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Keeping Tanks Crystal Clear

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Aquariums are beautiful, fascinating, and soothing windows into another world, when everything is going right.

When it’s not, aquariums can be a source of frustration and may not look, or smell, at all appealing.

Fortunately, there’s a growing array of water treatments and supplements to both correct and prevent water quality issues from interfering with the enjoyment of the fishkeeping hobby.

Most aquarists use water conditioners, and SeaChem offers a complete line of these popular products. These include Prime, a complete conditioner for both fresh and salt water that removes chlorine, chloramine and ammonia, and Clarity, a reef and plant safe treatment that will remedy any type of clouding.

Another SeaChem conditioner is Stability, a supplement of beneficial bacteria that establishes the biofilter in a new tank. The use of bacterial supplements is a growing trend among both freshwater and saltwater hobbyists.

“Our Microbacter7 and Reef Biofuel are the basis of new wave of biological nutrient management,” Phil Edwards, scientist at Brightwell Aquatics, said. “As a scientist, I’m really excited to see people using biology instead of just chemistry to achieve long-term and stable fixes for their aquariums.”

Microbacter7 rapidly establishes the necessary bacteria for biofiltration for marine and freshwater tanks. Reef Biofuel provides a carbon source for rapid bacterial growth.

In the bacterial supplement category, Fluval offers the Biological Enhancer for establishing and maintaining healthy levels of beneficial bacteria, and Biological Aquarium Cleaner, which contains bacteria that reduce organic wastes and keep the aquarium cleaner.

Water treatments, supplements, and testing are taking on a 21st century feel with the release of apps and testing machines. Tetra, a division of United Pet Group, is making testing and treating a tank easier than ever with a free smart phone app, according to Tim Plafcan, senior products manager at United Pet Group Aquatics.

“You just test your water with a Tetra EasyStrip and then match the color on the app,” he said. “The app calculates your aquarium volume, the water treatments you need and the dosage to maintain optimum water quality.”

Innovative Testing

One of the most innovative approaches to water treatments is the Thrive Water Lab from Thrive Aquatics/Blue Ocean Corals. It is a free-standing water testing and solution center available to retail stores.

“It’s like a water testing ATM,” Dean Tapper, vice president of sales at Blue Ocean Corals, said.

Customers will be able to bring in a water sample and have it tested by the Water Lab. The Lab provides a printout that tells them the exact problems with their water and what products address those problems.

The Lab walks customers through the steps and even asks questions, such as, “Do you have a dead fish?” or “Is the water cloudy?” Then, tests are suggested for those problems. The retailer charges a fee for the various tests and the Lab drives product sales by allowing the consumer to “The Thrive Water Lab turns the retail store into a destination for fish keepers,” says Tapper.

It will be available early this year.

While Thrive Aquatics may be best known for marine products, the company has brand new pond and freshwater supplements coming out in 2014. These will be a full range of treatments and supplements, everything from water conditions to pH adjusters. These products make adding treatments into an easy, step-by-step process that addresses the cause of the problem, not just the symptoms.

The Type of Tank

“Among freshwater hobbyists elaborate planted aquariums are becoming increasingly popular,” Francis Yupangco, aquatic development manager at Rolf C. Hagen Corp., the producers of Fluval, said.

Fluval and other manufacturers have plenty of products to help out the growing number of planted tank hobbyists. For example, Fluval Plant Micro Nutrients is a balanced supplement essential for healthy, vibrant aquarium plants.

A company known mainly for saltwater products, Brightwell Aquatics, also has a complete range of supplements for freshwater planted aquariums. This line includes FlorinGro, which provides plants with vital nitrogen along with a growth accelerant, and FlorinDelta GH+, which establishes an optimal mineral balance in water that has been purified, as well as a range of mineral supplements to fill the needs of every planted tank enthusiast.

SeaChem’s Aquavitro line provides the planted tank keeper with everything he or she needs to keep those plants in top condition. The Aquavitro line includes Premier, a water conditioner specifically for planted aquariums, and Envy, a supplement of vitamins, amino acids, and other nutrients for aquatic plants.

It seems like there are always new products available for the growing reef hobby, and that, of course, includes new supplements.

“Fluval has recently rolled out a number of exciting marine liquid supplements and bacteria to make aquarium keeping easier and more enjoyable,” Yupangco said. “Fluval Sea Marine Supplements is composed of seven unique reef aquarium products formulated with ultrapure ingredients. Reef aquariums can house a diverse mix of corals, many of which will deplete specific compounds at different rates. Fluval Sea meets all their needs.”

This line also includes Fluval Sea 3-Ions Supplement, Fluval Sea Alkalinity, Fluval Sea Calcium, Fluval Sea Trace Elements, and more.

Boyd Enterprises manufactures Vita-Chem, a vitamin supplement that helps to boost the health of fish and invertebrates. It is available in freshwater and marine formulas. Additionally, Chemi-Clean is a product that treats for stains from cyanobacteria and helps removed trapped organic sludge.

The GloFish craze is still going strong, and soon there will be water treatments just for these popular fish.

“We will be launching all new water care and nutrition items that focus on keeping your fish bright and colorful,” Plafcan said. “Based on vast research collaboration between GloFish and UPG, we have identified nutritional additives that strengthen and enhance the coloration of fluorescent proteins, which is what makes the fish so colorful. For care, we have a new water conditioner with stress reducers and immunostimulants to strengthen your GloFish and maximize color potential.”

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