Tell us about Dr. Tim’s Aquatics’ approach to aquarium maintenance. What are the key areas in which the company’s products help aquarium hobbyists? Our approach is to provide natural products for the hobbyist to work smarter, not harder. We provide the key missing element in many aquaria, which is bacteria. Everyone wants ‘gin’ clear water, which is not really natural, and the unintended consequence is that good bacteria are eliminated. These bacteria remove nutrients and organics, take care of odors and keep surfaces clean. Our bacteria products are made with bacteria we have isolated from aquaria, so they are right at home keeping the tank clean and nutrients in control, which makes less work for the hobbyist.
What are some of the biggest challenges hobbyists face in maintaining a clean, healthy aquarium? How can retailers help them overcome such challenges? The biggest challenge, in my opinion, is resisting the temptation to add another device, another water additive, one more fish, and so forth. This creates newer problems, which means more intervention on the part of the hobbyist. For developing a long-term customer, the retailer needs to invest time, which is hard, into showing the customer that simpler can be better and easier—that the latest gadgets are not always needed. Most importantly, sell the customer products they can understand and therefore will maintain.
What are some common mistakes hobbyists make in aquarium maintenance? How can retailers help them avoid these mistakes? Probably the biggest mistake is waiting too long and then cleaning everything at once: siphon cleaning the gravel, changing the filter, changing a huge percentage of the water, etc. This causes two issues: 1) a too great a change in the water chemistry, and 2) severe disturbance in the bacteria population. All this can lead to a sudden increase in ammonia and nitrite—and, in extreme cases, fish deaths. What a retailer can do is stress the importance of regular smaller water changes, and how that is much easier than waiting until problems occur which means more work.
What are Dr. Tim’s best-selling products? What makes these items so popular? Our best-selling product is our One and Only Live Nitrifying bacteria. This product was based on my Ph.D. research, which discovered several novel species of nitrifying bacteria. The myth has been bacteria in a bottle don’t work. The reality is that the wrong bacteria in a bottle don’t work. If the right bacteria are in the bottle, they are shelf stable for a year and work fine.
Our Waste-Away sludge-degrading bacteria are the next best seller. Again, these bacteria were isolated from aquaria and it is a mix of bacteria that consume nutrients and degrade organics helping to keep the tank clean and water clear. We don’t buy bacteria from a third party—our bacteria are from aquarium for aquariums.
What are Dr. Tim’s newest product introductions? How do these products innovate aquarium care? Our newest product is our Waste-Away time-release gels. We have our Waste-Away bacteria in a gel, which is placed in the aquarium and 24/7 releases good bacteria for up to 30 days. No dosing, no reservoirs, no hoses, etc. Very clean and easy to use. The bacteria naturally clean the systems and help the hobbyist keep the tank in top condition. People are busy and this simple but innovate product helps them maintain a clean tank with a healthy environment without taking much time.