More Holiday Gift Ideas for the Reefkeeper in Your Life

Saltwater aquarium gift ideasLet’s face it, if we marine aquarists had our way, every gift we received during the holiday season would be hobby-related. Trouble is, ours is such a specialized pastime that few, if any, of our loved ones really understand it or have any idea what sort of item would be appropriate to buy—that is, of course, unless we sneakily supplant those visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads with some good gift ideas.

Last year at this time, we posted a list of items that most marine aquarium hobbyists would be happy to discover under the tree come Christmas morning, including sea salt, aquarium tools, a refractometer, fish food, water parameter test kits, and reference books. This year we’d like to expand upon this list with a few more great ideas.

Now, to help your non-hobbyist family members and friends “discover” this list, you might need to print it out and hang it on your refrigerator, tape it to your computer, tuck it into the pages of Look Magazine, or simply leave it lying out in the open somewhere that the targeted gift giver is likely to happen upon it.

So, here in no particular order is this year’s list. Note that if you want to surprise the reekfeeper on your list with any of these items, you may need to do a bit of sleuthing or ask a few seemingly innocent questions ahead of time to determine exactly what to buy.

#1 RO/DI replacement components

If your hobbyist loved one uses an RO/DI system to purify tap water, he or she will most assuredly appreciate receiving some extra carbon blocks, sediment filters, a deionization cartridge, or an RO membrane (if you can find out whether the membrane currently in use is nearing the end of its serviceable life). You may even be able to purchase all the replacement components for the system in a single cost-effective kit.

#2 Replacement metal halide bulbs/fluorescent tubes

Reefkeepers who use metal halide or fluorescent lamps (versus LEDs) to illuminate their systems must replace the bulbs/tubes according to a regular schedule, and doing so can be a costly affair. Any assistance in defraying that expense would certainly be a welcome gift. Your budget and the size of the aquarium system in question can help you determine whether to make a gift of all or only some of the lamps. For example, if you’re dealing with a larger fixture that combines both metal halides and T5 fluorescents, you could make a gift of just the T5 tubes to keep the cost manageable.

#3 A spare submersible pump

You really can’t go wrong with this gift. Even the best pump will eventually fail, and this usually happens when the local fish store is closed or it’s otherwise highly inconvenient, so it’s always good to have a spare on hand for emergencies. It’s also great to have an extra pump (for submersible, we’ve been long-time fans of the Mag Drive pump here at Saltwater Smarts) around for purposes such as mixing/circulating replacement salt water, pumping clean salt water from a storage reservoir to the display tank during water changes, or automating freshwater top-offs.

#4 Calcium and alkalinity additives

Most reefkeepers must supplement calcium and alkalinity in their systems in one manner or another, whether by dosing a balanced two-part additive, dripping/dosing kalkwasser, operating a calcium reactor, or combining different approaches. The gift idea here would be the two components of a balanced system, a tub of calcium hydroxide powder (kalkwasser), or a tub/bag of a calcium-reactor medium such as aragonite.

#5 Chemical filtration media

If the hobbyist on your gift list routinely uses some sort of chemical filtration medium, such as activated carbon or granulated ferric oxide (GFO), he or she will likely appreciate finding a tub of it under the tree. Poly-Filter pads are also really handy to have on hand in case it’s necessary to remove contaminants or medications or just to occasionally “polish” the water.

Photo credit: Alex Taylor

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About Jeff Kurtz

Jeff Kurtz is the Co-founder/Editor of Saltwater Smarts, former Senior Consulting Editor for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, and the aquarist formerly known as “The Salt Creep.” He has been an aquarium hobbyist for over 30 years and is an avid scuba diver.

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