Hopefully, it is to no surprise that I haven’t written this column for the past few months, as everyone’s world has inevitably been turned upside-down to one degree or another during these unprecedented times. Firstly, I would like to send out my warmest wishes and hope everyone is safe and as well as can be expected. I have heard of some extremely sad, heart-breaking stories during these past few months, yet equally of some truly amazing and uplifting stories that not only give us all hope but also restore one’s faith in humanity! On behalf of everyone at Maidenhead Aquatics, we would like to thank all those within the NHS and those that have worked tirelessly hard to keep our country safe and remaining as operational as possible given the circumstances.
Fortunately, being an essential retailer, we have managed to remain open to some degree throughout this entire period, and in doing so, ensuring our customers have been able to care and look after their prized aquariums and ponds. This week sees us finally re-opening our last remaining stores, meaning that no one is too far from local aquatic expertise and help. Obviously, the welfare of both our staff and customers is our absolute priority. So much so, we created a simple video that can assist both parties safely whilst visiting any of our stores. We would kindly ask you to watch this brief video prior to visiting any of our stores so that you know what to expect: https://youtu.be/6seNT6UuwHo. Thank you.
It goes without saying that the mental health of our nation has never been tested to this degree during a period of peacetime. Only two weeks ago (18th – 24th May) it was the UK’s Mental Health Awareness week. So many mental health conditions are linked to loneliness, and this may be of particular concern in recent times where so many people have been forced to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19.
People who are feeling lonely can quickly slip out of their normal daily routines that previously provided structure to their day. Not only does keeping fish help to keep that structure but like most pets, fish are fantastic listeners and as such can become a great source of friendship in more ways than one. Find out more about how fishkeeping can support good mental health and wellbeing: https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/stories/fishkeeping-is-good-for-your-health
Another slight positive at the moment has been our glorious weather! According to records, this has been the sunniest start to the summer on record! Therefore gardens, and more specifically any ponds or water features within, are looking at their very best currently. Both fish, plants and any associated wildlife are blooming within these ponds. And as an extra added bonus, with the balmy evenings of late there can be no better way to sit down after a stressful day to the sound of gentle water movement whilst sipping your favourite beverage!
Which leads me on nicely to what’s new and exciting in our stores currently. Interpet are imminently about to launch their new ‘Blagdon Clean Pond Machine’. This new filter is an effective, easy-to-use system that keeps your pond clean and healthy while keeping your hands clean and dry. The unique, innovative, foam-free design combines over 10 years of research and development, with patented features to bring you a considered product that deals with and prevents the age-old issues that come with pond keeping, such as frequent and messy cleaning routines, and clogged filters. This inevitably results in green water and ineffective water cleaning, resulting in a cloudy lacklustre poor-quality pond. Incorporating unique ‘Clean Pond Pods’, the complete system also deals with algae (such as blanket weed), encourages healthy plant growth, and ‘eats’ pond sludge therefore further reducing the need for filter cleaning. The integrated Clean Pond Pod dosing chamber means the wildlife-friendly treatment gets to work at the heart of your filter to deliver optimum results.
The filter also utilises Blagdon’s ‘2-in-1 CHI’ media that functions as both mechanical and biological filtration and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Unlike foams, this media will never deteriorate or need replacing and will go on effectively and consistently cleaning your pond for years to come! The resulting filter makes it easier to use and maintain, along with guaranteeing clear pond water via the integrated UV Clarifier. There are 4 impressive models in the range (7000, 10000, 13000, & 16000) and start from just £199.99. These will be available in our stores and online by the end of this month.
Continuing with the pond theme, Laguna has also launched a new ‘Hydra-Clean’ range, comprising of an array of interchangeable nets, poles and accessories for this season. Modern, lightweight and extremely practical, the range features 6 sizes of varying net heads (including a silt net), 2 lengths of extendable poles (1m-2m and 1.2m-3m) and 2 types of algae brush. Each pole is able to take any of these interchangeable nets and utensils so these really do make them a must for any pond owner! This range will also be available both online and in-store by the beginning of July.
Once again, we are delighted to be able to offer £10 off our exclusive Aquagarden Essentials Pond Vac (taking the price down to only £89.99) when you buy any other pond equipment at the same time! This lightweight vacuum is ideal for removing pond waste and sediment. It has a long reach adjustable handle and comes complete with extensions and four cleaning attachments. This is a must-have tool to make sure your pond looks it's very best all year round.
Turning our attention to indoor news, we are delighted to now offer a growing range of quality aquarium plants via our online store. The range consists of superb premium quality potted aquarium plant packs that have been carefully selected by our experienced team of plant experts in Holland. Each pack consists of a selection of 5 individual potted plants and the amazing value for money pricing starts from just £19.99. To find out more and buy online please visit: http://ow.ly/wOdI50zK3Es
For the marine hobbyists, the new range of return pumps from TMC, ‘Reef Pump Connect’, are now available to buy both in our stores and online. Without doubt, great circulation is at the heart of every successful marine aquarium and the new TMC Reef Pump Connect does this in spades! Ordinarily, there are just 3 standard pumps in the range, but we have 2 further models (the 3500 and 7000) that are only exclusively available to purchase at Maidenhead Aquatics. This innovative electronic pump offers both high power and flow rates with efficient energy consumption, and with integrated Bluetooth BLE, which is fully controllable from a smartphone or tablet. To find out more, please click here: http://ow.ly/zk1U50zNs1j
And finally, to all the dads out there…. with Father's Day fast approaching on Sunday 21st June, why not suggest a gift voucher this year? Our electronic gift cards are safe, versatile and can be used to purchase anything from livestock to filters and ornaments to aquariums and everything in between. Alternatively, our incredibly popular clownfish clothing could be another great addition to your ‘wish list’. With an abundant range of apparel and useful items, why not drop some (subtle) hints before you miss out! For more information please visit: https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/gift-shop
Until next time, please stay safe and well, and keep enjoying this amazing hobby!
Firstly, I feel I need to apologise to you all as it’s been far too long since I last wrote this feature. In fact, I was extremely shocked to learn that my last piece was way back in October of last year but needless to say, one heck of a lot has happened since then….. Read on to find out what's been happening over the last few months at Maidenhead Aquatics by Stuart Ashley, one of our Senior Partners.