For my more updated and full bio:
Carl Strohmeyer; Bio
Carl currently live in Southern Oregon, and have been in the Aquarium and Pet related business since 1977. He owned a Pet store and aquarium maintenance and design business in the Los Angeles area from 1978 until 2002 when he moved to Grants Pass Oregon.
Reference: American Aquarium Products
He designed some of my own equipment such as the “Custom 15 watt UV Sterilizer” and Medicated Wonder Shells he sells (as well as many custom aquarium and pond filter installations and designs).
Carl has done contract maintenance for Disney, The Bahooka Restaurant (over 100 aquariums, mostly larger than 100 gallons), Coaster Co. (the largest furniture importer in North America, also based in the Los Angeles area), and many more. He also have made excellent business contacts over the years (especially in Asia, UK).
Carl has owned aquariums since I was 9 years old (1968), and at one time had a room with nothing, but aquariums on racks two aquariums high, in addition to this, he had literally 100s of aquariums in his care in his maintenance business as well.
He was in the class of 1977 at Los Altos High School (Hacienda Heights). He went to Hillgrove Elementary, and Orange Grove Jr. High.
More in depth Bio
Carl Strohmeyer, was born on February 9, 1959 at Hart Hospital in Baldwin Park, CA. His parents (& one older sibling, Janice) were living in an apartment over his Grandfather’s garage in Baldwin Park.
Around his first birthday, he moved to a new home in a housing tract in the fast growing community of Hacienda Heights (a Suburb of Los Angeles). Hacienda Heights went from orange groves to a community of 35,000 in around 10 years (it’s larger now).
Carl liked school in my early years, and in particular liked his Kindergarten teacher (Mrs. Wooton) whom again he had in 2nd grade.
However, this all came to a crashing end in the 4th grade with Mrs. Eckman, whom he had the great misfortune to have again in the 6th grade.
Carl would often day-dreamed in class and she called him a vegetable and informed the rest of the class he was doomed to be a failure (on one occasion she took a “doodle” of mine, held it up and stated; “This is what a Failure does”)…
From this point on, school was pure misery as even when Carl met new students, such as in Middle School or High School, others seemed to be “filled in” as to who Carl was and what he was in others views.
In hindsight, Carl probably should have tried harder to set things right however, he did make some attempts including joining square dancing, but this ended in disaster for him. On the last day of the class the boys had to ask the girls to dance and NOT one would dance with him.
This left Carl in tears for days and resulted in him running away from home. After this, he withdrew spending time with his pets/fish while he sucked in his emotions so others could not see them. This also resulted in him being hospitalized for an ulcer in the 6th grade.
For the rest of his life, Carl had struggled with trying to please others (often in ways that usually goes unnoticed). He had defaulted to often doing anything to avoid hearing the constant criticism I have heard throughout his life from “you suck at this”, “you cannot sing”, “you cannot dance”, “your too skinny”, “you need to do more”, etc. This then often results in being used, further bullied, controlled, etc. Carl had struggled for years with labels placed on him, including by his own family where he’s the “weird” uncle Carl and my successes are ignored while my failures (many of which were not even failures) are still judged even by family and friends to this day!
To this day, Carl feels he is getting better and learning to exercise the discernment God has given him, but he still found he is often getting taking advantage of, especially to avoid further criticism.
A bright spot were when Carl had his family camping trips to places like Utah and Yellowstone, which his Dad and Mom would take him on. His Grandfather, along with my Dad took him on a trip to Panguitch Lake Utah, during the first week of 8th grade. It was especially memorable to him, for the beauty and the peace I felt. When I returned to school after the trip, the negative revelations of what persons really thought of him came to light as his class mates “happily” thought I had moved.
Also, a “flight lesson” with a friend of my Dad was a memorable birthday present when I was 9, which he will never forget.
One friend did truly stick by Carl and that was Greg Siegel, he often defended Carl emotionally and his friendship helped him feel like less of failure.
Carl had, and still have, a skinny build. Several persons labeled him as ‘Gay’ for this reason, except not just in those words (others such as “worm” were used). This was also a struggle for him to deal with. His weight continues to haunt him as people still treat him this way or go to the other extreme and judge his motives of helping a friend that might just happen to be a female.
He did really enjoyed Jr. High (Middle School) band, especially his instructor there, Mrs. Duke. He also had good friends in the group. Jeff Fournier and again Greg Siegel, as well as Luke Camarillo.
Unfortunately high school band was much more miserable, even though he loved music, as he was made to feel an inch tall.
