FragTrade started out with a 70 litre homemade tank, named FT70, built by Matt in the 2020 lockdown. While Matt had a few years of coral experience, Michael had only been dreaming of running an aquarium until they joint forces.
It wasn’t long before that when an alliance was formed but the story started when an imports through the Covid-19 pandemic proved to be fruitless. Quite an ordeal but not much was lost thankfully, although been a major setback. During this time, we were both in the second year of our Marine biology course and made a plan to be running the shop by third year.
It turns out we had the combined skillset to fly with this ambition. Matt had enough knowledge of corals to make his pennies and Mike was tech savvy enough to oversee website development and digital art design. We got water cycling in the FT70 and brought in a tank breakdown from the north a few weeks later after Christmas 2021.
Wow did things boom. Straight away we had soft corals, LPS and SPS coral loving life in the tank. All due to dosing, feeding live foods, whilst having cheato algae and mangroves to eliminate nitrates and phosphates. The goniopora took up half the tank, the stylophora looked like feather dusters and the duncans became an OG piece of history. Things were going so well we introduced acroporas within 6 weeks! It is important to establish a good nitrogen cycle before you’re left wondering how to fix poor nutrients waters that a bunch of livestock have just been plunked in. KH is key as it is the food that the corals deplete.
Things were going so well – we were making sales, getting ready for our next expanse as always – that something only had to go wrong. We thought to try our hands on a calcium reactor and bought a ‘TMC V2 React 300 Compact’ because how much time that would have saved if we balanced water chemistry in a few calibrations in comparison with dosing. Turns out the equipment had to be sent back to the manufacturer because no one could figure out why it was non-functioning. Instead, some of the highly carbonated water spiked our tank and the acroporas did not enjoy it one bit. Thanks, TMC. No matter, things were only made worse when the acrylic tank started leaking in one side (against the wall) and after a few attempts of gluing later; we decided to swallow our pride and upgrade to the new FT600.
In comes the new 400 litre tank with an external 200 litre sump, named FT600. What an upgrade this was. A sump for the refugium and a wide plane for the Chromis fish to roam about. We then decided to expand and get even more corals, so we went for another tank breakdown. By this time the website was beyond on track for release, so much so, we pulled the date back from end of March to the March the 11th .
Special thanks to Liam for leading the website creation, and our Giesemann halide lightube for being a literal sun in Mike’s bedroom/aquarium. We are now on track to continue improving this website, providing video content on YouTube, whilst continuing to expand our Instagram and Facebook pages. We want to thank all our customers for supporting us on this journey and in remembering our moto: keep on fragging your way to a sustainable hobby @Fragtrade.co.uk
To ensure we are been as sustainable as possible, we have made a sustainability promise: