Stretch your wit and feed your fish with Hikari

Hikari, manufacturer of tropical, marine, pond and coldwater fish foods, is searching for the wittiest fishkeepers to submit their captions for its latest competition.

Our technical writer Nathan Hill got up close and personal with the brand at the recent AQUA Telford show, and is subsequently still "full of spirulina".
The top 20 entries will bag themselves an 82g pack of Hikari Algae Wafers, which provide a complete and balanced diet for Plecostomus and other algae eaters, including marine herbivores.
For your chance to win simply click here to send Hikari a caption that best describes what you think the image is saying or thinking, or just a general description.
Maximum number of words is 15.
Closing date for entries is Friday December 6 2013. All winning captions will be uploaded to the Hikari website after the closing date.

Robotic fish among the top ten hottest toys for Christmas

What does every child want for Christmas? According to the famous toy store Hamley's, it's robotic fish!

Up there in Hamley's top ten of the toys children really, really want this Christmas is the Robo Fish — a water-activated toy which replicates a real fish. Submerge it in water and it imitates realistic swimming patterns — take it out and dry it and it goes to 'sleep'.

Robo Fish are available in a wide range of designs and colours to appeal to children and cost around a tenner each. They don't need feeding or cleaning and even come with a replacement set of batteries.

There's also a 'play set' available, which consists of a bowl and a robotic fish and costs around £20.

You can see Robo Fish in action on the video below:


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Reef One sneaks out new biOrb AIR

Ever on the lookout for new products, Jeremy Gay spotted this new creation on YouTube, from the makers of biOrb.

So there I am minding my own business, surfing the Internet for all things natural history, when this crops up — a terrarium — from Reef One. And it made me sit up and take notice. And so quiet has the release been that Google biOrb AIR and you'll get an airpump for their existing aquarium models.

And although not a vessel in which to keep fish, there is considerable crossover with people who keep fish and those who like other forms of natural history, including plants and inverts — and in this case, a tank which has been specially built to grow plants.


"The biOrbAIR is a fully automated terrarium that creates the perfect micro-climate for growing tropical plants" says the official blurb on the Reef One website.

"This micro-climate replicates the natural conditions under a tropical forest canopy,enabling many species of plants, such as Orchids, to thrive as nature intended.

"The biOrbAIR uses a treated sterilised coir compost as the growth media to cultivate the plant roots."

"The coir compost is placed on top of a capilliary matt that draws water up to the compost from a small water reservoir in the base.

"The capilliary action prevents the plant roots from soaking and rotting. Natural daylight is not necessary as the lighting is arranged in a six-LED array at the top of the sphere. This emits the perfect light output for encouraging natural growth and prevents plants bending towards a single light source.

"To discourage stagnation and condensation within the biOrbAIR, a constantly running fan recycles the air through a replaceable carbon filter. A small amount of fresh air is regularly introduced as part of the circulation process.

"To maintain the humidity within the micro-climate, water is added using an ultrasonic mister mounted in the top water reservoir. The mister generates the 'swirling' water vapour if the humidity drops below 75% RH."

What's in the box
Terrarium and base
Lighting and misting module
Coir compost
Planting tray
Carbon filter Cartridge
500ml Bottle Himidimist x 2
24 V Transformer
Capilliary matting plus rubber stopper
Full instructions

The biOrbAIR is 56cm tall and 50cm in diameter.

Price: £349.96.

What we think
Well you won't have the perpetual argument of whether it's suitable for goldfish or not, and as a lover of planted terrariums and moist, forest environments in general, first impressions are that I'm a fan.

Reef One is one of the few companies which successfully reaches outside of the pet market with its life-styled products and I can imagine this fitting right into apartment situations and the sorts of people demographics which are just like the one in the video.

Every fishkeeper I've shown has liked it so far, so Reef One may actually gain some new business from those who normally shun their aquarium products, and I think the aquascapers may see potential in a bit of extra planting and hardscape design too.

If you wanted to be really harsh you could say it looks bit like a squat space rocket, and I wonder if the Life mould could now possibly be converted to an AIR too, and if it would indeed look even better than the spherical mould featured above? I wonder too if that new light may hint at better lighting for their biOrb aquariums in the future?