Again in hindsight, maybe he should have “fought back”, but by this time he had such terrible self esteem, he simply did not have it in him.
Even then he did enjoy the band tournaments and playing at the many football games. He rarely missed the games even after leaving band to concentrate on studies, which he hoped would one day would redeem him.
He dealt with bullying by often being a “class clown” in some classes, in other classes he was just quiet.
Carl still to this day deals with sadness with humor.
Some see this others do not. As an example, when he was forced to leave his business and move his family quickly to Oregon, several of his customers were quite surprised when he told them why he had to move.
Quoting a few comments: “You always were joking around and seemed happy”
Back to High School. Carl finally met a nice girl (Pam) in his senior year who treated him very respectfully & showed a positive side to Christians, which would be a seed for later, so thanks go to her! She was a Junior, who set Carl up with her sister, who was a freshman.
This allowed Carl go to the senior prom. They later dated for a while, however her dad felt it was inappropriate for them to date after he graduated from High School. Which at the time, though he was very mature in how he was very focused on achieving success in business, he was still socially immature and so he did not understand ‘why’ since he did know Carl was quite innocent (his friends even joked with his about my lack of “worldliness”).
Another bright spot in high school was meeting his friend Randy Viall. They are still good friends to this day.
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Beginning years in Pet Business and the establishing of my Aquarium Business
After High School life really began looking up, Carl met new friends at work, he began skiing every other weekend which he had a natural talent for (unlike some other athletic endeavors), these were some of my most positive and “happy” years.
While in college at California Polytechnic University, he got a job at Archie’s House of Pets and within about 6 months, was the manager of the three stores fish departments and an assistant manager at the West Covina Mall store. His original “boss” was Danny DiGiacamo who was great at tutoring me in many ways.
Danny later left to run his own stores and Debbie Galea took over running the West Covina store (Danny ran all three). She did not have the business knowledge of Danny, but still a good person to work under.
In 1978, during his time at Archie’s, Carl started his Aquarium Maintenance business (Carl’s Aquarium Service at the time). This unfortunately caused some friction with Debbie’s father and owner of Archie’s. He was not actually active in running his business, so Carl along with Tris Higa (whom he would later marry) left to start their own store in late 1979.
The aquarium service business really blossomed when an employee at the Bahooka restaurant called Carl to treat a dying Arowana, which she had been unsuccessful at treating up to this point. Carl was able to save her prize fish and she recommended him to her boss, Jack, and he soon was maintaining the multiple aquariums at the two Polynesian restaurants. He would add MANY aquariums and re-worked the filter systems on the remainder of the existing aquariums.
The Bahooka Restaurant would foster many other accounts, such as the Lobster House (which fostered many itself in Pasadena), an account with Disney Studios and many more. Also during this time, he picked up Coaster Co. (via my store though) which would eventually grow into his largest account up to the day he had to move to Oregon.
FOR MY FULL AQUARIUM/POND BUSINESS BIOGRAPHY, please follow this link:
In 1989, after a separation from his wife, Carl had to sell his first Local Fish Store. He kept his aquarium maintenance business and his brother in law, Gregg, continued with him. They are still good friends to this day and Gregg still owns/runs his old service business.
Shortly thereafter, Carl choose to start training for a career, which was his other passion, that was flying. He did well mostly due to management skills, which he applied to cockpit management. Carl knew this as his FAA examiners and instructors had told him this about his abilities.
During this time, Carl met and married his current sweet & beautiful wife, Jodie (married in 1991). Carl got as far as my Multi-Engine license ($35,000 later) and was working on his commercial certificate when he canceled my largest maintenance account.
This was due to sexual comments directed at his employees working there. Canceling the account, coupled with his first child being born with neural-sensory dysfunction, caused a significant loss of income.
This forced Carl to drop out of flight school to help take care of his children and spouse.
He still really miss flying, in part because, this was one of the few times in his life when he felt so accepted both by the flying community & by friends who saw this as a much more respectful endeavor than his aquarium work (not to mention the flying community is a vastly more honest and supportive of each other than the very demanding/dishonest aquarium/pond community).
Either way, he still has some good memories and would never give up or trade his family (wife and kids) for anything, even having this part of his life back!
Move to Oregon
Carl moved to Southern Oregon in December of 2002.
Despite the ongoing difficulties, another light for Carl here in Grants Pass, besides my sister, has been my Church: Bethany Presbyterian. They have prayed, mentored, and helped with his children. Special thanks goes to Roger and Bob from Stephen’s Ministries and the entire Holy Rovers group.
