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Having a planted aquarium is a great way to show off your aquarium inhabitants.
The plants filter the water and collect some particulate matter as well as absorbing the carbon dioxide released by your aquatic inhabitants.
In return plants will give off oxygen for the fish to breathe aiding in supplying your aquarium with oxygen. The fish waste will also help to fertilize the plants once it breaks down.
While having tropical plants in your aquarium is good for the inhabitant’s environment, there still needs to be some maintenance to be done. This is where the aquascaping tools come into play.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the five must have tools to care for your aquascape and what each tool contributes to the well-being of your planted tank.
The key to a clean aquarium is to take out the uneaten food along with fish and plant waste. There is no better way to do this then with a water siphon/changer. There are many styles and sizes available on the market today to help with any size aquarium.
The simple forms of these siphons are a flexible tube with a nozzle. You would just submerge this in your tank until all the bubbles are out and point the siphon to the bottom and the tube over a bucket.
Some nozzles have a wide mouth for optional use and some have a grated snout so you do not suck up any fish accidentally.
Be warned, ornamental shrimp and fry can fit up the grated siphon mouth so a modification such as nylon over it would make it ideal for shrimp or fry tanks.
The more complicated version hooks up to your water faucet on your closest sink. They have many adapters to fit a variety of sinks, and then you just adjust to either siphon or fill your aquarium.
They also have a water flow control valve so you can control the amount of water going in or out of your aquarium at any time.
Tongs are a great way to plant aquatic plants in an aquarium or use it to grab small items that may be in the aquarium.
Most tongs come in a long extended length for use in deeper aquariums such as 55 gallons or larger but will work in any aquarium.
While some brands might be lightweight and buoyant, most tongs are made of stainless steel so no rusting occurs. With the stainless steel tongs, you may be able to pick up some heavier pieces in your aquarium versus the lighter plastic versions.
Now the Aquatic Gardener has both a tong and cutting attachment making it an ideal piece to get if you are on a tight budget. I have one of these and I can say it does a very good job at cutting and picking up items including resin items.
It has an easy interchange system to change from the tongs to cutting blades making it fast and easy to change attachments. The scissor attachment also includes a case to protect from injury when not in use.
The prices for these are between $8.00 to $30.00 depending on the brand and size of tool you decide to purchase.
Whether you are interested in curved or straight scissors, they are going to help you with cutting off dead plant leaves and branches from any aquarium plant you may have.
There are a wide variety of brands and lengths on the market, from 6 inches up to and including 24 inches in length. Scissors are common in stainless steel and precision cut.
I would advise to use these scissors for only cutting plant matter, if used for anything else, the blades will dull and not cut the plant stems correctly. This could damage the plant or kill it if the plant is trimmed back to far.
Another important factor on these scissors is that any brands you decide to get are extremely sharp. I recommend them being used by an adult or adult supervision on younger hobbyists.
Scissors range in price from $5.00 to $80.00. You can also purchase aquascaping kits with scissors and other aquascaping tools in a set to help you with your budget and getting everything you need with one purchase.
Algae is an annoyance to any aquarium hobbyist, therefore many tools have been made to eliminate algae from glass and decorations.
There are chemicals that you can put in your aquarium to get rid of algae, but if you are a beginner aquarist that would not be the best route for you as the wrong amount added to tanks could be harmful to your inhabitants.
Algae scrapers are easier and faster most of the time. If there is a lot of algae come loose, you can just suck it out with the siphons listed above.
Many scrapers come with an extended handle for reaching down deep aquarium glass.
There is a new series of algae scrapers out on the market that has come out in the past 7 years called Mag-Float, these algae scrapers work by magnet with a scraper on the inside and a smooth felt on the outside of your aquarium.
If the inside comes off the glass, it will float around on the top of the glass.
There are many other brands with magnetic scrapers but these do not float like the Mag-Float. Price range on this tool will cost between $5.00 and $30.00.
Whether it is keeping your shirt dry or your arm, a glove is another great aquascaping tool to have in your aquascaping toolkit.
Gloves provide safety to you and your inhabitants by not contaminating water from anything that may be on your hands or arms.
Another good reason to have gloves is so that you can prevent infection on yourself. While not likely, an infection from some aquarium water can occur in any open wound, such as small cuts or scrapes that may not be cleaned thoroughly after handling aquarium water.
The gloves are allergen free and one size fits all is the standard. Most gloves are 20 to 28 inches in length to handle deep aquariums. They range in price from $5.00 to $25.00.