Tell us about API and its approach to helping hobbyists create and maintain healthy, successful aquatic environments. What sets the company apart from other competitors in the aquatic’s category?
With API aquarium products, it’s easy to keep a beautiful saltwater, freshwater or reef aquarium. For close to 60 years, API has been creating innovative, research-driven solutions that make it easier to care for your fish and aquarium. We pride ourselves on using our voice and our extensive history to help educate our consumers on how to best keep a healthy aquarium or pond. We provide resources to aid in their fish keeping journey that ranges from videos, blog posts, curriculum for students, and a technical services team equipped to answer any question you have.
API aquarium treatment supplies are designed to work in conjunction with each other to provide best results to control algae, promote healthy bacterial growth and help control and cure fish diseases and conditions such as ich and fin rot. They work to provide a safe, hospitable environment for fish such as tropical community fish, cichlids, goldfish and more. With API, you can spend more time admiring your fish, and less time scrubbing your tank. Make sure to use all products as directed to ensure the best results.
What role do independent pet stores play in API’s retail channel strategy? Why are these retailers important to the success of your business?
We know that for lots of fish keepers, their independent pet store can be part of the enjoyment of keeping fish. They’ll often know the owner and staff and pay regular visits to see what they’ve got in, seek counsel on any issues they’re having with their tanks, and stock up on essentials. We also know from research we’ve done in the last year that fish keepers look for and rely on the API brand to maintain their tanks. That’s why we work closely with all the major U.S. distributors to ensure that API is available in the independent channel so that our consumers can find it in their local store.
What are some of API’s most popular products? What makes these products popular with aquarium keepers?
API produces a full range of water conditioners, medications, test kits and food for your freshwater, saltwater, reef or planted aquarium. Our products resonate with our consumers because they are based in science and research and have a long history of helping fish keepers maintain a healthy aquatic environment.
One of our most popular items is STRESS COAT water conditioner, because it not only makes tap water safe for fish by removing chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals from tap water, it also contains the healing power of aloe vera to reduce fish stress by up to 40 percent, and to heal damaged tissue and wounds. Our unique formula is scientifically proven to reduce fish stress and heal damaged tissue by forming a synthetic slime coating on your fish and helps reduce future susceptibility to disease and infection.
Another popular item is the API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT which measures the five most important parameters in freshwater aquariums with scientific accuracy for professional results: pH, high range pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
Lastly, API MELAFIX fish remedy is very popular amongst fish keepers because of it is a unique all-natural antibacterial treatment that works to treat bacterial infections in fish, like open wounds and abrasions, tail rot, eye cloud and mouth fungus. MELAFIX fish remedy also promotes regrowth of damaged fins and tissue.
What are the newest products introduced by API? How do these products innovate aquarium keeping?
Over the past year, the API brand has introduced two exciting new products in the U.S. market. First and foremost is the API AQUASPIN Advanced Digital Precision photometer, which is ideal for quickly and easily testing all important water parameters for freshwater and saltwater aquariums and ponds. Within two to three minutes, the API AQUASPIN will test up to eight parameters at once and deliver results to not only the meter but to the apifishcare.com website, where consumers can track their tank test results and be provided instant recommendations for how to keep their aquarium or pond healthy.
In addition, we’ll be launching API AQUA ESSENTIAL this month. This is a highly concentrated all-in-one water conditioner that instantly makes tap water safe for fish by removing chlorine, chloramine and detoxifies heavy metals found in the tap water. AQUA ESSENTIAL instantly removes ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Ammonia is continually released by fish through their gills, urine and solid waste. Uneaten food and decaying organic matter also add ammonia. Small amounts of ammonia stress fish; large amounts of ammonia will kill fish. AQUA ESSENTIAL will instantly restore a healthy aquatic environment for your freshwater, saltwater, or planted aquarium.
What is the current state of the aquatics category within the pet industry? How has it changed over the past several years? What are your expectations for the future of this category?
COVID has had a dramatic effect on the aquatics category. Whether you’re a lapsed fish keeper who’s used lockdown to dust off an old tank and get it going again, or a newbie who’s decided to give it a go, fishkeeping is flourishing, and we’re seeing enormous growth across all segments—even holiday products are starting to turn around! We anticipate that as more people come into the category, the growth will continue; and we’re well placed to serve fish keepers with good availability of our products nationwide.
What are the major opportunities and challenges that retailers face in the aquatic’s category right now?
New entrants and growth are the big opportunities, as well as new products. The challenge will always be maintaining those fish keepers to reduce the dropout rate. The independent channel has a huge role to play there. Independent pet stores can provide a personalized service including expertise and help that the national chains and supermarkets can’t necessarily replicate. Don’t underestimate the effect of a well-timed intervention with some good advice and offering of the right product can have on a new fish keeper who might be struggling with some unknown that you can help with.
Aside from offering a diverse lineup of category-leading products, how does API help drive sales in pet stores? What types of sales and marketing support does the company offer retailers?
We have a fantastic offering online, be it on our own properties, like our website (apifishcare.com), which is full of advice, blogs and educational materials, or via our social media influencers who use our products regularly and can demonstrate how great they are.
We also can provide educational point of sale signage to help the fish keeper understand what they need to purchase—and more importantly, why they need to purchase specific items. We’ve also just launched our brand-new AQUASPIN meter, a ground-breaking digital water testing machine that can help retailers build a long-term relationship with their customers and provides a platform to help offer advice and sell consumers the products that they need to help their aquarium to thrive.
What does the future hold for API?
At API we will continue to work towards making a better underwater world for all ornamental aquatics and the water where they live. We believe that continuing to use our platform to educate fish keepers about what is needed for a thriving aquarium or pond will only work to increase the life expectancy of fish, thereby increasing interest in the hobby. Building and strengthening our brand through insights and investment will remain a core component of how we’ll remain relevant with our consumers, past, present and future. The API brand will continue to be on the forefront of innovation and science-backed solutions for the aquatic’s category. PB