How to Buy Gifts for Aquarists

  • 01 of 05

    Before You Start Buying Gifts for an Aquarist

    Aquarium of colorful fish
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    When trying to figure out what to give someone that owns a saltwater or a freshwater aquarium, it's not unusual to get stuck for ideas. From the information provided here, you shouldn't have trouble coming up with some great gifts to give any aquarist on your shopping list.

    Before you get started, it is important to know that when you are buying any type of refill or replacement items, in particular, you should have the product name, brand/manufacturer's name, model/style number, and any other pertinent information about a specific item the aquarium owner is using. This will ensure you get an exact product item match when you go shopping.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Make a List of Gift Ideas

    Small aquarium and fish bowl
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    The easiest way to figure out what to buy an aquarium owner is to start with a list of gift-giving ideas. You can use this list to pick and choose items or as the next step in a process-of-elimination checklist as you discover what the person you're gifting wants or needs for his or her aquarium.

    Here are some simple and inexpensive items you can give:

    • A new or used aquarium of most any size can be turned into a quarantine tank, sump, or refugium.
    • A 10- or 20-gallon complete boxed aquarium kit makes an ideal quarantine tank set up. Most 10 gallon kits do not come with a heater, so you may want to include one.
    • Replacement items such as light bulbs, filter cartridges, pads, floss, carbon, or other filtration materials, fish foods, and medications.
    • Test kits, and reagent test kit refills.
    • Calcium, strontium, iodine/iodide, other reef tank additives, and supplements.
    • A box or bag of aquarium sea salt mix.
    • A heater, thermometer, hydrometer (salinity tester), air stones, and other such items can be stored as spare equipment to be used when these things break or wear out.
    • An algae scrapper or magnet, siphoning tool, and any other types of aquarium cleaning or maintenance care items.
    • A powerhead, or an air pump, piece of hose, and bubble wand, or an air stone for someone who likes bubbles in their aquarium.
    • A power strip with timing capabilities.
    • An emergency power supply UPS.

    Here are some of the more involved and costly items you can give plus ones that are best discussed with the aquarium owner:

    • A piece of equipment like a filter, protein skimmer, RO/DI water filter as well as automated items like a fish feeder, doser/water-top off unit, wavemaker, and electronic controller devices.
    • An additional light strip or a complete lighting system upgrade.
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  • 03 of 05

    How to Find out What an Aquarist Wants or Needs

    Goldfish in aquarium
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    If you don't need the gift you are giving to an aquarist to be a surprise, this is easy. Just ask what they want. If you do want your gift to be a surprise, then, of course, you'll need to obtain information about the owner's aquarium without signaling what you are doing.

    To avoid this problem, and rather than having to guess, here are some ways you can simply find out what the person you are buying for wants or needs.

    • Strike up a conversation and somewhere along the way just lead in with an easy question like, how's your tank doing? From there all you have to do is step back, listen, and start taking a mental note. Most often once you get your aquarist started talking about their aquarium, it's hard to get him or her to stop.
    • With your gift-giving ideas list in hand, snoop when they are not around to see what kind of equipment and supplies they have, making sure to write down information about the products you are thinking of buying.
    • If you don't have access to the aquarium to snoop on your own, ask the person's spouse, significant other, family members, and friends for any information they can provide to help you out.
    • Simply ask the aquarist to make a wish list for you, and be sure they include specific product information about the items.
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  • 04 of 05

    Other Aquarium Related Items

    Close up of a fish tank
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    When buying something for an aquarist, the gifts you give do not have to be directly related to the aquarium set up itself, like a piece of equipment, replacement or refill items. Here are some simple things that make great gifts for any aquarium owner when you don't know what they want and have to guess.

    • A gift certificate not only can be used for an aquarium owner to get exactly what they want, but they can use it to buy new fish or other livestock for their aquarium, which is something that should not be given as gift anyway.
    • A fish, coral, invertebrate, or combination livestock identification and care book make a nice addition to any aquarium owner's reference library.
    • For someone that subscribes to an aquarium magazine, renew his or her subscription. If not, sign him or her up for one or several appropriate publications.
    • To help keep a log or record about an aquarium, give a computer maintenance software program.
    • For someone that dislikes having to clean their aquarium, or that doesn't have enough time to give it the care and attention it needs, providing that person with some maintenance services a very nice gift. If you do this, just make sure the aquarist doesn't mind someone else touching this prized possession! If not, this is a wonderful way to help free up his or her time, stress and worry by providing a month's, six months', or even a year's worth of aquarium cleaning services. Check around with local fish stores in your area to see if any place offers this kind of service. If the person already pays a company to do this, perfect! Buy some more.
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  • 05 of 05

    Non-Aquarium Related Items You Can Give Anyone

    Dolphin stuffed animal on couch
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    You don't have to own an aquarium to enjoy receiving calendars, bed and bath accessories, fun plush stuffed animals, t-shirts, jewelry, fine works-of-art, or any other fun and unique items that have an ocean life theme to them.

    These are just a few of the many types of non-aquarium related items you can give as gifts for your saltwater aquarium enthusiasts!