About Our Coral Farm
Tidal Gardens is a coral reef aquaculture business located in Copley, OH. Through propagation, we supply high quality aquacultured hard corals, soft corals, mushrooms, polyps, zoanthids, and gorgonians to reef aquarists with little to no impact on the natural reefs.
Reef aquarium keeping is a growing passion for many people. A reef tank allows us to view, in our own homes, a myriad of beautiful life forms that others can only dream of. Nowhere else on earth will you find such a diverse array of shapes and colors as you will on a coral reef. For many, a reef aquarium provides a window to an underwater world they may never see in person.
The goal of Tidal Gardens is to offer the highest quality corals to those seeking a piece of that world without destroying it. We hope to instill a deep appreciation for the natural reefs and help develop a self sustaining hobby that no longer requires the collection of fish and corals. We sell corals locally on an appointment basis as well as online through this website.
The Aquaculture Facility
Tidal Gardens grows coral in two buildings, a greenhouse and a new state of the art warehouse. The new building began construction in 2018.
Tidal Gardens is a labor of love started in 2005 by Than Thein in Akron, OH. Growing up, Mr. Thein was never allowed to have dogs or cats, but was allowed to have fish tanks. Over the years, that interest in fish tanks developed from 10-gallon freshwater aquariums to moderate-sized saltwater aquariums.
The hobby continued through college where he was successfully keeping coral reef aquariums. With that success came the realization that corals would quickly outgrow small aquariums and would have to be pruned to avoid aggression. The question became what to do with the cuttings? Initially, pieces were sold here and there or given to fellow hobbyists.
Once in business school, Mr. Thein developed a business plan to determine whether the process of growing coral for sale could be successfully scaled up. This business plan in addition to providing a solid roadmap for the company helped finance the early years of development by winning business plan competitions. In 2004, the Tidal Gardens business plan won $2,000 in the University of Akron Business Plan Competition. The next year in 2005, the plan won the $30,000 grand prize in the COSE Northeast Ohio Business Plan Challenge.
The entrepreneurial journey to this point has been a great and rewarding adventure. Not only is it wonderful to have a warm tropical greenhouse in the cold Northeast Ohio winters to retreat to, there were chance meetings with some very large organizations that sought out our special expertise. In 2006, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) came calling requesting consulting on a coral special they were putting together and at one time even considered doing some of the filming in our greenhouse. In 2009, Thompson Reuters called requesting a license to some of the materials to be used in one of their future publications. In 2013 the Smithsonian asked to syndicate some of our videos and feature them on their new site, Encyclopedia of Life. Later that same year video footage from our YouTube channel was used in a digital aquarium exhibit at the Norwegian Maritime Museum in Oslo, Norway.
About the Founder
Than Thein is a passionate entrepreneur with a background in biology, computer science, business, and law. Mr. Thein is a certified diver and specializes in underwater photography and videography. In addition to operating Tidal Gardens, he serves as an author and contributor to industry publications such as Saltwater Smarts, Reef2Rainforest, and CORAL Magazine.
When not fully immersed in the reef aquarium hobby, Mr. Thein spends time as an Executive in Residence providing business leadership to emerging companies as well as participating in angel and seed-stage investment opportunities.; He holds both a Masters of Business Administration and Juris Doctor from the University of Akron and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Michigan. Mr. Thein is a licensed attorney and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 2008.