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Keep Up With Tech Trends

By Sara Keegan

Technology has become a part of our daily lifestyle, so it makes sense that it has also found its
way into the aquarium tank. Fishkeepers may be looking for new products to keep up with the new times.

“The consumers are always looking for something that’s going to make their life easier and have a little fun with their hobby,” said Brian Shavlik, national sales manager for Hydor USA, Inc.

Many companies are stepping up with products that are more technological and innovative, and the trend is catching on.

Hydor has found success with its Aqamai products. The Aqamai KPS Wavemaker pump and the LRM Reef Light are controlled by Wi-Fi and can be accessed by its users on the mobile app.

“Through the app, the user can run one of the multiple default programs for either the KPS Wavemaker Pump or the LRM Reef Light to define their specific needs using one of the selected programs or use our program as a template to design their own,” Shavlik said.

There is a Need
Technological innovation can be fun, but it can also be vital to raising certain fish. Jellyfish, for example, can be very hard to care for without the proper equipment. Enter Jellyfish Art, a company aiming to allow hobbyists to have jellyfish in the home. Jellyfish Art makes pseudokreisel tanks, which help keep conditions jellyfish-friendly.

“Specifically for jellyfish, as far as the aquariums, it needs to be a simulation of an open water environment,” said Joe Turner, general manager for Jellyfish Art.

Pseudo-kreisel tanks—“Kreisel is basically a cylinder that’s on its side,” Turner said—create similar conditions jellyfish would encounter in the ocean. The design is important for the movement of the jellyfish as well as its eating habits.

“When you add food to the tank that doesn’t have the right flow, food will sink to the bottom,” Turner said.

Another feature of the pseudo-kreisel tank is the spray bar, which creates this flow, along with an air pump.

“In the 5 [Jellyfish Art’s most recent release, the Jelly Cylinder 5] specifi cally, it’s a dual output pump: one is for the down fl ow and one is from the fl ow that comes from the bottom of the aquarium,” said Turner, who added that the air pump is important because it needs to create the proper flow in the tank. It also doesn’t produce heat in the water, which results in the perfect condition for the jellyfi sh.

Keeping Control
Premium Aquatics, a retailer based out of Edinburgh, Indiana, carries high-tech products from the higher-end companies, such as EcoTech Marine and Maxspect.

“A lot of the more popular pumps and equipment are all very controllable now,” said Luke Plank, customer service specialist for Premium Aquatics. EcoTech Marine’s line of VorTech QuietDrive pumps come in diff erent sizes to fit different tanks and all have wireless capability. The manufacturer also features its Vectra line of DC controllable pumps.

Additionally, EcoTech sells its Radion line of LED lighting. New to this line is the Radion G4, featuring energy-effi cient LEDs with a full color spectrum. All of these products can be controlled via EcoSmart Live, a cloud-based application that can help the fi shkeeper control all their high-tech products with just an internet connection. Maxspect also provides a high-tech pump line, the Gyre200 Series, as well as its Ethereal line of LED lighting. Th e Ethereal series can connect to Wi-Fi through the ICV6 app, which is connected through the ICV6 Integrated Controller, which is sold separately.

Rachel Creech, co-owner of Adventure Pets in Mandeville, Louisiana, says that remote controlled and programmable lights are popular among those looking to invest in some high-tech gear, and her store does sell them.

Cobalt Aquatics is a company that offers app-driven, Wi-Fi controlled LED lights. Its C-RAY Led light fixtures have circular Halo moon lights to provide strong output in one full spectrum. Elive, meanwhile, makes an inline LED timer to make turning aquarium lights on and off even easier. According to the company’s website, the timer plugs in between the LED light and the power source.

“Sunrise/Sunset mode simulates a sunrise and sunset in your aquarium, providing your animals with a more natural lighting cycle—helping to reduce stress and promote natural behaviors,” the Elive website explains.

And what attracts customers to the high-tech products? Many think it’s due to the convenience of keeping up with a hobby without it taking over your life.

“I think, nowadays, people want to be able to set it and not necessarily forget it, but they want to have something they don’t have to check every day,” Plank said.

A Positive Impact
Bill Wymard, owner of Columbus, Ohio’s 11,000-square-foot Aquarium Adventure retail store, says advancements in aquatic technology—especially in terms of maintenance and husbandry—has especially had a positive impact on families and children who keep aquariums. Now that tanks are easier to maintain, there is more time for families to actually enjoy their aquatic pets.

