about us

Aquarium Store Depot was established by fellow aquarist, Mark, to simplify the hobby. 

As a regular shopper on other aquarium e-stores, he often grew frustrated at the overwhelming selection of products and the general nature of seeing companies trying to sell the latest and greatest tech (toys) to the industry. 

At Aquarium Store Depot, we seek to change that by offering a limited selection of products vetted out by our creator’s experience as a fellow fish enthusiast. 

We only sell what works, brands we trust, and products we know will make a difference to you

Our mission is to simplify the aquarium hobby so the beginner can thrive.

About Us

Who We Are

We take the approach that our creator learned many years ago when he worked with a very successful local fish store he trusted.  He would ask, “what would you recommend to us?”  The answer was a small selection of products for his setups not a list of 1000+ items.  Why should we run an e-commerce store any different?

With aquarium hobbyists, it’s always tempting to tinker with your setup and look for the latest and greatest.  At Aquarium Store Depot, we have the philosophy if it’s working in the tank, do not replace it.  It’s very easy to get lost in the tech in this hobby and make yourself go broke.  Take it slow and address only the problems that matter.  Patience is the biggest lesson we’ve learned being in this hobby over the years.

Over the years we’ve developed an in-depth knowledge of the aquatics industry and hobby. Our articles and opinions on the aquatics industry have been published and featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Lifehacker, NBC News, and Slate. Our site has also been mentioned on top aquatics forums like Reef2Reef, ReefCentral, Cichlid-Forum, and Reddit’s Aquarium subreddit, which we are very proud of.

Mark With George Farmer

We Are A Site Run By Hobbyists

We are in the hobby and not some content site run by marketing agencies, media companies, or SEO experts. Our founder, Mark has been an aquarist for many years and regularly connects with manufacturers, vendors, and influencers in our space (like George Farmer pictured here).

We Build Relationships With Vendors

We are the only independent content site on the internet. We take no sponsorships or directly charge anyone to advertise on our website. We are completely independent and seek out exclusive deals for our readers with the relationships we have developed with independent sellers and specialty vendors

Mark with Rob at Flip

what we do

Our mission is to simplify the aquarium hobby so the beginner than thrive. We accomplish this mission by focusing on the following:

  • Limited Selection -­ Go to any other supply store and you can be overwhelmed with options. We seek to change this by only featuring what we would recommend and place in our tanks or a client’s. We want you to leverage our expertise in vetting out brands and equipment.
  • Education ­- We know that choosing the right setup can be a real challenge. That’s why we’ve written various buying guides and informational content. Once you have a few of our articles, our goal is that you will be well­ informed and ready to make the right choice for you. It is important that the aquarium setup plan you formulate fits well with your goals, your home, and is appropriate for the livestock you want to keep
  • Quality Brands -­ We sell a mix of quality, well-known brands. Some brands are family-owned and we support them because we like their mission or where they made their products. If we can’t sell a product, we’re happy to refer traffic over to these businesses. Our intention is not to make a ton of profit off products that give us good margins.  We know this hobby can be expensive so we want to ensure that your investment lasts.

Our Team

the people who make fish happy

Blog Content Team


Mark Valderrama


Mark is the owner of Aquarium Store Depot. He’s owned and operated a large number of aquariums for over 20 years, with builds including saltwater reef tanks, freshwater planted tanks, and ponds. He’s involved in aquarium clubs, and groups every day where he continues to learn and evolve with this industry. He is actively visiting tradeshows across the US.
Mark has written hundreds of articles about aquatic life and is a peer advisor to several books regarding aquariums, including the technical editor of Freshwater Aquarium for Dummies and Saltwater Aquarium for Dummies.

Sara Ochoa


Sara is our trusted guide through the animal care world. As a veterinarian, she ensures that our articles and recommendations are accurate. 

She is a licensed veterinarian graduating from St. George University. Sara specializes in small and exotic animal care and has a passion for surgery.

She has dreamed of being a veterinarian since she was a little girl, and lives her passion everyday.


Nicole Arroyo


Nicole is the mastermind behind our content. She’s in charge of ensuring that everything is up to date, fun to read, and looks pretty.

Nicole actually doesn’t own an aquarium herself. She hopes one day Mark starts writing about dogs…but Mark would rather write about Cats :).

Josefine Anderson

Staff Writer

Josefine is the creator of all our freshwater fish and non-aquatic content. She writers under the guidance of Mark’s vast experience in the hobby.

As a young writer, Josefine enjoys writing about fish and aquatics. She hopes to soon get a fish tank herself, but until then, is happy to soak up as much knowledge as possible. 

YouTube Production Team

Amanda Strain

Amanda Strain

Content Manager

Amanda is our content manager and our calm to our chaos that is our video production process. She manages our YouTube channel and all our team members – script writers, voice over talent, SEO optimation, and video production.

In her spare time, Amanda is an accomplished Bachata and Brazilian Zouk dancer. She also enjoys bouldering and traveling


Taylor Stoddard

Voice Over Talent

Taylor is our head voice over talent. Lending his wonderful voice and humor into our aquarium content. He has a passion for voice over and hopes to work in commercials and animation one day.

Taylor when not creating great voice overs for his production company, is a children’s pastor in one of the largest ministries in the US. You can follow him on Instagram here.



Video Producer

Deen is our head video producer. Creating visuals and injecting modern flair into our production. He was brought on board in 2023 and has since injected major changes to our production and our quality.

Deen is a wizard at Premiere Pro and a model in his spare time. He and Mark enjoy brainstorming new video direction.


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