This page contains affiliate links.  All that means for you is that if you click on one of my links and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.  This helps me keep this content 100% free!  But rest assured, I only recommend products I know and trust! Happy Reefing!

Top Five Beginner Maintenance Equipment

I own a ton of different types of maintenance equipment.  Some of it I use all the time, others only once every few months.  

When I sat down to choose my top five, I decided to go with the items I use every week.  And I couldn’t even cut it down to five, because there were too many!

So here are my top five, plus a few honorable mentions!

5. Kent Marine ProScraper II ~ $21

I recommend getting the 16”-24” because it will reach the bottom of your tank, and it comes with a small adaptor for tight areas.

I’ve owned this exact scraper for over five years, and it’s still going strong.  I use the stainless steel adaptor for my glass, and the plastic scraper for the acrylic weir.  I pretty much never use the other green algae scraper.

What I really like about this scraper is the adjustable length handle.  I like to clean out my sump and rear-filtration chambers somewhat frequently, and a magnetic scraper just won’t work.  That’s when this Kent scraper steps up.

There are some less expensive algae scrapers out there, some of which I have owned.  But I can’t recommend them. This Kent Marine Pro Scraper is top of the line and should last you for many years!

Just make sure to rinse all of your equipment with fresh water after each use!

4. OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set ~ $6

This might seem like a strange recommendation, but I can’t tell you how often I use these two brushes.

True, you can use a toothbrush for a lot of things, but I found the bristles on this OXO Brush Set to be way more firm.

I use this all over my tank, and I like having the two sizes to choose from.  From removing salt creep, to scraping algae off of my baffles, these are virtually indispensable for me.

3. Irwin Quick-Grip Handi-Clamp ~ $5

This clamp is a recent addition for me.  I use it for one thing and only one thing: to clamp the gravel vacuum in place during water changes.

For years I didn’t do this, and what happened?  Often the gravel vacuum would find its way out of my 5-gallon bucket and onto my floor!  Super annoying.

But no more!  Since investing in this $5 beauty, not a single spill.  I like this version because it has a quick release button, and you can control how much grip pressure it creates.  Some other clamps only have one setting: super strong. That just doesn’t work when you are clamping a piece of flexible tubing!

So don’t be like me and spill countless gallons of saltwater on the floor… just buy this now and save yourself the hassle!

2. Gravel Vacuum/Cleaner ~ $11

An essential element for any water change, nothing fancy here.  I like the large to extra large size for siphoning out the sand bed.  If you go with a small or medium, then the sand gets sucked up into the tube a lot easier.

It doesn’t really matter what brand you go with.  Some fancier versions come with a self-priming bulb to start the siphon.

But if you are a siphon expert (or plan on becoming one), you can easily learn to start a siphon with this gravel vacuum without using your mouth.  Check out my video HERE for more info.

1. Flipper Standard 2-in-1 Magnetic Algae Cleaner ~$40

This is an expensive magnetic algae scraper, but worth the cost.  I’ve owned several different types of magnetic scrapers, and none even comes close to the Flipper.

It takes a bit of practice, but what makes the Flipper so great, is you can switch from the felt side to the scraper side without having to put your hand in the tank.

I typically use the soft, felt side for the new, easy to remove algae growth.  Oftentimes I’ll get the hard algae build up near the edges, and that requires the stainless steel scraper.

The only consideration with the Flipper is make sure you buy the right size.  They have three sizes, and each has a different size magnet meant for your glass/acrylic thickness.  For most beginners, the standard Flipper will do just fine!

Honorable Mentions

Polyester Filter Fiber ~$10

There are plenty of different ways to mechanically filter your tank.  On of my favorite is polyester filter fiber. It’s inexpensive, you can buy it in bulk, and you can just throw it away every few days and not have to worry about rinsing or washing.

I use this exact product in my 24-gallon office tank and all of my quarantine tanks.  I use a standard sponge in my 120 gallon though.  

The only thing I don’t like about this filter floss is it doesn’t hold together super well, so sometimes I find strands floating around inside my tank.  If you don’t mind paying a bit more, check out this filter floss.  It holds together much better.

Stainless Steel Turkey Baster ~ $9

While I don’t use this Turkey Baster as much as the rest, when I need it I’m glad I have it.  

Oftentimes I run into a situation where I need to blast sand off the rock, or stir up some detritus and get it back into the water column.  That’s where this baster comes in handy.

I like that it’s stainless steel, and that the rubber bulb comes off easily for cleaning.  I also use this when acclimating new corals, and really anytime I need to create some water movement.