Wymard also points out that many families now have desktop nanotank aquariums, which, thanks to technology, are “completely inclusive with the fi lter and the lighting systems, keeping the aquarium easier and more self-contained.”

The ability for this containment technology has also helped with aesthetics, making these types of tanks more desirable for families who want to put the tanks in their living room or on the kitchen counter or desktop.

“In the old days, we had aquariums with things that would hang off the back, and you would need multiple lights that fi t on diff erent ways,” Wymard said. “And though they all worked fine, the appearance wasn’t always the best, particularly if you’re thinking about homes and lifestyles.”

Advanced technology in lighting—having the ability to change the intensity and color of LED lighting through either using a remote or an app—is the technology that most excites his customers, Wymard notes. The real hightech customer will shop for “filters and water quality analysis equipment that can all be done with an app on the phone to monitor and manage water quality,” he said.

Whatever level of aquarium technology one is seeking, Wymard says that all make having an aquarium more fun.

“I see where the technology has improved and made it a lot more fun to have an aquarium,” Wymard said. “We really want to learn and enjoy keeping fish, and I think technology has made that easier over the years so more people can get involved.”

CatCon: A Weekend for Cat Lovers

The third annual CatCon, presented by Rachael Ray Nutrish, brought 15,000 cat lovers together for a weekend of feline frenzy at the Pasadena Convention Center on Saturday, August 12, and Sunday, August 13. Attendees participated in experiential activations, explored new products and fashion for both themselves and their four-legged friends, and met with some of the most famous internet cats in the world. Over 150 cats and kittens were adopted in the 4,000-square-foot adoption lounge created by Nutrish with felines provided by Pasadena Humane and SPCA.

This year also brought the first ever CatCon Awards, recognizing winners in five different categories, including Biggest Newcomer, which was won by Sir Thomas Trueheart, of Milo’s Sanctuary. Actor Ian Somerhalder presented the Advocate of the Year Award to ‘Kitten Lady’ Hannah Shaw, who has dedicated her life to helping neo-natal kittens.

Celebrities—both human and feline—were in abundance, including actor Gilles Marini, model Tess Holliday, Lil BUB, Tricia Helfer, Addison Riecke, Shrinkle, Jackson Galaxy, Cats of Instagram, Pudge, Nala Cat and siblings White Coffee Cat and Luna Rose, Lizzy Greene, and more.

Over 140 vendors showcased their cat-centric products in the areas of art, furniture, clothing, accessories and design for cats and their people, with many returning exhibitors exceeding sales from the year prior and many completely selling out of merchandise.


Jackson Galaxy from Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell made a surprise appearance at the PetSmart booth

Cat rapper MoShow (@iammoshow) gave two exclusive performances to the crowd

Actress Julie Newmar held court all day Saturday meeting fans and signing autographs

The Rachael Ray Nutrish booth offered attendees their very own ‘Caticature’ mash­up (that’s a caricature of themselves melded with one of their cat) as well as provided a 360 photo opp

Gilles Marini, renowned DJ Catstradamous, Lil BUB and her dad Mike Bridavsky and Chris Poole (dad of Cole & Marmalade) spoke with Rachel DeMita in the seminar, “Men and Cats: A Love Story.”

(Photo courtesy of CatCon Worldwide/Rich Hardcastle)

See more photos from the event here.

PetSmart CEO Steps Down

PetSmart, Inc. announced that Michael J. Massey has decided to step down from his position as chief executive officer, president and board member. The board of directors has accepted his resignation, and Raymond Svider will serve as executive chairman to oversee the company’s operations with the senior leadership team. The board has initiated a search for Massey’s replacement.

Massey joined PetSmart as CEO when it went private in 2015 and has led the company through a critical phase of strategic transformation creating strong growth and profitability.

“On behalf of the board, we thank Michael for leading PetSmart through a period of transformation and growth, uniquely positioning the company to lead in the growing pet industry and outperform in the specialty retail category,” said Svider, a managing partner at BC Partners. “Michael was instrumental in creating an efficient, customer-focused retail organization and developing the company’s growth strategy. This includes the recent acquisition of Chewy, making PetSmart the leading brick and mortar and online retailer in the industry. We respect Michael’s decision and are grateful for his many achievements while CEO of PetSmart.”

