This year was dominated by huge upheavals in our modern lives, with moment-to-moment headlines of the plague eclipsing the news of our slice of the aquarium world. Thankfully the aquarium hobby generally benefited from all the time spent sheltering at home and the Reef Builders writing team did its part to inform and educate reef hobbyists all around the world.
One of the biggest news stories of 2020 was the return of Indonesian exports from the coral-basket of the world, and this return to normalcy came just in time for us to spend more time with our reef tanks. However the return of Indonesian corals was not business as usual because for the first time in years coral farmers were afforded the opportunity to readjust their pricing to reflect the real cost of producing them. At the same time the pent-up demand and subsequent increase from quarantine orders, as well as massively increased freight costs sent the price (and value) of corals skyrocketing.
The shake up of the aquarium industry didn’t stop with the livestock supply as there were also some major shifts on the business side of things. LiveAquaria has been a staple of the reef aquarium scene in the United States for around two decades and this year the veteran livestock company changed ownership from PETCO to Tropical Fish International, a company with more entrenched interests in the purely aquatic side of the pet industry.
While LiveAquaria’s fate may have been secured for the foreseeable future, after years of unexpected decline we finally bid farewell to Vertex Aquaristik. Vertex nearly dominated the high end protein skimmer market and had many other celebrated aquarium products as well, but an extended investment in the waning aquarium controller market eventually proved fatal for the aquarium lifestyle brand.
There may have been much cataclysm in the aquarium world but thankfully we were still treated to a handful of new, sexy reef aquarium light fixtures. The fifth generation Radion from Ecotech Marine and AP9X fixture from Kessil represented two very exciting but different new flagship lights and our readers also enjoyed the 2nd Generation CoralCare light fixture from Philips.
Last but not least, a few stories on basic coral knowledge also garnered a lot of attention including some tips for saving money on filling an aquairum with fast growing corals, and the development of a potential treatment for dealing with dreaded dinoflagellate blooms. Finally, we all have some favorite clownfish, wild type and domesticated, and fish breeding factory Bali Aquarich teased a few interesting new and unexpected clownfish strains that they have been developing for future release.