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Week 7. Saltwater Aquarium Gear Buying Tips!

By this week you might be looking to start getting some gear. Most saltwater aquarium hobbyists tend to buy individual pieces of gear over a period of time instead of all at once! It really is a good idea to do it this way, so you can make sure you get the best gear and most appropriate gear. This is especially true if you are a new hobbyist! Thus, we will be covering some gear buying tips for you to consider while doing your first round of shopping. 

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Table of Contents

This Week's Video:

General Tips and Things to Consider

Always Read Reviews!

This may seem very obvious, but we mean more than just reading two or three reviews off one website and calling it a day. Especially when it comes to expensive or crucial equipment like lighting or a protein skimmer. Don’t just trust the first few good or bad reviews you might read. If you want to be really sure, check different seller’s websites, look up the product on forums (such as, and ask any friends you have in the hobby. 

Make a Reasonable Plan

When it comes to buying gear, unless you don’t care about your money, always have a solid plan for what you want to build. Start with your livestock goals and work back from that, and don’t try to do anything to fancy from the start. A challenge is always fun, but its very easy to get impulsive and buy things you don’t need or set a goal that way too advanced for a newbie. Try to do something easy, just for the experience, and potentially plan for something more advanced down the line.

Take Your Time and Expect to Fail 

You don’t need to buy everything at once, you don’t need to make a plan in one day, nothing good happens quickly in a saltwater aquarium! Its not that people necessarily will rush you or anything, but like we previously mentioned, its easy to get impulsive and make hasty decisions. The more time you take to make a plan, research gear, and read reviews, the more likely that you will have a successful saltwater aquarium.

Still, don’t get too disheartened if you make a mistake or fail at something. No one has a perfect record in this hobby, and its good to have that in mind before you start. In many cases, it may not even be your fault that something went wrong. Just be ready to continue moving, as a lot of this hobby is working past problems and failures! 

Consult With Your Family

Finally, be sure to consult with your family before making any of these big purchases! By now you must realize that this hobby can get quite expensive, and you just want to make sure its not a surprise to your family. As well, you want to make sure others treat your animals and gear with respect!

Product Link: If you are looking to get any of this gear, use the following link to support us without any extra cost to you!

Gear Specific Tips

Buy an RO/DI Filter First

It isn’t necessary to get one, since you can get water from the local fish store. However, it is always cheaper and safer in the long term to have RO/DI filter of your own. You don’t need to get a big fancy one, there are options for people running low on space, living in apartments, etc. However, if you have the ability to get the best one possible, its a good idea. Especially if you think you may upgrade into a larger aquarium in the future.

Never Go Cheap on your Aquarium

Aquariums are the foundation of your build, and while the initial costs can seem a little much, you want to make sure you get the one you’ll be happy with for years to come. Even more important, is that you get high quality built aquariums. The last thing you want is for your aquarium to have issue or even break a few years down the road.

Backup Equipment!

One of the biggest mistakes saltwater aquarium hobbyists make is not having backup equipment! The basic things are backup heaters, return pumps, and wavemakers. If one of those fails, your aquarium could be in critical condition within hours! But, with time it is a good idea to get extras of everything, including spare little aquariums or buckets.

Miscellaneous tips! 

  • Buy a single piece of gear every paycheck or so, just so you can keep things manageable, and save up to get exactly what you want
  • Don’t look for the fanciest gear or biggest gear, but get exactly what is most appropriate for your aquarium. You run the risk of overcomplicating things and making the hobby more of chore than fun. 
  • If there is any part to spend an extra bit of money on even if you don’t technically need to, its on the gear you’ll be looking at daily. Get a nice looking stand and light, as it will be a part of the decorations in your house.
  •  Ask questions! This hobby has lots of amazing people that love to help others. Email us, ask around on Facebook, and read forums. Just don’t automatically believe everything you hear!

Product Link: If you are looking to get any of this gear, use the following link to support us without any extra cost to you!