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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

September 3, 2012

Selling Aquarium Additives

By David Lass


Much as I am a “purist” and do not use many additives at all with my own tanks, displaying and selling the right additives at your store is essential. Not only are these money-making products for the store, but they are also important to your customers (especially beginners), helping them keep their fish alive and thriving.

For freshwater tanks, water conditioners are very important, especially in treating tap water for chlorine and chloramines. Most are recommended for use with water changes and when adding new fish. Maintaining a proper pH is important, although I have yet to be convinced that keeping it exactly at 7.0 is that necessary. As long as the pH doesn’t keep bouncing around on either side of neutral, I guess making a weekly adjustment is okay—and the products do sell well.

Aquarium additives
Photo by Katie Ingmire/BowTie Inc. at Passionate Pet Superstore
Freshwater planted tanks require a number of additives to really flourish. “Plant foods” are something hobbyists always think they need—and they sell well, too. Iron and other specific additives can also make sense, especially if a hobbyist is using CO2 injection and has sufficient lighting for the plants to grow fast. Algae cures are also often needed by folks with planted tanks, even though a tank full of healthy fast-growing plants will usually out-compete algae.

On the marine side of the hobby, the additives are endless, especially for reef tanks. Having a wide selection is important, as it can bring in the hard core reef-geeks who stop by to pick up that bottle of iodine, rather than buying it online. Maintaining the correct levels of various chemicals in a marine aquarium is also very important—again, especially for a reef tank.

On both the marine and freshwater sides of the hobby, it is crucial that you not only offer a good selection of additives, but that you use them in the store. It is always a good idea to have bottles of water conditioners (large sizes, please), tonics, pH adjusters (even though I don’t like them) etc., around in your fish room.
Alongside your live plants tanks, you should have all of the many additives displayed, as well as the substrates you use. Ditto for the marine section, especially reefs. If you have a special deal with manufacturers to “push” their products, then those are the ones to use along with a sign that reads, “We use and recommend these fine products.”

Hobbyists, especially new ones, really love to dose their tank with different things. Your store can take advantage of this tendency, and at the same time get them to use products that will, in fact, help them to succeed in keeping their fish.

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