Reef tanks future

Reefing_addiction

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Aperture came last


Aperture Pet & Life is a new company which was announced today to amalgamate and further develop some of our favorite reefkeeping brands. Last year investment group Bertram Capital acquired Bulk Reef Supply (which then bought Marine Depot,) then they bought Neptune Systems, before rounding off 2021 with the purchase of EcoTech Marine, owners of AquaIllumination.

 

Mattiejay6

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Gosh.. it seems like changes in this hobby create all kinds of doomsday scenarios…. BRS isn’t the only shop, Neptune isn’t the only software, Ecotech isn’t the only wave maker… they as a company may just be eliminating their competition and operating it in favor of their own products and ones that don’t directly compete with theirs… or they may be in financial ruin… regardless the hobby isn’t going anywhere.. saltwater aquarium is starting to pick up their video series, tidal gardens as well is producing great content and who knows… maybe BRS/sister companies may just fade away…

Hobby is great and is still here
 
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Reefer Matt

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I understand the frustration and disappointment a lot of Reefers have (I am leaving company name out as they are a sponsor here and it would get edited anyway). They seemed to “get us” and provided good prices and invaluable information that showed a caring attitude toward Reefers and their hobby. Then they seemed to have sold out and left us hanging. Prices went up, and the information turned into sales pitches. But they still are a good place for finding things that we may not have in our local areas. We just have to take our feelings out of the equation, and understand that businesses are there to make money, not friends. <— All my opinion.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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As to the future of the hobby and supply companies...

I wonder how many of the companies we rely on are now or soon will be using AI to generate answers and or product information?

The number of problems with such info is concerning.
 

Reefing_addiction

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I understand the frustration and disappointment a lot of Reefers have (I am leaving company name out as they are a sponsor here and it would get edited anyway). They seemed to “get us” and provided good prices and invaluable information that showed a caring attitude toward Reefers and their hobby. Then they seemed to have sold out and left us hanging. Prices went up, and the information turned into sales pitches. But they still are a good place for finding things that we may not have in our local areas. We just have to take our feelings out of the equation, and understand that businesses are there to make money, not friends. <— All my opinion.
To any business- people are $$$ not friends. Even individual sellers look at others as a way to earn money.

Some business owners may become friends with their customers down the line but that doesn’t change that when the customer that became a friend makes a purchase they are still $$$
 

Reefer Matt

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To any business- people are $$$ not friends. Even individual sellers look at others as a way to earn money.

Some business owners may become friends with their customers down the line but that doesn’t change that when the customer that became a friend makes a purchase they are still $$$
Absolutely. And if a business can elicit an emotional attachment from the customer, they will sell a lot more.
 

rockdiver

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I started reefing over 20 years ago then left it for many many years then came back to it 5 years ago and almost no one is here from when I started, but others are and really it's all the same products but better and the same will happen now or later and the same result will happen the products will be here.
More expensive yes but that's everything, everyone deals with with everything we buy.
Actually Richard from TBS 20 years ago talked to me and talked me into his product not by selling it to me but by telling me all about it.
Now TBS is still here and the new owners are the same from my reading posts I didn't buy from them 5 years ago because he was in process of selling or thinking about selling.
All im saying is they all come and go but the hobby will always survive, just be more expensive like everything else in life.
Really who give a blank if they go BK. F them it's their fail someone will step in and hopefully like Richard find the right owners to continue on but of not ill just move on.
Way more important things for me to worry about then their fails.
Their products talked about here are big sellers and they will continue to be but if not then look, think, decide and move on.
Sorry but who gives a f
This is my good morning post lol
To harsh?
 

InvaderJim

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I think the hobby is in a weird place right now, especially with all the misinformation getting spread around. But I certainly don't think it's the beginning of the end. Say all those companies did go under...they are plenty of alternatives or someone else will come in to the fill the void. There were plenty of successful reefs before we had radions, apexs, and vortechs. If anything is hurting the hobby it's collection bans, and prices going up.
 

ca1ore

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As I noted before, companies come and companies go …. always have, always will. Does not mean the hobby is doomed; doesn’t mean it’s not doomed. The key is whether there are new reefers coming into the hobby or not.

My other main hobby, hi end audio IS doomed because there are very few new customers.
 

