How Did We Get Into Custom Built Aquariums?
ABOUT GIBBONS AQUARIA – THE STORY OF A FAST GROWING AQUARIUM COMPANY
Gibbons Aquaria, Inc. (GAI) was founded in 1994 by President and owner, Warren M. Gibbons. Mr. Gibbons is an experienced aquarist, fisheries biologist, aquaculture, and fisheries management professional since graduating from University of Maryland (College Park) in 1990.
Gibbons Aquaria is a direct byproduct of Warren’s over 30 years in the fields of marine biology, aquaculture and fisheries management, four of which were at the New England Aquarium (Boston, MA) where he managed the Jellyfish Breeding Laboratory and jellyfish exhibits (“JELLIES-JEWELS OF THE SEA”).
From the very beginning Gibbons had a consuming passion for saltwater ecosystem aquariums. For years, he spent practically every waking moment thinking about what it takes to create a thriving and stunningly beautiful saltwater reef tank. This was his passion, and in 1994, his dream job had come true.
At the New England Aquarium (NEAq), he fed his passion for saltwater ecosystems by consuming every book, periodical, and bit of information he could get his hands on. He attended every conference he could find (national and international) where he met with authors and gurus in the saltwater aquarium field and developed a wide network of colleagues and experts who, now, are his peers. At the New England Aquarium, he was known among his colleagues as the “go-to person” for anything pertaining to keeping live corals and state-of-the-art filtration methods and technology of any kind.
Gibbons Aquaria’s first project came when a local family called the NEAq to find someone to install a reef tank in their home. Warren was asked if he was interested in taking on the task. He had built these custom aquariums a thousand times in his head and on paper and knew exactly what to do.
Within a few weeks, the family had a beautiful, thriving coral reef ecosystem aquarium in their living room. They were thrilled and so was Warren. Gibbons was in business and the word of his success in custom built aquariums was out.
Shortly afterwards, Warren was contacted by a local seafood restaurant chain to redesign and renovate two large aquariums. The first was a 12-foot 900-gallon saltwater coral ecosystem aquarium, and the second a 700-gallon freshwater flooded Amazon rainforest display. The owner was frustrated with his existing company and asked Gibbons to identify and then fix the problems, and then takeover the aquarium maintenance responsibility.
The saltwater aquarium was the first to be renovated. Within two months of design, preparation and renovation, the 700-gallon saltwater coral reef ecosystem aquarium was operating flawlessly and teeming with life. The response was dramatic and immediate. The restaurant had been inundated with compliments about their aquariums. Gibbons’ customer was thrilled as people were coming into the restaurant just to see the aquariums they had heard about. Due to the uniqueness of the aquarium displays which were created and the high volume of foot traffic, the phone began to ring.
By the end of 1996 Gibbons was in business as GAI, and working at the New England Aquarium where he had been promoted to manage the Jellyfish Breeding Laboratory. The New England Aquarium’s special exhibit JELLIES was a smash hit and other public aquarium institutions were developing their own jellyfish aquarium displays. For the duration of the exhibit, he ran “Jelly Camp” — a training program that trained staff from other public aquarium institutions around the country and the world to breed, maintain and display many species of jellyfish. At the time, jellyfish exhibits were cutting edge and gaining popularity in the public aquarium world. This program allowed him to continue developing a wide network of contacts in the public aquarium field.
One of those contacts was building OCEANARIO DE LISBOA in Lisbon, Portugal, the largest public aquarium in Europe. The were preparing to open at the WORLD EXPO ’98, and hired Gibbons to redesign two of their jellyfish exhibits, a 5,000-gallon living coral reef ecosystem exhibit, and a jellyfish breeding laboratory, and assist with training new staff. GAI was growing, and by the fall of 1997, Gibbons decided it was time to focus 100% on GAI and the custom built aquarium it now offers.
Additionally, Warren began consulting for public aquariums the following year — first for the Newport Aquarium (Newport, KY) to design an entire gallery of jellyfish exhibits, and then for the New England Aquarium to design and install life support systems and exhibits for their Newport Exploration Center in Newport, Rhode Island. Gibbons was also chosen to provide the feasibility design for the Cape Verde Aquarium’s 60,000 gallon living coral reef exhibit. To this day, Gibbons Aquaria continues to grow because it has distinguished itself as a company with a reputation for delivering sophisticated, state-of-the-art, museum-quality custom aquarium displays that simply work, and keep on working long after they are built with top-notch aquarium service!