TaIlor The Talk To exPerIeNce level
When it comes to pumps, filters and temperature controllers, retailers reported that generally, their clients either know what they want, or they’re beginners who rely on experts for all
“We are an all-inclusive shop, so we have a service company tied directly to the business,
and we basically walk people through everything from initial setup,” said Chris Scholtz,
manager at Sho Tank Aquariums in Mundelein, Ill. “We can customize it specifically to what
they are looking for and then educate them throughout the entire process.”
Recommendations play a large role in driving sales, Scholtz added. One route that’s
been successful for others is to relate what shop owners and employees incorporate into
their own tanks.
“I tell [customers] what
I use,” said Ethan Jackson,
saltwater tech at Aquaridise
in East Brunswick, N.J. “I have
a 950-gallon shark reef tank
at home, so it’s easy to tell
someone what I use, and they
[generally] end up buying it.”
It’s important to have
products out in front of customers
to help educate them about each
“Having products in use
can help employees become familiar with the items, their capabilities, quality, ease of use
[and more],” said Ashley Rademacher, animal care and education coordinator for Zoo Med
Laboratories Inc. in San Luis Obispo, Calif. “This allows employees to make recommendations
based on their hands-on experience.”
Ultimately, it’s useful for everyone to be able to understand and explain products to cus-
tomers, and it helps if retailers have personal experience with a given brand or specific item.
“[Most of] what we sell here, we physically use ourselves,” said Todd Furmanek, store
manager at Absolutely Fish in Clifton, N.J. “It’s easy for us to show customers how [a product]
hooks up, how it goes together. We’ll actually show them how to put the equipment together
and use it themselves. [It’s] never going to be as cheap as [shopping] online, but people get a
value for that.”
ceNTral garDeN & Pe T’s coralife aqualight-s leD is capable of
growing low to medium light level corals and plants. It features 12,000K
white, 450nm blue and RGB LEDs for color control. The remote controller
features include radio frequency control, eliminating the need for line-of-sight when programming or changing color settings, three preset remote
channel colors in white, blue and RGB with a 24-hour timer, automatic
30-minute ramp time that mimics natural sunrise/sunset activity,
eight additional preset color options, dimming capability in 10 percent
increments with the +/- button, a scrolling feature at three speeds and a
built-in LCD screen that displays current time as well as programmable
on/off times. coralifeproducts.com
oase Nor Th aMerIca offers the biorb Pink Barnacle cluster sculpture. This
original Samuel Baker design is unique to biOrb and adds a natural and colorful
flair to aquariums. It is made from completely inert high-grade polycarbonate
resin, which means the color won’t fade or affect water quality. It is approximate-
ly 5 in. tall and is suitable for all 4-gal. (15L) biOrb aquariums. biorb.com
saN fraNcIsco Bay BraND offers fish eggs, an essential part of the natural diet
for many marine organisms. The fish eggs are of marine origin, and they contain
high levels of protein and omega- 3 fatty acids. They are eagerly eaten by finicky
fish and filter-feeding marine invertebrates. The pure capelin fish eggs contain no
dyes or preservatives. They are ideal to wean fish off live food and help condition
ceNTral garDeN & Pe T offers aqueon water Treatment filter Pads. There are three varieties to help address different water challenges.
Ammonia Reducing focuses on removing harmful or toxic ammonia from water. Phosphate Remover reduces the phosphates level, contrib-
utes to algae growth, and traps excess waste, food and other organic debris from the water. Carbon removes pollutants that discolor water
and cause odor. Each pad measures 10 in. by 18 in. and can be cut down to fit into most filter types. aqueonproducts.com
vIsual DIsPlays helP DrIve INTeres T
With filtration, pumps and temperature controllers, the general trend in the hobby is to hide, rather than display, these products
when customers get them home. For retailers, this presents a challenge when it comes to merchandising these types of products. Keeping display tanks in-store can offer an entry point to begin a conversation with customers.
“We have three or four show tanks with multiple systems [running on them], so we can physically show [these products
to customers],” said Todd Furmanek, store manager at Absolutely Fish in Clifton, N. J. “When people see something running and
they are able to play with it a little bit, or we can show them how to mess with it, it helps make a sale.”
The more visual a display, the better it will help drive customer interest.
“We mostly use running systems as visual aids and go through it from top to bottom,” said Fritz Grimm, owner of Saltwater
Empire in Minneapolis.
It might help to display high-tech items in a locked store display to create the appearance of exclusivity.
“If it’s high-end, it’s locked up, so that draws people’s eyes,” said Ethan Jackson, saltwater tech at Aquaridise in East
us ToMer eDuca TIoN
ha T’s sellINg Now
Dc PuMPs Take over sales
“The [Maxspect] Gyre has done very well in the market,” said Ethan Jackson, saltwater tech at Aquaridise in East Brunswick,
N. J. “[Maxspect’s] new design is different [from] anything else. [It’s] very easy to control. They’re a personal favorite of mine.
… They look expensive, but when you add up all the prices of the other pumps and stuff they are basically the same as [other
pumps in the category].”
Customers increasingly want simple interfaces and easy adjustment features. Several manufacturers are also incorporating
controllers into their pump setups.
“Ecotech’s Vectra Pump [has a] DC drive,” said Todd Furmanek, store manager at Absolutely Fish in Clifton, N.J. “It’s exter-
nal [and has] a controller. CoralVue makes a [DC pump] that has a controller as well.”
Both do reasonably well for the store, Furmanek said, adding that he also likes to offer Sicce USA pumps.
“For us, it’s just the competitiveness,” he said. “Stores can be competitive with the Sicce pumps compared to online.”
The desire for simplicity is widespread, and manufacturers have taken note, introducing other functions and features into
pumps and filters that serve to reduce labor costs for hobbyists. Aqueon’s LED Pro Power Filters launched last year and feature
an LED cartridge change indicator that flashes when it’s time to replace the cartridge, said Pamela Morisse, digital and media
marketing manager for Central Garden & Pet in Walnut Creek, Calif.
“Filtration is a critical component to maintain a healthy aquatic environment, and keeping track or knowing when it’s time
to replace filter cartridges can be a challenge for new or even experienced fishkeepers,” Morisse said.