It's safe to say that the aquarium hobby would not be where it is today without innovation. From the rudimentary tanks of yesteryear to today's modern, specialized equipment, this pastime has transformed itself countless times over the years. Anyone who has ever kept an aquarium can attest that these changes have led to many tank design and maintenance improvements. As a result, we now have access to many high-tech tanks, each with its own unique set of features and benefits. Moreover, we have a much better understanding of filtration and water quality due to all our research and experimentation - knowledge that has helped to revolutionize this hobby. In short, the innovation keeps pushing this pastime forward, allowing us to explore new possibilities and find new ways to make our tanks more enjoyable and sustainable.
When it comes to aquariums, it seems like the sky is the limit for new technologies. Whether you are looking at automatic feeders that release precise doses of food according to a set schedule or state-of-the-art LED lighting systems that mimic natural sunlight, there is now something for everyone. And as these products become more and more popular, companies are scrambling to keep up with demand, investing in research and development to come up with even more extraordinary innovations.
So it looks like the future of the aquarium hobby is not only bright but also constantly evolving! After all, who wouldn't want an aquarium that takes care of itself? I know I would!
Early fishkeeping was a notoriously fickle endeavour. Fish were kept in small tanks and treated with little regard, and as a result, they often suffered from health problems and died young. But fast forward to the present day, and things couldn't be more different. Today's aquarists have an unprecedented arsenal of high-tech filters and other equipment at their disposal, meaning that caring for pet fish is now more accessible and more successful. Whether it's bolstering filtration with an advanced canister or upgrading the lighting on your aquarium, there truly is something for everybody these days. And speaking of everybody, it's clear that fish live longer too: gone are the days of finless fish dangling lifelessly at the bottom of their tank! All in all, then, it's safe to say that technology has completely revolutionized the art of fishkeeping, making it more straightforward and more rewarding than ever.
Modern aquariums are also frequently equipped with automated feeders and other gadgets that make them much easier to maintain. As a result, the aquarium hobby has never been more popular than now. Thanks to modern technology, it is now simpler than ever to enjoy the splendour of aquatic life in your own house.
This post will go through some of the technological advancements that have impacted the aquarium hobby. We'll also discuss how the activity has evolved and offer some predictions for what may lie ahead. So keep reading!
What has changed in aquarium product design over the years?
Over the years, pet stores have seen a gradual shift in the availability of aquariums. As technology has improved, fish tanks are now made with more robust and more durable materials, such as glass and acrylic. Gone are the days when prefabricated aquariums were limited to just a few small sizes; today's fish tanks can hold up to 100 gallons of water or more, allowing for larger aquatic ecosystems to thrive. Additionally, these newer materials make aquariums less prone to scratches and cracks. So whether you're looking for a simple starter tank or something bigger and better suited for more advanced hobbyists, it's easier to find an ideal fish tank that will last for years to come.
When it comes to aquarium equipment and accessories, there have been numerous advances in recent years. In particular, the development of biological filtration has completely transformed how we think about aquarium maintenance. Historically, most aquarists relied on mechanical filters to keep their tanks clean. These filters functioned as large strainers, trapping dirt and debris from the water. However, as aquarists began to learn more about the needs of fish and other aquatic creatures, they realized that mechanical filtration was not enough. Indeed, fish themselves produce waste products like ammonia and nitrites that can be dangerous to their health if left unchecked. In response, aquarists started turning to biological filtration – a process whereby beneficial bacteria are used to break down these harmful substances into non-threatening substances like nitrates and carbon dioxide. Today, many experienced hobbyists agree that biological filtration is the best way to keep an aquarium pristine while also ensuring long-term health for your fish.
