2012 was a good year for the aquarium industry, and companies kept the team of writers at Reef Builders more than busy by releasing post worthy new products. LED lighting is inching towards being the mainstream lighting technology, we saw the introduction of some interesting new carbon sources, skimmers are becoming pipeless, and DC pumps are gaining in popularity. But just what can we expect for the year 2013?
LED Lighting. LEDs will obviously see further improvements including better efficiency, affordability, and color manipulation, but whether we’ll see continued streamlining of current designs or if we’ll see some entirely new and other fixture appear is something that will be interesting to find out. We’ll have to wait to see what LED manufacturers have up their sleeve, but who knows maybe it will be a completely groundbreaking chip enabling manufacturers to come up with exciting new designs, or maybe something else which is hard to conjure up. We can probably not expect OLEDs to make an entrance this year just yet, but it never hurts to dream. What we do know however is that the future of aquarium LEDs is as exciting as it ever has been.
Biopellet in new forms. There were several carbon dosing related products released in 2012 including XL Biopellets, NitraGuard pellets (to US market anyways), and Reef Ocoptus biosphere pellets (to name a few), but one in particular caught our attention, Warner Marine Biopellets sheets. The product appears to be still in it’s infancy, but if it turns out that it actually works we might just an explosion in popularity. If the sheets proves a success you’ll probably will be able to buy it from several different manufacturers. In case that happens you’ll be hearing all about it here on Reef Builders.
Increased smartphone integration. Smartphones are everywhere now a days, and aquarium manufacturers are starting to realize the potential for those tiny computers in your pocket. The majority of aquarium controllers now offer android and iOS apps, and even lights are making the shift. Smartphone integration has been happening from the moment they were released, but 2012 has really seems to be a tipping point for aquarium related smartphone integration, a boom which we will likely see continued through 2013. It is unlikely every light and aquarium monitoring product will have smartphone integration by the end of this year, but it is pretty safe to say that a greater number of products will, which is very exciting in the least.
Increased regulation and collection restrictions. The impending doom of law makers cutting short the “unsustainable and cruel” export of fish, coral and inverts has been leading to much debate and drama for years now, but with not much to show for it until now. The end of 2012 market a period in which the NOAA confirmed 66 as endangered or threatened (of the previous 82 species), including some popular aquarium species. It also market the creation of of the largest marine reserve in the world, which located on the great barrier reef could mean the end of much Australian collection. Now neither of the two are created with the direct intend of kicking the aquarium hobby over, but regulations like these will start to become more common and we will have to learn to adapt in the future.
DC pumps. We covered them this morning and we’ll likely cover them next week, and the week after: DC pumps are the future for a certain class of skimmers. You’re likely already more than sick and tired hearing about these pumps, but 2012 just marked the beginning of a product movement we’ll likely see the rest of 2013. Considering all current new skimmers are using the same pump, it will be very interesting to see how all the skimmer compare as far as performance and price is concerned. It will also be quite interesting to see if we’ll see the introduction of a new DC pump from another manufacturer since it currently is basically a single design that is dominating the scene.