|April 25, 2013
Coral reefs hit Rock Bottom in Polson
By Lailani Upham
Head Start students Kyler Grant and Dante Asencio are amazed and amused while watching the tropical fish at the Rock Bottom Reef aquarium. (Lailani Upham photo)
POLSON — You don’t have to go to the tropics to experience the beauty and relaxing effects of live coral reefs – the Rock Bottom Reef, a new business in Polson is bringing marine life to the Mission Valley area.
Wesly Hamann, a CSKT tribal descendent, turned his hobby of saltwater fish and corals into a business that he says might not make a fortune but it brings fulfillment to he and his family’s life.
Rock Bottom Reef sign near Gray Wolf Trading Company on Highway 35. (Lailani Upham photo)
His 4-year old son, Brad, is already an expert in identifying several species of ocean habitat and can spend more time learning about their habitat than spending time in front of a video game.
Rock Bottom Reef, which is located on Highway 35 across from the Walmart entrance opened it’s doors a year ago.
The main business is to provide saltwater aquarium set-up and maintenance and provide corals and fish from around the globe.
A “sea apple” has a body and tentacles that pop out when feeding. It prefers a reef aquarium to freely move about. (Lailani Upham photo)
Hamann’s idea is to help folks set up an aquarium in the “natural way.”
“I want folks to be able to experience and have salt water tanks that are affordable,” he said.
Saltwater tanks are expensive to set up but does not have to be if it is set up right, says Hamann.
He got into saltwater marine life over 8 years ago while living in Arizona. He said the influences he felt from the hobby was relaxing and addicting. “They are very pretty to look at calm the mind.”
Hamann says studies have shown that aquariums help patients of Alzheimer’s disease and children of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Vibrant blue juvenile starfish, also knows as sea stars. There are over 1600 species and they are found on muddy, rocky or sandy sea bottoms spanning the world. (Lailani Upham photo)
“It is very healing and therapeutic.”
The Polson CSKT Early Childhood Education morning and afternoon class made a trip to the aquarium last Thursday and the echoes of laughter and faces of wonder flashed across the small people as they went from tank to tank, calling most of the multicolored tropical fish, “Nemo.”
Despite the glees and excitement, the students were found at a standstill watching the fish flow through the corals.
Purdue University researchers have found that displaying tanks of brightly colored fish may curtail disruptive behaviors and improve eating habits of people with Alzheimer’s.
Real-life “Finding Nemo” fish are found in their natural habitat with live coral reefs at the Rock Bottom Reef aquarium in Polson. (Lailani Upham photo)
Purdue nursing professor Nancy Edwards tracked 60 patients and found those who were exposed to the fish tanks appeared to be more relaxed and alert, and ate up to 21 percent more food than they had before the introduction of the fish tanks.
The study also showed a decrease in instances of wandering, pacing, yelling and physical aggression.
In ADHD patients’ studies have shown that watching fish in an aquarium calmed children. Other research has proven that watching a fish tank for 10 to 15 minutes every day can be very beneficial by lowering blood pressure, relieving stress from work and everyday life.
CSKT Polson Early Childhood students pair up watching the fish. (Lailani Upham photo)
The mere act of just watching fish is thought to stimulate serotonin neurotransmitters in the brain and increasing endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural ‘feel good’ hormones that produce a feeling of happiness. These hormones reduce anxiety, and ignite an immediate calming effect on the body.
For set-up, maintenance, ask questions or to experience the marine life experience, stop by the Rock Bottom Reef at 40709 Highway 35, Polson; or call (406) 319-2143.