A little about "Birdfish" ...
I started keeping fish when I was 12-years-old,
some 40+ years ago. I sold my first batch of
personally spawned and raised fish at age 14 ...
thirty Pearl Danios to a T.G.& Y. (dime store)!
By the mid ’70’s I had kept and spawned several
mouthbrooding African Cichlids, amongst other species
such as Angelfish, and dwarf cichlids. A small group of
us teenagers in high school kept fish. I was nicknamed
"Axelrod" for my ability to quote and cite anything
he ever wrote. It was quite an honor, actually, together
with my other nickname "Spock" ... I was the teenage
science officer and a parents worst nightmare!
I have since spawned about a hundred species of
freshwater fishes and several marine species.
I've watched Monodactylus sebae spawn in my tanks,
as well as Giant Clams (Tridacna derasa).
After a stint as a speaker cabinet shop foreman,
I took the plunge and went to work for one of the
largest freshwater wholesalers around LAX ... scrubbing
and siphoning tanks for near-minimum wage.
This was in the mid-to-late 1970’s. Quickly, I was
foreman of the fishroom, some 800+ tanks of everything
in the business (turtles were still legal then).
After a couple of years I went to work for a saltwater
wholesaler, eager to learn about marine fish and corals.
It was sometimes frustrating as a hobbyist to see the
profit and dollars mean more than a life. I left the
industry in my early twenties swearing I couldn't work
in it until I made the life and death decisions, when
the animal would always be put first. By then, in the
late 1970’s I had my first saltwater tank, with fish
and corals. Low-tech is an understatement, if you can
only imagine how little we knew back then.
After a decade (the ’80’s) travelling around the U.S.
selling signs to businesses (and birdwatching), I found
myself back in L.A.; and, following a failed venture with
a bad partner in a cabinet business, went to work
selling fish for a large wholesaler-transhipper again.
I rekindled relationships with most of the major
importers and made new ones. After a couple of years,
with a couple of the biggies in L.A., I again felt
the misgivings about someone who doesn’t have a tank, and
probably never did, making the life or death decisions
about the animals as if they were bricks or cabbage.
It was just a product to sell to them. So, I started
my own company with a hope and a prayer, but no money.
If you were asked "who were the biggest coral farmers in
the U.S., in the 1990’s?" I bet I can provide invoices
showing I supplied them when they were starting with
broodstock. Most of my clients were retail fish stores
and these "original farmers;" including the best-known
oceanarium in the country. I’ve sold them all.
I'm afraid to use names for fear of lawsuits ...
(can’t mention them without permission.)
Besides having maintained 500-1000 tank systems,
I have had a 5,000-gal. outdoor vat which is where I
watched my clams spawn, and grew corals onto the walls.
But not being a "retail" hobbyist, I know little of
all the latest high-tech gadgets invented to sell you
something else. They weren’t needed to spawn clams!
"Birdfish" working at the vat
I do know virtually every importer from which all the
wholesalers in L.A. get the animals that show up
in your local stores though. And that brings us to the
here and now. I have selected a very few of my very best
store customers, friends who have bought from me for many,
many years, and besides them, have "canned" the rest in order
to go "e-tail" ... now, you the hobbyist will be the
beneficiary, and I will strive to offer a better product
at a better price. NO BS, no hanky panky, all cards on
the table face up, straight shootin’ livestock supplier.
We will continue to add articles to share the experiences
and knowledge we have gained in decades of being
"fish heads." They will cover topics from how to acclimate
your fish, to insider views of the industry that
few hobbyists have considered, or had window to.
All of the content on our website we have written
from scratch and it will be 100% original. Nothing here
will ever be lifted from another website. All but two
photos used with permission are our own work as well.
I am a very active conservationist, active in local
environmental issues, habitat management, and have lead
many walks and tours as a bird expert. I run bird surveys,
sit on a park advisory board, and have donated many
thousands of hours to these causes I consider to be
paramount in importance. A portion of our profit
goes to supporting causes such as these.
I have received awards of recognition for my volunteer
work for the environment three times each from the
California State Senate, and from the State Assembly.
And from the City of Los Angeles, and the Palos Verdes
Audubon Society. Money can't buy some things.
I’ve worked as a biological consultant on projects with
California Fish and Game, and published numerous
articles about, and photographs of, birds.
So, now you know a little about who (or what) you are
doing business with. Hopefully it will help you make
a decision of where to buy from. Just because we’re on
"the net," doesn't mean you have to do business with
a "black hole" you don't know, and have no idea about
the beliefs, attitudes and committment of those
who are handling your animals.
We love them and would love to show you
what a difference that makes!
"Yes sir, I'm trying to fill your order as fast as I can!"
(Tuna fishing in two-mile deep water,
sixty miles off the California coast.)