In aquarium keeping, filtration was a relatively simple affair in the early days. Most tanks used mechanical filters that relied on gravel and charcoal to remove impurities from the water. However, these filtration systems were not very effective at removing ammonia and other toxins from the water. As a result, many aquariums experienced rapid swings in water chemistry, which could be deadly for fish and coral. The development of wet/dry technology and bio wheels has made it possible to cultivate a large colony of beneficial bacteria that helps to keep water chemistry much more stable; this is especially important in reef tanks where ammonia levels can fluctuate rapidly and wreak havoc on delicate corals. The use of wet/dry technology and bio wheels has made it possible to create a much more stable environment for fish and coral. Improvements in the maintenance of aquarium filtration have also been made over the years, making it easier than ever to keep a healthy and vibrant aquarium.
The type of lighting you choose for your fish tank can significantly impact the overall health of your fish and plants. Fluorescent tube lights were the most popular choice for essential tank lighting. However, many more options exist now than before regarding high-output and full-spectrum lighting. In addition, the advent of electronic ballasts is what made it possible for high-wattage lighting systems to last longer and produce less heat. As a result, aquariums can now be lit more effectively and with less chance of overheating; this is especially important for tanks containing sensitive fish or plants. As a result, you can create a healthy and thriving underwater ecosystem with the right lighting system.
Aquarium lighting used to be pretty basic, and it wasn't easy to closely replicate natural conditions. However, new developments have led to various spectrums and intensities of in-tank lighting. You can now choose from multiple types of tank lighting and different wattages, intensities, and ranges to closely replicate natural, real-world conditions for your tank inhabitants. Lunar LEDs, for example, opened up an entirely new realm of tank lighting, providing gentle illumination in the right spectrum for nocturnal tank inhabitants. As aquarium technology continues to develop, it is becoming increasingly easy to create a realistic and natural-looking aquarium that closely resembles the natural habitat of your fish and other aquatic animals.
Part of the appeal for the aquarium hobbyist is the wide variety of options for setting up a tank. You can choose from a wide range of fish, plants, and other aquatic creatures to create a unique ecosystem. But keeping an aquarium healthy and looking good takes more than just buying the right equipment. It also requires regular cleaning and maintenance. In the past, this could be a time-consuming and tedious task. But finally, new technology has made the job much faster and simpler. For example, siphon hoses and gravel vacuums can now be attached directly to a sink setup to drain or fill a tank. In addition, sump systems can be customized with maintenance equipment such as protein skimmers, UV sterilizers, and automatic top-off systems. Best of all, modern technology equipment can be stored outside of the tank in an under-tank sump system or aquarium cabinet to streamline the aesthetics of your tank.
This article focuses on aquarium technology, but it is essential to mention some other innovations and advancements.
Aquatic food products and supplements
Keeping saltwater fish was a complex and often frustrating endeavour in the past. Many species were highly fussy eaters, making it challenging to provide them with the proper nutrition. As a result, many fish died young or failed to thrive. However, recent advancements in fish food have made it possible to keep a wide variety of saltwater fish healthy and thriving. These foods are now formulated to provide high-quality and balanced nutrition, making it easier to keep saltwater fish healthy and happy. In addition, Improvements have been made to reduce the risk of contamination from certain live foods like bloodworms and tubifex worms. As a result, saltwater aquariums are now easier and more enjoyable to maintain.
There have been many advances in the technology used to care for aquarium fish in recent years. One of the most popular new products is a liquid vitamin supplement that can be added to the water. This supplement provides all the necessary nutrients for fish, making it easier to maintain a healthy environment. Another popular product is a water conditioner that helps to remove harmful chemicals from the water. This type of conditioner is essential for keeping fish healthy and preventing disease. In addition, many new devices have been developed to make it easier to keep track of water quality and temperature. These devices can help hobbyists provide the best possible care for their fish. As new products are developed, the aquarium hobby is becoming more accessible and more enjoyable.
Current Technology Trends in the Aquarium Hobby
In the past, setting up and maintaining an aquarium was a time-consuming and often messy process. Water had to be manually siphoned out and replaced regularly, and filter systems were not nearly as effective today. As a result, fishkeeping was often seen as a hobby for dedicated enthusiasts with plenty of time on their hands. However, innovations in technology have made it possible for people to enjoy all the benefits of fishkeeping without all the hassle. For example, automatic feeders and self-cleaning filters make it easy to care for fish.
