For most of us, reef keeping brings a sense of immense joy and reward. And that quickly translates into a lifetime love for the hobby. We love the technology of aquarium equipment and reef tank gadgets (almost) as much as our fishy (and coral) friends. Even so, the art of aquatics is one of the most demanding in terms of attention to detail. As a result, aquarium technology continues to improve more and more every year. To that aim, I’ve compiled a list of seven reef tank gadgets you’ll want to consider.
Table of Contents: Exciting Reef Tank Gadgets
Maybe you don’t need ALL of these reef tank gadgets (yet). You can look through these links to see which piques your interest. Or you could be looking for a gift for an aquarist friend (they’ll love you for life). Either way, this list will get you started on the right path to keeping your saltwater aquarium running smoothly. (Not to mention the chance to geek out on some spiffy reef tank technology!)
Reef Tank Gadgets
Obviously, you’re already aware of the usual assortment of equipment you need to keep your aquarium running efficiently. You’ll find different levels of cost and automation for your basics. This article isn’t concerned about those crucial pieces of reef tank necessity. This is about the little extras that make your life (and the lives of your fish and invertebrates) that much better. Reef tank gadgets take some of the work off your plate.
Plus, you get to brag about having “gadgets” specifically for your aquarium. And what fish nerd doesn’t want to do that?
If you’re still getting your hands wet or scraping the glass to get it clean, you need the Mag-Float Glass Aquarium Cleaner. This clever device uses magnets to let you clean the inside of the tank – from the outside! Talk about making maintenance a breeze! Your fingers never enter the water, but the tank receives a healthy scrubbing. And if the two pieces DO separate, the one in the tank floats! Then all you need to do is pick it up and reattach the magnets.
This way, you keep your hands outside of the reef tank where they belong. That means anything on your hands (lotions, bacteria, etc.) stays out, too. Unfortunately, the Mag-Float doesn’t work well on acrylic tanks (as you might have guessed from the “glass” in its name). So if you don’t have glass, you’ll still need to get your hands wet. (Everything comes with pros and cons) Maybe in the future, someone will invent a reef tank gadget for acrylic tanks.
While simple in design, the Mag-Float is a handy reef tank gadget because it WORKS. And when it comes to tank hygiene, it’s something you want to keep around.
2. Refractometer or Hydrometer
A hydrometer is probably the most basic and essential reef tank gadget in a saltwater aquarists’ arsenal. Hydrometers measure the salinity of the water and its relative density. That helps you keep water conditions perfect for your fish or coral. You’ll find plenty of options out there. But the FLUVAL SEA hydrometer comes equipped with a suction cup mount. That means it can get affixed to the inside of the tank for 24-hour monitoring! As far as reef tank gadgets go, this is a pretty handy way to stay on top of your salinity.
The FLUVAL SEA hydrometer is effective and inexpensive (making it a popular choice for most hobbyists). Just be sure to keep it clean and replace it every few years. That floating arm can accumulate mineral deposits over the years, and that will affect your readings.
If you want that upgrade to your gear, look to swap out your hydrometer for a fancier refractometer. Instead of relying on a floating plastic arm to estimate specific gravity, a refractometer (such as this one from Ade Advanced Optics) bends light to check the salinity. It requires a little more in cost, but it’s more accurate. (Not to mention you won’t need to replace it – unless you break it) As far as reef tank gadgets go, it’s near the top of the list.
3. Acropower Amino Acid Formula
I know, I hear you: “Hey, this isn’t a reef tank gadget! It’s a supplement!” Well, yes; technically speaking, it’s a supplement. But the benefits of Acropower Amino Acid shouldn’t go overlooked. And, honestly, “gadget” works for ANYTHING that makes your aquarium work smoothly. (In my opinion, anyway)
The amino acids in this handy formula work like a miracle grow for coral. They can transform a dull reef aquarium into a vibrant, healthy coralscape. Jake Adams called Acropower “the missing link.” Maybe it ISN’T a reef tank gadget (depending on your definition), but it’s the result of plenty of technology and research. And it WILL benefit the corals in your aquarium, which is always important. So you’ll want to add it to your list of reef tank must-haves.
