BY LARUE PALMER
Although they’ve been around for years, nano tanks are growing in popularity these days, as manufacturers in the segment seek to grab the attention of both seasoned and entry-level aquarists
with equipment that is easier to use and more efficient than ever.
;;efinitely, the nano tanks are driving the business on both ends
of the spectrum,” said Frank Kudla, vice president of sales and mar-
keting for Aquatop, based in ;rea, Calif. ;;e;re seeing more people
getting into the hobby for the first time because the threshold to entry
has gotten dramatically lower from a price standpoint, and they’re
successful in the hobby.”
Among the most notable developments to occur in the segment in
recent years is the fact that manufacturers are making better-quality
equipment at more affordable prices.
“There have always been cheap kits out there through big-box
stores, but they really had very poor equipment, so your chances for
success in the hobby were pretty limited,” ;udla said. ;Nowadays,
you go into an independent retailer or even a national retailer to buy a
nano kit and the equipment it comes with is pretty good. The filtration
is pretty good and the lighting is pretty good, so your chances for success now at the entry level are much greater than ;; or ;; years ago.”
The nano tank trend is also being driven by the increasing number
of consumers who want the beauty of an aquarium in their homes
without the hassles often associated with keeping one.
;Nano tanks are becoming a lifestyle,” said ;ill ;ymard, a marine
biologist and the owner of Aquarium Adventure in ;illiard, ;hio. ;A
nano tank makes a lot nicer statement from an aesthetic standpoint,
because when you look at an aquarium as part of your lifestyle in the
home, you see a self;contained unit with a neater, cleaner look.”
Still, consumers should know that maintenance is necessary for
the upkeep of all tanks.
“You have two maintenance chores with any aquarium; one is partial water e;changes, and the other is cleaning algae,” ;ymard said.
“Those chores become a little bit easier with a self-contained, all-in-one aquarium, but they;re all the same ;ob. ;ou;re going to have to do
it no matter what size aquarium ;you have;.”
A Nano for Everyone
Both novices and pros are embracing the nano tank trend, thanks to improved technology and emerging consumer trends.
A GUIDING HAND
Manufacturers are focusing on the functionality of nano aquariums while at the same time creating beautiful pieces
of living furniture that fit into the consumer’s lifestyle. However, new aquarists often require some guidance from the
experts in order to have a successful entry into the hobby.
The initial step of choosing an aquarium can be daunting. Sean Raines, market specialist for Spectrum Brands in
Blacksburg, Va., understands this very well.
“Not knowing what to buy when first starting in this hobby can be a barrier to entry,” Raines said. “Some newcom-
ers find themselves overwhelmed by the number of choices, while others may make choices that lead to problems;
both can be formulas for early dropout. That’s why we offer kits that supply the basics they’ll need for a successful
start. It’s important to include the essentials so that they can concentrate on the fun part of decorating and choosing
their favorite fish.”
Jesse Stach, aquatic manager for Denny’s Pet World in Kirkland, Wash., said he focuses on educating “customers
according to the type of aquarium they want, and what type of fish they’ve already decided they want.”
However, getting shoppers who are new to the hobby to understand the nuances of fishkeeping is not always easy.
“The challenge is being sure to give them enough information so that they can make that aquarium work, because
most people come at me and say, ‘It’s just a fish!’
“I physically show them how to maintain their new tank, and I try to teach them that it’s not just furniture, that
fish have personalities and a hierarchy, and that they’re dealing with a miniature ecosystem,” Stach said.
Functioning displays are another way to show customers exactly what is involved in maintaining an aquarium.
“We actually developed a special rack for our stores just to hold and display all three sizes of our smaller tanks so
that their customers could see all the equipment that’s being used in the setup,” said Kyle Thaman, customer service
manager for Cobalt Aquatics, based in Rockhill, S.C. “The tanks were stocked with plants and fish, and there’s also a
spot on the rack for fish food and heaters and so on, so that in one spot they could see everything they would need to
set themselves up at home.”
What are some of the advantages of promoting nano tanks?