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December 4, 2017

Unless you’re operating a 24-hour business, common practice in retail is to save the chores of vacuuming, sweeping and taking out the trash to the hours where the establishment is closed for customers. After all, it seems in a retailer’s best interest to put the best face forward and let customers see a store that is clean and well-kept without having to think about how it stays that way. But when it comes to aquariums, the opposite might be true.

Keeping a clean tank is not only essential to healthy fish and plants, but it also makes it more enjoyable for people to look at, without having to squint through hard water deposits or look at gravel and decor littered with debris. Therefore, water changes and regular cleaning are an important part of fishkeeping and should be something that is top of mind for all hobbyists, especially beginners. With that in mind, aquarium cleaning and maintenance should be something that’s done during the day, when customers are shopping.

“The best way to promote aquarium cleaning products is to show shoppers you use them in your store, post videos online through Facebook or YouTube, and even go a step further than demonstrating to let customers try the products out themselves if they wish,” said Pam Morisse, digital and media marketing manager for Central Garden & Pet. “People are visual and want to see products in action, and by getting a chance to try them out, they can see just how easy they are to use.”

In addition to getting tank cleaning out in the open, it’s important to stock products that make the chore easier and more convenient while also safe for the fish and plants in the aquarium. Thanks to some new introductions in the category, tank cleaning is becoming easier and less time consuming for aquarists, from the beginner to the experienced hobbyist.

Less Mess for Success

Eliminating the messy, heavy bucket is one way to help make water changes and cleanings easier. For many people, “The Python” is synonymous with bucket-less water changes. The company’s No Spill Clean and Fill Gravel Cleaner has been a staple in the category for over 30 years, with an all-in-one system that attaches straight to a faucet to perform water changes and gravel cleaning without a bucket or a siphon. Recent improvements to the system include new molds to make the connecting pieces stronger and the use of better quality plastic. A recent addition to the Python product line is the Hook, a BPA-free plastic accessory that attaches to the tank to hold the tubing during cleaning.

“This is a way to improve the handsfree process, to help ensure the tubing doesn’t bump out during a water change,” said Lance Reyniers, president of Python Products.

The Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer is another product that is self-starting and attaches directly to the faucet.

“By eliminating the need to haul heavy buckets or the chance of spilling water, fish owners are more likely to do regular water changes, which is one of the most important factors for success with aquariums,” said Lenitra Friend, brand manager for Central Garden & Pet.

Cleaning gravel and decor is also important to aquarium maintenance, and a variety of vacuums on the market help make this easy. Aqueon’s Siphon Vacuum Cleaners are easy to prime thanks in part to a priming bulb in the large size, while Eheim’s motorized siphons eliminate the need for priming. In addition to its battery-powered Quick Vacpro, the company is introducing two electricpowered vacuums to make clean up easier.

“These new vacuums are designed to make a quick clean up easy while being powerful enough to complete a full water change,” said Chris LeRose, aquatic division manager at Hagen Group.

Vacuums and water changing systems have come a long way in eradicating the mess and chance of spills, but nothing beats an algae magnet for the ability to clean a tank without even getting your hands wet. These products, designed for getting algae, hard water deposits and other debris off the tank itself, are the epitome of convenience.

Aqueon sells replacement pads for its Algae Cleaning Magnets to eliminate the expense of buying a new magnet every time the pad wears out. Meanwhile, building on the scrubbing pad, Hagen recently introduced the Fluval Razor+, a two-in-one magnetic product that includes a non-abrasive scrubbing pad as well as a razor for hard to remove coralline or green algae.

Make Safety a Priority

If the whole reason for cleaning the tank and changing water is to maintain a safe environment for the living things in the water, then it’s only natural customers would look for products that are free of any chemicals or ingredients that might be harmful to their fish and plants.

There are plenty of safety precautions that retailers can take, such as using BPA free plastics in siphons and tubing to prevent leaching any unwanted chemicals into the water.

The API Safe & Easy aquarium cleaner is made from a proprietary cleaning polymer that is non-toxic and won’t change the pH of the aquarium. According to Gary Jones, R&D manager at Mars Fishcare, it is strong enough to cut through hard water mineral deposits for easy cleaning.

“The product also helps with future maintenance by leaving a clear protective coating that slows down build up and helps stop finger prints on the glass,” he said.

Make sure your store is stocked with all the latest products in the aquarium cleaning category. By showing customers just how simple the process can be, and how new tools can help improve success and reduce the amount of time spent cleaning, the reward will be happier customers who are proud of their healthy fish.

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