Whether you are buying for a friend or buying for yourself, this article aims to give you the best gift guide for aquarium lovers and fish tank fanatics.
I’ve included some of my favorite aquarium gear, and also some fun stuff that any fish keeper will appreciate.
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Practical Aquarium Gifts
1. Marineland Contour Fish Tank
- Easy setup: comes with a light and hidden filter/heater compartment.
- Fitted glass lid.
- Looks good.
- The included light is terrible for growing most aquarium plants (it does grow algae and moss balls though…)
- The hidden filter compartment removes about 2 inches of space that could have been used to decorate or plant.
- Pricey for its size.
In my experience, the selection of aquariums on Amazon is limited.
This is especially true for cube tanks, which is a shame.
Cube tanks are some of my favorite types of aquariums for creating nano aquascapes.
But, I did find one tank that worked well as a betta tank and also as a planted tank:
The 5-gallon tank’s true dimensions are approximately 9.625 in L x 9.625 in W x 17.2 in H (when sitting on the provided pedestal).
The 3-gallon tank’s true dimensions are approximately 9.5 in L × 9.5 in W × 9 in H.
As the dimensions reveal, both tanks are extremely similar.
I personally went with the 3-gallon, because betta fish do not typically benefit from extra aquarium height.
The 5-gallon portrait version is also a great aquarium and would work well if you plan on growing plants taller than moss balls or Anubias plants.
The 5-gallon is also better for taller types of aquarium decorations and driftwood pieces.
Which Should You Get?
I personally prefer the 3 gallon for shrimp tanks, but if need the extra height for certain aquatic plants, then the 5 gallon is a better option.
The price is the main downside of these tanks; you can typically find a 10-gallon aquarium at your local pet store for much less.
But, these Marineland tanks are arguably more convenient, especially in apartments, and better looking than the average 10-gallon tank.
So, if you know someone wants to keep a betta fish, or some cherry shrimp, consider getting one of these tanks as a gift.
Also, getting these tanks shipped to your door is fantastic.
2. Landen Rimless Low Iron Aquarium
- Does not come with extras/accessories
Rimless tanks are a step-up from the average aquarium.
“Rimless” means that these tanks lack the plastic supports that help keep the seams of other aquariums from separating.
That doesn’t mean that these tanks are susceptible to leaks though.
In fact, tanks with plastic supports have leaked on me far more often than rimless tanks.
The real appeal of rimless tanks, and why we aquarists love them so much, is the clarity and unobstructed view they offer of the inhabitants in the tank.
Because rimless tanks are built with low-iron glass, it is actually easier to see details on the fish, shrimp, and plants living in the tank.
Think of regular fish tanks as a window with smudges.
You can see through it easily, but it can look fuzzy sometimes.
A rimless tank is like looking through a newly cleaned window, you almost can’t tell you are looking through glass.
This is especially fun if you enjoy taking photos of our aquarium inhabitants.
So if you want to delight the aquarists in your life (even if that is you), give the gift of a rimless tank.
I am particularly impressed with this Landen rimless tank, which is available in a variety of sizes.
3. Etekcity Temperature Gun
This is one of those devices that brings some serious peace of mind to aquarium lovers.
My go-to thermometers use to be those stick on thermometer strips that change color depending on the temperature.
Well, thermometer strips are ok, but they lack accuracy and look amateur.
What screams fish tank master and looks like a taser? A temperature gun.
Point it at any inanimate object, press the trigger, and it will give you an accurate temperature reading on a backlit digital LCD screen.
I love being able to point it at any one of my betta tanks and get a quick temperature reading.
If you keep fish species that like it especially cold or especially hot, then a temperature gun is a must.
Plus, a temp gun is great for measuring other things, like your morning coffee or tea.
4. Eco Complete Aquarium Substrate (Fish Tank Gravel)
If the aquarium lover in your life adores betta fish or planted tanks, then Carib Sea’s Eco Complete aquarium gravel is an ideal gift.
Eco Complete contains vital nutrients for growing aquarium plants as well as beneficial bacteria that will help your tank cycle properly.
Eco Complete’s dark color also pairs well with brightly colored fish like neon tetras and betta fish, and also freshwater shrimp.
For a complete review of Eco Complete and other substrates, such as sand, check out my guide on aquarium gravel.
5. Hygger 13 Watt LED Aquarium Light
30 LEDS: 24 white and 6 blue;
9000-11000K color temperature;
Aquarium lights make it possible to grow aquarium plants.
But, most aquarium light do not emit enough light to reach plants at the bottom of a fish tank.
