About Custom Aquarium Concepts

About Us

Custom Aquarium Concepts, Inc. is not your typical aquarium installation and maintenance company. We do not aspire to have hundreds of aquariums to care for. Our goal is to install and care for select reef aquariums in the Washington D.C. Metro area. We believe in the simple premise that “less is more”. We are discreet, exceedingly capable, and 100 percent committed to excellence. Anyone can “clean” an aquarium with some basic training, but to “care” for an aquarium requires an experienced person. We are the experienced ones.

We provide a high quality product backed by high quality service. We work with your designers, architects, builders, and all trades to ensure that your aquarium project completely exceeds your expectations. The equipment and products we use are the best available so as to ensure the integrity of the life support system we install. We understand all aspects of home construction thereby ensuring the project is safe, durable, and built to building code standards.

Since our beginning in 1996, we have learned an incredible amount about the beautiful and delicate marine organisms that inhabit the seas. Our expertise in fish behavior, coral attributes, and invertebrate symbiosis all go towards the successful outcome of your aquarium. We owned and operated The Marine Scene in Herndon for over 20 years which was a phenomenal proving ground. We closed the retail store in July of 2016 in order to follow our passion and focus specifically on our installation and service division. We continue to maintain our long-standing relationships with our suppliers ensuring a steady variety of healthy and unique fish, corals, and invertebrates and the latest and greatest aquarium products.

We are a team dedicated to being the best, personally and professionally. We have a well defined interest and specialty with a focus on replication of the natural living reef. If you desire an experienced team dedicated to making your aquarium a true work of living art, then you have come to the right place. If you desire an aquarium that is focused on a natural, living reef, then we are for you. If you desire a beautiful, healthy, well developed, and well maintained marine aquarium, then we are the company for you.

Supporting Sustainable Reef Preservation

We believe that the natural reef is a very special place. Many of our staff are scuba divers. Tom White, our president, has been to the Philippines on three different occasions in support of conservation efforts funded by the World Wildlife Fund and others to ensure the balance between economic needs and preservation of the delicate oceans is achieved. The project was to spend time with the village fishermen in support of their challenges in collecting, caring, and distributing the delicate sea creatures that we desire for our aquariums. From the reef to the aquarium is a long and difficult journey, therefore, it is important that we all support sustainable efforts as much as possible. Tom also spent time in 2009 in Papua New Guinea on a similar project. Tom has made several trips to Hawaii to do the same. Our admiration for the seas and the individuals making a living from those seas is very much part of our existence. We need to ensure that the seas are protected and that the responsible individuals making a living from the sea are supported. We support captive breeding, aquaculture, and mariculture projects and vendors. A great number of the species we provide are from these sources. Furthermore, we buy only from suppliers that demonstrate responsible and ethical business practices.

Our History

Custom Aquarium Concepts Inc. was founded in 1996 by Tom and Tina White with the goal of creating the finest marine aquarium service business in the Washington D.C. Metro area. Custom Aquarium Concepts provides the following aquarium services:

  • Aquarium Maintenance
  • Aquarium Design & Installation
  • Aquarium Evaluation and Consultation

Custom Aquarium Concepts adheres to environmentally responsible aquarium servicing practices and is committed to preserving the environment and spreading the joys of reef tank ownership.


Tom White

Tom White

President/General Manager

Tom has a BBA in marketing with extensive coursework in architectural design. He spent seven years in 5 star hotels in food and beverage management. In his youth and during school, Tom worked for his dad and his uncle building residential homes. Tom is a competent carpenter, electrician, and plumber. Tom designed and personally built the store interior of one of the Washington D.C. metro areas most successful marine aquarium businesses, The Marine Scene. Tom and his team successfully managed The Marine Scene for 20 years. His specialty is marine aquarium design with a holistic/natural approach. A living reef formulated with the concept of a naturally balanced environment. Tom has coordinated and installed tanks from 10 gallons to 1100 gallons. He takes your ideas from design to completion and is responsible for the complete system design and installation. As an experienced builder himself, with an excellent grasp of building techniques, building and safety codes, Tom is able to speak the language to your design and build out team ensuring a successful project.