As Ecotech Marine celebrates ten years of business in the reef aquarium scene, I am reminded of how I came to know the once scrappy three young founders Tim, Pat, Justin and first employee Mark. The company cut its teeth on reef tank product engineering with a magnetically stirred kalk stirrer with a built in peri pump, the whole assembly was ahead of its day, and there’s still nothing else like it.
My first taste of Ecotech Marine on personal tanks came the summer of 2005, when I acquired two fo the first 50 handmade VorTech MP40 pumps and controller that were ever made as part of their Beta test program. I can remember it clear as day how I thought it would be a good investment to buy two pumps because there’s no way this company will last in the aquarium industry selling pumps for $250 a piece! Well the rest is history now, ten years of it precisely.
Rather than dive into a winding history of what Ecotech has done for us, I want to reminisce on the progress of the Vortech controller, a follow up to the post three years ago. The first two I ever got were made of bent sheet metal and had hand soldered electronic circuit boards. There were no buttons, only two indicator LEDs, which looked pretty fancy at the time, and only a potentiometer dial to adjust flow speed. One of the OG motors is now a backup while the other has been running near continuously for eight years, with added functionality being delivered through controller upgrades.
It’s easy to see the increasing level of sophistication in Ecotech’s engineering of the Vortech controller from Revision 2, in the Betas, to the first wireless controllers, to the current EcoSmart controller with better indicators and a wireless daughterboard. The development of Ecotech Marine’s RF module on a separate board was a neat trick which was cool to see pop up in the Radion light, and which is very likely to appear in the forthcoming Ecotech ReefLink. Most recently, the cloud-sourcing of EcoSmart Live to the web is only going to get more useful and capable.
Whether or not you use Vortech pumps, or are a fan of Radion lights, there’s no denying that the influence of Ecotech Marine’s products go well beyond what they actually make and sell. The reef aquarium hobby is bettered by the presence of Ecotech Marine over the last ten years and with the company just moving into a facility that is eight times larger than before, all signs indicate that new Vortechs, Radions and Ecosmarts will be making their mark for another decade.