Hi – my name is John Clipperton. I’ve been an aquarist all my life but have been specifically interested in reef-keeping since around the year 2000. I live in the North West UK. As well as being Editor for UltraMarine Magazine for several years, I own and manage Digital-Reefs.com. This site was originally launched way back in 2005 but after running for several years, I had to close it down in 2013 due to technical issues, time constraints and financial pressures, retaining just it’s Facebook page. In December 2020, I launched a revamped and extended version of the website, plus attendant social media channels. Based on a more robust hosting platform and operational model, the site continues to regrow with new content added regularly as we move through 2021 and beyond.

Centred around aquarium images which I’ve personally captured through all kinds of work over the last 20 years, the overall aim of Digital-Reefs is to share high quality entertainment, education and information to reef-keepers and marine enthusiasts, while promoting sustainable and ethical practices across the hobby and wider industry. The site consists of 2 main areas. The first is the blog which features the latest marine hobby-related scientific and conservation news, product reviews, industry and trade press releases… plus short education and entertainment items, videos, competitions etc. The second major area is the Marine Database Portal where you can browse or search a library of thousands of high quality images and information profiles on all kinds of marine species that are typically collected for captive-care. Arranged intuitively, content ranges from broad taxonomic overviews right down to individual species level care tips with links to the latest reference sources to act as a ‘jumping-off’ point to facilitate research beyond the site. The database also features the facility for registered users to submit their own knowledge and experiences, and this engagement is actively encouraged to both broaden the knowledge-base and to create and give recognition to a new and powerful worldwide community of committed and objective hobbyists. All images in the database have been captured specifically by me over the last 15-20 years and are presented in a manner which aims to facilitate clear identification (even while using the mobile version of the site) yet remain visually inspiring to celebrate the beauty, diversity and fascination of marine life. I am constantly trying to extend the number of species represented and to upgrade any older or lower quality images and please note that content is also frequently submitted to, and cross-checked by, international experts. So you can be sure that the information here is of the highest quality and integrity! (having said that I am always open to contact if you spot something!). Given the complex nature of identifying certain organisms, any species that I am not completely sure about are clearly marked. In some cases, I’ve even encountered species that can’t be identified by anyone(!) and these are contained in the “unknown gallery” for those who are interested in the especially unusual!

Finally, a major part of my rationale for rebuilding the site stems from the growth of a plethora of websites, apps, YouTube channels and social media sources in recent years, many of which seem to be built on a dubious level of knowledge. Some even use stolen images from around the web (including from the old Digital-Reefs site) to try to appear legitimate, while often giving out misleading information. Whether you are a hobbyist or industry professional, I urge you to be discerning when selecting your ‘go to’ sources for research or recreation, indeed for this reason I have included a dedicated Links page where you can find a list of organisations that have earned my own seal of approval (and often proved crucial in building this site). I also apply this principle to any advertisers featured on the site and take note that I do not run the site as a profit making enterprise as such. Any profit I do make, I will donate a percentage to a legitimate reef-related charity of my choice at the end of the year.

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