Carl was essentially homeless and lived in our 27 foot Class C Motor Home for over a year in his families driveway (for which he appreciate them allowing this) while Jan, Carl’s sister, also temporarily home schooled the two older kids. During this time he helped around their house by cutting wood and paying electric bills, etc.
To try and pay off the bills and hopefully get back on their own and re-establish my business, Carl went back to recycling during early morning hours (often while it was in the 20s), this was no where near as productive as it was in Southern California, but with a lot of hard work with often frozen fingers, this still slowly helped us get back on our feet.
Unfortunately during this time many rumors also circulated as to why Carl’s family lived in their families driveway, mostly stating that Carl had failed in business, was mooching off my sister/brother-in-law (not at all the case as this was probably the most humbling period in my life), or that he could not take control of his family.
Within a couple of months of moving to Oregon, a couple (Paul & Trina) Carl had intrusted to manage his aquarium store and some of his aquarium maintenance accounts and whom were part of the reason I did NOT declare bankruptcy so as to prevent their job loss, betrayed his trust resulting in the loss of most of my store business and the literal (& illegal) taking of many of his service accounts by telling customers false information.
Thankfully Gregg stepped in and told many of the customers the truth of why Carl left and what Paul and Trina were up to.
The loss still was in the tens of $1000s when both inventory and goodwill business is considered, but at least Gregg salvaged $10,000 of the business, and in the end there was some justice in that their poor business management and lack of any real knowledge as to this business resulted in the failure of what they stole.
Later (in 2004)
After getting some of Jodie’s credit in order, we were able to get a 900 square foot home. They initially tried to rent, but no one would rent to him past 2 kids, the same problem was encountered with Mobile Home parks and space rental.
Sadly, this home has devalued so much that it is worth $98,000 as of September 2011 while Carl owes $160,000 (this is about the same price as the first home he bought in 1981- $89,000).
On a positive note, it also came with a large shed (900 square feet) that while in worse shape than the house, it provided Carl with an inexpensive place to start his business, so in the end, God was clearly looking out for him, as a rental likely would not have worked out in our favor.
More Current Bio
Carl set up this internet business based on his experience and ongoing research in the Aquarium maintenance and design business as well as the vast amount of research and tests he performed over the years prior to moving to Oregon. Although sadly he had no where to keep much of the documentation paper work, so he had to put together many of his articles from my memory.
He continued to run his business as he had before, treating employees with respect; selling customers only what they need and the products that my experience and research showed to be the best, which in years past meant even turning down potentially profitable contracts. Many people since, has not liked this design Carl put together for his business.
Here’s a new blog post he wrote dealing with some of the contemptible persons who make false statements against him…all the while they bully an employee who simply attempted to “set the record straight” over at Reef Central (sadly as per reading their own forum rules they perform very selective enforcement of their rules:
Carl was hopeful for more community support for his business and products, especially when considering much of his information and what he sells is very unique, with International readership of about 7000 hits per day as of 2015.
Thankfully between the “Everything Aquatic Forum”, many articles, which have garnered compliments from pHd researchers from as far away as Pakistan, blogging, web site design improvements, and most of all Carl gives credit to God for lifting business at a time when he had no choice, but to let God take charge due to severe family issues once more. His Internet business turned the corner in 2010 and does not depend on generally non existent local support.
This was done with some initial help from Rachel Owen Oliveri and now even MUCH more help from Tommy Butler (who has helped Carl both professionally and with just being there as a friend), Steven Wright (most of the picture art is his), Devon Trigg, and Misti King (who aided me in editing my articles, since this is weakness of mine).
Although the business is growing, the income is still somewhat marginal for the hours spent (partly because Carl sells products he knows work, not just what have great mark-ups).
He spends probably 70-80 hours per week just answering email questions and writing/re-writing (updating) articles, as well as SEO work (Search Engine Optimization).
He is also concentrating on items such as these where he has considerable expertise:
May 2010 & June 2011
Carl’s health, which has not been real good since a serious staph infection in 2004 and diagnosis of a hole in my heart arterial wall and problems with his heart rhythm. He’s had multiple heart tachycardia events, numbness/ “pulsing” in the left side of his neck and left side in general, as well a halter monitor and other tests have shown a considerably elevated heart rate, even at rest (150-170 beats per minute resting). He underwent more nuclear stress tests and other tests to determine why. As well in October of 2010 he developed Kidney issues.
