Basic Advice

Then and Now: Advances in Aquarium Tech in the Past Fifteen Years

Fifteen years is a long time (in case you were wondering how long Blue Planet has been around) and it’s interesting to look back on everything that has changed equipment-wide and the things that have stayed the same. Even looking back on clients we had from the beginning, we’d made some tweaks with equipment if they came to us now, but the systems themselves would stay the same for the most part.

UV sterilizers, sump filters, protein skimmers, pumps, lights, and decorations are all still in use, but have been improved upon in various ways.

  • Pumps used to be large, expensive, loud, power-hogging monsters. Low voltage and silent DC pumps are the way of the future.

  • Lights; oh boy. We went from a million different fluorescent tube lights, to Power Compact Fluorescent, to Metal Halide, and for the past 5 years and moving forward, low voltage LED lights are all the rage.

  • Sump filters have largely stayed the same but in this time we saw the advent of the Refugium filter for reef aquariums. These filters keep plants in a constant state of growth, helping to draw pollutants out of the water on a minute-by-minute basis rather than having to do the occasional large water changes of the past.

  • UV sterilizers don’t leak anymore, which is nice. Also, smaller units that can actually are submerged in aquariums are a great improvement.

  • Skimmers 15 years ago were better by a mile than ones we had 20 years ago, but the most significant changed since then is using the low voltage DC pumps I mentioned earlier.

What’s totally different?

  • Wavemakers are new, for one. These pumps recreate natural wave motion found in the ocean and the benefits are huge. Corals and fish thrive in the presence of these pumps.

  • Better understanding water chemistry parameters and how to manipulate them is another. Some key findings have been the importance of magnesium levels in live reef aquariums, and better ways to remove phosphates such as granular ferric oxide, or GFO. Later, how to properly use GFO in a constant fluid state proved invaluable in algae control.

  • Lastly, and more importantly than anything, the largest and most important change in aquariums has been the Internet. There was an Internet 15 years ago, of course, but it wasn’t nearly as entwined in our lives as it is today. Fifteen years ago, this newsletter was actually printed and mailed out to our clients. Mailed…could you imagine?

There is equipment to monitor your aquarium online when away from home. Our entire way of scheduling and communicating our service clients is largely all performed on-line. Over 90% of new clients come to us through our website. In general, hobbyist and professional aquarists alike can find and share and find information in a moment’s notice.

Keep reading our newsletter and we’ll keep you in the loop on the latest aquarium equipment updates and improvements as they come to the market.

About Jon Wolf

Servicing Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana & Michigan, Blue Planet Aquarium Services has been the most trusted name in aquarium design, installation and maintenance since 1999. A company large enough to be dependable but small enough to still watch out for your best interests, Blue Planet is the only company to call if you are planning to install an aquarium or have one maintained.