Aquarium Supplies: List of Equipment & Accessories for Freshwater Fish Tanks

Once you choose the size of your aquarium, where you want to put it, and what fish you will buy, you have to choose the right aquarium supplies. Buy fish tank supplies best suited for your fish, which can fit your fish tank’s dimensions. You can buy aquarium supplies online, but it’s best to go to a store and get the opinion of the store clerk unless you’re sure of what you need. Not sure what to buy? Here’s a list of some of the most common aquarium equipment and accessories:

Aquarium Heaters

If you are keeping tropical fish, then an aquarium heater is crucial for fish tank equipment. A heater maintains a stable water temperature in the fish tank. Different sized tanks need other heaters. The larger the fish tank, the more watts the heater should have. There are also different types of aquarium heaters from which to choose.


An aquarium thermometer is an accessory that tests the water temperature. There are two types: a bulb thermometer or a stick-on thermometer.

Aquarium Filters

A fish tank filter is another essential aquarium equipment. No matter the type of fish, a filter is vital as it keeps the water healthy and clean for the fish. There are three types of filtration: Mechanical, Chemical, and Biological filtration. The most important one is biological filtration (you must have it).

Biological filtration gets rid of ammonia, which is toxic to fish. Mechanical filtration removes uneaten food and other debris from the water. Chemical filtration removes heavy metals, ammonia, etc. An otherwise healthy fish tank does not need chemical filtration.

Aquarium Gravel

Aquarium gravel varies in size, color, and use. Some starter kits come with gravel, but it is usually not enough. And you also have to consider gravel that replicates your fish’s natural habitat. Another thing to consider is if you want to grow live plants. Live plants won’t do well in gravel unless they are floating plants. Rooted plants need a nutrient-rich substrate.

Aquarium Gravel Vacuum

An aquarium gravel vacuum is an accessory that lets you remove organic matter like uneaten food and feces from the tank’s bottom. A buildup of organic matter can increase ammonia and nitrate levels, which is bad for fish. There are different gravel vacuums, so you need to choose one that best suits your tank setup.

Aquarium Hood & Lighting

Aquarium hoods secure the top of the tank. With a hood attached, dirt and other debris can’t get into the aquarium water. Some fish and shrimp can jump out of the water, and freshwater snails can crawl out. With a cover, these aquatic animals won’t be able to escape.

Beginner fish tank kits usually have a hood and light unit. Aquarium Lighting is essential for some plants and lets you see fish better. But, you may need to buy separate lighting and a cover that can accommodate the lighting.

Full hoods join the light and hood together. There’s space for 1 or 2 fluorescent lights. Two fluorescent lights are suitable for fish-only aquariums. Glass hoods cover the tank with two glass strips connected by a plastic hinge. It would be best to buy the lighting to fit into the strips. Glass hoods are better because you can change the lights without changing the cover.

Be careful when exposing your aquarium to light. Too much light can encourage algae growth. Also, fish do sleep/rest, so turn out the lights during the night.

Aquarium Fish Net

An aquarium fish net lets you scoop fish out of the water. It would help if you had a fish net to transfer fish from tank to tank, remove dead fish, or remove debris. Try to get two traps, one to chase the fish and one to catch the fish. If not, use a fish net to track fish into a plastic or glass jar to avoid stressing the fish. Also, buy a trap that’s proportionate to the size of your fish.

Aquarium Buckets

It would be best if you had buckets for your aquarium to help with adding and changing water. An aquarium bucket can be any bucket up to 5-gallons. But, only use the bucket for your aquarium. Don’t wash it out with detergent or use any chemicals in it. If possible, do not use chemicals on any of your aquarium supplies.

Aquarium Air Pump

An aquarium air pump circulates air in the tank by making bubbles. The primary purpose of an air pump is to provide adequate oxygen for fish. Tanks with decent water flow generally do not need an air pump. Larger tanks with filter powerheads also do not need an air pump.

Aquarium Stand

An aquarium stand or cabinet is a piece of furniture on which you place your fish tank. They have space for tubes, cords, and external filters. When buying a cabinet for your aquarium, be sure to get one that matches your tank’s length, width, and weight.

Aquarium UV Sterilizers

UV Sterilizers help keep your aquarium clean longer by removing free-floating algae and reducing bacteria and pathogens. UV sterilizers for aquariums can be fully or partially submerged in the water. 

Canister Filter O Rings

You need to replace damaged Canister Filter O Rings, so always keep some spares. It’s one of the oft-forgotten but necessary aquarium supplies.


Plastic plants or natural plants? Both are fish tank decorations, and they provide hiding places for fish. Which should you get? Plastic plants need little maintenance, but live plants need special attention. It all depends on how comfortable you are with growing live plants. Do your research! Some plants are easier to care for than others.

Test Kits

Test Kits are aquarium supplies that you use to measure ammonia, nitrates, etc.