Terry Dicken Business Park Feature Friday

Sustainable Marine Aquatics


Sustainable Marine Aquatics support marine aquarists who have an interest in following a more sustainable method towards reef keeping.

Owner, Tony Thompson, shared all about this fascinating hobby. So, let’s start with what reef keeping actually means.


From the sea

Marine aquatics essentially means – stuff that comes from the sea. According to wikipedia, a reef tank is a marine aquarium that prominently displays live corals and other marine invertebrates as well as fish that help maintain the tropical coral reef environment. Careful consideration is given to which reef animals are appropriate and compatible with each other.


So how did Tony find anchorage here?


Down in the doldrums

“I’m an Engineer by trade. But from a very young age, I have been fascinated by animals. I’ve always had a strong interest in science and have been an aquarist now for 50 years.

About 20 years ago, I got into the marine side and used to have my own lab. It kept me busy when I retired but I was growing frustrated with the business side of the industry. There was an abundance of poor advice and good scientific principles were often ignored. Increasingly frustrating was the lack of sustainable practice.”


Throwing down anchor

“Opening a shop to advise and support hobbyists to be more sustainable seemed like the right thing to do. I feel strongly about following the science and needed to prove that doing so, was the best approach. Therefore, I approached the owner of a business that was already operating on the park and bought him out.”


Fast forward 4 years and Tony is now known internationally for his sustainable approach.


In deep water

“Essentially we’re a pet store for marine aquatics. We comply with the pet shop licensing law but also follow the veterinary aquatics rules. We carry both a CEFAS and DEFRA licence. But what makes us different is that we are the only marine specialist store in the area.

We sell fish, corals, crustaceans, molluscs and echinoderms. Live corals are always found in aquatics. Ours are either cultured in store or maricultured abroad in the ocean. Some of the profits from the shop go back into aiding in the restoration of the reef. We have a big turnover of animals, the majority of which are captive bred. The fish in store are professionally quarantined and I also supply animals direct for customers to quarantine.”


Between the devil and the deep blue sea

Tony is there to help, give advice and take customers through their whole journey. It doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced aquarist or a complete beginner.

“To me, the animals come first. Even before the customer. If I feel the customer won’t be suitable, I simply wont sell. It takes a good commitment to look after these creatures, no less of a commitment than owning a dog and it has to be done right.”


Running a tight ship

“There are two main types of customer. Serious hobbyists who have made the commitment or people that rent an aquarium from us. For example, businesses might want a beautiful aquarium with a variety of species but lack the time or expertise to manage. So we offer a monitored and managed service, where it’s my responsibility to look after the animals. Some people request such a system for their home. I can create a bespoke design in any size. Literally, no limits. If you have a big enough house and big enough pockets it can be done!”


Stemming the tide

“The animals do not need the additional stress of a journey with a courier. So we insist that the customer collects. Our customers travel from places afar including Brighton and South Wales. We’ve also made a massive effort to cut down on packaging. I mix the product in bulk and bottle them in a returnable bottle. The amount of plastic is reduced and we can pass that savings to the customer.”


A final word from Tony on life on the Terry Dicken Business Park.


Shipshape and Bristol fashion

“I would definitely recommend the business park. It’s an extremely secure site and I feel really safe here. The management are very approachable, friendly and honest.”


The Sustainable Marine Aquatics shop is open Fri, Sat & Sun and can be found at:- Unit 36 Terry Dicken Industrial Estate, Station Road, Stokesley, TS9 7AE. Or visit their website or Facebook page for more info.

Want to keep up to date on news and events from the Terry Dicken Business Park? Sign up today using the button below.