Saturday, November 17, 2007
My name is Eddie Hanson. I'm 39 years old and posting this from Indonesia. Currently I'm an exporter of marine fish and corals for the aquarium trade. My main reason for creating this blog is to educate and inform fellow reefers of the activities behind the scenes of collection, aclimation, and transport of marine fish and corals in the aquarium trade. Being a hobbyist for a long time myself, this area of business had been a mystery to me.
Here is a quick overview of my background in the aquarium industry.
I started keeping marine fish back when I was 17. I kept freshwater cichlids for many years before that and decided to try marine fish. My friend Jimmy gave me a brand new 50 gallon Tru Vu acrylic tank for my birthday to start the marine fish keeping. My friend already had started keeping triggers and got me into the saltwater. The latest technology at that time was the protein skimmer. It was a simple air driven unit mounted on back of tanks. Of course the wet/dry was the norm as filtration.
Triggers were my thing too, and I soon learned of overstocking problems. A few years later, I had saved enough money to buy 180 gallon reef setup. I even had halides! It took a half year for me to figure out what corals could live, and couldn't.
During my college years (I was doing the 8 year college thing), I started a maintenance company. I would charge $40 an hour to clean people's fish tanks. This was big for me, considering I was making only $12 an hour at McDonald's as a manager. Going to school and living on your own is tough. My advice to anyone who wants to move out of mom and dad's house, stay as long as you can and save money. Because once you move out, you are own your own. It's good thing my roomate was also a manager at McDonald's. When I was off, he would bring food home. So we took turns. Sounds funny, but back in the days, it was a great thing.
In 5 years, I managed to turn my little company into something. I had enough clients to keep me pretty busy. I quit my job at McDonalds. Actually the owner wanted to sell the store and move on away from the fast food business. He had worked for the corporation for 25 years, setting up franchises all over the world. When he retired back in 1985, the corporation actually gave him a franchise for all the services that he had done. He could pick any location he liked in the US. Of course he decided on our store in San Leandro Ca. I was working there and it was the best run McDonalds in the world!, or at least I think it was. Even the president of Mickey D's came by to say hi. Actually the owner, his name was Cal, was my mentor. I actually stayed there that long because of him. We were friends and he guided me through my company. He taught me all about customer service and marketing strategies. It actually was very sad. He called me to a meeting and said "Eddie, it is time for us to move on", and told me he was selling the franchise. He told me that McDonald's was holding me back from doing great things. We were the last two to leave the store on the final day. It was very sad and we both had tears in our eyes. It had been 10 years that I worked for my friend and mentor.
I then focused on the business of cleaning fishtanks. I soon bought some accounts from my competitor that was selling out. Business really took off and soon I moved into a large warehouse. At first we had parties in there. It was too big for my purpose but the rent was so cheap. I used to dj and people called my place "club Ed". It was fun for a while but I wanted to start retailing. People were coming by the shop and wanting to buy corals and fish. I really don't know how these people found me, but they were showing up. I actually refered them to Aquarium Concepts for a long time. Aquarium Concepts was the only high end reef shop around. I did alot of business with them, before setting up my own shop.
So the whole summer, me and my dog "Joy" worked day and night building my shop. It was a big hit. I had no idea at that time that the reef hobby was so big. I never went on Reef Central, or didn't even know it existed. My shop, Tropical Paradise, became well known in the reef community. I was also selling corals on the internet. I worked with the local clubs like BARE, BAR, SEABAY, and MARS to promote the growing reef hobby. We worked together to bring in special speakers and even had some of the meetings at my shop. The club eventually got too big(BAR) to have meetings at my shop. So I asked my friend Robert who has a wholesale operation nearby to see if he could host the club there. His warehouse is huge and even has a conference room. To my knowledge, the club is still having the meetings there.
Two years later, I had a chance to go to the Kingdom of Tonga to work on a collection / export station. I also set up a small wholesale operation in Los Angeles. This was more of a tranship station than cash and carry outlet. So at one point, I had my Tonga station and LA wholesale. The idea was to distribute Tonga products through LA, and also to send products to my retail shop in the Bay Area. Remember I still had the service business going as well. In the end though, without my supervision, each one of my operations started falling apart. So I had to choose which direction I wanted to go. I really wanted to make a difference in this hobby. So I chose to stay with the Tonga operation and close down the rest. I actually gave each one of my operations to my guys that had stayed with me for years. I gave the LA station to my guy Dave, and made him my customer. I also gave him distribution rights to the area. The retail, I closed down. The service company, I split up the accounts and gave to my other guys. I gave my warehouse to a friend of mine who is a wholesaler.
