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Catering to the Consumer’s Taste

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Every pet retailer knows that there exists a seemingly endless variety of aquarium decorations.

Given this, manufacturers continue to produce interesting, attractive, and sometimes innovative new décor items sure to capture an aquarist’s imagination.

Kid Approved

Resin aquarium decorations have long been popular, and there is a tremendous variety of them to choose from. These can range from the classic treasure chests and octopuses to more modern designs.

Paul Demas, project manager at Penn-Plax, Inc., is particularly excited about décor that attracts kids to the aquarium hobby.

“We feel a major effort is necessary to get the next generation involved,” he said. “With that in mind we have put forth great effort in developing ‘kid friendly’ aquarium décor, to help get young people involved in our wonderful hobby. We have found that fun and whimsical décor along with licensed products really captures the attention of the younger demographic. We have some very new and exciting licensed resin aquarium décor that should really appeal to younger hobbyists. Making it fun for kids is what it is all about.”

Some of the new Penn-Plax resin décor items designed with the goal of getting young hobbyists interested in fish keeping feature beloved children’s characters including SpongeBob SquarePants, the Little Mermaid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and characters from Finding Nemo. Along with these designs are the Gazers, resin skulls with faux ruby eyes.

“All of these items are fun and designed to capture the imagination of the younger hobbyist, as well as the big kid in all of us,” Demas said. “Getting kids started at an early age is critical in building lifelong hobbyists.”

Exotic Options

Blue Ribbon Pet Products has added a wide range of new items to their Exotic Environments line of resin aquarium decorations. There are three pixies to add a whimsical touch to any tank.

Bronze Buddha with Plants, Happy Buddha with Plants, and Buddha Warrior with Plants helps create a serene, mystical environment. For the more fanciful minded consumers, there’s the UFO Crash Cave, the Viking Helmet Cave, and the T-Rex and Triceratops Nests. For those who like bubbling ornaments, Blue Ribbon offers a realistic Bubbling Alligator in two sizes.

All items in the Exotic Environment line are safe for freshwater and saltwater use, and many, like the Driftwood and Ram’s Head Skull, can also be used in terrariums.

Complimenting Each Other

It’s no secret that GloFish are wildly popular. These little genetic marvels have taken the aquarium hobby by storm. Tetra, part of United Pet Group, is launching a line of décor products designed to complement the unique colors and lighting of a GloFish aquarium.

For inside the tank, there are new additions to the GloFish Aquarium Plants and the GloFish Resin Ornaments lines. The plants come in fluorescent and pearlescent colors, and stand out beautifully under an aquarium’s blue lighting. The new varieties are Small White Moneywort, Large White Bacopa, Small Moonrise Pink Bacopa, Medium Moonrise Pink Moneywort and Medium Moonrise Pink Moneywort. The GloFish Resin Ornament line introduces five new additions, featuring natural designs and fluorescent paint highlights that stand out beautifully under blue LED lights.

For outside the GloFish tank, Tetra has two reversible backgrounds: Jellyfish/Anemone and Cityscape/Cave. These will fit aquariums up to 10 gallons and look dazzling under the lighting typical of a GloFish tank.

Recently, manufacturers have started incorporating LEDs into fish tank décor. Aqueon is expanding its popular line of flexible LED bubble wands to include multi-colored models. Multi-Color Bubble Wands change color continuously while creating a decorative bubble curtain in the aquatic habitat. The flexible wands allow for bending around décor and creating that perfect, customized aquarium. For freshwater or marine aquariums, the Multi-Color Bubble Wands are available in 14-inch and 21-inch sizes.

When it comes to selling décor to retail consumers, it’s important to not just consider the individual items you offer, but also to think about the bigger picture.

Can your customers completely outfit their tanks in your store? Do you have a range of different items that match in style?

“Whether hobbyists create a natural environment in their tank or they throw convention aside and choose bold décor pieces, there is a common trend among them: consumers are looking for coordinated décor,” Catherine Langford, product manager of aquarium environments at United Pet Group, said.

Taking advantage of this tendency could mean organizing décor by theme on the shelves or setting up a themed display tank or two in the store to demonstrate the possibilities to your customers.

“One of the biggest trends influencing aquarium décor preferences is what I refer to as the Pinterest effect,” she said. “Consumers have access to endless images of beautifully decorated aquariums and are inspired to recreate these scenes at home. As a result, I expect to see consumer preferences move toward easy-to-shop collections. Retailers can take advantage of this trend by supplying gravel, ornaments, plants, and backgrounds that fall into common themes. The average consumer takes multiple trips to purchase their décor, but with the right product mix, a retailer can inspire a consumer to complete most of their décor purchases at once.”

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