4. Reef Octopus Protein Skimmer
When it comes to protein skimmers, quality is key. You want to do a fair bit of research to find one that fits the needs of your tank and its residents. Of course, that means considering the size of your tank, the intended placement of the skimmer, and your budget. But if you want an awesome reef tank gadget that also doubles as a handy piece of aquarium equipment? You should consider the Reef Octopus Skimmer.
The Reef Octopus is externally mounted and features an efficient needle wheel pump. It’s ideal for keeping your corals and fish happy and healthy. Not to mention it receives plenty of positive reviews from the hobbyists that purchase one. (Word of mouth counts for a lot!)
5. REEF-React Calcium Reactor
If you keep large polyp stony (LPS) or small polyp stony (SPS) corals, you know the importance of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Without calcium, your corals can’t build their skeletal structures. It’s a vital nutrient that keeps them growing and flourishing through your tank. And one of the key pieces of equipment that helps provide that calcium? A calcium reactor.
REEF-React provides a great all-rounder calcium reactor for anyone looking to get their corals the sustenance they require. It’s compact and easy to set up. And this reactor even has a bubble counter to accurately measure CO2 dosage! This provides a level of control and protection against error. (You don’t want your acidity levels going out of whack) It’s a reef tank gadget you shouldn’t avoid adding to your Christmas (or birthday or Wednesday) wish list.
6. JBJ Arctica Titanium Chiller
Ensuring the optimum temperature of your aquarium is vital for the health of your fish and coral. Sometimes you need a chiller for this. Sounds strange when you’re working with species from tropical climates, I know. It happens, though! Especially if you live in a country with a consistently hot climate. While necessary to keep your water comfortable, it’s also a major reef tank gadget (and one you’re sure to geek out over).
The JBJ Arctica Chiller is an energy-efficient chiller that can stabilize water temperatures with ease. Its nearly silent operation is a big plus, especially if your tank is in a living area. Your fish and coral stay comfy, and you don’t need to hear the equivalent of a jet engine taking off each time this reef tank gadget kicks on.
7. Seneye Reef Alert System
The Seneye Reef Alert System is a state-of-the-art, all-in-one aquarium monitoring system. Designed for monitoring all the parameters of your aquarium – including temperature, PH, oxygen, light, and water level – it keeps a constant watch over the health of your tank. We’re talking the ULTIMATE reef tank gadget here. (Think of the Aquascum from Finding Nemo)
The Seneye displays your aquarium’s parameters on an online dashboard. This allows you to see graphs, averages, and more. In no time, you’re running your aquarium like a pro. It even sends you text updates when you’re away from home! This makes it one of the SMARTEST reef tank gadgets on the list. (Not to mention the coolest one you’ll come across)
For More Information
Obviously, a thorough list of EVERY reef tank gadget out there would end up extensive. (To say nothing of the damage to your budget) But this provides a starting list of the various options you can find to streamline your aquarium routine. Not to mention offering you a glimpse of the direction technology is leading this hobby. And if you’re interested in seeing more? No problem – I’ve got you covered.
For instance, how about a few more reef tank gadgets in this YouTube video?
Or, if you want to go SUPER high-tech, Reef Builders maintains a list of the kind of nifty gadgetry you never knew you needed. (We’re talking the ultimate in aquarium nerdity)
What do you think? Will any of these reef tank gadgets make their way into your routine? I hope this list has proved helpful to streamline your fishkeeping chores or improve the quality of your tank. Or maybe it helped you in your search for a great gift for the fish enthusiast in your life!
What’s your favorite reef tank gadget? Is there one that isn’t listed here that you think SHOULD be? Let me know in the comments!
Written by Haley Watson
Hayley is the Marketing Manager for Swallow Aquatics, enjoys long walks in the countryside, visiting new places, and above all, a proper cup of tea.