One of the highlights during my service company was doing work for Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville. We took care of a reef tank while they were working on making "Finding Nemo". We had fish in there that were in the movie and the artists used to draw from the fish tank. At one point, they asked us not to clean one side of the glass. The artists then drew as the algae grew. Remember the scene in the movie towards the end, where the filter stops working because Nemo put a pebble in the impeller? Then the tank turned green with algae.
I gave everything up to focus on the Tonga station. Anthony Calfo came and visited me to help with an aquaculture project that I was working on. He actually has an article in his second issue of his new magazine "C The Journal of Aquatic science, Travel, and Adventure" from that visit. Daniel Knop also has visited my Tonga station. He actually found and took a photograph of a rare clam, the tevora, in the wild during his visit. You can see the photograph on page 19 of Anthony's magazine. Daniel is the king of clams, and he came out to do consulting work for our clam farm.
We also brought in Filipino divers to work with our Tongan divers to catch fish. With the help of my friend Robert Rodriguez, owner of Aquatic Specialties and Pets (also known as ASAP, is the largest wholesaler in Northern California), we organized to bring in famous Steve Robinson to Tonga to train on non distructive fish collections. For those of you who doesn't know who Steve is, he basically pioneered the switch from cyanide to net caught in the Philipines. He learned from Australians and took the knowledge to train the Filipinos how to catch fish with nets. Robert and I wanted to make sure our divers knew how to catch fish non distructively, as well as decompression techniques. Our bi color angels could live for months at a holding facility. Our fish were the healthiest on the market. On the coral side, I went out with the divers for months at a time to train our Tongan divers on the corals. They were actually collecting a lot of non desireable corals, but they didn't know. There was a lack of training and know how in the collection ends. Basically no one told them what coral is good and what is not good. So most of the time, I worked as a boat man and sorting the corals after the divers came up with the goods. I would have a quick meeting and go over the corals with the divers, sometimes putting back almost all of it back into the sea. After months of doing this, the guys got well trained. I no longer needed to go with them. So around this time, I started the aquaculture project. First we focused on acropora and montipora, then moved onto other sps. I had gone through five different areas of the reefs, until finally found an area that was perfect to grow coral. When I say perfect, I mean away from predators and no maintenance without corals bleaching. The aquaculture farmers here in Indonesia have to deal with these problems on a daily basis.
But in the end, after heavy investment of money and time, I got the short end of the stick in Tonga. So now I'm in Indonesia working with an old friend from the US. His name Gili and he used to service tanks for me. I told him a few years back, before he returned to Indo, that when he goes back home (he is Indonesian) to look into coral export. I've been here for 6 months exporting high quality corals to the US with him. Soon we will be exporting to Europe as well.
I will post pictures of my activities on a regular basis. I have access to some very exotic corals. I will post photos on a regular basis for now.
Thanks for taking the time to read my background. I strive to make a difference in this hobby.
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What's up, Ed..
Hope life is good out there and that you are with yer wife.
John @ Exoticreefs.us
Good to hear from you John. My wife is in Vietnam right now, she will be going to the US soon. I will join her in mid Dec.
Nice Read and Great idea! Looking forward to what the future holds.
Heya Eddie, cool to hear from you! Man oh man, you've got some nice stuff out there! :) -Jeremy (Who Dah?)
Great story, Ed. You have lived with your heart as well as your head. Congratulations, and thanks for sharing both the personal and business sides of your journey.
I've been keeping freshwater aquariums since I was ten years old, and have been watching you reefers with great interest, as you have developed your art. I wish you all the best, and will be back to keep up with you.
Thank you for taking time to read my background. Your words are inspiring and motivating. You should think about getting involved into the reef keeping. But I do have to warn you that it is highly addicting!
Hey Eddie Been reading all your blog posts and enjoying it all! I am in california and wishing I would've been able to check out your stuff at the MARS auction. If you could shoot me an email I've got a couple questions for you if you get the time.
Mattmasters (at) gmail dot com.
Thanks for checking out my blog. I just sent you an e-mail.
