Best of 2013 Awards

2013 Marine Depot Best of Awards Seal

The Marine Depot Best of Awards recognizes aquarium supply manufacturers and products that have demonstrated outstanding performance throughout a one-year period. In 2013, more than 175 brands from across the globe were considered for the third annual Marine Depot Best of Awards. Product winners were selected based upon key performance metrics including sales volume, internet searches, website searches, customer rankings and call center data. To see 2012's award winners, click here

Best New Product

Aqua Illumination (AI) Hydra LED Light Fixture

The Hydra from AI has a heck of a lot going for it. The full spectrum power, balanced light spread, wireless controllability and multiple mounting options make it an attractive choice for reefers. An intriguing array of colored diodes including deep red, violet and UV cast radiant hues through specially designed lenses that blend the colors together seamlessly. Hydras can be connected and synced together for larger systems and 50° lenses are available (sold separately) for hobbyists that need deeper light penetration.

Best Protein Skimmer

AquaMaxx ConeS In-Sump Protein Skimmers

The AquaMaxx HOB-1 was our top-selling hang-on back protein skimmer in 2012 and our second best-selling skimmer overall. Customer reviews have been overwhelming favorable, with users citing how "pleasantly quiet," "slim" and "well built" it is. The HOB-1 is extremely popular with novice marine hobbyists and nano tank owners who appreciate the easy setup, impressive foam production and dark skimmate it pulls from their tanks.

Best Aquarium Light

EcoTech Marine Radion XR30w Pro LED Light Fixture

The first generation of EcoTech Marine's XR30w light took home best aquarium light honors in 2012 and the all-new Radion Pro continues the tradition of excellence in 2013. EcoTech upped the number of LEDs from 32 to 42 in the Pro, which boasts full spectrum output from UV to hyper-red. The Pro also uses TIR lenses, which direct more of each LED cluster's output into your tank—without sacrificing spread or consuming additional power. The ability to communicate wirelessly with other Radion lights and VorTech pumps, another 2013 award winner, sets the Radion apart from all other lights in the industry today.

Best In Flow

EcoTech Marine MP40 VorTech Pump w/ Wireless EcoSMART Driver

EcoTech VorTech pumps are on just about every aquarium hobbyist's wish list. The VorTech minimizes the intrusion of equipment in your tank by using a bracketless design. This allows the motor to be placed on the outside of the aquarium. A magnetic field transfers torque through the aquarium wall to the propeller inside your tank. The powerful MP40 produces water flow between 1,000 and 3,200 gallons per hour and creates lifelike waves in tanks from 50 to 500+ gallons. The pumps also synchronize with each other as well as with the Radion light system to coordinate evening and storm modes for a more realistic reefkeeping experience.

Best Nano Aquarium

Innovative Marine Nuvo Aquariums

Innovative Marine's Nuvo aquarium series is another repeat winner, taking home best nano aquarium honors in 2012. IM added a 3' wide panoramic 24-gallon aquarium to their arsenal in 2013, which quickly became one of our most popular small size tanks. However, the top choice among MD shoppers remains the 16-gallon model, followed by the 38 and the new 24. Beyond aesthetics, one of the things we like most about Nuvo aquariums are the wonderful accessories IM produces for the tanks. From media reactors and protein skimmers to media baskets and refugium lights, IM has developed all the essential upgrades you'll need for your Nuvo as your tank matures.

Best Aquarium Gadget

Innovative Marine HydroFill ATO Controller & Pump

Innovative Marine lived up to their namesake in 2013 with the release of the HydroFill ATO controller and pump. The controller uses water's conductive properties to complete a low-voltage circuit that causes a control relay to actuate and replenish aquarium water as it evaporates. The pump is the industry's first low-voltage air lift pump designed specifically for auto top-off controllers. It is an external positive displacement diaphragm pump that can push up to 15 gallons of water per hour to a height of five feet. Like any other industry, the aquarium marketplace has its share of “me too” type products. The HydroFill pump and ATO controller are like nothing you've seen before.

