A plethora of aquatic category introductions means attendees have
a lot to check out on the show floor.
A Flood of New Products in Aquatics
By Ethan D. Mizer
The aquarium category has come a long way in re- cent years, and a wide variety of new products in the category are debuting here at SuperZoo 2018.
Everything from new tech to décor and food items is appearing for the first time at the show, and attendees will
have a lot of booths to visit if they want to take it all in.
Lifegard Aquatics (booth 3978), headquartered in
Cerritos, Calif., has a bevy of new products, including
its Promax UV Sterilizer, said president Neal Dulaney. It
features an angled inlet and outlet designed for easy installation and a countdown ballast that reminds aquarists that it is time to replace the bulb. The company is
also introducing its Crystal Aquarium line, featuring
ultra-clear, low-iron glass and ranging in size from 4 to
15 gallons with three configurations.
Lifegard’s new line of full-spectrum LED lights
boasts 10 times the output of the company’s previous
LED chip, ranging from 10 inches to 72 inches in length.
The company’s other new offerings include a line of
remote-controlled LED lights, an addition to the Quiet
One pump line, a lineup of flexible tubing, new bamboo
fountains in the pond category, and a line of rock and
New fish food offerings are also on tap at SuperZoo,
and probiotics are a hot topic right now.
Cobalt Aquatics (booth 4148), headquartered in Rock
Hill, S.C., is launching Cobalt Ultra Fresh Pellets natural
fish foods, said Les Wilson, co-founder/marketing for
the company. The line is formulated with 100 percent
all-natural ingredients and serves as a pre- and probiot-ic-enhanced pellet food in a wide variety of flavors and
sizes, he added.
Dr. Tim’s Aquatics (booth 3826), based in Moorpark,
Calif., is introducing its Waste-Away Time Release Gels,
formulated to automatically and continuously release
good bacteria into the aquarium, said owner and president Dr. Timothy Hovanec. They come in two variet-ies, one each for freshwater and marine aquariums, and
three sizes for aquariums up to 10 gallons, 30 gallons
and 75 gallons.
Diets designed to mimic live foods are also making
an appearance on the show floor.
From Hikari Sales USA (booth 1727), based in Hayward, Calif., new Vibra-Bites are color-enhancing and
formulated to mimic frozen bloodworms in the aquarium, said president Chris Clevers. The company has also
launched its Canadian Mysis Shrimp in cube form along
with two new reef blends.
New equipment offerings include products from
Spectrum and Python Products.
Tetra, a brand of Spectrum Brands Pet (booth 3545),
based in Blacksburg, Va., is showing some of its latest
product introductions, including Whisper IQ filters and
Stay Clean Cartridge Technology, said Stacey Harbour,
division vice president, pet marketing, for the company.
Milwaukee-based Python Products (booth 3849),
Wis., is highlighting its new tubing in a larger 1-inch
diameter size, said president Lance Reyniers.
Natural-outfitted aquariums and planted tanks are
among the trends attendees can spot on the show floor.
“Natural décor and aquascaping is having a huge moment right now, as are nano aquariums of all kinds,” said
Michael Acerra, digital marketing manager for Haup-pauge, N. Y. -based Penn-Plax (booth 3371).
In addition to the trend toward nano and natural
aquariums, LEDs continue to grow in popularity, with
changes to lighting designed to accommodate aquarist
demand for smaller lights and full-spectrum output.
“Obviously, LED lighting is huge,” Dulaney
said. “There’s a big trend toward freshwater planted
Further, fish keepers are increasingly humanizing
their pets, and food offerings are reflecting this trend.
“We are seeing the pet food industry, in general, start
to mimic trends in human foods,” Wilson said. “There is
a big push from consumers for healthy, natural foods for
pets, and fish are no exception.”
Reyniers sees a move toward products that are made
in the USA, as well.
“We’re 100 percent made in America,” he added. “We
always have been. We always will be.”
PLAN OF ACTION
Industry participants advise attendees to start the day
with a “plan of action,” given the size of the show and
wealth of offerings on the show floor.
“There are so many cool things to see at these shows,
and it can be easy to get overwhelmed by how massive
the show is,” Acerra said.
Staying organized is a great way to maximize time on
the show floor.
“Take a show program and highlight all the aquatics
manufacturers,” Dulaney said. “I would make sure I go
see every one of them. There aren’t a lot of us, but we’re all
spread apart all over the show floor, so you could easily
There are so many new offerings in the aquarium
category, it is possible that some attendees will be over-
whelmed. However, exhibitors say the best approach is
simply taking the opportunity to talk to suppliers.
“The conscientious retailers are the ones going to the
show so they can talk directly to the manufacturers,” Rey-
niers said. “Ask blunt questions. Talk to people. Don’t
just think you know the answer. Interact. There’s no such
thing as a dumb question.”
In addition to being inquisitive, it might help to keep
notes to avoid forgetting important information learned
on the show floor.
“When you are in your priority booths, make sure to
take time to talk with the reps, look at product, and take
notes and pictures if the company will allow you,” Wil-
son said. “This will help you tremendously when you get
home and try to remember everything you saw and dis-
cussions you had at the show.”
Using the show to survey the aquatics category and
learn about trends also is helpful.
“At SuperZoo, retailers have incredible access to re-
sources that can help them accomplish their priorities,”
Harbour said. “Retailers [can take the opportunity to]
identify any gaps they have in their product offerings or
their own education about category products.”
Conversations benefit everyone in attendance, and
manufacturers and sales reps get just as much out of re-
tailers’ time as retailers themselves do.
“The conversation is a two-way street, as we learn
what is happening in the market and can respond to the
needs of the retailer,” Dr. Hovanec of said.
Still, time management is key for attendees.
“[Retailers] should leave time at the end of the day
to do the things they cannot do while they are following
their time schedule and agenda,” Clevers said. “If they try
to avoid distractions, they will tend to get done what they
need to call the show a success.”
The show is, ultimately, about putting resources back
into the business, and attendees will get out what they put
in, many industry insiders reported.
“You have got to invest in your business,” Dulaney
said. “Relationships are the key to doing business, and if
retailers have a relationship directly with manufacturers,
they get more comfortable, they understand the products
more, they understand what they can offer and they’re
more likely to do business.” •