Amazing blog. How do I contact you re: coral export to the US?
I can not image I will meet this blog. Thanks for your sharing, I read it one word by one word, because I have the great interesting on the coral and aquarium business. Unfortunely, I still work in the IT Industry, I don't know whether I have the chance to involve into aqua business. But you give me the chance to open my mind and some hints for the export service.
It's great for your blog.
I come from China, I also go to Bali before, if I know this blog, I defintely find you at that time.
Please contact me as I'm interested in importing your high quality corals. Thank you!
I left you a message on your blog!!
Already talking to you!
can u plz contact me,i'm interested in ur stuff,
this is my email:
Good to see things are going well. Drop me a line.
Nice blog. Loved reading it.Can you give me you contact info for importing some of your corals.We just started anew company and would live your help.Thanks,
hi eddie, I am jeffry. may I buy some of your corals ?
my email firstname.lastname@example.org
HEY EDDIE! How are you doing?... Man.. I love your blog... Its been a while. We have to catch up. Hey what's your phone # there, also give me a good time to call you.
Great stories! sounded better in person though :) Hope you are having a great time collecting corals. Thanks for everything! and say hi to Gili for me.
Thanks for checking out my blog. I'll tell you more stories of my life when I see you! Gili says hi to you too.
we have just recently having this marine aquarium, and since we live in bali, we have found some exporters here, but only few of them that allowed to sell the goods to locals, especially for corals, it's hard to look for, if you ever knew a supplier that sell for locals could you inform me pls.
my email is email@example.com
Hey Eddie love your Blog.
Could you please email me with you contact info. Interested in expanding my buisness, and would like to have you as a contact.
Hello Eddie, after viewing and reading all your fantastic articles and pictures I would definitely be interested in importing your beautiful specimens.
Please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to hear from you soon!
Wonderful site. Please contact me ASAP about placing an order. email@example.com
Great blog with wonderful corals, like everybody else I would like to import high quality corals from you. Please contact me to my e mail adress : firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Mirabel
I'd first like to say that I enjoy reading every post, some informative, the rest entertaining, and the Coral pics are amazing.
I would like to ask you a question about Indonesian CITES. After being delayed for a month by a company who was waiting on their CITES and then we were given the go ahead to order from them we payed them only to be delayed for another month (while they are still holding our money) because they still say they can't get Cites. Please e-mail me with any information @ email@example.com .
hi eddie , iam a long term reefer who is trying to set up a coral bussiness in the u.k. Do you export to the u.k and if not would you consider it.I am looking for a reliable source of good quality corals . I f you think you can help please email me., look forward to your reply john
Sorry to get back to you so late. Didn't even realize that you left a message. I don't have your e-mail. Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
my name is shawn im from ottawa,canada. would love to get in touch with you about importing coral into canada. please please send me an email at email@example.com, i have quite a few questions
Hello Eddie, congratulation...
please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, i have a questions.
This is Roy, your ex TP customer.
I will be back home in Indonesia from Aug 3-16, 2009
I wonder where you gonna be at that time and we might hook up in Jakarta. E-mail me and we'll talk
I finally got to checking your blog amidst the post Aquarama hectic and it's a fantastic read! Thanks for sharing those stories and keep on going!
Eddie, can you send us your contact info. We are interested in importing your inventory. Our company is called FragSpawn LLC. check out our website at www.fragspawn.com
We really need a more reliable importer with more extensive choices from Indo. Contact me at email@example.com
We are a wholesale/retail shop in South West Ohio. Could you please email me your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org? We would also love to have some expert advice from you.
Rich - Coral Ranch
I'M GNOH FROM MALAYSIA. I'M DEALING WITH MARINE FISH AND CORAL BUSINESS TOO. I'M ADMIRING YOUR CORAL COLLECTION SO MUCH.. CANT STOP LOOKING AT THEM. I WISH TO HAVE SOME OF YOURS COLLECTION..
CAN YOU PLS CONTACT ME
I would like to contact you to see about getting corals and anemones to the USA. if you will e-mail me at Fuzzybob4@yahoo.com it will be greatly appreciated, thanks Eddie
I would like t know if you're exporting to Europe? I'm very interested in importing corals from you. Please contact me at email@example.com
Your knowledge and passion for what you do is shown through your efforts on this blog.