In contrast, online resources simplify finding information on everything from choosing the right fish to setting up a beautiful aquarium. In addition, advances in transportation and shipping have made it possible to purchase fish worldwide, giving hobbyists access to various species. As a result of these technological advances, fishkeeping has become one of the most popular hobbies in the world.
Trends come and go; the aquarium hobby is no exception. Take a look at some of the current technology trends in the aquarium industry.
The amount of energy an aquarium consumes depends on several factors but mainly the size of the tank and the type of equipment. A small 10-gallon tank might only consume about 150kWh per year, which, at an average of 12 cents per kWh, adds up to under $20 per year. However, if you increase the tank's size and factor in electricity-guzzling equipment like high-output lighting and sump systems, that cost might skyrocket.
Aquarium lighting is the largest energy consumer when it comes to tank equipment, accounting for roughly 45% of total tank usage. If you maintain tropical temperatures in your tank, you also have to have a tank heater, and any tank requires a filter. Most tanks need heating and filtration 24 hours a day, while lighting can be turned on and off. However, keep in mind that some tanks require more or more intense lighting than others. For example, a fish-only tank with a single fluorescent bulb for daytime illumination might do just fine, while a planted tank may require high-output lighting.
The most significant advance in aquarium lighting technology is LED lighting. A standard fluorescent bulb is usually in the 15 to 40-watt range, while VHO lighting ranges from 75 to 160 watts. Metal halides may go as high as 1,000 watts, and you then have to think about the added cost of running an auxiliary fan or chiller. In contrast, LED lights consume up to 80% less electricity and don't generate heat. Plus, they come in a variety of colours so that you can set up daylight and moonlight systems.
It is common knowledge within the aquarium hobby that maintaining stable tank parameters is more accessible in a large tank than in a small tank. Therefore, it stands to reason that slight changes in pH or chemistry will have a more significant impact on a tank with a 10-gallon volume than on a tank with a 100-gallon volume. Thanks to new technology, however, the gap is closing and compact equipment, and aquarium systems are becoming more readily available and easier to use.
The "nano tank" trend has been sweeping the aquarium industry lately. Nano aquariums are small, compact aquatic environments that must be maintained with great attention to detail because even the slightest change could be devastating. Many nano tanks incorporate essential equipment like lighting and filtration into the hood, but additional equipment may also be needed. Compact aquarium equipment is not just beneficial for nano tanks, however; it is also a remarkable improvement for tanks where you do not want your equipment cluttering up the aesthetics.
Automation and "Smart" Devices
At one time, the most you could do to automate aquarium functions was to hook your tank lighting up to a timer. Automatic timers made it possible to regulate the on/off cycle for tank lighting, and they could also be rigged to work with automatic feeders. Today, automation technology has taken things to an entirely new level – it is almost to the point where aquariums can be self-sufficient.
Several new technologies and aquarium controllers make it easier to automate or control multiple pieces of aquarium equipment with a single device. Here are some examples of aquarium controllers:
- Temperature Controller/Thermostat – These devices consist of a probe that can be inserted into the tank. The probe is hooked up to a thermometer and thermostat. You can set it to a specific temperature or temperature range – when the tank temperature moves outside of that range, the device automatically kicks on or off.
- Automatic Top Off – Reef aquariums and other tank setups often have trouble with water evaporation. Not only does evaporation reduce the water level in your tank, but it can cause problems with water chemistry as the water volume decreases. Automatic top off (ATO) systems detect both low and high water levels, pumping water into or out of the tank.
- PH Controller – Maintaining a stable pH is vital in freshwater and saltwater tank setups, and a pH controller can help. You can set the desired pH range for your tank and hook it up to a carbon dioxide system. When the probe detects an increase in pH outside the selected range, the carbon dioxide system kicks on to lower the pH.
- Oxygen Monitor – This device monitors dissolved oxygen levels in an aquarium through an in-tank probe and a small programmable device. Maintaining the right oxygen/carbon dioxide balance in an aquarium is very important, so having a device that monitors this balance makes the job much easier.