Best Chiller

JBJ Arctica Titanium Chillers

JBJ Arctica Titanium Chillers are our best-selling aquarium coolers year in and year out for good reason: they just work. They are easy to set up, reliable, carry a generous warranty and can cool mini reefs to mammoth-sized aquariums up to 800 gallons if you opt for a commercial model. With 10 different chillers in the series to choose from, there is an Arctica chiller available for just about any hobbyist who needs a little extra help controlling their tank temperature. A digital LED thermostat system automatically controls temperature within +1°/-1° F from the desired set point.

Best in Show: Reef-A-Palooza 2013

JBJ RL-20 Rimless Frag Tank

Few products at Reef-A-Palooza 2013 captured the attention of attendees more than JBJ's new rimless frag tank. This new all-in-one style aquarium has a 20-gallon capacity, 6mm thick glass, a 3 chamber filtration system in back and a 16 watt pump with a flow rate of 266 gallons per hour. A black egg crate is included with PVC risers underneath to support up to 792 small frag plugs or 396 medium size frag plugs. With a couple of aquarium stands now in the works, JBJ's latest AIO tank is a surefire hit that will attract coral farmers and hobbyists interested in starting a shallow reef.

Best Aquarium Heater

Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm Aquarium Heaters w/ LED Display

They say seeing is believing. It may be difficult to imagine getting excited over an aquarium heater, but once you see a Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm in person, you'll understand. They look like they're built out of the same material as a B-2 Stealth Bomber. The shatter-proof casing makes them an ideal choice for predator tanks, while the slim profile makes it perfect for nanos or crowded sumps. The electronic thermostat has an ultra-fast response time that helps keep tank temperatures stable with an accuracy of ±0.5º F. With six models in the series, Neo-Therm heaters pack in a lot of high-end features at an affordable price.

Best Filter Media

Seachem Laboratories Purigen

It was a close race this year for best filter media, but Seachem's Purigen edged out the competition due to its efficiency, effectiveness and its ability to regenerate. Purigen is a macro-porous synthetic polymer and carbon alternative that removes soluble and insoluble impurities from water. It controls ammonia, nitrites and nitrates while its impact on trace elements is minimal. Purigen significantly raises redox and polishes water to unparalleled clarity. It darkens progressively as it exhausts and can easily be renewed by treating with bleach. One liter can treat up to 1,000 gallons of water for up to six months.

Best Media Reactor

Two Little Fishies GFO Phosban Reactors

Media reactors help maintain high quality water conditions in marine and reef tanks. The Two Little Fishies Phosban Reactor has been our best-selling media reactor now for three consecutive years. These multifaceted fluidized filters are capable of running various types of filter media, from granular ferrous oxide to biopellets. They are so easy to assemble they can literally be up and running in minutes. With two sizes to choose from and the ability to filter aquariums up to 600 gallons, Two Little Fishies Phosban Reactors are truly a "one size fits all" accessory.

Best Test Kits

Elos Aquarium Test Kits

Elos test kits are the only lab-grade quality test kit available in the aquarium industry today. All of the reagents included in every test kit are certified by the National Institute of Standard and Technology. Furthermore, every Elos test kit is closely monitored with lot numbers, batches and expiration dates. What this means as a hobbyist is that you will always be using pure, high quality chemicals that will provide accurate results up until the very last test. Calibrated, child-proof, dropper bottles ensure each and every drop will be the same exact size leaving less room for error each time you test.

Best Food

Rod's Food Original Blend

Life on a coral reef is like a Vegas buffet. Unfortunately, our aquarium inhabitants do not have this same luxury. Thank goodness for Rod's Original Blend, which emerged as the food of choice for Marine Depot customers in 2013 thanks to its assortment of ingredients, low price and ability to keep fish, corals and inverts happy and healthy. Rod's Original Blend is a frozen food with a recipe specifically designed to feed all of the animals in a coral reef aquarium. It contains shrimp, scallop, oyster, clam, nori, brine, oyster eggs, rotifers garlic and more. Particle sizes range from 5 microns up to 3/8 of an inch, which make it an ideal choice for feeding a mixed reef tank.