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About the Owner / Artist
Aquatic Dreams was started by Ryan Levacy, a longtime aquarist and lover of everything aquatic.
At an early age, Ryan fell in love with the undersea world after taking an intro scuba diving class while in summer camp in Branson, MO at age 13.
A year or two later, Ryan took a resort scuba diving course on a trip to Club Med in Martinique, and was hooked.
When he went back to Beaumont, TX where he lived with his father - he found a local dive instructor and started taking scuba classes.
As with everything he does, Ryan took to it with zeal and kept getting certified in additional scuba skills. Within 2 years, he had become a certified NAUI Divemaster and was the youngest person to take the Scuba Instructor class at age 17.
However, his dreams to live the scuba life were put on hold, as his dad wanted him to go to college instead of living on a dive boat, and he started school at UC Santa Barbara.
Ryan moved back to Texas to attend UT Austin and setup a saltwater reef tank back in 1992, a hexagon tank with an Eheim canister filter and real Fiji live rock from local stores.
Fast forward to a few years after that, during a successful business career that resulted in an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Business (with summer internship at an offshore bank in the Cayman Islands where he made 100 dives during the summer!), and working in Corporate America as a management consultant, Ryan was able to dive all around the world on some amazing reefs during vacations and breaks from the corporate grind.
Mexico, Belize, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, the Antilles, Martinique, Turks and Caicos, Hawaii, and eventually the south pacific for 2 months - Fiji, Bora Bora, and the Cook Islands were some of his adventures. His love for the ocean only grew, and a way to experience this was via his reef tanks.
Back in 2010 he got back into the hobby with a 50gal cube and had a custom LifeReef sump built, and got into automation with Neptune Apex while running a start-up e-commerce company in the horticulture industry.
After a brief hiatus from reefing, Ryan again got back into saltwater aquariums in 2018 when his online mattress review site became successful and afforded him the ability to invest in another tank.
A 60gal cube with full Neptune automation, Trigger Systems sump, Nyos skimmer and the works filled out the list this time, and Ryan established a thriving mixed reef with beautiful coral and amazing fish.
The Birth of Aquatic Dreams
Aquatic Dreams was founded by Ryan in late 2022 after selling his successful mattress review site, and looking to start another e-commerce website but this time in an industry that he had a real passion in (definitely not mattresses!).
He saw that people posted pictures of their aquariums online and they all had bare walls behind them! This white space begged to have something to accent the works of aquatic art that people worked so hard to create.
Ryan initially planned to offer pictures of saltwater fish and coral to put on the wall behind tanks, but changed this to metal art after seeing a photo of a metal fish behind a tank on a photo online, and seeing some aquarium influencers putting their names on the wall or on the front of their tanks, often back-lit with lights for a unique 3D effect.
Ryan knew people liked to take pride in their aquatic ecosystems they created, and after noticing the rise of the aquatic influencer culture online, decided to make a product that offered personalized designs that could be created by customers themselves - so anything they made was truly unique and not a cookie-cutter design.
Combining his talents of digital marketing, web design, business, and knowledge of the aquatic realm, Ryan created Aquatic Dreams - the ONLY "design-your-own" personalized aquatic metal wall art on the market today.
More Than a Metal Sign
Aquatic Dreams' Personalized Metal Wall Art customization app lets you choose from freshwater or saltwater ecosystems, then add elements to the design from our constantly updated library of freshwater and saltwater fish, coral, and animals - along with your name / business / or whatever text you wish - for the ultimate bespoke handmade metal wall piece.
The real-time product customizer allows you to see the results of your choices and preview what your wall art will look like when finished!
Then, the design is cut from thick 14 gauge carbon steel from a precision plasma cutter and then powder coated with a variety of available finishes - standard colors or custom candy, glitter, and additional finishes in a variety of sizes ranging from 18" to 36".
Our Aquatic Dreams metal is a huge difference from online "metal sign" websites selling thin 18ga flimsy products with the same played out designs and poor finishes which frequently arrive with shipping damage.
The initial Aquatic Dreams product is based on a circular design, meant to symbolize the circle of underwater life and to contrast the square elements of most fishtanks for a more pleasing aesthetic.
As he knew that not only saltwater but also freshwater fish enthusiasts enjoy the hobby, Ryan made sure to incorporate tropical fish and animal designs into the product.
Adding lights to the metal art was another innovation Ryan incorporated to the product, after seeing the prevalence of LED lighting in fish rooms, behind tanks, on sumps, etc.. The design elements in Aquatic Dreams were all created to be backlit for that unique 3D effect.
Future designs will incorporate UV reactive metal finishes with 3D elements as well as many other unique ideas. Additional designs will also be introduced beyond the initial circle design based on customer demand.
Aquatic Dreams was launched at Aquashella Dallas in May 2023, to rave reviews from customers and the aquatic press.
Partnerships with leading YouTube, TikTok and Instagram influencers are currently being developed as well as with leading online aquatic websites such as Aquarium Store Depot, Reef2Reef, The Pond Guy, as well as partnerships with leading aquatic brands and other companies within the industry.