On positive note, the Beta blockers he is taking, has helped considerably with his heart, which to the most recent update of this bio is doing well!
In the late Spring of 2011
Carl was diagnosed with quickly advancing case of neuropathy with exact caused unknown since he is not am not diabetic (the most common and treatable cause), so it remains basically un-treatable, but for medications to ease the pain. As well he has had a couple of ruptured discs in his back that oftens add to the pain and may be part of the cause according to a therapist.
The doctor suspect stress as a major factor for the neuropathy, especially since 80% of the symptoms (including heart issues) cleared up during a two week vacation in August of 2011, only to return within a couple of days of his return to work.
Sadly though, even as of 2013, while my article readership continues to grow, there is a segment of article readership not from those with any intention of purchasing and rather think I can answer their rude attacks via email or in forums.
This is especially unfortunate and frankly disgusting as the PNWMAS forum is in our backyard of Portland & Eugene Oregon, yet even though Carl has financially supported this forum. There has been no support of his scientifically proven products or even his very in depth and unique articles, rather this forum has often rudely chosen to attack Carl indirectly or Carl’s employees directly who manages forum sponsorships.
Just like Carl expected, some of the support for his life’s work, which has be received internationally in the many articles he has written, which appear on American Aquarium, Aquarium/Pond Answers, & Fish as Pets locally in Grants Pass OR. This forum not only did not promote and say: “Wow, great cutting edge science based content, and it is all from a web site in our own back yard”, rather they made rather dishonest vile attacks, including in private messages.
A good example were some extremely condescending and rude emails attacking aspects of Carl’s Aquarium Lighting article a person from Reef Central did not agree with, which sadly he was making liberal “straw man” accusations not founded in what was actually contained in this article.
Reference: Aquarium Light Information
As of 2013, Carl is continuing to learn to work through his constant pain from neuropathy (as well as his struggles with bitterness from the past), and in fact, he is doing much better with the neuropathy.
He is also coming to realize how God has blessed him in so many ways with both children, my wife, my friends, even my business (since he has to trust God through all the terrible Google algorithm changes). Carl also now realizes, though his previous home, which he had to give up to protect his family was much nicer, he can make this a reasonably nice home and be thankful God has given a home in the first place!
Carl is also blessed in that he was able to replace his 20 year old motorhome in 2010 with a nicer trailer & vehicle to tow it (the motor home had broken down on almost every trip in the last 12 years and even had issues when brand new).
He is also blessed in that his heart in general is doing better and part of the cause of neuropathy has now been traced back via a MRI to two ruptured discs in his spine.
After a bout with viral meningitis in Summer of 2014 and continuing treatment for a severe middle gut bacterial over-growth issue (which is not responding well to antibiotics), he is actually getting better with my back.
His article readership continues to grow, with many compliments from those they have helped.
While Carl’s article readership continues to grow, a continuing higher and higher percentage of persons use these articles and our email/forum help to purchase at Amazon or similar (although we now have an eBay store which has helped).
Carl still asks others to support his business and the many articles he provides, which often have information that can’t be found nowhere else by occasionally thanking us with a sale.
Carl also asks reader please help with shout-outs on Facebook, Google Plus, personal blogs, etc.
Please consider using DuckDuckGo search or Bing over Google.
Please re-post articles on Facebook, Google Plus, or private blogs.
Summary (or what Carl has learned to this date):
While this autobiography may not read as a very “happy story”, Carl can say he has grown in his love of family and God through all the many trials and set backs. He realizes this has also allowed me to relate to many others, which have gone through similar trials (such as my friend Misti King).
Also to take this autobiography in context, a reader should spend time in my 100s of articles and then realize, this is Calr’s life experience and is just a part of him. Easily more time is spent in maintaining these articles to keep the content as fresh as possible, such as my Aquarium/Pond UV Sterilization article.
As well, the rest of Carl’s free time is spent in forums and email helping others in a positive manner!!!
A Few References:
Carl is also learning from his true friends (such as Bob Mendoza), which despite the many judgments heaped upon Carl, especially since moving to Grants Pass (& reaching a Crescendo while working at Carys of Oregon), he is doing the best he can to follow God’s will and that includes still using his God given talents of management, which many of his articles reflect since much of the content is gleaned from my understanding other’s talents and research. Then applying their research to my own knowledge/experience and research.
*Thanks also go to Carl’s long time friend Bob Mendoza, and friends Bob Krause and Roger Stewart for their encouragement and support, often during the most difficult times.
For my more updated and full bio:
Carl Strohmeyer; Bio