(Written in 2003 - product no longer available)
Many products have been reviewed over the last few years but none that brought back my childhood memories! A few months ago I was at home when the brown gorilla pulled up at my home and unloaded a very large box. The driver yelled "Hey Bob, (he knows my name as he visits more often than anywhere else in the neighborhood), got another big box for you!" Big was kind of an understatement. Huge would be a better word. For its size, however, it was surprisingly light in weight. When I looked at the address label I saw what had to be the best possible hand printing I've ever seen in my life - absolutely perfect!
The box was from Frank Strange, President of Reef Timber. It contained a complete array of Reef Timber kits, system components, instruction manuals, testimonials, and many photographs of custom reef structures set up with Reef Timber components.
Everything, and I mean every item that Reef Timber produces was in the box; from prepackaged containers of plastic cement to various shelf components; for example:
When I finished unpacking everything, which were all contained in well designed individual packages, my mind went back over fifty years when I had an Erector Set, and Lincoln Log Set. I know I'm dating myself but maybe there's a reader that can still remember those childhood toys. Wonderful childhood memories circulated through my mind.
The following day I could not help myself and spread out numerous Reef Timber components on the living room floor. I briefly looked through some of the instruction manuals that are precisely written and extremely easy to follow and decided I would rather see what fit what and go it alone so to speak. Within a short time a three-shelf model took shape. I decided not to cement the pieces together, as I had no immediate use for it. I then disassembled it and returned the individual pieces to their envelopes.
On a more serious note, the usefulness of elevated eggcrate or acrylic structures in aquariums has always been a sensitive subject. Those who like them think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Those who disliked them think they distract from the natural beauty of the closed system. Where I'm concerned, I fit somewhere between the two.
Keep in mind no company has ever paid me for the use of my name or have I said I liked something just because a sample product came to my home. Nor have I ever been an employee of an aquarium product company. Nor do I owe allegiance to any product company! That is what sets Salt Corner apart from many other product reviews or those who frequently mention many different product names or their own product names in their articles.
Anyway, there's usually no doubt in my mind when I receive a product for review that its maker is very confident it's a quality item that would benefit the hobby. As for Reef Timber, it's a product that has a definite place in this hobby. Not only are various Reef Timber components precisely made and easy to assemble, the resulting structures are extremely sturdy and have functional possibilities.
When I looked through the wide assortment of before and after photographs of various size systems, both in aquarium stores and private homes, the final outcome of each depicted a very natural looking environment. An environment that actually would be easier to maintain and one where water movement was much improved.
Even though I think every aquarium would benefit from using a quality protein skimmer, not every aquarium needs Reef Timber. Yet, there are certain applications where it would at least behoove the hobbyist to contact Reef Timber and discuss their plan for their next reef system. They could then see the same photographs I've seen and judge for themselves if Reef Timber is appropriate for their forthcoming project.
And last but not least, Reef Timber shelves in my opinion should be used in all aquarium stores to display various invertebrates. Not only can those liking more light be easily elevated to a top self, more animals can be properly displayed in a given space. I really think stores are missing out on a simple cost effective way to utilize the usually limited display space they have.
Moreover, Reef Timber shipments are growing by leaps and bounds. Some very large shipments just went to the U.K. where wide acceptance of the product is growing. In fact, Frank say's they have shipped Reef Timber products to nearly every state in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, Alaska and Hawaii. They have also received calls from and have sent informative brochures to every state in the U.S., and Sweden, Japan, China, Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the Netherlands to name just some of the countries expressing interest. And, I understand a dealer in Boca Raton, Florida just purchased 56 four-shelf kits to display his corals. Sounds like the positive attributes of Reef Timber are spreading!
In closing, if you are planning a new system at least give the use of Reef Timber some thought. I've never had any negative feedback on either the management of Reef Timber or their products.
Reef Timber, Inc., 1100 Rarig Avenue, Suite E, Columbus, OH 43219, (614) 258-6681, fax (614) 258-6691.