69 Pet Product News International
BY E THAN D. MIZER
Tank maintenance and water chemistry prod- ucts have come a very long way over the course of the aquarium hobby’s development, and retailers are finding that both old solutions and new offerings add to their bottom line.
While many traditional maintenance products
still perform for retailers, some recently developed
offerings are selling very well.
“Probiotics are really becoming a big thing,”
said Todd Furmanek, store manager of Absolutely
Fish in Clifton, N.J.
Absolutely Fish has had success with these
products, and the store offers the Dr Tim’s Aquatics
line of probiotics, as well as those from Ecological
Laboratories. These help with aquarium maintenance, but regular upkeep is still required, Furmanek added.
Probiotics haven’t penetrated the saltwater side
of the hobby quite as well as they have the freshwater side, however.
“We’re in the saltwater side of things … we hav-
en’t delved very much into it in our store,” said Jim
Pedicone, general manager of Beyond the Reef in
Schaumburg, Ill. “Although I know it’s becoming
somewhat more popular.”
Still, probiotics formulated for use in reef sys-
tems are becoming increasingly available.
“We started carrying a product called Vibrant
[from Underwater Creations Inc.],” Furmanek said.
“Basically, it’s a probiotic bacteria or probiotic en-
hancer, and we’ve had some very good success
with it here in the store.”
The popularity of probiotics indicates that the
long-time trend of customers wishing to reduce
tank maintenance chores is alive and well.
“Aquarists today lead active, busy lives and are
well-informed when it comes to their buying decisions, so they want products that make aquarium-keeping more convenient,” said Pamela Morisse,
digital and media marketing manager for Walnut
Creek, Calif.-based Central Garden & Pet Co.
Products that are labeled “natural” are increasingly popular with customers as well.
“We actually have a natural section on our
bright-lit shelves,” Furmanek said. “It’s actually
bannered out. When they’re shopping for cleaners,
a lot of people obviously want something that’s en-
vironmentally safe or natural.”
Other retailers stated customers are interested
in natural maintenance products, but geographic
location and local demographics often impact sales.
“Oregon has a lot of naturalists,” said Shane
Billmyre, owner of Caye’s Aquarium in Portland,
Ore. “It is kind of a trend right now.”
However, it is still incumbent upon retailers to
ensure these products adequately address custom-
“Some work really well,” Billmyre said. “
Natural [products] just take a little longer, so it really
depends on the issue that customers are having.”
Pet specialty stores that emphasize proper tank
maintenance and water chemistry can help customers
succeed and stay in the hobby for the long-run.
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