Visit Our Brick & Mortar Store

We strive to provide an inviting showroom with a friendly, low pressure atmosphere. Our goal is to educate each customer, enabling them to make informed decisions regarding their saltwater aquarium. One of our key focuses is supporting local, and worldwide aquaculture, as a means to preserve wild reefs, and support the local economy and hobbyist community.

Whenever possible we purchase captive bred coral frags and fish from local hobbyists, and businesses like ORA, ECC, ACI, and Sustainable Aquatics. Our vast network of local coral growers allows us to bring in a huge variety of corals that were grown in captivity, and have acclimated to aquarium life. These animals have not endured the stress of shipping from overseas, and therefore have a higher rate of survival. Further, this helps support the local economy, generates income for some hobbyists, and generally builds a stronger reef keeping community in the area.

Barrier Reef offers a livestock punch card loyalty program. For every $50 (before tax) in non-discounted livestock you buy, we will punch your card. After nine punches, the card becomes a $50 voucher towards livestock.  Purchases with returns, credits, or other livestock discounts do not count.

We also offer 10% off livestock to Greater Seattle Aquarium Society and Pacific Northwest Aquarium Society card carrying club members, Fire and Police, and current or ex-military. Please be prepared to show your card or appropriate identification. This discount cannot be combined with our punch card.

Our brick and mortar location can be found by taking Exit 7 off of 405. We are hidden behind McDonalds and Denti Bella Dentistry. 1717 NE 44th Street Behind Suite A in Renton, Washington 98056. We receive new shipments of fresh and saltwater animals weekly. We post these lists on our Facebook page.

Open 12-7 Wed - Fri & 10-7 Sat - Sun

Closed Monday & Tuesday

Open some holiday Mondays.

Meet The Owners

Cy Forell (Co-Owner) - I started out in the hobby with a Goldfish from the fair, and then a Betta bowl. I set up my first 10 gallon tropical freshwater tank when I was twelve. It quickly became a 20 gallon and then a 38 gallon.

I began my professional aquarium career at a local pet store when I was sixteen years old. After one year there, I moved on to another local family owned pet store chain. I was quickly made an assistant manager and served as an aquatics specialist. After a few years with this company I was moved out to co-manage their new aquarium only shop. At this point I was bitten with the saltwater "bug". I had bred countless freshwater species but saltwater aquariums provided a whole new realm to explore. In 1998, I began servicing aquariums to supplement my income. I started my own company on the side called Aqua Pro USA. This business grew quickly, so Tim and I formed a new partnership called Barrier Reef Aquariums in 2000. 

Throughout my college education, I found myself drawn to science and environmental issues/policy classes. There was no degree program that perfectly matched my interests. In 2001, I finally finished up my last few classes at the University of Washington and earned a Bachelor Degree in Liberal Arts with a focus in International Interactions. During the summer of 2006, I realized that our Coral Aquaculture Farm and Aquarium Servicing Business had grown to the point where it was time for Tim and I to go our own direction. After 15 years I left the store I had helped to build, in order to pursue my goals with Tim. Shortly after we left we were approached about the possibility of opening our own aquarium shop. We both knew it was what we wanted to do! We opened the doors of our retail shop in December of 2006. 

My other interests include spending time with my wife and kids, reading, sports, movies, music, and travel.

Cy Forell & Family

Tim Cole(Co-Owner) - I have been fascinated with fish and the ocean all my life. When I was little, my dream was to study sharks "when I grew up." I read and collected anything and everything related to them. Since I grew up in the Arizona desert my exposure to the sea was limited to PBS. 

My addiction to aquariums began with a 10 gallon tropical freshwater tank when I was eight years old. I then moved up to a 20 gallon tank that I kept for many years. When I was in Junior High I went to a local fish store and discovered saltwater. I was instantly hooked. I got myself into a 34 gallon acrylic hex tank as my first saltwater reef aquarium. I quickly moved up to 55 gallon which, I brought all over with me during my college years. Though still fascinated with sharks, I found a deeper passion learning more about living reef communities. I decided to go to the University of Washington to achieve a degree in Marine Zoology. My goal was to be in the field of aquaculture or conservation. I later switched to the School of Fisheries Sciences, which I found was a much better fit. Thanks to my education, I have been given valuable insight to all the different fisheries and forms of aquaculture. This has driven me in educating the public on proper husbandry and encouraging aquaculture in the aquarium hobby.

My career in the aquarium industry began during my senior year in high school. I got a job at a local fish store and quickly moved up to an assistant manager position. I worked at that store for two years then transferred to a sister store where I continued as an assistant manager. I continued to manage this store until mid-2006. During my first couple years in the industry I fell into aquarium servicing after landing a local rap star as a client. As I continued to acquire new clients, I began to realize I wanted to make my future in this business.

Tim Cole & Family