Instant Success

Instant Ocean focuses on education to ensure customer success.


At Instant Ocean, the goal is to help customers bring the ocean home. William Kelly, developer of the original Instant Ocean synthetic sea salt formula for public aquariums, founded the brand in 1964. It gained popularity as aquarium keepers experienced great success with the product. Then, in 2005, Spectrum Brands purchased Instant Ocean, helping it to become a pet industry leader by enveloping into United Pet Group’s aquatic brands. Today, the brand leverages its research and development facilities throughout the world to continually bring high quality, reliability and consistency to the market in its new products.

Making Waves
Most recently, the company introduced a complete line of products designed to make starting up and keeping a marine aquarium easy and enjoyable. The new line consists of both water-care and nutrition products.

The water-care program simplifies what to add and when to add it, making it easier to achieve healthy aquarium chemistry. It breaks the process into four categories: start-up, maintenance, solutions and testing. This science-based regimen helps make keeping a marine aquarium understandable, enjoyable and successful for beginners and advanced hobbyists alike. The water-care program complements Instant Ocean’s already successful BIO-Spira, which makes the marine aquarium instantly safe for fish and eliminates the need for waiting and guessing when adding fish to an aquarium.

The nutrition products offered in the new line come in four different formats to best target diverse species of marine fish. Each of these formats–soft gel, grazing blocks, chips and pellets –comes in both omnivore and herbivore formulas.

Grazing Blocks and Soft Gels are both new formats engineered by Instant Ocean. Soft Gels offer a replacement for frozen foods without the hassle of refrigeration, offering balanced nutrition and high acceptance. Grazing Blocks combine the ingredients needed for a complete a balanced diet in a firm gel, allowing fish that graze to feed over a longer period of time. Each product is nutritionally balanced to keep fish thriving and healthy and the variety keeps fish excited and interested in their food.

Behind the Scenes
A year-long study conducted at the company’s research facility in Melle, Germany on mineral reduction in mixed reef aquaria helped formulate the new water-care line. Research and development plays a huge role in each new product that comes to market with the Instant Ocean name. After formulas are proposed, the company typically spends six to nine months testing and validating them.

Once a formula is ready to go to market, Instant Ocean is dedicated to ensuring retail success. For the new line, the company is offering a large-scale sampling program, so consumers can try the new products and experience success first-hand.

The company has a complete merchandising system to present the full line of Instant Ocean products on the retail shelf while helping the consumer to understand the products they need and allowing them to make better purchasing decisions. This, in-turn, helps retailers make the sale.

Dawn Tolonen, director of marketing for UPG?Aquatics says that all of these efforts help take the guesswork out of marine fishkeeping. To do this successfully, Instant Ocean must educate its retailer partners on how all of its products work together. As a result, the company hires sales representatives that are long-time hobbyists and provides marketing tools and programs, merchandising programs and educational POS materials, store-use products and staff-training materials.

Looking ahead, Tolonen says that retailers and consumers can count on the company to deliver innovative, science-driven products that help create healthy, thriving marine environments. In her words, “We’re just getting warmed up.”

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