“It has been an honor to work in partnership with BC Partners and the incredibly talented PetSmart team,” Massey said. “I am pleased that, in such a short time, we have achieved the operating goals we set out at the acquisition of PetSmart to create a highly profitable and fast growing retailer that leads both in brick and mortar and online, which is unique in retail. With the structural changes achieved, I believe PetSmart is well positioned for the future and will continue to be the trusted partner to pet parents and pets.”

Ello to Offer Kitty Pot Munchie Toys

Ello Pet Supply is adding Kitty Pot’s Munchie line of six new toys to its distribution list. Kitty Pot sales benefit Harley’s Hope Foundation, a charity that ensures low-income pet parents and their companion or service animals may remain together when issues arise. Their goal is to prevent at-risk animEllo_Logoals from being surrendered or euthanized for treatable conditions and behaviors.

Ello will offer six catnip toys handmade in Colorado with organic catnip: Kickin Back Kitty, Cornish Crown, Bobtail Bop, Ragdoll Roll, Tabby’s Taco and Purrrsian Pizza. The taco and pizza toys are refillable.

“As demand increases for cat toys in the marketplace, we looked for made-in-USA cat toys that had a strong Give Back Program,” Ello Pet Supply President Jaime Rowe said. “Kitty Pot works directly with Harley’s Hope Foundation which was very important to us and our cus

ShopKetti, Pet Connections Expo Announce Partnership

ShopKetti, LLC is formally announcing a partnership with Pet Connections Expo for its upcoming trade show. With this partnership, ShopKetti will be offering use of its trade show tool, Merchant, to all buyers and store owners throughout the duration of the show to better facilitate on-the-ground transactions and finalize orders in real time. By using Merchant, Pet Connections will be able to provide invaluable sales and performance data to buyers and manufacturers after the show. Users will be able to access a digital copy of all orders placed during the show, letting them keep track of their total spent at all times and greatly increasing security for all parties involved. Merchant also works offline, so users can still take orders when not connected via data or WiFi. Merchant was first launched in March of this year and has been used at multiple trade shows since launch.

“We hope that this is the first of many such partnerships, and Pet Connections is the perfect place to start,” said Eric Najjar, CEO and co-founder of ShopKetti.

In addition to completing transactions during the show, buyers and manufacturers will be provided with important metrics by Pet Coshopkettinnection after the show that were tracked by Merchant, such as best-selling products by sales, revenue and percent of market captured, helping vendors more clearly see what their customers bought and where they should focus on expanding offerings. Pet Connections Expo will also have access to the data, making this the first time a trade show has access to what’s happening on the premises, helping them tailor future strategy and identifying attendee pain points.

“We are always looking to exceed the expectations of our attendees and exhibitors and look forward to offering a technology backed service, something no other show is offering yet,” said Bill Doherty, show director of Pet Connections Expo. “Exhibitors will have data on what worked and what didn’t and will be able to advertise show-exclusive discounts through Merchant that would normally only be shown in a heavy, physical trade show catalog.”

Pet Connections Expo will take place on October 3-4 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center and will focus on attracting retailers from the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S and is not affiliated with any exclusive trade associations.

Kent Pet Group Names New VP

Steve Gordon has joined Kent Pet Group (KPG) as the new vice president – Marketing. Gordon joins KPG after a long and successful tenure with ACH Food Companies in the Chicago metro area. Gordon brings strong skills in marketing management with specific strengths in brand innovation and evolution and in working with sales to best integrate brand and sales strategies.  He also has strong experience in licensing, leveraging cause marketing and building brands. He holds a bachelor of science from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the University of Iowa.

The Kent Pet Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Kent Corporation, headquartered in Muscatine, Iowa, develops, produces and delivers research-proven, innovative solutions for dog and cat customers throughout the United States and select global markets.

Kent Corporation is a diversified family owned corporation with subsidiary companies developing science and nutrition-based finished food products, food and beverage ingredients, nutraceutical and personal care applications, animal nutrition and companion animal products. In addition to Kent Pet Group, the subsidiary companies consist of Grain Processing Corporation (GPC), Kent Nutrition Group, headquartered in Muscatine Iowa, and Kent Precision Foods Group headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.

Brookside Barkery, Nature’s Logic Donate to Chain of Hope KC

Brookside Barkery & Bath teamed up with Nature’s Logic to donate 2,000 pounds of food to Chain of Hope KC in Raytown, Missouri, on August 15.

