Over the years I have come across supplies and items that I have found useful as a planted aquarium enthusiast. These items have become essential and helpful when I am either keeping or maintaining a planted aquarium. Although these items are NOT must haves, I find them very helpful and should be considered an essential item for you as well. Below is a list compiled of useful items that I personally have myself for my planted aquariums.
1. Aquarium Fish Nets
Even if you do not keep any fish in your planted aquarium, a fish net can be extremely helpful for post trimming cleaning. I find using a fish net helpful with scooping up small leaves and scraps after doing a trim on my planted aquarium.
2. Planting Tweezers
Sure you can plant your plants using your hands, but you’ll have a much harder time.Using planting tweezers are helpful for planting stem plants in small areas of the aquarium where your hands may not reach. Purchasing a set of planting tweezers will alleviate the pain of using your hands.
3. Python Water Changer
Whether you have a small or large aquarium, a Python water changer or something similar is a must for any aquarium enthusiast. The ease of using the faucet to siphon and fill water into your aquarium will save you a lot of time during maintenance. No more siphoning into buckets or spilling water over the floor!
4. Aquarium Test Kit
Testing your water is extremely important when having a planted aquarium. Testing for pH, gH, kH, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, etc. will help you understand why your aquarium is the way it is or why its not the way you want it to be. Making sure your water parameters are in good shape will help you maintain a healthy aquarium.
5. Mag Float/Algae Scraper
I am sure we all have experienced some kind of algae issue when keeping a planted aquarium. Whether it’d be algae growing on the leaves of our plants or the glass of our aquarium. I find that using an algae scraper or mag float is extremely helpful for cleaning algae off the aquarium glass.
6. Trimming Scissors
Plants do grow and will eventually need to be trim over time. A set of trimming scissors will definitely help you in this process. There are several types of scissors available, but a standard set of scissors will do the job. I recommend purchasing stainless steel grade scissors that will not rust.
7. Aquarium Thermometer
Whether you are using an aquarium heater or not, maintaining a consistent temperature for your planted aquarium is important. As simple as it sounds, using a thermometer to check the temperature of your aquarium can help you prevent problems for your fish and plants.
8. Rags / Towels
Using paper towels will no longer do you justice, and they cannot be reused over time. I find using a towel is extremely helpful when I am cleaning and doing a trim on my planted aquarium. Towels are cheap and can be washed and reused over time. Keep your hands dry and purchase towels when doing maintenance on your aquarium.
9. Plant Fertilizers
You will not be able to keep your plants growing healthy and beautifully if you do not feed them. Anything that lives will need to be fed and nourished. Purchasing either liquid or dry fertilizers to feed your plants will keep them alive and growing.
10. Water Conditioner/Dechlorinator
Treating your aquarium with a water conditioner or dechlorinator is important after doing a water change. Unless you have a RO unit, using a water dechlorinator will condition the water coming from your faucet by removing chlorine and ammonia.
11. Aquarium Buckets
Didn’t I say we could avoid using buckets during water changes above? Well I guess I spoke too soon. Having a bucket can be helpful for storing plant trimmings or fish while acclimating them to your aquarium. A bucket can also be helpful by serving as a container to store your fishnets and cleaning supplies.
12. Aquarium Light Timer
I am sure that all if not most planted aquarium enthusiasts have one, which is why it made the list. Having a timer is important with keeping your lights on a set-schedule. Avoid manually turning on/off the lights by purchasing a timer and set the photo-period for your planted aquarium.
13. Aquarium Substrate
Whether it’s a planted aquarium substrate or a simple basic substrate like pea gravel. Aquarium plants will need something to dig their roots into and grow. Having a substrate for your planted aquarium will provide your plants with a base and supply them with the nutrients their roots need to grow.
14. Carbon Dioxide
Just like fertilizers, a good source of carbon dioxide is also another supplement needed for aquarium plants to grow. The source of carbon dioxide doesn’t need to come from a pressurized CO2 system, although I recommend it. Using Seachem Excel as a liquid source of carbon will also provide your plants with the CO2 they need to grow.
15. Electric Outlet Strip
You can never have too many electric outlets. Purchasing an electric outlet strip will be helpful in supplying electricity to all of the equipment you need for your planted aquarium. Equipment such as lights, powerheads, filters, heaters, air pumps, CO2 regulator, etc. will need to be plugged into an electric outlet.
This sums up the list of items I believe are essential and useful as a planted aquarium enthusiast. I am sure there are others that you find essential to you, but these are the top 15 items that come to my mind. Feel free to comment or suggest other items that are not on this of which you have found helpful and that maybe others will also find helpful when keeping and maintaining their planted aquariums.