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The Alternative Reef Donates Aquarium Setup to Special Needs Classroom

By Johnathan Carvallo - Posted Jul 15, 2011 08:00 AM
The owners of The Alternative Reef are going above and beyond the call of duty by reaching out to do something special for children with special needs.


The text below was provided by Scott Gebhart of The Alternative Reef.  The Alternative Reef is a supplier of quality ceramic coral propagation products.


While driving back to Green Bay Wisconsin from MACNA Orlando last year, my wife Kristine and I were mulling over ideas for MACNA Des Moines.  Being this is as close as MACNA has been to our location for some time we decided we wanted to do something special this year.  You may or may not know much about The Alternative Reef.  But we are a small family business that focuses on coral propagation products and hand made ceramic structures.  Some time this year we will make our 1,000,000 coral propagation product.  When I started The Alternative Reef I never imagined we would progress so far so fast.  It is amazing to see the changes that have happened to this hobby over a very short time.  Coral propagation and conservation has become a very important part of the hobby.  The Alternative Reef is proud to be a part of it.  About two years ago we started making larger drop in structures and pillars.  It is my hope that one day our structures are considered an environmentally friendly ALTERNATIVE to liverock.  Many customers had lots of questions for us at the show.  The most asked question was how do the structures would look over time?  

With help from my friends at Reefs Aquatics, The local saltwater shop in Green Bay.  We decided to set up an aquarium and let it grow in.  We would take some progress shots and then bring the aquarium to MACNA to show everyone what it looks like over the first few months.  The aquarium was put on display at Reefs Aquatics for anyone that wanted to see it and the progress.

At MACNA Des Moines we will be donating the 93 gallon Marineland Cube Aquarium.  We wanted to give this aquarium to a school but not just any school.   This aquarium will be donated to the Smouse Opportunity School.  Smouse Opportunity School is a school for special needs students.  Why did this school get selected?  My wife Kristine and I are proud parents of two special needs children.  Actually both are young adults now.  My kids, Josh and Megan, play an important part in The Alternative Reef and both have benefited from being a part of the Reef Community.  When they were younger we put a small aquarium in one of the classrooms they were in.  We saw how well the kids in that class took ownership of the aquarium and how attentive they were.  The teacher was able to use it as a learning tool.  Every time I would come to do work on the aquarium the kids would all come around and watch and ask all kinds of questions.  It was a great experience and we were so happy to do that for the kids.  It is our hope the kids, staff and visitors to Smouse Opportunity School enjoy this aquarium for years to come.  I hope it is used as a learning tool and it helps to expand the dreams and enhance their lives as much as the hobby has enhanced ours.

We have a build thread on Reef2Reef in our sponsor forum.  We also are updating similar threads on Captive Reefs, and World Wide Reefers.  The threads also include some of the other vendors that are helping us out with the build: Reef’s Aquatics, Tunze USA, ATB USA,  Exotic Frags US, The Filter Guys and a Jim’s Reef.   Their generous involvement has made the quality of this aquarium donation even better.

Here is the build thread link.

Author: Johnathan Carvallo
Location: Northeast

Johnathan is a proud marine hobbyist who spent many years working in a local fish store while managing an online coral site. He enjoys all facets of the marine aquarium industry, but especially loves the technological side and is constantly working on improving and advancing it. He currently maintains a 34 gallon nano aquarium as as well as a coral propagation system. Jon is currently an employee at EcoTech Marine, owner of the up and coming and a staff blogger here at Advanced Aquarist.


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