Nature’s Logic, Brookside Barkery Donate 2K Pounds of Food to Dogs in Need at Kansas City’s Chain of Hope

Today, Brookside Barkery teamed up with pet food manufacturer Nature’s Logic to donate a 2,000 pound palette of dog food to Chain of Hope KC.

As a pioneering all-natural pet food store, Brookside Barkery says it is dedicated to making sure all dogs at Chain of Hope get the healthiest food possible.

“We truly believe in Chain of Hope’s mission to help abused and neglected pets throughout Kansas City,” Brookside Barkery owner Delena Stout said. “Chain of Hope’s amazing dedication to helping neglected pets in any way they can is a huge inspiration to us all. We’re thrilled to be able to team with Nature’s Logic and make a major donation to the cause.”

Chain of Hopes was formed in 2010 with a goal to alleviate the suffering of abused and neglected animals within the urban core of Kansas City. Chain of Hope rescues, rehabilitates, re-homes or transfers homeless or unwanted pets as well as providing public education on the proper care and treatment of animals. Chain of Hope’s mission is to reduce pet overpopulation by spaying and neutering.

Nature’s Logic was founded in 2005 and focuses on the benefits of whole food nutrition without using added synthetic supplements widely used in the pet food industry to meet the nutritional analytical levels of dog and cat food. The ultimate goal of Nature’s Logic is to provide the most nutritious and safest product that people can feel good about feeding their canine and feline family.

Brookside Barkery & Bath was founded in 2003 to provide customers with a variety of high quality, all-natural pet products and a strong desire to educate customers about each one of them.

See more photos from the donation drop off here.


The third annual CatCon, presented by Rachael Ray Nutrish, was held at the Pasadena Convention Center August 12 and 13. (Photos courtesy CatCon Worldwide/Andrew Marttila)

Andis Company Hosts Global Education Summit for Education Teams at Wisconsin Headquarters

Andis Company, a manufacturer of handheld tools for the barber and beauty and animal grooming industries, recently hosted the brand’s global education teams at its first-ever Global Education Summit. Held August 7-8 at the Andis Corporate Headquarters and the SC Johnson iMET Center in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, the event brought together 33 educators from seven different countries—the United States, England, Australia, Canada, Chile, Sweden and Spain—to share industry insights and trends, sharpen their skills as presenters and brand ambassadors, and provide input on future education programs.

“At Andis, education has always been at the forefront of our business, and we are very excited to host these talented professionals from around the globe,” said Karen Formico, Andis vice president of marketing. “As a 95-year-old company, we are proud to share our industry experience as we develop the tools and resources needed to teach the art of clipper cutting and inspire barbers, stylists and animal groomers.”

The two-day event, which included sessions on new Andis products, branding on social media and educator best practices was spearheaded by Andis Animal Education Manager Megan Mouser and Barber & Beauty Education Manager Jessica Zeinstra. The educators’ visit also included a trip to the Wisconsin State Fair where the entire team was able to attend a cattle fitting demonstration by Andis Large Animal Educators Kirk and Ky Stierwalt.

Pet Sitters International Sets Pet Sitting Industry Standards with New Certification

Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s leading educational association for professional pet sitters, has announced its new certification which outlines the body of knowledge necessary for professional pet sitters and offers the first-ever knowledge-assessed examination specifically for the pet-sitting industry.

“As the pet care industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds, it’s more important than ever before that professional pet sitters have a way to demonstrate their knowledge and distinguish themselves as qualified, competent professionals,” PSI President Patti J. Moran said. “It’s also vital that pet owners understand what to look for when selecting pet care providers, and we encourage them to look for a pet sitter who has earned the CPPS—Certified Professional Pet Sitter designation.”

PSI has obtained the legally trademarked certification mark of CPPS—Certified Professional Pet Sitter to award to professional pet sitters who successfully demonstrate their knowledge and skills by obtaining a passing score on the CPPS Exam.

The CPPS exam evaluates pet sitters’ knowledge of pet care, pet safety, health and sanitation, and best business practices.

For more than two decades, PSI has offered pet sitting courses and programs to help pet sitters obtain the knowledge and skill set necessary to own and operate professional pet sitting businesses, but this new exam is the first of its kind in the industry.

