I'm doing some consulting for an aquarium company that focuses on elegant nano aquariums and accessories. As I was thinking about their website today, it occurred to me that much of what they sell is pretty obscure. In other words, as a specialty company, their products are not name brands. Part of that is due to the very specific type of customer they cater to, but it's also due to very minimal advertising.
Many cichlidophiles are quite loyal to specific brands, and many of the brands are well known and long standing in the hobby. However, there are many aquarium products that are less popular but equal or greater in quality than the mass produced, name brands. New products are coming into the market all of the time and they're not all produced by the big names.
For example, in the filter world, everyone knows about Fluval, AquaClear, Marineland, Tetra, Aqueon, and Eheim. However, there are some other very good, lesser known filter brands that are comparable in price and quality to those. Have you ever heard of Sicce? How about Hydor? In foods, there are popular brands such as Ocean Nutrition, Tetra, Omega One, and Hikari. You ever try Northfin? What about Sera? How about Piscine Energetics or New Life Spectrum?
The point is, there are lots of less popular brands of products available that are every bit as good or better than the ones you hear about all of the time. Consider expanding your horizons and getting out of your comfort zone. You can still remain loyal to your brands yet also branch out and experiment. You never know. You might just stumble across something you really like that's not already being produced by the usual players.
The Cichlid Room Companion
Tropical Fish Hobbyist
American Cichlid Assoc.
African Cichlid Hub