Tampa Bay Saltwater is a name that has become synonymous with Caribbean live rock, having pioneered the concept of turning dry rock into life-encrusted pieces of the reef. TBS has been on the quiet side the last couple of years but we’ve come to learn that young new owners are preparing to continue the company’s legacy of farming real live rock.
Jocelyn and Madelyn Lyon, two young Florida natives with experience in aquatics and aquariums are the proud new owners of the live rock culturing company founded by Richard Londeree who will be sticking around to help with a smooth and easy transition of operations. It takes a lot of infrastructure to become a live rock farmer and so a work boat and warehouse are being secured for both the harvest, handling and shipping out of their exceptional live rock.
In the early days Tampa Bay Saltwater used mined aragonite from local quarries but they’ve mostly shifted to using man-made Walt Smith Reef Rock which has been demonstrated to foster the most growth of local reef life including sponges, tunicates, macroalgaes, and of course our favorite, local stony corals. A fresh new container of the Fiji artisanal rock is already on its way to Tampa Bay to seed future crops of Tampa Bay cultured rock, but literal tons of rock have been underwater on the company’s lease sites in the ocean for years which they will begin harvesting later this year.
Over the past decade the majority of aquarium aquascapes have been created with dry and artificial rock, and some products with a dusting of bacteria claiming to be ‘live rock’ but these bear no resemblance to actual live rock from the ocean. There’s an incredible diversity of marine life that can pop up from real ocean rocks and it’s a mystery and a little bit of magic how much life can continue to appear even years after being introduced into the aquarium.
Madelyn and Jocelyn Lyon are incredibly fortunate to be in a position to take over Richard Londeree’s very unique business and they seem pretty enthusiastic about their new venture in life. For 20 years Tampa Bay Saltwater was the premiere source for aquarium rock that is actually ‘Alive‘ and now with a new generation of owners we can count on TBS continuing to supply the aquarium world with their wonderful rocky life capsules.