store grew from 1400 to 5600 square feet. Customers would often joke that you could buy your fish and have your keys made all in the same place! 2003 was a sad year for Ziggy and all at the Hidden Reef, as their dear friend and partner George lost his battle with Hodgkin’s disease. It was George’s reef aquarium and inspiration that made the Hidden Reef a reality. Tragedy struck again right before Christmas two years later. The Hidden Reef was destroyed by a fire that started in another store in the shopping center. “We lost all the animals except for a few, as we kept running in and out while the store was burning; the firemen were chasing us, but we were able to save most of the corals,” Ziggy said. After the fire, the Hidden Reef did not have a new home until July 2006. It took until April of the following year just to get the front of the new store opened. It was nine months of long, hard work. Then it was time to tackle the fish room. One hundred and fifty pounds of screws, 1400 two by fours, and a lot of paint and PVC pipe went into completing that room. The Hidden Reef is home to more than 450 aquariums offering freshwater fish, saltwater fish, plants, corals, and more.
A tank featuring the stunning electric blue morph of the ram Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, one of
the hot new fish in the aquarium hobby.
The Store Today
The modern-day store is over 20,000
square feet. Of this, 6800 square feet is
home to 450-plus aquariums. Out of these,
40 are devoted to corals, 145 are saltwater,
and more than 250 are freshwater. There
are 16 bagging stations located throughout
the fishroom, and a knowledgeable, more
than adequately sized staff is available to
help customers. Manager Ryan Smith, who
has been with the Hidden Reef since the
old store, does a fine job of keeping the
fishroom well stocked and running. “All of
the people working at our store truly care
about the animals they are selling, as well as
the customers they are helping,” he said.
The front of the store has an array of
aquariums, supplies, frozen foods, and all
the essential plumbing supplies needed to
set up and maintain an aquarium or pond.
The pond room itself is also located at the
front of the store, containing six large tubs
of pond plants and a beautiful 1500-gallon
Tropical Fish Hobbyist www.tfhmagazine.com