If you haven’t heard of Benepets and the (for now) sole product in their catalog, Benereef, you’re missing out big time. The company became an overnight sensation, thanks to people flocking to online reef forums and sharing their positive experience with Benereef. I myself have been testing the product for the last 2 weeks, and seeing the benefits it brings and the potential for further development. Let’s leave all that for a full fledged review, which I’ll be preparing soon and in the meantime, please allow me to explain what Benereef is and introduce you to Mr. Jeremy Olsen, the company’s president.
Benereef is essentially a coral food and a supplement in one. It comes in a powdered form, with particles that range in size from microscopic to barely visible. It was engineered in collaboration with a microbiologist to include a range of pre and probiotic bacteria that gives it a unique place in the reef supplements market- it not only feeds your corals, inverts, and even some fish, but it introduces beneficial bacteria to the system that help with the nitrification process, among other related benefits. Benereef brings an exciting new approach to the topic of reef tank supplementation and so I was really looking forward to seeing Benepets’ Reefapalooza NY booth. I had the pleasure to sit down with Jeremy and ask him few questions about the company and their flagship product.
Me: Hi Jeremy, it’s nice to finally meet you in person!
Jeremy: Likewise, thanks for doing this.
Me: Tell me, how did the idea of Benepets start and how did you come up with Benereef?
Jeremy: Believe me or not, but it all started in 2011 with worm beds, composting essentially. As we were trying to develop new techniques in composting media, we started studying probiotics and how the entire microfauna work in the composition breakdown. Then we realized we can turn this live food into supplements and so we started experimenting with liquid supplementation, later bringing in powder supplements to the market. This is [pointing at a stack of jars, each labeled Benepets Benereef] the end product of years of research.
Me: Please describe, in a few sentences, what Benereef is.
Jeremy: We culture our own bacteria, selected sources of probiotics, and pair them with carefully selected, high-quality sources of proteins. The resulting powder has a particle size between 3000 and 3 microns and so that combination of both those things provides “building blocks” for the entire thing. Therefore, Benereef is not just a coral food, not a target sort of supplement, its target is the entire reef.
Me: How so?
Jeremy: Everything living in the reef tank is going to utilize and uptake it: your live rock, your filter feeders, inverts, corals, even your fish can grab those particle sizes. Some people report back to us that their Mandarins are eating it!
Another aspect of Benereef is that it is also treating the water by supplying food to nitrifying bacteria already in the system, as well as bringing new colonies of bacteria that scavenge on ortophosphates. That results in an improved absorption capacity of the entire tank. People, when using our product, report clearer, cleaner water, they notice an awesome feeding response, but also that protein skimmer doesn’t go crazy after feeding. Really, nothing in our food goes to waste.
Me: Yes, I’ve stumbled upon your product by reading the actual positive effects it is doing to people’s aquariums. Please, tell me, what’s your recommended dosing regime fo Benereef?
Jeremy: Our recommended dose is ¼ teaspoon for every 25 gallons 2 – 3 times a week, but we acknowledge that every reef tank is different and so some people use more of it and some reduce the amount but feed daily. It’s a versatile supplement that can be dosed according to each individual reef’s needs. We even started selling our product to large public aquariums…
Me: Anything we heard of [smiling]?
Jeremy: …Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake City is one. We also work with a couple of ones I can’t mention since they are attached to universities. Plus, we are tring to expand to other markets at this time as well…
Me: Great, I’m glad to hear that. I have a specific question regarding Benereef. I understand that the product is designed to be used regularly, in repeated doses over a period of time. What would you say to people who want to use it only sporadically, without a tight schedule? (spoiler alert, I was talking about myself in that example)
Jeremy: People are used to so many other foods in the market, of which a lot are great foods by no means, that they are so worried about over nutrifying their tanks. With Benereef, you want to feed a lot, you want to build up your nutrient levels.
Me: I am actually a big proponent of overfeeding one’s reef, I always see more positive effects from it, so I see the logic behind your approach…
Jeremy: Thanks! In one of our Facebook posts, there is a guy up in Seattle, WA, named Duane (my personal shout out to Duane, I’ve seen videos of your reef tank and it’s pretty amazing I must say) and he decided to feed his tank with Benereef every day for three weeks in a row, overfeeding like crazy. We went up and interviewed him- he surprised me, saying “Jeremy, the thing that is crazy about this is that I didn’t see any algae outbreak” I told him Benereef is actually designed to help with algae problems, as well as cyanobacteria outbreaks.
Me: So you recommend that people use it regularly?
Jeremy: Yes, feed it regularly and if you want to increase the dose, it won’t hurt your system.
Me: OK, great. Jeremy, thanks for this, it will certainly bring people closer to your company and your product.
Jeremy: Thank you, that was great!
Jeremy and I talked some more, mostly about Utah, a place I regard with the utmost respect, but also about the future of Benepets and plans for expansion. He mentioned that they are working on a full line of products, like Benereef in the form of pellets and flakes, as well as on various other supplements they will be bringing to the aquarium industry in the near future.
Overall, this was one of my most pleasant interviews. Jeremy and his team at RAP were very cool, down to Earth people that are really proud of their product and the change it can potentially bring to the hobby.
Stay tuned for a full, in-depth review of Benepets Benereef later this year! You can learn more about Benepets by visiting: https://benepetsfoods.com/