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The reef aquarium hobby is a small niche. As a result, there are not that many purpose-built products for this industry. Most of the devices we use are repurposed from other industries and become mainstays. I’ve assembled a list of household items that are very handy in and around a reef tank.




Originally I had ten in mind, but some of them seemed a little too obvious given their intended application that I just made a separate list of honorable mentions. For example, gel super glue is great for gluing down coral frags, but in the end, it is just glue and it’s being used to glue something. It’s not much of an unexpected application in the reef aquarium hobby. Still, I felt it’s good to keep on the list because of how good it is, and to some beginners these items may be extremely helpful if they had not discovered them yet in their aquarium journey.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the five finalists!


OXO Good Grips POP Square Containers

Amazon Affiliate Link - https://amzn.to/2K80uAg

There is something to be said for really easy access containers that have a sealing gasket to keep items dry near your reef tank.


Makeup Brush

Amazon Affiliate Link - https://amzn.to/2qXWV7k

So much of good propagation technique is to keep corals clean after the fact. We have noticed that by keeping corals cleaner (pests and detritus), it greatly accelerates their growth rate. A soft makeup brush is great to gently work around the polyps and dislodge anything growing around the base of a coral.


Stainless Steel Scraping Tool

Amazon Affiliate Link - https://amzn.to/2HVUJ8f

Sometimes I need a tool to scrape away unwanted growth around a coral and I found that stainless carving tools or dental tools do a great job. There are a variety of different heads that can be used to either scrape off some tough unwanted algae or gently remove an anemone that has embedded its foot in a rocky crevice.


OXO Good Grips Silicone Drying Mat

Amazon Affiliate Link - https://amzn.to/2Ka969K

Noise pollution is a problem in my facility and I try very hard to reduce it. One of the main culprits of noise is the vibration caused by a pump rattling against another surface. One sump in our facility is vibrating so much I can literally feel the vibration in the concrete floor a couple of feet away. These silicone drying mats can be used to dampen this excessive vibration and thus reduce the amount of noise in the building. If you are like me and hate the sound of all the equipment in your tank, give these mats a try.


OXO Turkey Baster

Amazon Affiliate Link - https://amzn.to/2HJQAXj

Lastly, the clear cut MVP is the turkey baster. While I have never in my life basted a turkey, there is never a day that goes by where I don’t use one of these around my tank. They are useful to spot feed corals, blow off detritus from corals, and to blow off detritus inside the rock work. I’ve even used them as a quick suction device to grab something inside the tank. A turkey baster is one of the most versatile household items you can get.

Check out the household reef items above. Over the years I found them very helpful around the reef aquariums at Tidal Gardens.



Than Thein

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