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Basic Advice

Top 10 Emergency Items Every Aquarist Should Have On Hand

Aquariums can vary widely in complexity—from a goldfish in a bowl to large reef aquariums aquariums that cost tens of thousands of dollars. Your setup probably falls somewhere in between, but nearly every aquarium needs some essentials to keep running smoothly.

Here’s our list of the 10 emergency items every aquarium enthusiast should have in their kit in case of emergencies:

  1. Battery Operated Air Pump


Do you know what the main problem is if you lose power to your aquarium? Temperature? Nope. Fish get depressed because the lights are off? Fish depression is nothing to be taken lightly but that’s not it either. When you lose power the biggest and most immediate problem is that fish run out of oxygen. Yep, it’s true. A simple battery operated air pump will aerate water for hours and keep enough oxygen for fish to be happy.

  1. Mellafix


Interesting name, huh? Mellafix is a product used to treat bacterial infections, the #1 potentially fatal disease threat we see in our aquariums. Mellafix is not an antibiotic, but actually a tea leaf extract. The product promotes the healing on fish and tea leaves have natural antibiotic properties. This is a must-have on hand. If you notice the beginning of any sort of a bacterial infection, the sooner you act the better.

  1. Cupramine


Cupramine is a copper medication that excels at eliminating Ick in freshwater or Odinium in saltwater. These parasites are what I call the “common cold” in aquariums. They exist in every aquarium and when fish are stressed, say from adding a new one or even from doing routine maintenance on the aquarium, they can become susceptible to these parasites.

  1. Test Kit

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Ever get home from work and something in your aquarium doesn’t look quite right? The fish aren’t eating as much, or they’re hiding? The first thing to do is a water test. I always say it’s your window to what is going on in their world. Make sure there is a thermometer and, for saltwater, a hydrometer to test salt level. Other factors you want to be sure to test are pH, ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. Lastly, if you have a reef tank, be sure to have Alkalinity and Calcium tests as well.

  1. Detoxifier

So what happens when you do that water test and see something is out of whack? Well, you need to act, obviously. A detoxifying agent such as Detox, Amquel, or others, neutralizes ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, chlorine, and chloramines, as well as adding to the fish’s protective coating (also known as a slime coat) to help protect them from their environment.

  1. Net


This may seem like a no-brainer but having a net to scoop out extra food after an “oops”, or for removing fish before maintenance, is critical as well. Well, maybe not one like this, but you get the idea.

  1. Extra can of food

Even if you are only using frozen fish foods, keep a well-sealed can of pellet food on hand. Everyone is busy and it’s easy to forget when you use the last cube of frozen food or last pinch of dry. Don’t be like me with my home aquarium, throwing in leafy vegetables into your aquarium and having your fish staring back at you like you’re some sort of an idiot.

  1. Extra calcium and alkalinity additives for reef tanks


Just like having extra food in case you run out, not adding calcium or alkalinity regularly can mean algae blooms, pH drops, and possibly coral loss. Always have extra on hand if you are a reef tank owner.

  1. A good neighbor


Ever plan on taking a long weekend or a family vacation? Having someone who can drop in to throw in some food and at least look to make sure fish are eating and acting normally is critical.

And make sure that person has……….


Blue Planet offers 24 hour emergency service. If you call after regular business hours, as prompted by our phone system, dial 9 and you’ll be connected with our 24 hour emergency service to put you in touch with someone who can help. Most of the emergency calls we receive are just a question or can be handled over the phone, but it’s good to know someone is there if you need them. Write this number down: 773.774.3474

There you have it. Keeping this list of essentials around will help avoid any disasters and lower your stress levels to boot. If you need any recommendation on which brands of products to buy from the above list, give us a call.

About Jon Wolf

Servicing Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana & Michigan, Blue Planet Aquarium Services has been the most trusted name in aquarium design, installation and maintenance since 1999. A company large enough to be dependable but small enough to still watch out for your best interests, Blue Planet is the only company to call if you are planning to install an aquarium or have one maintained.

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