Our History

Tenji Aquarium Design + Build was started in 2001 by three former Monterey Bay Aquarium employees. Since then, we’ve worked on projects based in eight different countries and 30 different states, and can’t wait to keep adding to that list. From jaguars to flamingos to lobsters and everything in between, we have built more tanks and life support systems than we can count. Enjoy learning about some of the milestones of our journey in the timeline below. 

Before 1990: The Life Aquatic

An interest in all things aquatic was developed at an early age for the Tenji principals. Ed was particularly drawn to snorkeling, while Mark felt happiest while on a boat.

1998: Aquarium Coworkers

Mark Faulkner, Ed Seidel, and Andy Case meet as coworkers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

2001: Our First Project

Our first project! Tenji is started after being asked to consult on a sustainable shrimp farm. The waste water from the shrimps, which was high in ammonia, was being used to grow tomatoes.

Vannamei shrimp, whiteleg shrimp, Pacific white shrimp or king prawn swimming in the aquarium tank. Close-up.

2002: Our First Tank

The first tank we ever built was a freshwater Amazonian for a client in our backyard: Big Sur, California.

Dennis Residential Amazon Tank Aquarium
2002: Giant Residential Tank

2002 also saw the very first private residence installation we completed. The tank was a massive one, a truly public aquarium-sized project in someone’s home.

Gibson Residence
2003: International Adventures

We head across the pond on our first international project. Tenji was asked to consult on the BIOTA Aquarium in London, and we got some sightseeing in during the trip.

Andy in London
2005: LL Bean Flagship Store

Our first commercial project was at LL Bean’s flagship store in Freeport, Maine. We built a 3,500 gallon tank that has an artificial current that reflects the local riverbed ecosystem.

The tank at LL Bean in Freeport, Maine
2005: First Time Authors

In 2005, we added another title to our ranks: that of authors! We contributed to the Under the Sea poster book, all about public aquariums.

Cover of the book Under the Sea: poster book
2006: So Many Cabela’s

We began our partnership with Cabela’s to build out tanks in their stores across North America. By the end of our time working together, Tenji had built fourteen tanks for different Cabela’s stores.

Cabela's in Garner, North Carolina
2007: California Academy of Sciences

Our first large public aquarium project was at the California Academy of Sciences.

Protein Skimmers at the California Academy of Sciences
2008: Restaurant Aquarium

In 2008, we designed and built our first (but not our last!) aquarium in a restaurant. You can visit Waterbar in San Francisco to see of our more unique installations.

The inside of Waterbar in San Francisco
2011: A Tank for … Mermaids?!

Dive Bar might have been the second time Tenji was asked to create a tank for a restaurant, but it was our first time designing a tank for humans!

Dive Bar Mermaids