Suitable livestock
The multi-pet keepers amongst you may also be asking the obvious question of if you can keep terrestrial life in it. I think dartfrogs would be cool, while Nathan Hill is thinking Praying mantis. It's a great solution for all those dodgy house plants which are still being sold as true aquatics, and the Reef One website is hinting at doing AIR specific plants too.

The RRP at just short of £350 is quite high I think, as a good planted terrarium could either be constructed using the conventional garden centre, or reptile enclosure route for a lot less, but like I said Reef One are the masters of Lifestyle design and you won't get anything quite like it elsewhere.

So in a way it's exciting, and I'm sure it will turn up in the Ideal Home show or in an Ikea-styled room some time in the future. Now who's going to try and copy it first?

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Put a zombie in your garden!

This is just one of a range of garden ornaments — which also includes a Yeti — soon to be available in the UK from Interpet.

The U.S. company Design Toscano was originally inspired by the impressive carvings of gargoyles and water spouts at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The company was created by Michael and Marilyn Stopka and has grown to be America’s premier source for Creative Resin Animal statuary and other historical and antique replicas.

Mark Hoskins, MD at Interpet UK says: "The product range brings a mix of elegant, traditional and fun resin statues which complements our extensive range of aquatic and pet products perfectly and we know they’ll be a huge success in the UK market.

"Design Toscano has fast become a well-respected company in the U.S. where they are well renowned for their quality products and attention to detail – these are standards that Interpet values highly and as such we look forward to a close and long-term relationship with them."

The range includes animals, classical statues, oriental designs, gnomes, angels, gargoyles and dragons, creatures, children and more.

The statues will be available from the end of September.

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Dr David Pool starts up new product company FishScience

Seasoned aquarists will be very familiar with David Pool (ex Tetra,) and he was even a resident expert in old PFKs!

His new company FishScience, which he calls the the new name in quality fish keeping products, will launch it’s range of fish foods at the AQUA 2013 trade exhibition in Telford.

The company, founded by Dr David Pool, will initially focus on a select range of aquarium and pond foods before expanding to care products in the coming months.

David commented, “I am very proud to be able to supply a range of products for aquarium and pond fish under the FishScience name. The aim when starting the company was to source a select range of high quality, effective products that were clearly labeled and which used natural ingredients wherever possible”.
The foods within the FishScience range demonstrate how successful we have been in this objective.  They contain natural colour enhancers such as carrot, paprika, spirulina and chlorella algae all of which will enhance the fantastic colours of aquarium and pond fish – naturally.  

For health we have also turned to nature for help. The products contain garlic, which is widely known for its anti parasite and health properties as well as natural yeasts, which are rich in Beta Glucans, an ingredient which actively supports the immune system of the fish enabling it to naturally fight of disease.

“FishScience is committed to the environment and sustainability. Our products use ingredients that are 99% sourced within the EU so we are not adding lots of air miles and the pollution that this produces.  And as you would expect our packaging is completely recyclable’ stated Dr Pool.


"Importantly, the fish love the foods. Trials conducted with selected retailers and members of the Federation of British Aquatic Societies have proved exceptionally successful, with a strong endorsement for the quality and acceptability of the foods within the range."

FishScience products will be available from the AQUA exhibition onwards via selected retail partners.

LED Digital Control heater from Superfish

Heater too small? Need a bigger one? Jeremy Gay takes a first look at the biggest aquarium heaters on the market.

I can picture the scene, you've got a 5x2x2' tank with a mixture of medium to large tropical fish and stocking is heavy. 
You're filtering with an Fluval FX5, the big tank, big fish industry standard filter, but up until now you've had to use two heater thermostats when you really just want to use one.
What's stopped you up until now of course is that almost all heaters only go up to 300 watts in power consumption, and with the PFK recommendation of roughly 1 watt of heater power per litre of water, your big tank needs two. 
Until now that is.
As far as looks go, the new Superfish LED heater with Digital Control is the FX5 of the heater world, being large, tough and looking rugged. 
It has the useful digital display that a few other heaters come with, touch button control and automatic shut-off to prevent over heating if it runs dry, but most importantly for me, the range includes 1-300 watt models, but then 400 and 500 watt models too. So only one heater, and one socket, is necessary if you want to heat a 500 litre tank.
Why no one has done this before I just don't know. Hydor made a 400 watt model years ago then stopped, and up until now, if you wanted larger wattage you had to go down the dedicated titanium heater and separate, external thermostat route. Well not anymore.
We received the 400 watt model here in the office for review and it's a beast, measuring 20" long and looking like a weapon.
Part of the rugged look is down to the integrated heater guard which will again be welcomed by those who keep large, boisterous fish, and if it's reliable, we think it will be a winner.
They're good value too, with the 500 watt model selling for £39.99 on the Maidenhead Aquatics website.

