Saltwater Smarts Celebrates First Anniversary: Thank You for a Terrific Year!

Chris and Jeff at Coral Reef

Chris and Jeff at Coral Reef

One year ago today, Saltwater Smarts officially went live and a concept that had been percolating in Chris’s head for several years finally came to fruition. He had envisioned a unique online community providing reliable, authoritative information on the marine aquarium hobby, with the mission of promoting sustainability through education.

When Chris first pitched the idea to me, I was intrigued but also a little apprehensive. Truth be told, we were both more than a little anxious. We knew the subject of marine aquarium keeping was well-trodden territory online, so we needed to find a way to bring a fresh perspective to the topic. But what did that mean, exactly?

It’s how you say it!

Evaluating the hobby-related sites and sources already out there, we determined that Saltwater Smarts shouldn’t be about breaking aquarium-hobby news, critiquing the latest hobby equipment, or promoting a completely novel approach to doing things. Rather, we would focus on the fundamentals of marine aquarium keeping in a friendly, fun, accessible manner. It would be a site created by hobbyists for hobbyists and a place where visitors’ input and opinions are invited and respected—where no one is greeted with attitude or condescension. In other words, the difference wouldn’t be so much what we present, but how we present it.

Encouraging trends

So we launched with that premise in mind, and now, one year and 172 posts later (173 if you count this one), we’re confident that we’re on the right track. Saltwater Smarts is viewed by thousands of hobbyists in countries all around the world, including the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and many others, and our audience ranges from beginners to experienced saltwater enthusiasts and freshwater hobbyists getting set to take the saltwater plunge. We’re also gratified to have recently passed the milestone of 5,000 likes on Facebook. There’s still plenty of room for our reach to expand, but we’re very pleased with our trajectory!

Many thanks!

Of course, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to a lot of people who made our successful first year possible. Chief among them are our sponsors, including Tidal Gardens and Advanced Reef Aquarium, both of whom have supported us since we launched; major sponsor (and oft-utilized research source) Drs. Foster and Smith; as well as Mark, Susan, and Nikki, the proprietors of Coral Reef—our personal LFS—in Perrysburg, Ohio.

We’re also extremely grateful to our contributing writers, Than Thein, owner of Tidal Gardens and Advanced Reef Aquarium; Jay Hemdal, Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates for the Toledo Zoo; and long-time hobbyist Paul “PaulB” Baldassano, inventor of the Majano Wand (he may also have invented salt water—we’re looking into it) and veteran of the Vietnam War; for lending their expertise and unique voices to Saltwater Smarts.

Last—but by no means least—we have to thank YOU, our valued audience, for your continued support and input. It’s been a pleasure interacting and sharing our thoughts with you over this past year, and we hope we’ll have the opportunity to meet many of you at some future fishy event (MACNA 2014, perhaps?).

What does the future hold?

Looking forward, Chris and I pledge to continue providing a steady supply of reliable, authoritative information for marine aquarium hobbyists of all experience levels—and hopefully having a few laughs along the way. But don’t be surprised if we change things up a little bit in the year ahead. At the moment, we have some different offerings and helpful resources in the works that we think might be of interest to you. So stay tuned to Saltwater Smarts for another exciting year!

We’d love to hear from you!

What do you think of our first year…suggestions, ideas, favorite post? What would you like to see in the next year? Tell us in the comments below.

Photo credit: Toledo Free Press

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About Jeff Kurtz

Jeff Kurtz is the Co-founder/Editor of Saltwater Smarts, former Senior Consulting Editor for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, and the aquarist formerly known as “The Salt Creep.” He has been an aquarium hobbyist for over 30 years and is an avid scuba diver.


  1. Paul Baldassano says:

    Congrats Saltwater Smarts. (I would have spelled out that entire word, but I am not sure how to spell it) I myself only found Saltwater Smarts a few months ago and I love the only blog type of atmosphere without all the petty arguments. I read all the blogs (except the ones I write as that would just be silly) and I would probably disagree with myself) I know quite a few people read this forum as I get E Mails all the time. Thanks guys for putting up this great site.

    • Jeff Kurtz says:

      Thanks Paul! We’re thrilled to have you on board as a contributor. Chris and I both appreciate your unique take on things and the fact that you’re not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom. Our hobby needs more people who think like that. Keep up the great posts!

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