Behind the Brand: EcoTech Marine photographs courtesy of Eco Tech Marine
Like many young hobbyists, EcoTech Marine co-founders Patrick Clasen and Tim Markswereconcernedabout leaving behind their beautiful reef
aquariums when they went off to college. But
unlike the vast majority of those hobbyists,
these innovative college students decided to
do something to make keeping an aquarium
with the Kalkwasser Reactor. Ultimately
the three incorporated Eco Tech Marine in
2003, when they were juniors in college.
Starting at School
Patrick and Tim attended Lehigh University,
where they were part of the Integrated
EcoTech Marine Today
By the time the three reached graduate
school, they had taken the calcium reactor
idea as far as it could go and wanted
to come up with something new. Tim
remained in the IPD program, where he,
with the help of Patrick and Justin, came
up with EcoTech’s signature product—the
Vor Tech propeller pump.
The Vor Tech propeller pump was developed
as a graduate school project and is now
Eco Tech Marine’s signature product.
Eco Tech Marine founders Patrick Clasen (left), Justin Lawyer (middle), and Tim Marks (right).
Product Development (IPD) program. The
program allows students to develop a product
and a business model for selling that product
over the course of one year.
Since they were already avid aquarium
hobbyists, Patrick and Tim decided to
work on a product that would help them
with their favorite hobby. They developed
the EcoTech Marine Kalkwasser Reactor,
which automatically replenishes calcium
levels in a marine aquarium to help keep
the alkalinity constant.
They met a third aquarium hobbyist,
Justin Lawyer, online in a chat room for
aquarium hobbyists. Justin, who attended
the University of Oklahoma, helped them
All three of the EcoTech Marine founders
began as hobbyists and still maintain reef
tanks today, such as this one of Tim’s.
According to Tim, the magnetically
coupled VorTech propeller pump removes
the need to drill holes in an aquarium and
reduces heat transfer between the pump
and the reef. “We like to keep innovation
essential to every new product we do. Our
intention is to be revolutionary,” Tim said.
Patrick added, “Our mission is to bring
high-end equipment to the aquarium
industry that is functional, a pleasure to
work with, and easy to use.”
Tim jokes, “Our best clients are the ones
who have gone off the deep end,” referring
to the people whose daily lives revolve
around their aquariums.
Staying true to their roots, the EcoTech
office in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has
seven aquariums, including a 350-gallon
reef tank. The three co-founders all have
reef aquariums at home, and most of the
staff at EcoTech are hobbyists as well.
EcoTech sponsors reef aquarium clubs
throughout the country and attends major
reef aquarium shows. D
“Behind the Brand” is presented for
purely informational purposes and does not
constitute an endorsement of any brand
or products by Tropical Fish Hobbyist
Magazine. All interviews are edited for length