New multipurpose pond pump from Superfish

The Superfish Pond Flow Eco 2000 is a multipurpose filter and fountain pump, using just 25 watts for its 2,000 lph output - and it can run a fountain and a feature or small filter box at the same time.

The fountain stem is height adjustable, rising to 65cm/26”, and comes with a bell jet and three-tier fountainhead. The stem riser has a ball joint for levelling and flow levels can be independently controlled to both outlets on the ‘T’ piece.

If you just want to connect a hose straight to the pump, do so with a supplied stepped hosetail.

The pump body is compact and comes with a small sponge, which you will need to clean frequently to maintain an optimum output during the summer.

It comes with 10m/33’ of outdoor power cable and a two-year guarantee.

Price: £39.99. More info from

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Arcadia launches OTL-LED high power LED lighting

Lighting specialist Arcadia has released a new bright, controllable, all-LED luminaire.

Named the OTL-LED, these new luminaries claim superb brightness using a combination of 1w and 10w LEDs and according to Arcadia, are brighter than a 150W halide at 500mm water depth.

The luminaries come in marine and freshwater versions, and each in 60cm, 80cm, 90cm, 100cm, 120cm, 150 and 180cm lengths, while being only 16.2cm wide and only 2.5cm high. That makes them pretty lightweight and very slimline.

The freshwater model comes with a combination RGB, 8000K and 10,000K diodes while the marine version is fitted with a combination of Blue, RGB and 14,000K diodes.

Lenses are removable and cleanable.

Energy consumption ranges from 73-231 watts, depending on the model, and they also come with adjustable legs, timer/controller offering four timed channels and sunrise/sunset, a unique temperature sensor and display, and a ceiling suspension kit.

Price: RRPs range from £299.99- £699.99 depending on the model.

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Hagen launch new Fluval Reef Aquarium Sets

The long awaited aquariums to accompany the Fluval Sea range are finally here.

Well over a year in the making, Rolf C Hagen have finally released details on the finished version of their new marine specific aquariums - new territory for the giant Canadian pet and aquatic firm.

Three models will be available, a 40cm, 60cm and 90cm, ranging in volume from 53 to 135 litres.


As you can see from the photographs, the heating and filtration are concealed in a chamber that runs along the back of the aquarium.

According to the press release, the Fluval Reef Aquarium Sets are filled with everything you need to create a healthy, clean home for your fish.

Contents include Fluval SEA High Performance LED lighting, a Fluval SEA protein skimmer, a Fluval SEA circulation pump, a re-circulation pump and a Fluval heater.

Lighting comes either as a nano lamp for the 40cm model or a strip with the 60cm and 90cm tanks. The lighting launched on its own before the tanks came out, and uses lots of low wattage LEDs to create a broad, colourful 25000K hue. Its waterproof and uses passive cooling, so no noisy fans to go wrong. You could, in theory, add more strips to the larger two models to boost lighting for more demanding corals and, being a lighting junky, I would want to start with at least two for LPS corals upwards.

Unique integrated water change system


An idea I haven’t seen before is a tap under the tank in the cabinet, which you can use for water changing. Connect to a hose, get a bucket, open the tap and you can drain off up to 20% of the system volume by emptying the back filter compartment while maintaining water level in the main display compartment.

Like the newly launched freshwater tanks the cabinets are very contemporary in design and I like them. The tanks are open topped but not rimless, being edged with a frosted rim instead.

