How many companies can launch the same 'new' product?

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'Interzoo this year is dominated by nano and pico tanks and a massive number of LEDs. But how many companies can launch the same 'new' product?', wonders Matt Clarke.

Wandering around Interzoo this year it's immediately apparent that the two areas that global aquarium manufacturers are looking to cash-in on are LED lighting and nano tanks or pico tanks.

It feels like nearly every manufacturer now has both ranges, and there are some nicely packaged and presented products on offer.

However, I think the general opinion of those manufacturers I've spoken to seems to be that innovation this year is lower than usual, which is perhaps unsurprising given the global economic downturn.

There are some good products around at Interzoo 2010 and there are some original ones around. But, as the old saying goes, some of the good ones are not original and some of the original ones are not that good.

For example, we've already seen four incarnations of the Dymax IQ3 acrylic nano aquarium - very good but not original.

The winner in all of this must be the Chinese manufacturers who are producing these products and supplying them to manufacturers and distributors around the world.

AquaMart is selling the Dymax IQ3 under its original name in the UK; wholesaler J & K has re-badged it as the Betta Nano Cube on the UK market; AquaDistri is selling it under the IQube name, and TMC is selling a slightly-tweaked version as the AquaGro MicroHabitat.

(Update: TMC claims its product did not come from Dymax but from a different supplier, which makes us wonder whether Dymax is the original equipment manufacturer or not.)

The same thing is happening with the curved glass nano aquariums, which several other manufacturers are offering under various different names as their own product.

Even Hagen, who have been perhaps the bravest of all during the recession, with launches of the excellent-but-expensive Fluval G external filters, and the marmite Fluval Edge lifestyle aquarium, have come out with a range of products that are good but very similar to those already offered elsewhere.

The new Fluval EBI, Fluval Shrimp and Fluval Flora ranges, for example, aren't original (Dennerle launched the very similar Dennerle Nano Cube range at Interzoo in 2008), but they're nicely put together.

And the omnipresence of Hagen's products in most UK retailers, and their competitive pricing, means that they'll be in the hands of more fishkeepers which has to be a good thing for fishkeeping and the planted tank or nano scene in particular.