Malum Argenteum

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The Bertram situation isn't unlike Central Garden and Pet buying up a handful of aquarium equipment companies (All Glass, Oceanic, Coralife, Kent). Central merged some of these, sold off some labels, and basically ran them into the ground. But other companies grew up to take their places, and arguably the landscape is better for the changes (though a case could be made that AGA and Oceanic should still exist).
 

Doctorgori

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where there is demand there will be a supplier in short order….
even if the rumor mill holds and Bertram, Aperture, or whoever goes belly up, someone will step in guaranteed

Added: one tell tale in a healthy industry segment is “standardization” and interoperability… which is nearly non existent in this segment pre MXM module… we will see if there is room for another competitor gear “Universe” (Hydros) or will more 2nd tier gear companies emerge to just piggyback on existing tech (ala “ Inovative Marine, et)
 

fish farmer

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Let me start off by saying I have had some sort of fish tank for going on 40 years with a short break in the middle. I started my journey with a fish only tank in the late 90's. At the time LFS was the name of the game. I was dependent on my LFS for fish,supplies, and knowledge. They help me succeed. In those days under gravel filter was the rage and fighting one problem after another. If a fish survived for more than a year I consider it a success. Jump forward to the last 10 years and the market has exploded. Now I have a reef tank. I had gotten out of the hobby about 15 years ago after a house fire destroyed everything. Then MACNA came to the Washington DC area and I went. In those days it was a sea of hardware vendors. Where at today Trade show it more about buying selling coral. The Washington DC was a display in technology. I jump back into Reef tanks and have never looked back. Thanks to company like MarineDepot, Neptune Systems, and yes an outstanding LFS I was able to reach a point where I not only maintain a Reef tank I was able to grow coral and actually have to harvest it. For me Trident was a game changes. For the first time I was able to maintain Calcium, Alkalinity and Magnesium. I love the hobby and sill do.

I think the first indication of our hobby having issue was the merger/selloff of MarineDepot to BRS. At the time I assumed it was basically the merger of two great companies (so I thought). But in reality it was the start of the end. Roll the clock to today and I think we are in for a very rough time. This week, for me, saw the direct evidence of an end to Reef Keeping as we know it. There are rumors that Aperture, the parent company to BRS, Neptune, Ecotec, Aquaillumination is going broke and will file bankruptcy. Sad but I certainly have to say not a surprised. The companies under their control, for me, have been vital to my success. Apex has been a game changer, BRS a source for supplies (along with other vendors), my lights are Aquaillumination , and a great source of information from BRS video. Aperture was never a good idea. You could see the impact almost immediately with Neptune Systems. It wasn't the same. Innovation died, communication died, and who knows what’s next. Not Sure what to say about BRS the company Randy built. It awful and sad. For years I used BRS videos to helping me succeed. I based purchases on them and couldn’t wait to see what’s next. Then the final nail hit yesterday with the cancellation of MACNA. They effectively are dead.

So what’s can we expect for the future. We still have Saltwateaquarium.com which is an outstanding company and I plan to move more of future purchases to them (in the past I would split order between multiply companies in an interest in keeping competition). There are a few BRS products that I use that I will have to seek alternative for. Assuming Aperture does go down hopefully someone with step up and purchased BRS, Neptune, Ecotech and Aquaillumination and return them to their glory days. Who knows the loss of Aperture may be a good thing as it will help kick start a new era. For me, I am in a tough position. I have a lot invested in Neptune Apex it runs my tanks (I have two now) and everything if fully automated. To switch to Hydro not only would be expensive it would be a risk to a very stable set of tanks. In addition, I know multiply user of Apex to include two local Coral stores that live and die with Apex. I am sure with time (and Money) Hrydro would meet my needs but for me I can't expend that kind of funds now. So for now I will stay the course and continue with Apex. Apex has good people like Paul and thankfully for me good customer support. I will use saltwater aquarium for my go to for supplies. They are outstanding and save the day once when they rushed a part out to me. They are a first class company and a bright star in our industry. Finally I hope the user community speaks up. The users out there can certainly help save our hobby.

Would love to hear from others.
I've been in this hobby for about as long as you, but I feel less "connected" to the industry/marketplace "managing" how I run my tank.

