August 30, 2017

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.”

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