Ahead through research

For the development of products for aquariums, terrariums and garden ponds it is useful to start off with information about the animals’ way of life and habitats as a basis. As a reputable manufacturer with very high standards JBL does not rely on dubious reports from the internet or information from outdated literature. That’s why JBL runs its own research center, employing experienced scientists, and also organises annual research expeditions to the home areas of the aquarium and terrarium animals, so as to build up our knowledge first hand.

The active research is divided into three levels:

  • Basic research in the JBL Research Center in Neuhofen
  • Field research on the worldwide JBL expeditions to the native habitats of ornamental fish and terrarium animals
  • Assigning research projects to renowned researchers, who are experienced in worldwide research in the aquatic and herpetological fields.

Research in the laboratory

Research in the laboratory

The many aquariums, terrariums and ponds in the JBL Research Center give an immediate indication of how important practical tests are. Even if the scientists know, say, the protein/fat ratio they are aiming at, they need to put their results to the test. Only by feeding the food to the fish can a definite statement about the palatability or, say, the colour enhancing effects be made.

That’s why the JBL Research Center is divided into three sections:

  • Aquarium
  • Terrarium
  • Garden Pond

“Our target is to ensure that the animals in the aquarium, terrarium and garden pond are well enough to reproduce. This way we can continue to prevent the removal of animals from their natural habitats. But this requires basic research and research into biotopes.”

Roland Böhme, General Manager of JBL

For its garden pond division, JBL receives substantiated information by cooperating with renowned koi breeders and importers. Another important basis for the product development here is the cooperation with veterinary specialists.

The aquariums in the research center, collaborations with fish breeders, scientists, public aquariums, and fish importers, these are all pillars of our aquatic business. An ongoing exchange of information ensures our access to the most recent and reliable research. The JBL research expeditions make invaluable biotope data and live observations available, which can confirm or even negate existing information. The research results are incorporated into the product development and the manufacture of the product takes place in the newest facilities. As an example, fish food tins are filled and sealed under nitrogen gas, so as not diminish the high quality of the food by any exposure to air. We rely on state-of-the-art technology, when choosing a packaging system/the packaging too. Instead of a simple aluminium foil to seal the food tins we use a dedicated compound foil, with plastic to seal the food and a vaporised aluminium coating on the outside. This aluminium coating is both light repellent and gastight, but the food never comes into contact with it (as this could lead to health issues). Without such forethought it wouldn’t be JBL quality!

Live research

JBL carries out active research and undertakes expeditions around the world to the native habitats of ornamental fish and terrarium animals.

All the biotopes encountered on the JBL expeditions are analysed. In aquatic biotopes we carry out water measurements, as well as lux measurements in different depths under water or even current measurements. Because the measurements are carried out at different times and by many participants, this results in useful average values and precludes incorrect measurements. In herpetological research air temperature and their fluctuations over the course of the day are additionally measured. In UV measurements the UVA and UVB are taken separately. Surface measurements are also a main focus of our activities. These enable us to determine how warm stones and other substrates can get when exposed to solar radiation.

We will now explain the three most important research focuses:

Research focus: Biotope data

The biotope data we have determined lead to optimized animal keeping, and this is what makes it possible for the animals to reproduce in the first place. Thus the current measurements taken in Vietnam resulted in a barbel expert increasing the water flow in his aquarium. Within a few days he was able to record that breeding had taken place in the aquarium for the very first time.

Research focus: Light

Providing exactly the right amount and quality of light is essential for healthy plants and even more essential for invertebrates, such as corals. Using lux measuring devices with waterproof sensors, light measurements were carried out at different depths in aquariums and in oceans and freshwaters, such as Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika. Our partnerships with distinguished research institutes, such as the IFM Geomar in Kiel, also provided highly interesting results. The University of Ulm allowed us to use their laboratories and laser technology for measurements which couldn’t be carried out at JBL, and there we carried out highly specialised measurements for the penetration of UVA and UVB radiation through glass and water.

Research focus: Nutrition

Feeding trials give really important insights into the palatability of food. In aquariums the challenge is that most fish are accustomed to certain types of food. This is why JBL always uses the research expeditions to carry out feeding trials on fish in the wild. Only in regions where the fish are used to divers (as in the Maldives) is caution needed with these results. In remote regions, however, where fish have never seen a diver before, the results are highly significant. The research team offers different prototypes of food to the fish and evaluates the palatability. Observations also led to modifications in the plant food, as when the observation that overwater leaves were being eaten instead of underwater leaves led to palatability improving herbs being added.

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