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Kevin Kohen

Kevin Kohen

Kevin Kohen started his adventures in aquarium keeping when he was just six years old with his first freshwater aquarium. As a teenager, Kevin’s fascination for fish-keeping grew stronger, and with the support of his parents, he set up his first saltwater aquarium at the age of 13. This eventually grew into three saltwater aquariums, and in the early 80’s his first “reef style” aquarium with live rock, macro algae, and invertebrates. Shortly thereafter a series of articles was published in Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine (FAMA) on “Minireef” style aquariums in Holland, and the stage was being set for reef keeping hitting the United States. Within a few years, Wet/Dry Trickle Filters, Actinic Lighting, and methodologies on natural marine aquarium systems were starting to be more commonplace and the marine aquarium hobby was gaining momentum in the US. By this time, Kevin had established numerous marine aquariums from smaller set ups, to a 135 gallon display for marine angelfish, tangs, and wrasse, along with a 75 gallon “Mini-reef” Style display with live rock, live corals, macro algae, and an array of smaller fish and invertebrates. These two aquariums were nominated by the Greater Dayton Aquarium Society for Saltwater Aquarium of the Year and the Reef Aquarium of the Year and won top honors. His passion soon evolved to over 21 freshwater and marine aquariums, raising and rearing tropical fish to sell to the local fish store. Having spawned and reared numerous species of livebearers, anabantids, Koi, goldfish, freshwater angelfish, and numerous others, Kevin’s focus was on Malawian and Tanganyikan Cichlids from Africa. His biggest accomplishment was the successful spawning and rearing of the catfish Synodontis multipunctatus, as there were no captive raised specimens available in the mid 1980’s.

At the age of 13, Kevin helped clean saltwater aquariums at small retail fish store in Beavercreek, OH, and by the age of 16, started working at one of the largest aquarium stores in Dayton, OH, called Aquarium House and Pets. He worked there for eight years and gained valuable hands-on experience in the handling and husbandry of marine and freshwater fish. Kevin performed a variety of duties from sales, to husbandry and upkeep of the aquariums and their inhabitants, and was also responsible for ordering and maintaining all of the saltwater animals in the store.

From here Kevin continued his career in the fish biz by overseeing the operations at one of the largest tropical fish wholesalers in the Midwest: Gerber’s Tropical Fish. During this time he gained vast amounts of experience with handling and shipping freshwater and marine aquarium animals on a grand scale. In this environment Kevin had the opportunity to test and experiment with different shipping techniques, medication protocols, and filtration technologies, to improve the well being of aquarium animals, and to reduce mortality of aquarium fish in the trade.

After working for Gerber’s for seven years, Kevin took a job with Pet Warehouse as the Livestock Manager. Here he prepared a detailed business plan, helped research and write most of the content for, and launched the original website: one of the first online fish companies sending live saltwater aquaria directly to consumer’s doors. In 2001, Pet Warehouse was acquired by Drs. Foster and Smith Pet Supplies, and Kevin moved north to Rhinelander, WI, to continue his work with

In 2004, Kevin proposed starting up an aquaculture coral facility at Drs. Foster and Smith, and designed and directed the initial construction of Drs. Foster & Smith’s Aquaculture Coral & Marine Life Facility which opened in July of 2005. In 2007, he designed Phase II of the facility, which more than doubled the size to over 20,000 gallons, and added more coral raceways and quarantine systems for corals and invertebrates, along with three dedicated fish system to house rare and unusual saltwater fish from around the world.

Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Wright State University. He is a member of the Marine Aquarium Societies of North America (MASNA), and participates in the local reef aquarium club, Northern Wisconsin Reef Society. Kevin writes for various aquarium publications and speaks at reef clubs throughout the country. UPDATE: Kevin has recently successfully paired, and spawned, several batches of eggs from the rare McCulloch’s clownfish at the facility in Rhinelander, WI! This has only ever been successfully accomplished by one other person in the world, and Kevin is the 1st in the U.S.

In the fall of 2012, at the annual Marine Aquarium Conference of North America-MACNA Kevin was the recipient of the 2012 MASNA Aquarist of the Year Award for his outstanding contributions to the marine aquarium hobby.

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