What an exciting time of the year it is. One can contemplate all the accomplishments of the past 365 days and plan for the unfolding days and months of this New Year. It is our hope that many of you received the gift of a new aquarium that will brighten up all of your days for years to come.

It is with this hope that I also want to stress how important it is to take the time to read all the information that we have shared in the vastness of our web site. We are aware that it has become huge and that it has so much information, but I can proudly proclaim that each day I walk into my office with my heart and eyes open I learn more and am rewarded by the tremendous experience. This is why we take the time to share our information with you.

I can not tell you how proud I am, how many times I have pinched myself this past month for every January I realize my tanks are only but one month away from being another year older. To say that my oldest tank is now going to be 8 years old bring such tears of joy to my eyes and my heart screams to you if I can do this so can you.

We have taken the time to show you through pictures and words, step by, step by how you to can wake up to the same miracles. I looked at LeRoy last week and said you know my tank is 56 years old in dog years, a second grader in people years, and a miracle in reef years. I can never ever put into words the gift that I have been given.

I will never be able to capture the picture that reflects how these animals have touched my soul. All I can hope for is to continue to inspire you. To coach, to lead, to be the voice for the animals that are dying needlessly in the wild.

To think about all that I have learned over the age of my oldest tank is even amazing to me. When I look over the pictures and the articles it is just incredible. I have no idea how many tanks a round the World my pictures and writings have inspired but it is in the thousands. Any of you out there that have 8 year old tanks write about them, share them, let people know how you achieved these goals for these are the gifts that are priceless and most importantly desperately needed in this hobby.

GEOTHERMAL AQUACULTURE RESEARCH FOUNDATION Often I have been asked what is your secret, simply stated I have none. I have shared each and every step with you. If asked what has given you the greatest success? That is a little harder to answer for if LeRoy never pushed me I never would have got my fingers wet.

I always thank the many interns we have that cross our paths and spread their gifts of questions and knowledge. We can not forget the pioneers of yesterday and today for they to have given us so much. Yet it is the animals that give me the most. They make me smile and make me never ever give up


I have to give credit where credit is due for the famous GARF Grunge that seeds our man made rock (Aragocrete) is truly the solid Foundation any reef tank or even fish only tank would continue to benefit from. For this live sand not only seeds the rock but hatching coralline, sponges, copepods, ampipods, starfish worms that clean the sand bed and cycle the tank.

It is amazing to watch the sand come to life and you can see it start growing in the first two weeks. Even if you did not receive your most hoped and dreamed for reef tank for Christmas some GARF Grunge is still a good addition to a already aged tank. For the more bio-diversity you can get in your tank the better.

When I set up my oldest tank the sand layer was about 4 to 5" high. You can literally see hundreds of animals playing in the sand bed. Starfish hatch daily, worms come out to play when I feed. Sponges reach out of the sand to grow under the rock. Coralline of all colors starts to spread on the rock. I often watch the copepods and ampipods race as if one shell is a better playground than the other is.

At night when the light goes out it is like recess at elementary school they all come out to play. Over time the Grunge layer reaches up to 8" due to snail death, empty shells and so on. LeRoy comes into my office with a bowl, a smile and a big plea for the top layer of this magic layer of life. (Perhaps this is our secret). He uses this to set up the new tanks. As fast as they all multiply it does not take much to start a good culture.



Since we now have over 45 separate systems at GARF we now have a layer of this magic layer of life that we can offer to you. Again this can go into any aged tank and will bring your tank to life like you had only hoped for. I can hardly wait to hear back from you as to how much fun you will have watching this new life unfold.

For those of you just setting up a new tank, please, please read the bulletproof reef system. I have shared in detail all the steps we take to setup our tanks. The equipment needed. The recipe for success, sharing in detail the supplements I use, how often and the maintenance preformed.

My oldest reef tank that is now almost 8 years old still has no algae in it. Think about it, if you never put any in like live rock from the ocean how are you going to get it? It is a 55-gallon with over 200 different types of coral in it.

Most of the 200 corals are the very same ones I started with and have shared with so many over the years. I have been blessed to be trusted to raise baby Clownfish, and cut and grow amazing coral. However the biggest joy is to say that I did all of this without taking anything from the ocean.

May this year bring you as many smiles as my one-day does.

President/ Executive Director
Sally Jo Headlee