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Week 9. What To Do If Something Is Out Of Stock.

Updated 2023

Building on the Insights from Last Week’s Blog

In continuation of our recent saltwater aquarium build guide, we’re here to ensure you’re equipped with the know-how to navigate situations when items are out of stock or when alternatives are required. While some of these tips might seem rudimentary to experienced hobbyists, we’re well aware that many newcomers could benefit from this guidance.

Our focus will be on offering speedy pointers for checking various sources and consulting fellow enthusiasts. Additionally, we’re dedicating a section to provide a practical example, complete with specific tips and considerations. Our aim is to empower you with the information needed to confidently make decisions regarding alternative saltwater aquarium gear, ensuring you steer clear of potential pitfalls.

This Week's Video:

Places to Look and People to Ask!

Seeking Replacements for Gear

In situations where the gear you’re eyeing consistently remains out of stock or proves elusive, don’t fret – alternatives are often available! Given the plethora of diverse brands, finding equipment that’s on par with your desired piece is quite feasible. In the subsequent sections, we’ll delve into helpful tips to ensure you secure the appropriate substitute gear. The online marketplace boasts numerous retailers, even within the niche realm of this hobby. Countless options, brands, and avenues await your exploration.

Explore Local Fish Stores

If you’re set on specific gear or struggling to find satisfactory online alternatives, consider paying a visit to your local fish and pet stores. A smart move is to look them up online and make a call beforehand, preventing an unnecessary trip.

Scope Out Local Facebook Groups, Forums, eBay, and More

Exploring the second-hand market can yield results – check if anyone in your locality is selling the gear you desire! Beginner gear is often readily available on platforms like Facebook groups or eBay, typically at a substantial discount. Exercise caution, though, ensuring the equipment is in good condition and dealing with reputable individuals. While the hobby community is largely trustworthy, a few bad apples exist, so staying cautious is wise.

Opting for closed Facebook groups, especially ones linked to your local reef club, is a safer choice, given the familiarity among members. Generally, purchasing second-hand gear shouldn’t pose significant challenges.

Reminders and Specific Tips!

Adapting Gear Choices to Your Vision

Revisiting last week’s blog about saltwater aquarium builds, let’s emphasize the importance of staying aligned with your goals. Amid the excitement of exploring new and innovative gear, it’s easy to stray from your objectives. However, remember that this gear isn’t merely expensive; it’s the backbone of life support for your corals, fish, and other aquatic inhabitants. Thus, your gear choices should harmonize with the size of your aquarium and your ultimate ambitions.

Ensuring Alternatives Fit Seamlessly

When contemplating alternative gear, ensure it’s a snug fit for your setup. Occasionally, alternate options may sport distinct dimensions from your initial choices. It’s vital to assess compatibility with your aquarium or filtration space, whether that’s a sump or a rear filtration chamber.

Insights for Specific Gear Selection

Aquarium and Stand:

Navigating alternatives for aquariums and stands is relatively straightforward. Numerous brands adhere to high standards and offer comparable sizes. Crucially, ensure that the substitute brand provides an equivalent stand. Equally significant is confirming that the new aquarium follows the same filtration style as your original choice, be it a drilled setup, a rear filtration chamber (All-in-One), or even one with an included sump. Notably, when it comes to aquariums, particularly for beginners, acquiring second-hand options might not be the wisest choice.


Remember, sourcing a REEF light is pivotal, as regular lights or those tailored for plant growth and freshwater aquariums won’t suffice. Reef aquariums demand distinct lighting spectrums and PAR levels. AI Prime lights are a preferred recommendation due to their customization versatility, ideal for various saltwater aquarium styles.  Don’t overlook acquiring a mounting option for your light, with a gooseneck mount being the simplest. Additionally, factor in light spread; larger tanks might necessitate multiple lights.

Rock or Sand:

While rocks or sand rarely go out of stock, opt for reef-specific options, which are typically plentiful. Your choice can range from elaborate to budget-friendly, primarily catering to aesthetic preferences. Ensure the sand grain size aligns with Fiji Pink or Special Grade (0.5mm-1.5mm) to prevent unwanted issues caused by strong flow or detritus buildup. For rocks, exclusively select those designed for saltwater aquariums.

Return Pump:

If your setup involves a sump or a return filtration chamber, a fitting return pump is essential to ensure water circulation. Kits often include one, but for standalone purchase, consult recommended sizes based on your aquarium’s gallonage. As a general rule, aim for a pump capacity around 5 times the gallonage per hour. If unsure, MarineDepot’s customer support is a valuable resource.


For space-efficient heating in beginner builds, a titanium heater with an external controller is recommended due to its compact size. Reputable options work well, such as Eheim Jager glass heaters, albeit longer. Refer to the sizing chart on the site to find the appropriate heater, ensuring not to overbuy. Two smaller heaters can be a wiser choice, offering redundancy in case of a failure.

RO/DI Filter:

RO/DI filters might seem complex, but they essentially follow the same core principles. As you ascend in filtration levels, the thoroughness increases alongside a few accompanying accessories. Opt for a model with a booster pump or attach a booster pump for enhanced efficiency.

Maintenance Gear, Salt, and Test Kits:

Maintenance gear offers high interchangeability. Most salt mixes and algae scrapers are versatile. Secure multiple fish nets, buckets, magnetic algae scrapers, and handheld alternatives to simplify your tasks. Don’t forget a refractometer to gauge salinity and maintain regular water testing.