I started reefing in 2000 after a break from my college years with FO. Most of my tank had DIY lights (ALS Halide Kit), DIY skimmer for a short time, DIY sump/refuge, gravity ATO. I would have drilled my tank if I was gutsy enough. DIY kalk dripper. I was successful out of the gate with softies/LPS. I manage my current tank similar to how I did it back then but have slightly more tech like dimmable LED/T5's, ranco temp controller, a BRS peristaltic pump, a JBJ ATO.

Many of the old companies I did business with are gone or retooled. I used to buy many supplies from Aquatic Ecosystems, an Aquaculture company that also sold hobby products. My overflow is a Glass Holes Kit, my recently replaced LED, Build My LED fixture are both gone from the hobby and replaced with better marketed products. Remember EuroReef? I was trying to buy one of those before they sold out.

I actually dislike some of the super tech automation these days, not just with reefing....look at modern cars. I was trying to replace my LED fixture recently and the "good" company wasn't catering to me...a small frugal reefer who just wants the thing to dim and turn on and off.....needed the new expensive controller to do that. I went with another company and still question the longevity of the cheap digital controller that came with it.

I recently stopped buying BRS kalk and went with Ms. Wages Pickling lime. The latter I can buy at my LFS (Local FEED Store) where I can also buy tubing, various sized plastic containers and bulkheads.

I believe any major blow to the hobby would come with severe bans on importing livestock, that is directed at saltwater as a whole industry, not just coral products.
 

BrokenReefer

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... So if the company Aperture owns are not profitable then Bertram might decide to stop funding Aperture and the house of cards fall. …

This is simply wrong. Bertram is not a lender, they own equity in the company in return for providing some financial benefit to the prior Owner(s).

The insane hyperbole surrounding this most recent business decision is annoying. Provide sources/links/ any journalistic resource or keep the rhetoric to personal musings and not statement of facts.
 

Serpentman2024

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Curious where you are getting your information on a potential Aperture bankruptcy. Being privately owned by Betram Capital, privately owned companies don't typically disclose financial information to anyone other than their creditors. Even if this is accurate information, I would bet any bankruptcy would be a restructuring of debt.

EDIT: And regardless, I wouldn't necessarily look at it as an indicator of the hobby. Companies come and go. Life goes on. The hobby has definitely changed. Inflation and restrictions have definitely altered the landscape. It also much harder to do on a limited budget. However, like all hobbies, this is luxury, not a need.
 
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adamsfour

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There’s a reef group I follow. They claim to have inside information. Yea I know I heard that line before. But based on his track record on others topics it does give it some credibility. No idea what information they have but as I stated it would not surprise me.
 

Grallster

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Ecotech is not going anywhere based on nothing other than their patent on Vortechs (unless they sell it which might even be a good thing). Other than that, other companies will step in to fill the void (if this rumor is even true anyway).
In the mean time, order from premium aquatics.com.
 

ca1ore

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Not if I were to speculate but I think Bertram capital basically invests in a number of companies, Aperture being one. Aperture then has a number of companies it owns. So if the company Aperture owns are not profitable then Bertram might decide to stop funding Aperture and the house of cards fall. The only path to survival for Aperture is to either go bankrupt or sell off the unprofitable parts and regroup. I truly hope Aperture either survive or sells off the the trouble parts. For example Neptune had been outstanding for years until it joined Aperture. I think the right buyer can restore Neptune to it glory days
I have worked with a number of venture capital firms over my career. I do not know Bertram specifically, but a quick perusal of their website shows ( as one would expect) a diverse portfolio of holdings ….. of which Aperture is just one. Typically venture capital firms buy businesses they think are either undervalued, or believe that their business acumen can drive growth. No VC firm is right every time, but the idea is that the winners outnumber the losers. Whether Aperture performs well or poorly, it will get spun off eventually. VC firms almost always replace the acquired company founders/executives with professional CEOs.
 

BeanAnimal

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As to the future of the hobby and supply companies...

I wonder how many of the companies we rely on are now or soon will be using AI to generate answers and or product information?

The number of problems with such info is concerning.
I am sure a lot.

if you have not seen Focustronic AI generated spokesperson... it is creepy at so many levels.
 

Gumbies R Us

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I am sure a lot.

if you have not seen Focustronic AI generated spokesperson... it is creepy at so many levels.
Just looked that up. I could not imagine having a spokesperson, not even a real person.
 

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