From the beginning...

In 1995, the brief ownership of a maintenance and wholesale business and love of tropical fish led Siegfried (Ziggy) Gutekunst to open the original the Hidden Reef Aquarium. The store was actually hidden in the basement of a hardware store in the back of a shopping center in northeast Philadelphia. In spite of its location, limited aquarium and floor space, and the absence of a sign, the business flourished.

Within one year, most of the hardware store became the Hidden Reef’s dry goods section. Shortly after, an adjacent store became their expanded fishroom. The grew from 1400 to 5600 square feet. Customers would often joke that you could buy your fish and have your keys made all in the same place!

2003 was a sad year for Ziggy and all at the Hidden Reef, as their dear friend and partner George lost his battle with Hodgkin’s Desease. It was George’s reef aquarium and inspiration that made the Hidden Reef a reality. Tragedy struck again right before Christmas two years later. The Hidden Reef was destroyed by a fire that started in another store in the shopping center. “We lost all the animals except for a few in the dispaly aquarium, as we kept running in and out while the store was burning; the firemen were chasing us out but we were able to save most of the corals,” Ziggy said.

After the fire, the Hidden Reef did not have a new home until July 2006. It took until April of the following year just to get the front of the new store opened. It was nine months of long, hard work. Then it was time to tackle the fish room. One hundred and fifty pounds of screws, 1400 two by fours, and a lot of paint and PVC Pipe went into completing that room.


Our Store Today

Home to 450-plus aquariums. Out of these, 40 are devoted to corals, 145 are saltwater, and more than 250 are freshwater. There are 16 bagging stations located throughout the fishroom, and a knowledgeable, more than adequately sized staff is available to help customers.


The front of the store has an array of aquariums, supplies, frozen foods, and all the essential plumbing supplies needed to set up and maintain an aquarium or pond.


Having such a large store enables the Hidden Reef to buy dry goods and fish in large quantities and pass the savings along to their customers.

Don’t worry, you’re in safe hands.

We are committed to our customer's

To show our thanks and appreciation to our customers for their loyalty throughout the year, Hidden Reef hosts an open house annually the Saturday before Thanksgiving. On this day, prices are slashed even lower on most dry goods and fish. The fishroom is fully staffed and a take-a-number system is employed to prevent chaos. Manufacturing representatives are on hand to answer any questions you may have about their products.

We Are a Team Of Professionals

“All of the people working at our store truly care about the animals they are selling, as well as the customers they are helping,”

About Ziggy (Siegfried Gutekunst)

Ziggy was born in the United States and returned to Germany with his mother when he was eight years old. He acquired his first aquarium when he was ten. It contained the usual fare—mollies, guppies, gouramis, and plants. As with most live bearers, nature did her thing and the inhabitants multiplied rapidly. Being restricted by his mother to a single 10-gallon aquarium was tough with all of the baby fish he had, so he made arrangements with his school to trade fish for lunch money, as they had a 200-gallon aquarium and space was not an issue. He kept that 10-gallon aquarium until he was 15 and never got anything bigger because his mother said, “You will tire of it and waste a lot of money.”

In 1987, Ziggy came back to the U.S. and moved into an apartment on top of his father’s barber shop. He took a job at a jewelry store doing repair work. The store was located next to a hardware store, where he met his former partner George Kunz, who happened to have had a 90-gallon reef aquarium. “I was hooked the first time I saw an Australian sea apple,” Ziggy said.

One can only imagine how nervous his father was about the structure of the floor over his barber shop as Ziggy’s collection of rare saltwater fish, corals, and large aquariums for housing the animals grew. At that time he had one of the first purple tangs, black tangs, sohal tangs and asfur angels. Structural support aside, his father proudly conducted aquarium tours of his son’s apartment for his barber shop customers to see the beautiful tanks featuring fish and coral.

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