It’s been a very dynamic year for the reef aquarium industry and the surprises keep coming with the announcement that EcoTech Marine has just joined the Bertram Capital aquarium ‘SuperGroup’. If you’ve had one eye open on the goings on of the aquarium industry you’ll already be aware that Bertram’s opening salvo into our industry came with the acquisition of Bulk Reef Supply at the beginning of the year, which was followed up by Marine Depot and Neptune Systems getting drafted to the growing portfolio.
The beloved Vortech pumps and Radion lights along with their sister brand Aqua Illumination will be well familiar to aquarium enthusiasts of all stripes with their flow and lighting technologies coming to shape the expectations of a generation of reef aquarists and freshwater aquascapers. Contrary to inaccurate rumors Bulk Reef Supply DID NOT purchase EcoTech Marine – the real nature of the new union is more nuanced and intentionally structured than those few words would lead you to believe, but the tl:dr is that yes all of these major players are essentially on the same team.
Having been on this newscasting rollercoaster not once, not twice, but three times just this year alone we are well acquainted with the community’s rallying cries that ‘Company Name sold out’, but we see the new deal as more of a buy-IN than a sell off. More-so than the previous big companies, we are much more familiar with the Ecotech Marine family and the design and engineering culture which gave us industry defining products like the Vortech, Radion, Hydra, Nero and apps that control them.
With this impressively long and successful track record, EcoTech Marine has earned our trust in their decision making process and we have utmost confidence that they didn’t join the BRS + Neptune Systems supergroup lightly. When Bulk Reef Supply said they accepted this large investment to grow the hobby, increase the success of reefers, etc. etc. that marketing speak can easily be translated into ‘they want to sell to even more people’ who don’t yet have reef tanks.
But when top brass at Ecotech says basically the same thing all we can think of is the awesome projects they conceptualized five to ten years ago but have not yet been able to bring to market because there’s only so much one company can do. A perfect example of this bottleneck is the Versa dosing pump which was in engineering limbo for years before it was launched, and after being on the market for two years it now faces production purgatory due to global supply constraints.
In many respects both new and veteran aquarists should take these major developments as a positive indicator that our beloved community has grown from a small cottage industry to a global phenomenon because now people all over the world want to keep and enjoy aquariums in their own homes. There will be no immediate changes for anyone who deals or uses EcoTech Marine products as all the product support, warranties, and distribution will remain the same – Vortechs will still flow and Radions will still light your tank today and tomorrow as they have for more than a decade.
It’s actually quite impressive to look back on everything that EcoTech Marine has done on their own; starting from a row house in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where they hand-soldered controller boards, to their newest massive production facility and assembly lines designed with the expressed purpose of manufacturing as much of their product in house as possible. BRS, Neptune and EcoTech have indisputably played a major role in making the aquarium hobby more enjoyable so it doesn’t take too much effort to look on the bright side of what all this talent can accomplish when they are working together.
We are very excited to see Bertram’s growing family of companies having common goals and objectives of bringing more and better reef gear to the aquarium hobby, and growing the community which has come to define many of our lives.