In late 2008 we saw the emergence of different types of cone skimmers, however in 2009 we saw them become even more popular. Although there has been much debate over the first company that has brought the cone skimmer to the reef aquarium market we’ve seen a bevy of cone skimmers from different companies. It’s so popular in fact that numerous Chinese companies have now started to produce cone skimmers and whats more is that the craze is going gang busters in other places besides the United States. Places like the UK and Europe along with Asia. However, not all companies are interested in producing cone skimmers. For example, Deltec which gave the cone skimmer craze the middle finger and instead focused on increasing efficiency with their custom line of pumps, but keeping the design in the same basic format, a vertical cylinder.
To date Europe has been kicking the North American audience rear-end with a great selection of rimless aquariums. However, other countries have finally started to catch on. For example, we are seeing new types of rimless aquariums from mainstream companies like Perfecto, Fluval, and other smaller custom companies. Rimless aquariums just look better and manufactures have finally started to realize the growing market that demands rimless aquariums. It’s taken them entirely too long, but they’re getting their act together. Finally.
Increased Efficiency with pumps and lighting
Cone skimmers are great, but what we are seeing more of is getting increased efficiency. This applies to all areas of the industry but specifically to pumps and lighting. Instead of looking of how big a skimmer is, hobbyists and amateurs are looking at the wattage and air draw of skimmer pumps. The norm used to be in the 400-600 lph range but now we are seeing huge increases past the 1,000 mark as manufactures use computer aided models to estimate air flow rates as they experiment with different volute pairings, bearings, and what not.
Lighting is getting a great efficiency boost with LED, more and more options are being made available and whats more is that LEDs themselves are getting more efficient. Metal Halides, while still popular with older reef hobbyists, will eventually go the way of the do-do bird if electricity utilities keep increasing prices for kwH. For example, here in Chicago I paid $0.22 per KwH and now its over $0.34. That might seem small but in large amounts it multiplies greatly, coupled with the weak economy Metal Haildes are becoming less popular. And more and more reef addicts are looking at T5s and LEDs. They might not be switching right away, but they’re looking which speaks volumes of how their opinions have changed. Plus there are more options on the market then a year ago. That’s great news for us.
Several years ago, here in the Untied States it was cool to own a gas guzzler like a Hummer H2, or a Cadillac Escalade. However, with the economic change frugality is now the new “cool”, gone is the fad for large SUVs for couples or single persons to own, you’ll still see them but most are for families with kids when a larger SUV just makes sense. The Toyota Prius or other hybirds are insanely popular along with diesels that deliver over 40 MPG. This same change has affected the industry too. For example, as we all become more aware of the plight of the words oceans, aquacultured corals and tank raised livestock is increasingly popular. Not only are we more interested in tank raised corals and fish, but we’re asking questions of where and how wild caught livestock are caught and then transported. Sure, some don’t care or are to naive to know a difference but the vast majority of you do care, more then ever.
Accountability & Media
Frag chop shops have disappeared greatly this year, partly due to the economy and the negative stigma that has been published with media outlets like this website. This brings up another point. Accountability. With prior years past, most companies and individuals weren’t accountable for their actions they could do as they please with out any hard repercussions. That’s not true any longer. The media (thats us) has now made companies and individuals responsible for their actions. You know about illegal Rhizotrochus, orbitec owning a very important patent, and the Fluval G filters being a overpriced paper weight. Accountability is great especially in a smaller industry such as this and something that companies are just now stating to get used to.