So often we see situations where, if only we had this tool, we could achieve so much more in our aquariums. New technology has given us the chance to design our own tools and make them available with some plastic, skills and time. With this opportunity, we're excited to announce our 3D Printed Particulars - designed and printed in New Zealand, by New Zealanders.


3d printed moss cave


What is 3D Printing?

3D Printing comes in several different forms. We use what is called "Fused deposition modeling" or FDM, which is a method that melts plastic and prints it through a small nozzle layer-by-layer onto a flat surface. This method can use a range of plastics, however we typically use a plastic called "Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene" or ABS due to its stability in water and strength for products used in the aquarium. 


What are the Pros and Cons of 3D Printing?

There are definitely some disadvantages of 3D Printing - prints take time, cost more per model, and tend to lack the strength of injection-molded plastic (limiting our ability to create more mechanical or delicate models). Despite this, the benefits definitely outweigh the costs. The opportunity of 3D Printing has allowed us to create all kinds of models that aren't currently available on the market - benefiting both hobbyist Fishkeepers and retailers. All of our products may come with a bit of a "craft" finish, but you can be sure that they are made with love and passion for helping the Fishkeeping hobby. 


Why not use Injection-Molding?

That is, without a doubt, our future intention! As a small, growing business, injection-molding is a pretty big step. We're currently using 3D Printing methods as we want to perfect each model through both our and your experiences using our products. Once we know you guys are keen on what we're producing, we're keen on providing more efficient methods to make it happen!


What kinds of Products are Available?

At the moment we are limited to a few ranges based on what we have available as "final products", or products ready to go to the market. The first range we will be offering is our Riparium Planter range, which currently offers three different models in four different sizes, made for growing Emersed plants such as common House Plants, Emersed Aquatic Plants and even your favourite Edible Plants. Soon, we hope to offer Moss Caves and Tubes, which provide plant growth, room for microorganisms to grow, shelter for fry and the perfect environments for breeding fish such as Plecos and Apistogramma. Keep checking back for new products - we'll be sure to update you on our Facebook Page!


Test tube holder


What are the Costs?

We feel strongly about transparency and are more than happy to be honest about what each print costs us. So far we have invested over $5000 in machinery, each print costs around $40-$50 per Kilo, and may take 1-30 (Yup, 30!) hours to print (with many hours invested in the creation and development of models). Every print is different, and due to the nature of 3D Printing, a "small" model may weigh as much or take longer than a "large" model due to variables such as surface area and delicacy of the print. Our Moss Caves, for example, are actually more costly in time and materials than our larger Riparium Planter models due to the intricacy of the mesh. 

Don't worry, however, as we have every intention of keeping our prices realistic and achievable for all Fishkeepers!


Where do I Buy your Products?

Currently, all of our available products are in our Online Shop, however be sure to check with your local retailers, as we hope to have samples and for-sale products available in-store soon! 


3D printing fishwise