Gulfstream Tropical Aquarium
Innovative products making tank cleaning safe and easy
By Stephen Sabetti
|The Mag-Float is made with strong, high-quality neodymium rare earth magnets. (Courtesy of Gulfstream Tropical Aquarium)|
Since 1990, Gulfstream Tropical Aquarium
has been exporting aquarium products internationally. But, when the Kon family purchased Gulfstream Tropical Aquarium in 1984, it was only a local business.
“When [the company] began, live shrimp and frozen fish food were the major prospects in the local business,” says Marcel Kon, director of Gulfstream Tropical Aquarium, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “We’re well known in south Florida for doing this kind of business.”
With a driver delivering to local pet shops, Gulfstream Tropical Aquarium established itself in the market.
In 2002, the face of the company changed with the release of the Mag-Float, which works by utilizing basic magnet technology. The user places one of the magnets under the water inside the aquarium and uses the other magnet to attract it through the glass. From the outside, and without having to contaminate the water with any oils on the hand, the inner magnet can navigate around the aquarium through the water, cleaning it with the scrubber placed against the glass. Then, once the aquarium has been cleaned and the magnets have been separated, the inner magnet and its acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) casing float to the top.
Gulfstream Tropical Aquarium
At a Glance
President: Laizer Kon
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
No. of employees: 7
Flagship product: Mag-Float
No. of years in business: Since 1964
“Going back 20 to 40 years when the first magnet was used, it used to sink,” says Kon. “[We thought], why not make this one float?”
Created by Bakker Magnetics, a Dutch company that still retains the patent and manufactures the product, the Mag-Float first came to the attention of Gulfstream Tropical Aquarium at Interzoo, an international trade fair for pet products held in Nuremberg, Germany.
“Being involved in the international market, we go to Interzoo and look to get new products,” says Kon. “We saw the company, stopped at their booth and were very impressed with the product. That same day, we made an order with the company and made a proposal with the owner to get distribution rights in the United States and Canada.”
Kon adds that because they are a small company, they are able to focus on this specific product.
Gulfstream Tropical Aquarium has another product developed by Bakker Magnetics called the Mag-Flip. Like the Mag-Float, the Mag-Flip utilizes magnets to clean the inside of fish tanks and aquariums. While it does all the cleaning the Mag-Float does, the Mag-Flip comes with a scraper on the reverse side.
By separating the outer magnet from the glass, rotating it 180 degrees and placing it off to either side of the inner magnet, the one in the water will flip over and place the scraper side of the magnet against the glass. This helps remove algae on the glass that can’t be scrubbed off.
Recently, Gulfstream Tropical Aquarium introduced a new line of water conditioners called Mag-Float Labs.
“Three years ago, we took over a company that’s been in the market for 24 years in water conditioners,” says Kon.
While Gulfstream Tropical Aquarium only distributes the Mag-Float in the United States and Canada, the company now manufactures Mag-Float Labs and distributes it under their own name, having acquired the original company, Mydor Indusustries in 2005. <HOME>
This article was orignally posted on Oct. 15, 2008.
UPDATE June 8, 2012: Laizer Kon is no longer associated with Gulfstream Tropical Aquarium, according to the company.
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