kits (Alkalinity, Calcium, etc) should be owned by all aquarists, but there are numerous other kits available as well.
One of the best gifts you can give is something that gives back to your local aquarium club. Some of these gifts generate tremendous advertising for aquarium clubs.
By purchasing an aquarium club gift, like the super stein shown here, you are not only buying a gift but are also financially supporting your local club.
Middle Budget Items
Well these are the gifts for that special friend you might have. Say someone like your local aquarium club president! If that doesn’t work, you may want to consider treating yourself this holiday season with one of these additions to your aquarium.
The perfect gift. Books contain an abundance of information and are perfect reference tools for the every day hobbyist.
Typically livestock is not the best choice of a party gift. On the other hand who can resist adding a new addition to their ecosystem.
Dosing pumps are used by hobbyists usually to control the input of buffering solutions. Before purchasing or using such a device make sure you understand how it works and know what you are doing.
If you are going to be home for the holidays then let this be a time where you take care of some aquarium projects. One example is to remove all those unsightly (and unsafe) powerstrips and cords you have, and to rig up your own aquarium power box.
Externally mounted powerheads are new on the market. Look for their popularity to take off in the near future.
Even small aquariums can benefit by adding a refugium. If don’t have a refugium on your aquarium you may want to consider adding one. Shown here is a simple refugium made to hang on the back of the aquarium.
High Budget Items-
High budget items are not usually the best gifts to give, but are certainly the best gifts to receive. Honestly purchasing a High Budget Item is often unnecessary as most of these items are chosen by hobbyists for specific purposes. I would like to review some of these products because some of you may be fortunate enough to convince a significant other that you really need one of these items. If that is the case, I certainly recommend that you pick out the exact style and manufacture that you are looking for.
A Calcium Reactor set-up is a large purchase that requires proper planning.
Automatic controlling systems are becoming more popular as the hobby expands.
Kalkwasser Reactors are great additions to an aquarium, and also make great Do It Yourself projects.
For the reefer who already has everything, a mesoscope can offer new perspective on aquarium inhabitants (photo of author)
Given away during an aquarium club holiday party, this Oceans Motions unit creates changing water currents (unit shown on the back of the aquarium directing water through pvc plastic piping).
Running Ozone in a reef aquarium has numerous benefits. However, this is certainly a compound in need of proper care and understanding. A gift best left for experienced hobbyists.
Water purification systems are recommend by most hobbyists as a great addition to reef aquarium set up.
If you drew Dana Riddle’s name out of the holiday season hat then a trip to the local science store may be a prudent move. In fact many hobbyists are playing with scientific tools on a daily basis as they delve into this hobby.
If you don’t already have a protein skimmer on your aquarium, then this is the perfect time to look for one. Skimmers are considered to be one of the most effective waste removal devices used in the hobby today.
Shown here is a Wave2K box that generates a repeating surge of water through out the aquarium. You can click the links to see videos of the item in motion.
The Important Part
Let us not forget the important things during the Holidays. The best part of a Reef Geek Party is the camaraderie and enjoyment of seeing friends. I hope all of you will enjoy the Holidays with your fishy friends as much as I know I will.
If you are looking to buy a gift for your favorite club president, this skimmer may be a good choice.
Embarrassingly revealed the fish party cookies are a favorite of this author.
Adam Blundell M.S. works in Marine Ecology, and in Pathology for the University of Utah. He is also Director of The Aquatic & Terrestrial Research Team, a group which utilizes research projects to bring together hobbyists and scientists. His vision is to see this type of collaboration lead to further advancements in aquarium husbandry. While not in the lab he is the president of one of the Nation’s largest hobbyist clubs, the Wasatch Marine Aquarium Society (www.utahreefs.com). Adam has earned a BS in Marine Biology and an MS in the Natural Resource and Health fields. Adam can be found at email@example.com.