• Aquarium Specialty 2014 MVP Awards

    2014 MVP Award
    Aquarium Specialty is pleased to announce it’s 2nd Annual Most Valuable Product (MVP) Awards.  The 2014 Aquarium Specialty MVP Award recognizes aquarium manufacturers and their products which have excelled in the following areas:
    Customer Feedback
    Ease of Use
    Number of Units Purchased
    Build Quality
    Product Support & Customer Service
    • In 2014, more than 7000 products were considered from over 200 manufacturers.  This year’s Aquarium Specialty MVP award categories are:
    MVP – Wave Maker
    MVP – Aquarium Controller
    MVP – Aquarium Lighting for Sm & Midsize Tanks
    MVP – Aquarium Lighting for Larger Tanks
    MVP – Water Pump
    MVP – Best Value Protein Skimmer
    MVP – Best Overall Protein Skimmer
    MVP – Best All-In-One Skimmer
    MVP- Temperature Control
    MVP – Best All-In-One Aquarium Series
    MVP – Aquarium Reactor
    MVP – Best New Product
    Most Anticipated Product
    Each business day 2 new category award winners will be announced until all 12 categories have been awarded.  This year we have also added 1 extra category designated as the Most Anticipated Product of the Year.
    All of the 2014 Aquarium Specialty MVP Awards are in now!  Today we are announcing the Aquarium Specialty MVP 2014 awards for Aquarium Reactors and for the 2014 “Up and Coming Company of the Year”.  Congratulations to each of the winners along with our sincere gratitude for producing such great products which help to achieve and maintain healthy and successful reef environments!
    Ecotech MP Series Wavemaker
    For the 2nd year in a row, the MVP Wave Maker of Year Award goes to Ecotech Marine for it’s MP Series Wave Makers (now replaced by the Ecotech Quiet Drive Wave Makers).  These models include the MP10ES, MP10WES, MP40WES and MP60WES wavemaker pumps.  As before, Ecotech Marine continues to excel in all areas of performance, reliability, feedback and customer service after the sale.  These award winning wave makers work well as stand alones in addition to communicating with one another and with their flagship LED fixtures, theRadion Gen 2 and Radion Pro.  Showing unmatched innovation, Ecotech Marine continues to release new products while they consistently produce quality wavemakers.
    Neptune Apex
    The 2014 MVP Aquarium Controller of the Year Award goes to Neptune Systems for the Apex Controller product line.  While remaining the most dominant player in the US aquarium controller market, Neptune Systems has developed and innovated several new products this year as add ons to their existing Apex platform, easily earning the title of MVP Controller for 2014.  Before the end of November we expect to see the 1st batch of Neptune DOS dosing pumps arrive in our warehouse and ship immediately to all those who were smart enough to preorder this highly anticipated new product.  For more on Neptune Systems products, please visit here.

    Hydra TwentySix

    The 2014 MVP Small to Medium sized Aquarium Lighting product goes to Aqua Illumination for it’s Hydra TwentySix LED fixture.  Introduced earlier this year, the AI Hydra TwentySix has easily become the best selling LED light fixture in the Aqua Illumination line up.  In 2014, Aqua Illumination has exceeded all other LED fixtures on the market for units sold while earning high marks for build quality, innovation, and consistently good customer service.  Earlier this year, AI launched this fixture to replace the standard Hydra model with more PAR in a smaller footprint.  For more information on this subject, visit our Hydra vs. Hydra TwentySix article.  A close runner up this year is the Ecotech Marine Radion XR15Pro LED light fixture.  Both brands feature 7 different LED colors per fixture and the ability to adjust each color independently in 1% increments.

    Radion XR30W PRO

    This year we decided to split up the lighting category into two classes.  With so many lighting options on the market today, we chose to have a smaller to mid-sized MVP winner and an MVP category for larger systems which require more PAR and a larger light spread.  This year Ecotech is on the MVP board with the MVP Larger Tank Lighting Award for it’s Radion XR30 Gen3 PRO LED Fixture.  These fixtures are very elegant and work nicely over larger reef tanks.  With the TIR lens added, expect about a 30″ x 30″ spread when hung from a height of around 12″ from the water surface.  Congratulations to Ecotech Marine for it’s 2nd MVP award!  For details please visit here.  That makes 4 awards from 4 companies headquartered in the USA.

    Red Dragon Speedy Pump

    This years Aquarium Specialty 2014 MVP Award for Water Pumps goes to Royal Exclusiv for it’s Red Dragon Speedy 3 Series Pumps.   More and more aquarium DC pump brands have entered the market this year but the one they really stands out is the Red Dragon Speedy series pumps.  They are not the best selling brand but customer feedback has been exceptional. The best selling accolade goes to Waveline Pumps from RLSS but the Red Dragon Speedy Pumps offer the best build quality and features of any DC controllable aquarium pump to date.  They are also “super silent”.  Clients have reported to us that they can’t hear their pumps running and that sometimes they have to double check to make sure they are operating.  It’s worth noting that the Speedy 80 watt pump with 1-10 volt interface port gives you the option of using the pump as a nearly silent wavemaker by attaching the optional wavemaker interface and interface cable to a Neptune Apex or GHL controller.

