Aquarium Equipment

Depending on the kind of set-up you are thinking of using, you’ll need to kit your aquarium out with various kind of equipment. You’ll have to really do your homework when it comes to the kind of fish you want to keep, the size of the tank you’ll need and the requirements of your livestock and plants before you purchase any kind of equipment.

Aquarium Pumps

These are used primarily to move water around your tank. It is a fundamental piece of equipment for anyone thinking of using a filter or steriliser.

For the best results, it is important that you find a pump with the right flow rate for the volume your tank. To do this, you can use this simple equation:

Width (m) x Depth (m) x Length (m) and multiply answer by 1000 to calculate liters.

Air Pumps

Key for oxygenation, they promote water movement, help limit algae and are essential to the health of a number of fish and plants who need an oxygen rich environment. These can often be placed under perforated ornaments, or have coloured LED attachments so they are attractive as well as functional.



As well as removing unwanted dirt from the water, filters can also cultivate helpful bacteria which will help your tank to thrive. To keep the water flowing through the unit, and, for more effective results, a UV steriliser.

Filters use media to clean the water and help to enrich it with helpful bacterial and organisms. The most common types are ceramic rings, activated carbon and bio balls. These, along with filter foams, are added to the various compartments of the filter to clean it.

External filters are a popular choice for those that like a thorough clean and an easy life. These are larger units for medium to large sized tanks, and boast efficient operation, easy access and low maintenance.  They often have a more varied selection of media, in easily removable baskets and can come equipped with UV bulbs, for added water clarification.

UV Sterilisers

Using the power of ultra violet light, a steriliser will cause algae and waste to clump together in large particles which can then be extracted by a filter. If you suffer from a green tank, you can achieve fast results by adding one of these units to your set up.  


These are for use in tropical and marine tanks, and will help keep the water at the temperature which your livestock are accustomed to. These can usually be adjusted to suit, and are best coupled with a thermometer so you can carefully monitor the conditions inside the tank for any unfavourable changes.

Wavemakers / Circulation Pumps

Used to simulate the gentle movement of the ocean, wavemakers are primarily for use in marine tanks. They help to circulate the water and eliminate any dead spots, and serve to gently remove any dead pieces of coral from the rest of the cluster. They help to simulate the natural habitat of the ocean and are hugely beneficial to the wellbeing of the livestock.

Protein Skimmers

These are largely used in marine set-ups to remove unwanted organic matter from the water. Protein skimming will help your biological filter from becoming too clogged, and will vastly improve the water's redox potential. 

Calcium Reactors

This particular peice of equipment is best used in tanks which contain a lot of growing corals, especially the SPS hard coral variations. Primarily used to replace calcium and magnesium in the tank, and to restore the alkilinity of the water which can become depleated through coral growth. 

Calcium and magnesium are produced as a by-product when carbon dioxide and water are fed through the main chamber of the unit, through the calcarous media (usually coral gravel). These are best used in a tank with an extra sump, for those with a particularly generous amount of coral.


Many people with marine set-ups choose to add a sump to their tank to increase the water volume, and help them store unslightly equipment. There are several variations of sump, most of them are placed underneath the tank in a concealed compartment, and are comprised of several boxes which can hold calcium reactors, protein skimmers and plant life- some people even quarantine fish in them!