Without adequate light, most freshwater aquarium plants will eventually die.
Adequate light also helps aquarium plants fight algae.
I have an in-depth guide on affordable aquarium lights here, but below are my top picks for aquarium lights for planted tanks.
These lights also make excellent replacements for the kit light included with the Marineland Contour and Portrait tanks.
The Hygger light is also available in a 45 LED bulb configuration.
This light is surprisingly powerful and will allow you to grow aquatic carpeting plants in small tanks like the Marineland Contour.
6. Finnex Stingray Clip-On Aquarium Light
12 Daylight (7000K) LED bulbs;
3 Actinic Blue LED bulbs; and
3 Red LED bulbs.
While not as powerful as the Hygger, the Finnex Stingray Clip-on provides an idea range of color for low light aquarium plants like Java Moss and Java Ferns as well as Anubias.
This light is especially suited for 5 gallon tanks or below.
7. Cobalt Aquarium Heater
Heaters are an essential piece of aquarium equipment.
If your heater breaks and you don’t live in Florida or Hawaii, then your fish are likely going to die.
Heaters also tend to break, so having an extra one on hand is smart.
Another downside to aquarium heaters is that heaters do not add to the beauty of an aquarium.
But, they are necessary for most fish to live so every aquarist will appreciate a heater that is durable and isn’t hideous.
So, if you want to make the aquarium lover in your life (even if that’s you), consider buying a shatterproof aquarium heater.
I have used this cobalt aquarium heater for over a year now without any problems.
And, I’ve even left this heater on while it was above the water’s surface and it did not break.
Cobalt Heater Pros:
LED temperature indicator
Cobalt Heater Cons:
Tricky to hide in a small tank.
8. Sponge Filter
Sponge filters are surprisingly effective for how simple they look.
These filters are especially useful for betta fish tanks and freshwater shrimp tanks because they provide filtration without creating a strong current or sucking up little shrimp.
To activate a sponge filter, all you need is a bubbler (the device that powers an air stone).
By attaching the hose from the bubbler to the sponge filter, a suction-like pressure is created by the rising bubbles.
The sponge filter will gradually suck in waste and excess nutrients and become a home where beneficial bacteria will rid your aquarium of excess waste.
Sponge filters also provide water movement, helping prevent algae growth.
9. Water Change Syphon
Consistent water changes are an important part of aquarium maintenance and will help your fish stay healthy as well as keeping algae under control.
In order not to make a huge mess and have water splashing onto your floor or aquarium stand, use an aquarium syphon.
These allow you to “vacuum” your gravel and remove particles of waste and leftover food.
I always buy an aquarium syphon with a built in hand pump to avoid sucking on the hose and getting a mouthful of dirty fish tank water.
10. Aquascaping Tools
Aquascaping tools are like paintbrushes.
They allow the artist to make detailed and precise movements.
In the case of aquascaping, these tools are perfect for inserting aquarium plants into gravel, trimming overgrown plants, and smoothing out gravel near hardscape.
A long pair of aquascaping tweezers is also ideal for removing algae, rearranging small stones or aquarium décor, and feeding live worms.
11. Seiryu Stone
Rocks as a gift? Yes.
Seiryu stones are used by aquascapers to create beautiful and intricate landscapes underwater.
If you know an aquarists that is getting into aquascaping or is already into aquascaping, they will love getting a box of rocks.
I know, it sounds weird, but check out my article on building a cave aquascape with Seiryu stone and you’ll understand why these rocks are worth it.
Fun Gifts for Fish Tank Lovers
The items below are not practical (they are part of setting up an aquarium), but they are fun and will definitely be enjoyed by the aquarium lover in your life.
This trinket box is perfect for someone who loves betta fish and small boxes.
George Farmer— YouTuber and innovative aquascaper—wrote this beautiful and helpful book.
This is the percect gift for any aquarists interested in taking their planted tanks to the next level.
Who doesn’t love stuffed animals? This betta fish plush is one of the best ones that I have seen and makes an excellent gift for betta fish keepers.
If you know someone that keeps Goldfish, this Goldfish plush is sure to bring a smile to their face. Also, the name of this Goldfish is “Bubbles,” I love it.
This 3 panel wall art is beautiful.
If you know a betta fish keeper that loves art, or needs something to class up their apartment/home, you can’t go wrong with this gift.
Those of us in the aquarium hobby are crazy about our fish tanks and the creatures that live inside them.
And we love to show our passion for the hobby.
Like anyone, we love getting gifts related to our favorite pastime.
So, get that aquarium lover in your life something fishy.