Aquatic Pet Products: A Past, Present, and Future Look with Tim Plafcan of Spectrum Brands

Dr. Roy Yanong on Pet Life Radio

Improvements in the science of fish-keeping have been only part of the hobby’s success. Advances in aquatic pet products, including aquarium systems, nutrition, water quality, and salts have been critical to driving both fresh and salt water fish interests.  My guest today, Tim Plafcan, is Senior Product Manager at Spectrum Brands, which includes Marineland, Tetra, Instant Ocean, and Jungle products. Join us, as we discuss aquatic pet products: past, present, and future.


Tim Plafcan, Sr. Product Manager at Spectrum Brands leading a $70M brand portfolio for aquatic nutrition, water care, pond and sea salts.

Growing up in Southern California and spending three years in the Marshall Islands cemented my passion for the marine environment. After graduating CSU Long Beach with a degree in marine biology, chemistry, and a California teaching credential, I started a career at Huntington Beach High School. The kids were great and lab time dissecting worms always provided colorful conversation but an offer from Marineland aquarium products to join their sales team was too attractive. The start of a fun and long journey in the business sector began with travel, trade shows and talking with friends (aka, customers) about the hobby I loved.

Next came an offer from Tetra to move to Charlotte NC and focus on bigger customers. Years of growth, winning awards and honing strategic business skills kept life busy and rewarding. Moving to Brooklyn NY added even more excitement with great culture, food and business travel. Most important was proposing to my wife on top of the Empire State Building and almost dropping the ring over the side. Soon wonderful triplets arrived and it was time to settle down with a move into marketing for Tetra in Blacksburg VA. Working with R&D in Melle, Germany and bringing products to life provided similar rewards to raising kids. Spectrum brands eventually purchased Marineland and Tetra and provided me an even greater opportunity to now manage a team and sizable business. The customers have grown throughout the years from retailers to distributors to mass merchants like Lowes and Walmart, but in the end I still get to talk about pets and our great hobby.