Want to keep your fish (and you) alive, buy these things.

So you’ve got your water parameters sorted, and your tank is doing well, but we see accidents every day, and so many of them could have been prevented. Here are a few things well worth buying.

Inkbird Aquarium Temperature Controller

Inkbird Temperature Controller with two black probes, and a phone showing the WiFi features.

Your heater is probably designed to stick on if the thermostat breaks, this means that your entire tank is being trusted to a thin piece of metal that bend back and forth every time the temperature changes in your tank. If that breaks your tank will overheat, and this is normally fatal.

The Inkbird ITC-306A-WiFi controller is an added layer of protection. If your heater sticks on then it will turn off the electricity to the heater and save your tank.

There are a few versions, but go for the one with black dual probes, some people have reported struggling to get the WiFi version to talk to their router, but plenty of people have talked them through how to do it. Inkbird has a couple of customer reps in our Facebook group, so feel free to head over there and have a chat.


Aquarium Chiller Fans

Three black fans and a inline controller

Normally I’d point out that tropical fish are from the tropics, and that they can take the heat of a British Summer, but in reality between rising temps and the way British houses are built means that our homes are ovens during the height of summer, and our tanks with their tiny surface area aren’t the same as huge Amazon rivers, so consider adding some fans to help keep the temperature lower. These ones from Hygger are at the cheap and cheerful end of the spectrum, but they should do the job just as well. Angle the heads to blow across the surface rather than straight down.


Water Testing Kit

A box with API Freshwater Master Kit kit, Tests pH, High Range pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate Fast, Easy Accurate written on it.

Things can and do go wrong with your water and more information is a good thing. This water testing kit from API was once the main test kit most of us used. A rash of newer kits have given us a lot more options, but at the time of writing this one is on special offer, but despite the name it’s missing the GH and KH test, so get those as well.


GH and KH Test

API GH and KH test kit box

Water hardness is one of the main issues we see causing illness and death in people’s tanks. So it is well worth keeping an eye on.


Check Valves

Check valve showing how the air  flow is blocked if it tries to go the wrong way.

Your air pump has a thin plastic tube that is perfect for water to syphon up and into your air pump, or just all over your carpet, and worse it doesn’t need starting as the capillary action will draw the water up all on it’s own. This isn’t great for your fish, but that water going into your air pump is a real fire risk. So please if you don’t have a check valve on your airline then spend a couple of quid and get one. Today.


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Ruth McDonald

Sailed twice around the world, started my acedemic career as an archaeologist and somehow ended up lecturing on science and researching fish.

Tropical Fish Keeping UK