The nature of the marine hobby is very much to tinker with our equipment, and just from the pictures I’m left wondering if I can retro fit the all-important automatic top-up, with room for reservoir in the cabinet, and even an algae refugium in that back chamber, lit by additional LED lighting.

The skimmer is the universal Fluval Sea PS1 for aquariums up to 150 litres volume. I’m keen to set one of these up long term but knowing what I’m like with marines I would most probably escalate to trying to fit a larger skimmer, more lighting and more flow, although for soft corals like mushrooms I’m sure it is more than adequate as is.

Definitely a range to consider and look out for if you are in the market for an all-in-one small to medium sized marine tank but don’t want a system with a sump.

Hagen launch Fluval Fresh Water Aquarium Sets

There’s nothing we like more here at PFK than a new aquarium, and Hagen have just brought out three.

The Fluval Fresh Aquarium Sets comprise a 58 litre, 38cm long model, a 90 litre, 60cm long and a 129 litre, 90cm long and include Fluval canister filter, LED lighting and a heater.

In terms of design they look very contemporary and although Fluval could be considered mass-market products by some, straight away these new cabinets are some of the best designed and best looking cabinets we’ve seen.


The exact cabinet colours for the freshwater range are named “mussel” for that chunky surround and “bolo” for the wood effect, push open doors. Another unusual design feature is that these open topped tanks come with a frosted glass rim.

According to the blurb, these new tanks, which we will test as soon as they become available, come with the new EasyConnect system, which allows direct connection of the external filter through the tank’s bottom pane of glass.


Initial thoughts? We like the look of them and think the cabinet design looks really good. I’m still not a massive fan of those stick on lighting brackets and would much prefer plastic screw fit fittings as is the norm with many other luminaire style lights. As it is with the self-adhesive fittings, you can’t remove those brackets once stuck fast to the glass and if you opt not to have a background colour on the tank, the brackets can be seen.

The frosted rim is an interesting touch although the purist aquascaper fraternity will still just have preferred no rim, and I would have liked to have seen a four foot model holding 240 litres plus.

Either way, three very welcome additions to the UK freshwater aquarium and cabinet market and no doubt PFK will be setting one up and stocking one in a future issue very soon.

Saki-Hikari fed to All Japan Grand Champion Winner 2013

Saki-Hikari has been the food given to every All Japan Grand Champion koi since 2003.

The range has been developed to meet specific nutritional requirements for all stages of a koi's life with a focus on health, condition, colouring and form.
Saki-Hikari contains Hikari-Germ, a strain of Bacillus bacteria which becomes active in the koi's intestinal tract.
It creates beneficial digestive enzymes improving the digestive capacity of koi.
Hikari-Germ also supports the fish's own good bacteria and helps build up stronger natural defences.
Waste that is excreted is highly decomposed by the bacteria which in turn helps to maintain water quality, which is essential when breeding and raising koi, whilst reducing the load on the filter.
There are four diets in the Saki-Hikari range: Balance, Colour, Growth and Multi-Season.
Balance is a daily diet that promotes health, growth and desirable form.
Colour is rich in pure-cultured Spirulina and Zeazanthin and promotes vivid colour enhancements of the Hiban without negatively impacting on the Shiroji.
Growth includes a blend of lipids and other nutritional components to meet the natural omnivorous requirements, promoting growth and form.
Multi-Season is a highly digestible daily diet that provides growth and colour enhancement even during colder months.
The range is available in small, medium and large pellet sizes in pack sizes of 2kg, 5kg and 15kg.
For stockists visit

Superfish launches new range for clearer pond water

Superfish has launched a range of ALU Tech UVC Professional Clarifiers to help achieve clear water.

The product uses ultraviolet radiation which causes algae to break down, and allows it to be removed by net or mechanical filter.
The Superfish ALU Tech UVC Professional Clarifiers are suitable for large ponds and clear pond water without using chemicals.
Water is pumped through the unit and algae cells are killed by the ultraviolet light.
The aluminium housing results in up to 35 per cent higher UV output due to reflection.
Two sizes are available (40W for ponds up to 40,000 litres and 75W for up to 75,000 litres) and have a retail price of £143.95 and £159.95 respectively.
For details of stockists, e-mail or

Blagdon launches new Minipond pump

Water garden retailer, Blagdon, has launched a new pump for fountains.