“While our educational programs have been invaluable in providing thousands of pet sitters with the information they needed to successfully start and grow their businesses over the years, PSI understands that changes in the industry require us to take the next steps to recognize the most qualified professional pet sitters,” Moran said. “Equally as important are our ongoing efforts to educate the pet-owning public about the importance of these standards in the pet-sitting industry. Today’s pets are true family members who deserve the very best care when an owner can’t be there.”

To learn more about the CPPS Exam, visit

Treatibles Expands with Addition of New National Sales Manager

Treatibles, an industry leader in hemp sourced phytocannabinoid rich (PCR) chews, oils and gel caps for pets, announced that Erin Hay has been named as the company’s national sales manager.

Hay, who Treatibles says is widely recognized and respected throughout the pet industry for her years of sales experience, strong foundation in pet health and outstanding client relations skills, was most recently the national sales representative for Nordic Naturals’ pet division. She now brings her dynamic skills of a seasoned saleswoman and passion for pet wellness to Treatibles.

“Erin’s proven experience in the pet nutraceutical space along with her attention to detail, excellent communication skills, and goal-oriented perspective make her the perfect leader for our growing sales force,” said Julianna Carella, CEO and founder of Treatibles.

Bentley’s Pet Stuff Donates Over 200K Pounds of Pet Food to Organizations in Need This Year

Pet rescue agencies and shelters work tirelessly to find forever homes for the animals in their care. To show thanks and support, Bentley’s Pet Stuff regularly donates pet food to organizations in need.

This month, Bentley’s has reached a milestone, having donated over 200,000 pounds of pet food this year throughout 10 states to over 150 different shelters, pet rescue agencies and non-profit organizations.

Founder and President Lisa Senafe, along with Vice President and husband, Giovanni, say they are grateful of their conscientious staff and wonderful customers, along with partnering local and national distributors and pet industry manufacturers, for helping demonstrate the company’s commitment to its communities to improve the well-being of animals in need.

“Helping pets achieve great lives comes in three actions: feed them foods that give them life, encourage a physically and mentally stimulating life, and choose treats that encourage health and good behavior,” Lisa Senafe said.

Bentley’s Pet Stuff, with 82 locations, has provided support to community organizations such as Meals on Wheels, Guide Dogs of America, local area humane societies and pet rescue groups, libraries, and elementary, middle, and high schools.  As the company continues to expand, it’s building additional resources to help more communities.

“Our communities continue to support us through our rapid growth. So it’s vital as a company to look beyond profits and give back,” Giovanni Senafe said. “As community gathering places for our customers and their pets, our stores and staff are thankful to have been able to collect and donate an unprecedented 200,000 pounds of pet food just this year.”

Bentley’s Pet Stuff has donated over 400,000 pounds of pet food since first opening its doors in 2008.

Aquatic Life Debuts its Classic Reverse Osmosis/Deionization Filtration Series

Expanding on its line of reverse osmosis (RO) and deionization (DI) water filtration systems, Aquatic Life is debuting its Classic RO/DI Series into the aquarium marketplace. The classic series is comprised of three models—a three-stage RO unit, a four-stage RO/DI unit and a dual DI filtration unit—and feature tried-and-true technology necessary for growing plants and keeping fish.

“We wanted to create a series that would allow the hobbyist to customize their RO/DI systems to their preferences,” said Michael Elliott, co-owner of Aquatic Life. “The models in the Classic Series are great options for those just getting into water filtration systems and for those who are looking to adapt their current system based on the contaminants in their water.”

Filtering up to 100 gallons per day (GPD), the new Classic RO/DI Filtration Series undergo a multi-stage process to perform specific functions essential for creating a healthy aquarium environment. Using standard 10-inch carbon and sediment cartridges encased in clear housing canisters, the Classic 50 GPD three-stage RO unit removes harmful substances such as heavy metal ions and total dissolved solids (TDS) from tap water. The Classic 100 GPD four-stage RO/DI unit takes water purification one step further, utilizing a membrane pressure gauge and a fourth DI resin cartridge that changes colors when exhausted and time to replace.

For hobbyists who have an RO unit but want to add a DI system for further filtering, the Classic Dual Deionization Filtration unit is a great addition. After water is filtered by an RO membrane, it passes through a color-changing resin cartridge where the remaining TDS is removed from the water. Once the TDS is removed, hobbyists can take the purified water and add back the correct amounts of trace elements to better match natural ocean water.

The Classic RO/DI Filtration Series includes tubing, water supply connections, cartridges and the membrane. For more information about Aquatic Life and its premium product offerings, please visit


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