2009 was a great year for aquarium products and now that we’re starting to feel cozy with 2010 we may as well share with you the results of the 2009 Reef Builders Reader’s Choice Awards. There were some likely winners and some which came from left field. After poring over the IP address reports we are fairly confident that these polls were well participated and save for one huge notable exception, the winners of the polls were all very deserving for all the hard work they put into designing, producing and supporting such great products. Follow the break for the rundown of each poll with the play-by-play.
Aquarium Controller- Neptune System Apex Controller
With almost 50% of the total votes, the Apex Aquacontroller from Neptune System was the most popular full-featured aquarium controller amongst the readers of Reef Builders. Digital Aquatics ReefKeeper Elite was not far behind with 38% of the vote and the GHL Profilux still had a reasonable number of votes for being the only foreign-designed controller.
Entry-Level Aquarium Controller- – Digital Aquatics ReefKeeper Lite
Although the Apex Lite received a whopping 94 percent of the votes, we were able to trace almost 2,000 of those votes to a single IP address. Once those votes were removed the poll may have been about half and half but the tricky script someone wrote to take advantage of the poll just underscored our error in placing the Apex Lite in this category anyway. The Apex Lite is clearly a slightly toned down version of the full blown Apex and even if by default, the Reef Keeper Lite is a significant and worthwhile release of an entry-level aquarium controller and it is with great pleasure that we award it the 2009 RBRC award.
Main Lighting- Pacific Sun BT EX modular LED light
We were surprised to see the Pacific Sun BT EX modular LED light get a really strong vote but after carefully checking the IP voting records, the votes for the Pacific Sun BT EX came from all over the world and there were no irregularities whatsoever. The most popular main aquarium light in the U.S. was the AquaIlluminations LED light, another LED system that is also modular. The 2009 RBRC award goes to Pacific Sun for their BT EX modular LED light but the real winner is LED lighting for reef aquarium use. We expect the 2010 award for this category will also go to an LED light.
Lighting Accessory- PAR 38 LED lamp from NanoCustoms
Competition was stiff in this category that is filled with many different products but the only recently released PAR 38 lamp has already garnered enough votes to take the award the 2009 RBRC award for lighting accessory.
Best Cycloseris of the year- LiveAquaria and Greenwich Aquaria
With 22% and 21% of the votes, the cycloseris from both LiveAquaria and Greenwich Aquaria were neck-and-neck in the voting for most of the poll. Both of these Cycloseris from Borneo were some of the best we’ve seen years and we are pleased to offer the only RBRC award for a living specimen to LiveAquaria for their red and black cyclo and GreenWich Aquaria for their fuscha and green tentacled cyclo. Great job you guys! We look forward to seeing some more awesome live corals from you guys in 2010!.
Water Pump- EcoTech Marine Vortech MP10
With 120 out of 170 votes, EcoTech Marine’s Vortech MP10 absolutely dominated this poll. Not much else to say except that for what it does the MP10 is unmatched. The new Koralia Evolution pumps will surely be a top contender in this category for 2010.
HOB or Economy protein skimmer- I-Tech & Warner Marine HOB
Having I-Tech as the winner of this poll was initially quite a shock to us. Surely some better marketed and more recognized brand would have pulled ahead in this poll but when we re-considered the I-Tech’s features it’s clear why this line is a popular favorite; customizable features and pumps at a down-to-earth price made the I-Tech the People’s Cone Skimmer of 2009! Having seen the Warner Marine HOB skimmers used in a wide range of applications we weren’t surprised to see that this model was the favorite Hang-on skimmer of 2009.
Protein skimmer- ATB Cone and Vertex Aquaristik Alpha Kones
When this poll was made, the alpha kones and the ATB skimmers were split up in a few. We did this based on different types of skimmers although the Alpha Kones were all in the same category. The Alpha Kone category received 38% of the vote but when we added up the votes for the ATB we got 37% of the total. Like with the Best Cycloseris of the Year Award, we feel that this gap is too close enough to call so we are going to please all the fanboys by declaring both ATB and Vertex Aquaristik the winners of the 2009 Best Protein Skimmer of the year award. Clearly both of these skimmer makers are very popular with Reef Builders readers and it was rewarding to see a couple brands stand out in the polls.