The new pump from the Minipond range is designed specifically for small ponds with fountains and includes several features including: pre filter cage, ball joint and foam option.
The pre filter cage is included to prevent debris from reaching the pump and blocking the fountain.
Blagdon claims these features will reduce maintenance and allow more ease of use.
Anh Nguyen, Brand Manager, says: "We're really excited to introduce the new Minipond."
Nguyen adds that the pump will reduce time needed for upkeep of the fountain and allow the pond-keeper to enjoy their garden for longer.
The Minipond comes with three fountain heads, a range of fittings, adjusters and a three year guarantee.
It comes in two models - 700L (for very small ponds) and 900L (for small ponds) - and both are available now to stockists.

Move over FX5 — Rolf C Hagen launches Fluval FX6!

The best heavy horse external filter on the market has been revamped. Say hello to the new Fluval FX6.

We love the old Fluval FX5 here at PFK, so Hagen had our full attention when they announced some time ago that it would be replaced with a new one.

Don't change it too much, we prayed, and luckily they didn't, with just the odd tweak here and there.

Subtle changes
The first thing you'll notice with FX6 is the change in colour scheme, from the dark grey and orange of the FX5 to the black and red livery of this new model.

This time the FX6 comes with the full complement of mechanical, biological and chemical filter media too, meaning you don't have to fork out extra just to get the thing filled.

Next is a welcome 10% energy use reduction, but the pump can still belt out 2130 lph of water and just one of these bad boys is rated for aquariums up to 1500 litres in volume, or about an 8' x 3' x 2.5' tank after displacement.

It's also said to be a little bit quieter than the old model, especially if you throttle the water flow back via the quick fit taps.

New and unique are the two indicator dials situated on the filter lids. The idea is they allow you to remember when it next needs changing, although this isn't computer controlled or even timed that we can see, so we see little benefit for most people.

The FX5 was and is the ultimate external filter for large freshwater tanks, being the filter of choice for all big cichlid and oddball fish owners.

There are large externals that should rival it, from Tetra, Aqua One and Eheim, although none have the grunt, the torque and the all-terrain ability of the FX5, and we assume, the new FX6.

The FX6 is the all-terrain vehicle of the filter world, the 4x4 — only use one and you'll realise that it's more Big Foot monster truck than Jeep Cherokee, and there's no dirty situation this thing can't handle.

If you haven't touched or felt one of these things before, do so. It's got an intake strainer you could play tennis with, and with those one-inch diameter inlet and outlet pipes we reckon it could quite happily filter a bath tub full of baked beans.

When it comes to filters, the FX5 is the current undisputed super heavyweight champion of the world, and if they haven't messed around with the FX6's inner workings too much, we're tipping this new model to be the next one.

Price: RRP £299.99.

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Oase expands with purchase of Eden SRL

The German maker of all things nice and pond related has just expanded, buying an Italian equipment company.

So no more weather related worries for the Aquamax solids handling pond pump makers as they take their first foray into indoor fishkeeping.

"For many years Eden has been known as a manufacturer of high quality products for aquariums." says Oase.

"Their advanced technology and high quality manufacturing is a perfect fit to Oase and an ideal starting point for Oase’s entry into the indoor aquatics market."

Eden is based in Cartigliano in Northern Italy."

Ansgar Paul, CEO of Oase, comments: “We have known Eden for many years and are convinced of their innovation power and their flexibility”.

"Being the market leader in the business fields of Water Gardens, Fountain Technology and Lake Management, we consider Eden to be the ideal partner to strengthen our existing business areas and, particularly to broaden our expertise in adjacent fields”.

Samuele Lolato, Director of EDEN, adds: “With OASE we are sharing our passion for water and are really looking forward to a closer cooperation with this fascinating company.

Furthermore, we are convinced that OASE is the perfect match for our further development”.

Eden is probably best known in the UK for the diminutive Eden 501 external filter, but they also make internal filters, heaters, pond pumps and automatic fish feeders.

RoboSnail touches down at PFK

Tank cleaners beware, there’s a new robot in town, and it’s going to take your jobs away.