- Aquarium Monitor – In addition to single-purpose systems like pH controllers, aquarium monitors are now available, which can keep an eye on several aspects of water chemistry, such as temperature, pH, and ammonia levels. Many of these devices log data on a PC, though some newer models make it possible to access this data remotely.
Some of the most technologically advanced aquarium equipment systems are all but automatic. With smartphone apps and computer programs syncing with your aquarium equipment, it is possible to watch tank conditions remotely and detect changes or growing problems in the early stages. In the future, it may be possible to create a one-touch maintenance system where your tank equipment is all linked together and controlled via smartphone or tablet. For example, you could check your tank parameters with a button, make adjustments to equipment settings, or even automatically dose your tank with chemicals or medications to make necessary changes.
Though technically different from keeping an aquarium, aquaponics involves keeping fish and using the nutrients from the water to fertilize growing plants. Then, as the fish eat and produce waste, the nitrogen-rich water from the tank can be pumped into the growing beds for various plants and vegetables. Thanks to the nutrient-rich water, the plants increase and depending on the type of fish you keep, you can use some of the plants to feed the fish. It is a self-perpetuating system that still requires monitoring and maintenance, but technological advances have made it easier to do than ever.
Technological developments in public zoos and aquariums
The underwater world holds great fascination for children and adults alike, hence the popularity of public zoos and aquariums. The term "aquarium" was coined by an English naturalist named Philip Henry Gosse, though Robert Warington developed the basic aquarium principle in 1850. The aquarium craze quickly took hold in Victorian England, leading up to creating the first public aquarium at the London Zoo, which opened in 1853.
Keeping aquatic animals as pets is nothing new, but public zoos and aquariums take things to a whole new level. Fish are kept in tanks that hold hundreds, even thousands of gallons of water and even large aquatic animals like dolphins, sharks, and whales can now be kept in captivity. Of course, there is much controversy surrounding the keeping of wild animals (aquatic or land-dwelling) in captivity. Still, there is also a great deal of conservation happening simultaneously.
Advanced in modern technology have not only changed the way hobbyists design and maintain their aquariums, but it has opened up an entirely new realm of discovery in public zoos and aquariums in the 21st century. The perfect example is the Ocean Odyssey exhibit created by National Geographic in Times Square. It is an immersive adventure that takes visitors across the world's oceans, from the coast of California to the South Pacific.
The exhibit is interactive and completely simulated, designed to give visitors the ability to get up-close and personal with a wide variety of sea creatures they might never otherwise experience. The exhibit provides these experiences without the need for conditioning millions of gallons of water, spending a fortune on energy costs, or keeping wild animals in captivity. It is all virtual. Not only that, but 27% of the proceeds benefit the National Geographic Society for ocean exploration, research, and conservation.
What does the future hold for the aquarium hobby industry?
In considering the future of the aquarium hobby, we need to think about the impact of keeping aquarium fish. Maintaining a small ten-gallon tank stocked with a handful of guppies may not seem like a big deal, but several factors are to consider. First and foremost, an aquarium is one of the only appliances in a home that is left on constantly. A large aquarium of around 55 gallons would consume roughly 200 to 400kWh over a year. For comparison, your fridge consumes about 1,000kWh per year.
New technology such as LED lighting and home automation systems have significantly reduced energy consumption by aquarium setups. However, it is still worth thinking about the long-term implications of the aquarium setup you choose. For example, maintaining a peaceful reef environment will require more maintenance and more equipment than a basic freshwater setup or even a cold-water tank that doesn't need to be heated.
You also have to think about your tank inhabitants and the sustainability issues that come into play. Over the past several decades, we have made giant leaps and bounds in captive breeding for many species. However, there are still issues with fish being captured from the wild and sold in the aquarium hobby and destroyed coral reefs. Another problem is that people who get tired of their pets sometimes release them into the wild – this is the root cause of the lionfish infestation that has reached epidemic proportions in the Atlantic Ocean.