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Introduction to Saltwater Ambitions

By Saltwater Ambitions on

Brian Howell: Hi, my name's Brian Howell and I'm the founder and owner of the Saltwater Ambitions Project. Like many of you, my underwater dreams started when I was just a little kid. On the wall next to the display, I've got a few photos that tell that story. First, my brother and sister and I when we were really young, just staring in awe at my uncle's African cichlid display. Not too long after that same aunt and uncle thought it was a good idea to get us our first legitimate aquarium kit. Really the passion for this hobby has been with me ever since. In all my years of experience in this hobby, the one thing that I've come to find is that the education and learning part of it never really stopped.

Just when you think you know everything or you've tried everything, the items that are available on the market and the technology revolving around the hobby changes. If you need an example of that, look no further than the aquarium light. When I started, it was basically just regular bulbs and it's morphed itself into the Wi-Fi enabled hybrid LED units that you see out there today.

For me, the education piece has always been critical. I've recently learned that an aquarium like this one has an average life span of only about five years. I believe that that's because the hobby itself can be really difficult.

We're trained to take livestock-fish and corals that are designed to live in the expansive oceans and trying to get them to survive and thrive in basically a glass box within our home. Unless you're really doing your research and you're dedicated to it, the hobby can be a challenge. That's sort of what the Saltwater Ambitions Project is all about. I've come to find that sharing and education and enjoyment of this hobby is best served when it's done within the community of like-minded individuals. Of course, most people like looking at something like this, but to actually do it within your home takes a bit of research, if you want to do it right.

We decided when we moved here in 2017, that we were going to create this build as part of a larger project. Basically documenting the steps along the way and sharing with you guys all of our success stories and failures, so that you could learn from them as well. We welcome you to become part of our community. You can find us at We love to see pictures of your own builds, of your livestock, and we'll certainly share some of ours. Really, we look forward to talking with you about everything that you're trying to accomplish in the hobby. We enjoy sharing some of our knowledge with you and learning from you guys as well.

I'd be missing out if I also didn't take the opportunity to talk about a couple of partners that we're working with on this project. First, Custom Aquariums. When I decided to go through this entire process, I spent many months researching the aquarium designer that I wanted to use. Basically, Custom Aquariums, the materials and the manufacturing process that they went through were second to none. I worked with them to design this display tank as well as the powder-coated steel stand and the seamless sub-solution that we used for the foundation of all our filtration behind the scenes here.

I'd be happy to talk with anybody who wants to know more about that company or the products and services that they offer. Also, Live Aquaria and the Live Aquaria Diver's Den. All of the fish in this display and most of the corals have come from Live Aquaria and Live Aquaria Diver's Den. Where we live here in White Lake there isn't really a local fish store that we can just run out to purchase livestock. We really have to do our diligence and researching an online purchase basically. Live Aquaria has proven itself to have the highest quality, but I also really like the efforts that they make for education and sustainability.

I want nothing more than for folks years and years from now to be able to enjoy this hobby the same way that I do. Conservation is really the key to all of that. I have an appreciation for the way that Live Aquaria supports conservation and education. Last, but not least, Marine Depot. Marine Depot is one of the largest retailers for aquarium goods in the world. Again, because of where we are, most of our purchases end up being online purchases. Items like reactors and light fixtures, that kind of thing, all the way down to the food and dry goods that we use to support this aquarium on a daily basis. They all come from Marine Depot.

Marine Depot posts educational videos as well and they've offered us the opportunity to become an affiliate. A lot of the articles that we write up and some of the videos that we post, they're may be for a specific product and affiliate link that allows you to purchase from Marine Depot. Should you choose to do that through our affiliate link, the Saltwater Ambitions Project receives a credit from Marine Depot and we basically roll that right back into the project.

Any credits we receive, we utilize those to purchase a new item that we can then review and basically give our feedback to you guys so that if you're in the market for the same type of solution, you can make that decision with more educated opinion. Anyway, I welcome you all to join our community. If you have any questions or concerns or comments, feel free to share them with us. We look forward to talking to you. Until then, I wish you all the best in life and in livestock. We'll see you soon.

About Saltwater Ambitions

Brian installed a custom 240-gallon reef aquarium as the centerpiece of a remodel in his home, complete with filter system and welded iron stand.

Started in May of 2017, the Saltwater Ambitions project was created to document the journey from concept to reality and beyond of a 240 gallon in-wall Lifetime Aquarium build. Owner Brian Howell has partnered with to showcase some of the features and functionality of the Lifetime Aquarium display tank, Seamless Sump, H2Overflow, Siphon Stopper, and more.

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