We’ve been following this one for a while now, and I was pleasantly surprised when a shiny, brand new RoboSnail turned up in the post from our friends over at Maidenhead Aquatics.

Is it self-aware? I don’t know, because I haven’t plugged it in yet. I’ve seen videos of these devices in action, periodically hopping out from their recharge point to give the front pane a thorough once over, before retiring themselves back to their power source.

Think of the doodling robots that skittered about in Star Wars, pick one up and stick it on the glass of your tank, and that’s almost what you have. A magnet attaches it to the cleaning element inside the tank, and away it goes.

I’m dying to put this one through its paces, so I’ve drafted in the help of fishkeeping’s very own anonymous Stig to test it – to death if that’s what’s required.

First thoughts? It’s smart. Not as heavy as I thought it would be, it has adjustments for glass thickness, and most of all it doesn’t look like it needs endless bothersome programming before it agrees to even turn on.

Is it worth the £249.99 asking price? Good question. Currently I don’t know. It feels like it’s worth it, but the proof will be very much in the pudding.

In the meantime, I’ve half a mind to charge it up and let it roam around on the floor so I can wander about in skin tight lycra and get all Buck Rogers for a bit.

Watch this space. And if you just can’t wait and need one for yourself, get down to Maidenhead Aquatics and buy one, and tell me what you think of it.

JBL launches Cooler and CoolControl

Perfectly timed to coincide with the warm weather, food and equipment manufacturer JBL launches some kit that will cool your tank.

The Cooler is a bank of fans which mount directly onto the rim of your tank and blow cool air across the surface of the water.

They are available as the 100 (with two fans), 200 (four fans), and the 300 (with six fans) and JBL says that according to its own tests, cooling effects of of up to 4°C are possible.

The JBL CoolControl is a temperature sensor and thermostat, which connects up to the Cooler fans and automatically switches them on when aquarium water temperature goes over what you set the stat to.

We have seen tank mounted fans before but do welcome them as a low running cost option for cooling your tank. The CoolControl is a nice touch too, bringing intelligent cooling to the mass market.

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Exclusive: TMC launches new 90cm Signature Aquarium Set

Fresh off the back of its exceptionally well received Signature aquarium range, Tropical Marine Centre keeps up momentum with a new 90 x 45 x 45cm model.

Like the Signature range of drilled Optiwhite aquariums? Want a bigger one? Well now you can have one as PFK can exclusively reveal there is going to be a three foot aquarium, cabinet and sump set released soon.

The tank includes all of the features enjoyed by the current Signature range of aquariums including OptiWhite, low iron, 8mm glass and rimless, braceless design.

The 90cm Signature Aquarium Set comes with clear silicone this time (black in smaller models,) and the cabinet continues on the minimalist theme with soft close handle-less doors, and available in Charcoal black or Glacier White.

Inside the cabinet is a spacious yet space saving 80 x 38 x 35cm five-chamber sump which includes freshwater reservoir and offers much versatility for those who want bespoke equipment choice or those who like to tinker.

The main display tank comes drilled in the rear top corners and the set includes inlets, outlet, silicone sealant and flexible pipework.

PFK estimates gross volume to be around 250 l/55 gal, main display and sump tank combined, and at an RRP of just £599 and limitless equipment options (not included,) it may just make the Red Sea Max 250 potential buyers look twice.

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New Probiotic Tropical Fish Food from NT Labs

Water quality is key in ensuring healthy fish and a clean aquarium and this formulated food should help hobbyists to manage both.

Claimed to be the only probiotic diet currently available to the UK market, it is suitable for most common community tropical fish species. We will be trying it out soon on our fish.

Said to be highly digestible, the food produces low quantities of waste which helps keep the aquarium cleaner for longer, and the slow sinking granules float then break down, with particles sinking at different rates allowing all fish to feed at their preferred level in the water column.

The food contains NT Labs’ 'Stimune'’ Beta Glucans to help maintain the immune system and its rich mix of multivitamins provide a high level of stablised vitamin C.

It also contains Spirulina which provides anti-oxidants, colour enhancing properties and nutritional elements for the different dietary needs of plant and algae eating fish.

The fish food is available in 45g and 120g sizes.

Price: 45g £3.99; 120g £7.99.

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