    RLSS DB8-i

    The 2014 MVP Award for Best Value in Protein Skimmers goes to the RLSS (Reef Life Support Systems) DB Series Skimmers.  Introduced in 2014, the RLSS DB-i series skimmers offer a unique internal pump configuration with an open volute design.  With the needle wheel exposed, the open volute design increases the bubble density in the skimmer reaction chamber by a considerable amount thus allowing the aquarist to really dial in what kind of skimmate is collected in the collection cup.  These skimmers feature the Waveline DC controllable pumps with 30 minute feed timer making them a very versatile skimmer that also performs extremely well at a price point that is very competitive.  If we were to award honorable mention then that would have to Reef Octopus for it’s Elite series protein skimmers.  Released later in the year, these skimmers appear to be a formidable competitor in the value skimmer category.

    Bubble King Double Cone

    With so many skimmers on the market today it was somewhat difficult to pick the best value protein skimmer.  For the Best Overall Protein Skimmer it was an easy choice.  This years 2014 MVP Award for Best Overall Protein Skimmers goes to Royal Exclusiv for it’s Bubble King + RD3 Pump line of Protein Skimmers.  These skimmers are probably the quietest, best built, best engineered and one of the most energy efficient and all around best skimmers anywhere.  Their skimmer deisgns and pumps are often copied by many other manufactures but they typically fall short in one aspect or another.  If you are not on a budget and you are looking for the best overall aquarium protein skimmer anywhere then Royal Exclusiv has a solution for you.

    Ghost Skimmers 2014 MVP Award

    Since protein skimmers are so important to most of us aquarists we decided to have 3 awards in the Protein Skimmer category in this years MVP awards.  With all the recent aquarists purchasing all-in-one style aquariums in the past couple of years or so this year we created a category for Best All-In-One Skimmer.  This year the MVP Award for the Best All-In-One skimmer goes to Innovative Marine for it’s recently launched Ghost Skimmer line.  For more on these skimmers take a peak at the video.  As you can see from the video, Innovative Marine has put a lot of thought into their products.

    Tradewind Chiller 2014 MVP

    The 2014 MVP Temperature Control award for the 2nd year in a row goes to Tradewind Chillers for their in-line and drop-in style chillers.  Made in the USA, Tradewind Chillers come with an out-of-the-box 2 year warranty and an optional 5 year upgrade for a small upgrade cost.  Tradewind received the nod because of their exceptional customer service, quality control and reliability.  Hal, the owner at Tradewind is very responsive to us and to our customers and they actually manufacture an exceptional affordable chiller made in the USA. Congratulations Hal and Company.  If we had a honorable mention then this would go to Teco Seachill for it’s new TK series chillers.  If you haven’t seen these yet then it’s worth a look.  They have lots of nice features and innovations built into their chillers and the only reason we couldn’t consider them as a 2014 winner is because the TK series was just launched prior to MACNA.  Not enough time has passed and not many units are out in the wild as of yet.

    Fusion 10 Gallon

    The 2014 MVP All-In-One Aquarium of the Year Award was chosen by our customers by popular demand.  The recipient is Innovative Marine for its Nuvo Fusion 10 gallon and 20 gallon aquariums.  Last year IM won the award for the Nuvo series and now they are back on top with the best selling 10 and 20 gallon Fusion tanks.  These aquariums feature low iron glass and a filtration compartment on the backside of the aquarium for an “easy on the eyes” look. With plentily available filtration accessories and a low price point on these aquariums, the Fusion series tanks have become a real crowd pleaser for the up-and-coming and intermediate aquarium hobbyist.

    Triton Bluefin Reactor

    Last year Triton Aquatics won our “up and coming company of the year award”.  This year we decided to drop the “up and coming category” and add a few new categories in it’s place, however this year, Triton Aquatics is back on the 2014 MVP map with it’s Bluefin Series Reactors.  The overall construction quality is best in class.  Using all thick cast acrylic material and molded lids, these 4″ and 6″ reactors are both durable and elegant.  Each model is offered in clear or blue.  We recommend using the blue version if you are using Biopellets or All-In-One Biopellets.

    All-In-One Biopellets

    The 2014 MVP Award for the Best New Product goes to Reef Interests for it’s All-In-One Biopellets.  Feedback has been tremendous and the results are amazing according to just about everyone who has provided us with feedback on the forums and over the phone.  Reef Interests went though about 4 years of product development and testing to get this patent pending product into the aquarium market and its evident that their hard work in delveloping All-In-One Biopellets has paid off.  All-In-One Biopellets will remove about 5 times the nitrate (NO3) and about 10-20 more phosphate (PO4) than regular biopellets.  Better still yet, when using this media it’s no longer necessary to have 2 separate reactors, one for biopellets and one for GFO media.  One media will take care of your PO4 and NO3 issues.  For more on All-In-One Biopellets click here.