I wish i could get some of your gems for my tank...i dont know how that could happen though...I will be in Jakarta next month...any store you can recommend for me to buy some coral for my tank?
Thanks for your time, will be following yr blog closely.
send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll give you some info.
My name is Jay , owner of Worldwidereef aquarium shop in Bangkok, Thailand . After see your blog , I want to discuss with you about import coral to Thailand . Please send me any information about this to me at email@example.com
PS . Your blog is so cool
Wow i cant believe i didnt find this blog sooner! Great info here! I had a few questions for you Eddie, if you would be so kind to send me an e-mail, i can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I seem to have gotten a piece of this coral:
You can see it here:
top left. Can anyone identify the street name of this coral? as well as the scientific name. I want to write and article about it and I just want to make sure I know what it is exactly and what it was called when you sold it a long time ago Ed.
I appreciate your time. Thanks
That is a favia, sometimes referred to as Christmas favia because of its colors red and green.
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Eddie, great blog. you are doing what i have only dreamed of. i own a retail/wholesale shop in North Carolina would love to order direct if possible? if not someone in LA. we do not see these types on the east coast. you can email at email@example.com thank you again!
It's been a long time. Hope all is going well. I have been following this for awhile. Fun reading, Thank you.
Anyway, when you have time send me an email or call me at the store. I just have a quick question for you.
Hope to see you soon.
Hey there eddie just found your blog .
is there any way you can get me a red giggantea carpet can only find haddoni been trying for years?appreciate any help you could give me.
sincerly avid aquariest.
Great blog! Haven't read through all your adventures yet, but you're livin' a reefers dream.
If possible, please contact me. I would be interested in some goodies. Also any LFS in HK to visit?
I'm not sure what happened to your comments, I did not delete it. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't have your contact info. I would love to meet up with you.
Your blog is oneo f the best.I am coming to JKT sometime soon,how can we meet up or do you have any ctc nos.
Send me a message at email@example.com. I will be glad to meet up with you!
I am interested to buy coral and fishes form you for my home aquarium. please send me complete detail on firstname.lastname@example.org. I live in Jeddah Saudi Arabia
Hi, I write for various aquarium science publications (Advanced Aquarist, Wet Web Media Digital, etc.). I was wondering if I could obtain your permission to use the tilefish images from your blog. Any images used would be credited to you with a link to your website.
Awesome, Eddie! I love your career story very much and it is amazing how you can put so much passion into your business! I wish you the best! I came across your website because I was doing some research for my Chalice coral. Too bad I am in Canada, otherwise, I would have already been to or a customer of your fish store. Take care and I will continue to check out your blog from time to time.
dear Eddie: I come from Taiwan, if must look like you to purchase the fish to import to Taiwan, ask how wants to order? Asks you to reply my mailbox: email@example.com
Like your amazing journey! how do we get to purchase from you? We are in florida. Thanks!
Very nice blog - good job :)
I sent you an email. please send me your stocklist with prices and terms!
my email : firstname.lastname@example.org
thank you, take care
I have been looking at your blog for several years waiting for my business to grow enough to be able to buy from you. Well I am about to get my importing license and i was interested in your prices and shipping quotes. Please e-mail me at wbelltcc(at)yahoo(dot)com. I appreciate it.
Eddie I have tried to contact you a few times concerning corals being exported to Miami Florida USA
I have all the required documents and I am will to take 50-100 SPS and a couple hundred LPS
Please let me know if this can happen.
hi could you send me a price list
Hi my name is Ali, i am from Taiwan, can you sent me your group photo of your stock list at moment,
and price list as well,
Fantastic journey Eddie. Much more success to you! This is very interesting for me as a reef and coral lover. Thank you and happy new year!
Hey eddie, was wondering if you can help me out? I have a montipora that ive had in tank for over a year now. Has grown onto live rock. Is slowly losing its coloration. Im thinking it might be going on its way. All parameters are perfect and havent been fluctuating much. Have been pretty stable. My alkalinity read 7.0. so i did start dosing yesterday. Will do another check in the morning. Anything else I should try?
Eddie, Are you still in the business? I would like to talk about me becoming a customer and purchasing corals and marine fish for import into the US. Please contact me by email at dgkrienke at gmail.com
Hi Eddie, Would you be able to let me know if I can pick up a bunch of your acros? email@example.com
Eddie, I sent you an E-Mail.
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