It seems that with each new year, we continue with our habit of making predictions for what we think we’ll see in the aquarium industry over the following 12 months. Some of these predictions are bold and unfounded, while others are a bit more level headed and almost a guarantee. Regardless, we are back with our list for 2014. So, be sure to check it out below and feel free to add some of your own predictions for the new year.
Prediction #1 – The ultra rare fish will become more and more attainable by the everyday hobbyist
Each year, the hobby sees tons of new faces, some new to just the aquarium industry and some totally new to science. That said, a lot of these ultra rare fish are becoming not so rare. Take the peppermint angelfish for example. Prior to 2013, only two were known to be in captivity. But thanks to Blue Harbor and deepwater diver Rufus Kimura, more than a dozen entered the trade last year. Another example is the odd looking Dr. Seuss Soapfish, which made a big splash in 2013 as well. These fish and others like them will still cary hefty price tags, but they will be available a lot more, especially to aquarists based in the US.
Prediction #2 – Snorkel Bob and his chronies will leave us alone (for the most part) in 2014
Robert Wintner, the outspoken activist hell bent on getting the aquarium industry out of Hawaii, and the rest of his goons have been in a thorn in our collective sides for quite some time now. And 2013 was not really any different. They were quite active during the first half of the year, but sort of vanished after May. Later in the year, the Hawaiian governor signed a bill into law that was applauded by the aquarium industry but shunned by Snorkel Bob and the gang, and we think it will have a large enough impact that we just won’t hear much from the anti-aquarium activists. Of course, this prediction could totally be jinxing it, but let’s hope not.
Prediction #3 – Another aquarium store or public aquarium will come under fire for illegal wildlife harvesting
2013 seemed to be a pretty active year for arrests and sentencing of aquarium store and public aquarium owners and employees. We saw Joseph Russo (Russo’s Reef) and Ammon Covino (Portland Aquarium, Idaho Aquarium) both plead guilty to similar charges. And given the fact that there were arrests in 2012 as well, we just know that we’ll see something go down in 2014. It will be an unfortunate situation that gives us a black eye when it happens, but it will be an isolated incident that we will overcome.
Prediction #4 – ORA will bring an entirely new genus to the captive bred marketplace
Oceans Reefs & Aquariums (ORA) had a very busy 2013 and will continue their success right on into the new year. They’ve already conquered plenty of species over their long history, oftentimes offering up species already known to the hobby but in captive bred form. Our prediction for 2014 is that ORA is going to do something groundbreaking. They will bring something really exciting to the hobby. And, of course, we’ll be right there to cover the news when it is announced. To close out this prediction, we have to admit that we may have a sliver of insider info to base our statements on. We haven’t been told many details at all, and we may be exaggerating what little we do know. But it wouldn’t be a bold prediction if we didn’t, right?
Prediction #5 – EcoTech Marine will not release an aquarium controller
Over the past two years, we’ve predicted that EcoTech Marine was going to release their own full blown aquarium controller. It wasn’t a total stretch of the imagination, as they have released high profile aquarium products for multiple consecutive years. We did sort of see their entry into the controller realm when they announced their ReefLink device, though it only controlled Radion LED fixtures with the potential to control VorTech pumps as well. With our prediction falling flat on its face two years running, and given that the EcoTech Marine lineup doesn’t include probes and other input devices common to aquarium controllers, we are going the opposite direction this year and predicting that they will not have a controller. Instead, we think they’ll release their coral viewer, which will likely debut at MACNA.