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  • Writer's pictureStewart Kessel

Aquarium Gifts for Christmas

Fish keeping Gifts for your Friends and Family at Christmas

Christmas Gift Ideas - Aquarium Presents from

Need to know what to buy your fish keeping friend or family member for Christmas? Here are some fantastic gift ideas to suit anyone's budget.

1: Nano Aquarium

All those that keep fish will know that there is always space for another aquarium! Why not treat your fish keeping friend to a nano aquarium. They could use this to set-up a miniature aquascape, or perhaps keep shrimp or other nano-sized fish in a biotope setting.

For an all-in-one aquarium, why not consider the Hagen Fluval Flex Curved Glass LED Nano series. These are well built and come with the all the essentials (built-in filter, heater, lighting) ready to get started.

2: Maintenance tools

All fish keepers will welcome gifts that help them maintain their aquariums in tip-top condition. Here are a few ideas that any aquarist would be more than happy to receive.

Water changes are an essential part of aquarium maintenance. Depending on specific circumstances, the whole process can be simplified and made much easier by using a variety of different pieces of kit.

A simple and inexpensive syphon with a gravel cleaning head suits many applications. These have the dual purpose of acting as a simple syphon to remove aquarium water, whilst also being used to extract dirt and general detritus that builds up in the aquarium substrate. The required size will depend on the aquarium depth and capacity. Fortunately, there is a wide range of inexpensive options that will suit most situations.

A good option suitable for medium to large aquariums is the Fluval/Marina Easy Clean Mini Aquarium Gravel Cleaner 25cm (10").

For smaller aquariums, the Dennerle Nano Gravel Cleaner is an excellent option.

Water Pythons can make physical water changes more manageable, especially for larger capacity aquariums. They work on the principle that a water-powered adapter is attached to a mixer tap - this allows easy syphoning of water from the aquarium, as well as fresh water to be added back. One such potential option for the larger aquarium is the No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System (50-Feet) by Python. Take care to check that this will fit your mixer tap and the supplied hose length is appropriate.

Already have the appropriate hoses then the JBL Manual Water Pump Aqua In-Out may be the answer.

A variety of air, battery or mains Powered Gravel Cleaners are available to help keep substrates free from waste and other detritus. In most circumstances, the simple syphons described above with gravel cleaning heads will suffice for regular maintenance during water changes. However, power-assisted gravel cleaners remove more significant quantities of detritus quickly and easily without the need for substantial water changes.

One of the best models, suitable for home aquarists is the Fluval ProVac Powered Aquarium Gravel Cleaner. This new main's powered device has noticeably more power than the previous battery-operated model. It is also fitted with a useful water change adapter (beware hose not included) to facilitate water changes using its infernal pump.

If your fish keeping friend has an external canister filter on their aquarium with pipework running from the filter to the aquarium, they will appreciate a Filter Hose (tubing) Cleaner. A long double-headed brush such as the JBL Cleany is one of my stock tools and is suited for hoses with a bore size 12-30mm.

A selection of aquarium nets of different sizes and finesses of netting would also make a much-appreciated present. Aquarium nets are not only used for catching fish but also help with maintenance. A selection of different sizes means that there is always one available and suitable, whatever the application. A good range of sizes is available in the Hagen (Marina/Fluval) Aquarium Nets range.

There is a wide variety of different Algae cleaner types to keep the view into your aquarium clear. They range from magnetic cleaners, scrapers and specialised sponges. Remember to get one suitable for their aquarium type. Acrylic aquariums, for example, are more prone to scratches and therefore significantly less-abrasive cleaners are required. My go-to option for glass aquariums is the Cleanator from Dennerle.

3: Aquarium Water Test Kits

In addition to the maintenance equipment suggested above, another essential item when maintaining an aquarium is a reliable aquarium water test kit. Achieving and maintaining optimum water parameters is paramount for a healthy aquarium. The following test kits would be welcome gifts to all dedicated fish keepers.

NT Labs Aquarium Lab Multi-Test Kit: Includes a test for all the essential water parameters that need to be monitored including pH, Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia, KH & GH Hardness. One of the best liquid test kits on the market, and especially suited for beginners.

API 800 Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit: An alternative test kit recommended by many aquarists. It includes tests for pH, High Range pH, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. There are no test for KH or GH hardness, and therefore a separate purchase of the API GH & KH Test Kit Freshwater Aquarium Water is advisable.

For those looking for quick tests to supplement those of the wet test kits above, then the JBL ProScan Water Analysis by smartphone is the way to go. This kit offers simple test strips where the measurements are diagnosed using a smartphone app (Android or Apple IOS). Great for those gadget orientated fish keeping friends.

4: Aquascaping tools

For your fish-keeping friends that have planted aquariums or are budding aquascapers then a selection of aquascaping tools would make a special present. Specialised scissors for trimming and cutting back plant growth, different types of tweezer for aiding planting, and soil flatteners for that professional flair.

5: Aquarium Ornaments

For the younger fish-keeping friend or family member that maybe likes a themed layout in their aquarium, a great present could be some new aquarium safe décor from sunken galleons to cartoon characters. Certainly not to everyone's taste, but there are many different themed ornaments to create unique layouts. Some examples are shown below but Aqua One also do a great range.

For those that you know prefer a more natural layout, why not visit a local specialised aquatic store and select some visually attractive wood or rock hardscape for them.

6: Aquarium Books

Still looking for that perfect aquatic present, then an aquarium book could be the answer. Fish keepers are always thirsty for new knowledge and new ideas, and a book is an ideal way to acquire that knowledge. Visit our book blogs to find that perfect present.


Although very tempting and often well-intentioned, we don't recommend buying fish or other livestock as gifts without the involvement of the fish keeper. And let's face it that will spoil the Christmas surprise!

It is always important to thoroughly research new livestock before any purchase and then take the necessary steps to quarantine and introduce the new stock in a way to safeguard existing stock. Without a doubt, it is the fish keeper who knows their aquarium that is best to do this.

Author: Stewart Kessel CChem, MRSC

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