Interview with Andrzej Onichimiuk, Senior Sales Manager
Aquaforest’s massive and diverse line of products for the reef aquarium hobby has grown even larger since last year’s MACNA show. Their catalog is truly impressive given the fact this Polish company has only been on the American market for a couple of years, and man, you’ve got to love their packaging. After seeing the amount of new stuff displayed at the company’s booth in New Orleans, I wanted to sit down with Andrzej, the Aquaforest sales manager, and talk about all the fresh goods people on this side of the ocean will be able to get their hands on soon. Me: Hey Andrzej, thanks for sacrificing some of your time to show me Aquaforest’s new products. There’s quite a lot of things I did not see at the last MACNA in San Diego… Andrzej: Of course Marcin, it’s my pleasure. What should we start with? Me: Tell me about Life Source. I’ve read about this product on your website and I must admit, it’s something I’ve never seen before in the hobby, not in this form at least. Andrzej: Yes, indeed, Life Source is quite a unique product. In essence, it is a natural mud collected from live coral reef. We get it directly from the reefs in Fiji. The product may be confusing at first as mud is often associated with unwanted phosphates, but if you take Life Source and test it, there’s practically zero phosphates and nitrates in it. Instead, it contains essential minerals and nutrients that we think corals absorb and use to build their internal structure. Me: How do you use it in a tank? Andrzej: The dosing regime is very simple. One spoonful [included in the package] treats around 100l [25g]. It dissolves very slowly and we recommend dosing it weekly. We think it’s an interesting, natural addition to a reef tank and we’re the first to offer it to the hobbyists. Me: Great. What about this product [pointing at a purple plastic jar labeled Life Bio Fil]? Andrzej: Yes, this is another new addition to our catalog. Like Life Source, Life Bio Fil is a completely natural product and it is a filtration media, in its consistency and overall look resembling pumice, although it is something different. Seeded with nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria, Life Bio Fil helps in reducing the time from setting up a new saltwater tank to its “mature” state. It also provides surface for bacteria to settle in and in turn helps fight excess ammonia, nitrates and phosphates that can accumulate in one’s tank. Me: Interesting, does it mean it is packed with live bacteria? Andrzej: Yes. It ships wet, loaded with bacteria and therefore should be kept away from sun to avoid drying. It’s best to place Life Bio Fil in an area of high flow too, such as a sump or close to a powerhead. Me: You also have a new set of aquarium water tests… Andrzej: Yes, indeed. We have three tests available for crucial tank parameters- Calcium, kH and Magnesium. Let me open it for you [opening a Calcium test kit package]- beside the attractive packaging [smiling], what distinguishes Aquaforest test kits from other tests on the market is the testing instructions card. It is completely waterproof, to the point that you can drop it in water and nothing will happen to it. The same is true for the test result chart, it is made from the same waterproof plastic instead of standard paper sheet. In addition, every test kit comes with a certificate as each batch of tests are measured against a reference solution in our laboratory’s ICP spectrometer. Me: Could you please take the test components out so I can take a picture? Why is there three part-B bottles? Andrzej: Good call. We decided to divide part B of the test solution into three separate bottles so you keep the reagents from weathering. This type of reagent used in Calcium tests is particularly vulnerable to weathering, which may affect the accuracy of testing and so we include 3 bottles instead of one, each lasting about 20 tests cycles. Me: Thanks Andrzej! Andrzej: You bet. Thanks for stopping by. Aquaforest had an additional announcement I forgot to talk with Andrzej about. I later asked Seweryn Lukasiewicz, the company’s co-founder, to provide me some info about it- it’s a new venture for Aquaforest, a line of fish foods that consist of 15 different varieties in all kinds of forms and sizes. The company is currently in the process of obtaining necessary permits and certificates to distribute the food in United States; we can expect them on store shelves shortly after that is finished. It’s an especially unique offering, the food varieties Aquaforest wants to bring to this side of the ocean are unique and oftentimes quite specific in composition. There is, for example, a Protein Powder made with young fish in mind, as well as two kinds of granules for feeding Anthias species. For a full list of th different foods Aquaforest makes, visit http://aquaforest.eu/en/product-category/fish-foods/ It was a pleasure to talk to the Aquaforest crew and see their amazing setup at MACNA. I hope the fish food will soon be available here in the US, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the test kits. See Aquaforest Product Catalog for more details.