Tank Hack: Five Non-Drilled Aquarium Add-Ons to Improve Your Tank

When choosing an aquarium, your options will typically fall into one of two categories – drilled tanks or non-drilled tanks. There are a number of factors to consider when determining the best option for you, including budget, space requirements, tank purpose and knowledge of aquariums.

While drilled tanks offer more options for customization, there are several potential non-drilled tank add-ons that can help create a high performance, highly personalized tank for beginners and lifelong enthusiasts alike. To get more out of your aquarium, consider these five add-ons for an undrilled tank:

Hang-on Habitat

Adding a refugium creates a space separate from the display tank to allow beneficial organisms to grow, without interference from the fish in the tank. These organisms provide a number of benefits to the main tank, including serving as a natural food source and helping to maintain water quality. For an easy addition to a non-drilled tank, consider installing a hang-on refugium.

Skip the Skimmer

Use carbon media in place of a protein skimmer. Activated carbon is a form of chemical filtration that uses absorption to remove impurities that protein skimmers and other filtration methods may not remove. Carbon is able to remove waste through its porous interior and exterior, attracting waste particles into the media.

Carbon medias are effective at lowering the organics levels and regaining control of a tank. They also work well as a preventative filter against fish and invertebrate diseases. Maintain healthy water composition with activated carbon media.

Rig a Reactor

The addition of a media reactor to an aquarium increases the effectiveness of filtration media by exposing all of the aquarium water to the filtration media. In traditional filtration methods, a media bag is added to the tank filter, only affecting water that comes into contact with the bag. Media reactors force all water through the filtration media, ensuring the water comes into contact with the media to remove impurities.

Boost Your Bag with GFO

Granular ferric oxide (GFO) is a form of chemical filtration that removes impurities, specifically phosphate, through adsorption. (In fact, a recent study found it to be the most effective and cost-efficient phosphate removal media tested.) Phosphate in fish tanks contributes to algae growth which can cause harm to fish and other life and is a sign that there are underlying problems within the aquarium environment. Keep it regulated by adding GFO to a media bag.

Build Up Bacteria through Carbon Dosing

Carbon dosing is a chemical filtration method that involves increasing the carbon levels in a tank to increase bacteria growth. The bacteria consume phosphorus and nitrate, two common sources of algae growth. For those who tend to overfeed their fish, this method of fish tank filtration removes waste and improves the clarity of the water without introducing harsh chemicals.

While you may find recommendations for several different household objects that can be used, the most effective carbon dosing method involves adding bio pellets to your reactor. This can be a more involved process, so it is recommended for more advanced tank enthusiasts.

Whether you’re building a drilled or non-drilled tank, there are multiple options available to help create a personalized aquarium tailored to your specific needs. Follow these five tank hacks to get even more out of your non-drilled tank.