Best of 2014 Awards

2014 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 2014, more than 180 brands from across the globe were considered for the fourth 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 2013's award winners, click here.

Best New Product

Kessil Spectral Controller

The Kessil Spectral Controller was one of the most anticipated new products of 2014 and it does not disappoint. It features a brightly-colored LCD screen with touch-sensitive controls you can use to independently control two banks of LEDs on all Kessil A360 and A160 lights. The easy-to-use software allows for custom spectral/color control as well as intensity. You can also program custom time schedules to create a natural dawn to dusk photo-period in your aquarium. The affordable price and ability to get up-and-running in minutes make this a must-have accessory for Kessil owners.

Best Protein Skimmer

AquaMaxx ConeS HOB Protein Skimmer

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 XR15w Pro LED Light Fixture

The Radion XR15w Pro is the XR30w’s little brother, featuring the same great spectrum, same features and same warranty as its predecessor. For many hobbyists, especially nano aquarists, the XR15w Pro was the light they had been waiting for. With one cluster, half the wattage, a 24" coverage area and a lower price point, the XR15w Pro is the perfect solution for small to medium-sized tanks where the full output of the XR30w platform is not necessary. The XR15w Pro is also fully programmable with seamless EcoSmart Live integration so you can integrate it with other Radion lights and VorTech pumps to control wirelessly from your iOS or Android device.

Best In Flow

EcoTech Marine VorTech Pumps

This year marks the third consecutive victory for the VorTech in the Best in Flow category. The unparalleled flow, ingenious design and precise control options set the benchmarks for all other water-moving devices in the aquarium hobby. In years past, we’ve only acknowledged the best-selling MP40. This year we are recognizing the entire VorTech line, including the pint-sized but powerful MP10 along with the granddaddy of large powerheads, the MP60. With a robust feature set unrivaled by other pump manufacturers and the ability to move water in tanks from 2.5 to 1,000 gallons, the VorTech line is likely to continue its rein for many years to come.

Best Nano Aquarium

Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion Aquariums

Innovative Marine Nuvo aquariums are another repeat winner, taking home Best Nano Aquarium honors in 2012, 2013 and now 2014. The difference with this year’s designation is that we are specifically highlighting the Fusion line, with a lineup that currently includes 10, 20, 30 and 40 gallon aquariums. Fusion tanks incorporate some of the cooler features of Innovative Marine’s own SR (Shallow Reef) Series, like higher quality low-iron glass and mesh screen tops. They also ditched the bent glass of the original Nuvo Series for straight-edged glass to give the tanks additional strength. The company continues to offer a plethora of high-quality compatible accessories, from protein skimmers and media reactors to media baskets and lighting.

Best Media Reactor

NextReef MR1 Complete GFO and Carbon Filter Media Reactor

There is a lot of competition in the media reactor category and there were several brands up for contention in this year’s awards. The no-frills design of NextReef’s MR1 Complete edged out entries from Two Little Fishies, Innovative Marine and AquaMaxx to take home the prize this year. The MR1 Complete has been dazzling hobbyists for years, garnering the type of word-of-mouth praise that help make this unit a best-seller year in and year out. Our customers gush that it’s "worth every penny," "up and running in 15 minutes," "runs flawless" and "if you've been wanting a media reactor... get this one." The quality construction, cool blue color accents, easy maintenance and classic time-tested design are sure to help keep your reef looking good inside and out for years to come. Not to mention the pump and tubing are included!

Best in Show

Maxspect XF150 Gyre Generator

The Gyre Generator is arguably the most anticipated aquarium product of 2014, and for good reason. There really isn’t anything else like it in the industry today. Our staff has been fortunate to be among the beta testers for this revolutionary device and we were absolutely ecstatic to be able to feature the Gyre in our booth at Reef-A-Palooza this year. In case you’ve been living under a (live) rock, the Gyre is the world's first gyre-generating water moving device for aquariums. Compared to traditional powerheads and wavemakers that are based on propeller nozzle flow technology, the Maxspect Gyre uses crossflow technology which produces massive horizontal water movement, leaving little to no dead spots in its wake. The Gyre can be mounted vertically or horizontally in your aquarium and is far more conspicuous when compared to traditional powerheads. With a bevy of control options and two more sizes in the works, we predict Maxspect’s Gyre Generator is going to be a game-changer in 2015.

Best Test Kits

Red Sea Pro Series

Regularly testing your water parameters is one of the most important things you can do to ensure tank conditions remain stable. Yet many tests kits are difficult to use or provide inconsistent results. Red Sea understood and addressed these complaints when they put together the recently released Pro Series. These new test kits include instructions written in plain language that clearly explains how to use the testing materials, plus they also throw in a card with illustrations that show how and why you're testing. Color-coded syringes, glass jars with lids instead of vials and a well-produced video series all help "idiot proof" the Pro Series, as one candid hobbyist points out in a product review. They are a bit more expensive and time consuming than other test kits, but they're also easy-to-use and very accurate so you get what you pay for.

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 2014 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. Rod’s Food Original Blend also took home Best Food honors in our 2013 Best of Awards.

Best Filter Media

Boyd Chemi-Pure Blue All-in-One Filter Media

Chemi-Pure Blue from Boyd Enterprises quickly became one of our customers’ top filter media choices after making its store debut in mid-April. Thanks to favorable products reviews and positive word-of-mouth, sales soared and have remained steady ever since. The Blue formulation was specifically created for use in marine and reef aquariums and is neatly packed inside nylon bags so you can easily place it in your sump or media basket. Chemi-Pure Blue contains a proprietary blend of premium, low-dust pelletized carbon and high capacity ion-exchange resins to create a superior all-in-one filter media. It significantly reduces organic compounds and phosphates while raising redox and helping stabilize pH for a healthy, crystal clear aquarium.