Pet Product News International 37
urally purified. This will reduce the amount of algae
from growing inside a tank as the plants outcompete
it for nutrients, allowing the fish tank to be much more
of a self-sustainable ecosystem.
trufaNt: GloFish—the fish themselves and all of the
products sold with them. Tiny tanks—nano tanks—
make it easy for people to get into the hobby and be
successful. Most recently, colorful nano shrimp. We
set up a 4-foot section to display and sell as many
varieties as we can get our hands on.
What is going on in the fish food marketplace?
What is new, and what are the trends?
DoNstoN: The fish food marketplace has been trending for the past 10 to 15 years. There is no doubt we
are better at keeping a larger diversity of fish alive
because of the maturation progress of fish foods. I do
not see anything that stands out today except they all
are producing higher-quality natural foods with less
fillers and the use of probiotics.
Ma: Many hobbyists are no longer feeding their fish
the typical flake and pellet foods that make up the
majority of the fish food market. The majority of
these foods are composed primarily of fillers such
as soy or corn meal and flour-based ingredients that
won’t do the fish any good in the long run. Many
bloat, and swim bladder problems are also a result of
low-grade fish foods.
There are a handful of companies now using complete protein sources from sustainable sources that the
fish can benefit from and also easily digest. The newest food to hit the market and fly off our shelves has
been the Fluval Bug Bites food line. It is composed of
insect larvae protein, which many fish in the wild are
usually hunting for. It has an odor that attracts many
fish almost immediately, and from our first test batch,
many fish, including the wild-caught species, went
right after the food without hesitation.
Many of the fish food brands are also adding probiotics to their ingredients. This allows the fish to have
better digestion, which, in turn, becomes a method of
waste control as it helps the aquarium water remain
much more clean. Probiotics also reduce the need for
antibiotics later down the line, as it helps them maintain a healthier immune system. Many times, parasites
find their way into fish tanks—through the introduction of new fish, a bad batch of food, etc.—however,
with healthier immune and digestive systems, the risk
is minimized, as they can fight it off more effectively.
trufaNt: Fluval Bug Bites from Hagen. As more people are looking at healthier options for themselves,
many are looking for healthier options for their
pets—including their fish.
What are consumers looking for in aquariums and
supplies? What products are trending?
Ma: Many hobbyists are looking for simplicity when
it comes to aquariums and supplies. The majority
of them are looking for a tank that doesn’t require
tedious work and only requires buying a handful
of supplies that will last them at least a few water
changes before having to replace them again. When
it comes to proper tank setup, especially during the
initial setup period, we make sure they understand
how important it is to have an aquarium be properly
cycled and make sure they take their time and buy
all the right supplies to get the parameters right.
Many companies such as Fluval or Aqueon now
have complete tank kits that include everything
necessary to get the tank up and running. This includes all the fundamental equipment such as the
filter, filter media, LED, lid, thermometer, fish net,
water conditioner and biological bacteria needed
for proper tank cycling. Not only does it take the
confusion out of having the new hobbyist trying to
figure out what they need to get and purchasing
each thing one by one, but it saves our staff time,
and they are able to show the steps more thoroughly in an efficient and effective manner.
There are other hobbyists with more intermediate fishkeeping skills who would like to take on other advanced fishkeeping projects such as a planted
aquarium with very demanding plants and finicky
fish. What has worked for us is building a set that
we would personally use ourselves and selling it as
a complete set. This often includes a more advanced
lighting system and other items such as hardscape,
trufaNt: Shrimp and shrimp tanks. Different kinds of
fancy bettas—crown tail, half moon, koi, delta butterfly, plakat, black orchid crown tail and platinum
orchid crown tail.
In which categories would you like to see
more product innovation and problem-solving
developments from manufacturers in the
DoNstoN: I think manufacturers should work on how
they distribute their products and be better suited to
control MAP policies. We hear a lot about the impossibility of doing this, but we can see it’s done very
efficiently in other industries. For some reason, we
are light-years behind.
Ma: Surface film tends to build up on the water surface as a result of protein, dust and other particles. It
is more than just an eyesore, though. This can hinder
an aquarium from having the right balance between
owner of Absolutely
Fish in Clifton, N.J.
9Optimizes food utilization
9Strengthens the immune
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