About Kona

Meet the Managers

Mickie Fauth - Chandler Manager & Aquaculture Supervisor

Mickie has been with Kona Reef since 2015 when it was just a single location near Fountain Hills. She has been an integral part of the company through nearly a decade of growth and changes. She has expert knowledge in all things aquatic as well as installations, equipment, and everything else surrounding aquatic husbandry. She not only heads the large Chandler retail location, but also oversees our aquaculture and warehouse facility. Additionally, she is our in-house expert on large custom aquarium installations. When she's not doing all things Kona, she enjoys hiking South Mountain with her dogs and fiancé or playing with her nephews. 


Ben Mcilvain - Phoenix Manager

Ben has been with Kona Reef since 2016 when it was just a single location near Fountain Hills. He worked for many years as our lead service technician before taking on his first management position at the original Surprise location in 2019. He later transferred to Phoenix in 2020. He has expert knowledge on saltwater fish and corals as well as freshwater plants and fish. He also has extensive years of background in our service program and continues to manage our largest branch of service accounts. When he isn't orchestrating the saltwater symphonies, he enjoys camping in Northern Arizona with his dogs. 


Kurt Moses - Surprise Manager

Kurt has been with Kona Reef and based out of the Surprise location since 2022. He proceeded quickly through our advanced retail training on to our service technician program and spearheaded the assistant Manager role before being promoted to Manager. He assisted in the development of the new Surprise show tanks and has taken on the personal responsibility of the largest Kona location yet. When he is not cultivating aquatic beauty in Surprise, he is spending quality family time with his wife and kids. 


 Mike & Alex Fauth - Founders

Alex & Mike decided to open a multi-pet store in 2013, which they developed in to what you know as Kona Reef today. They were inspired by their own passion in husbandry as well as time spent in Kona, Hawaii. It was their dream to create an LFS which would not only provide everything needed to hobbyists, but also foster learning, growth and development in the aquatic industry.

Mike has grown Kona with his advanced husbandry knowledge, his carpentry and electrical trade skills, his experience through ASU's WP Carey School of Business, as well as an impressive career in military intelligence serving with an international task force. Alex brought her honed B.S. in Sustainability as well as her administrative and business prowess developed when working under Gov. Jan Brewer. 

Mike now heads the company as CEO as well as leads the supply chain management, aquaculture program, staff/management training and R&D/expansion.  Alex acts as Kona's CFO and assists where needed. When not leading Kona or planning its future, Mike and Alex spend time together with their young kids. 

History of Kona

About the Store: Kona Reef opened in Feb. 2014 as The Pet Kona with dog & cat products as well as saltwater livestock. With time, the saltwater section became the most popular part of the store and the owners, Mike & Alex, made the decision to convert the store to full aquatics, expanding their pre-existing saltwater section and adding a freshwater section. Re-opening as Kona Reef after 6 short weeks of remodeling, the store was transformed into an aquatic experience.

In August 2018, Kona acquired Studio Blue, another LFS located in Surprise who's owners were looking to get out of the industry. After a short closure to remodel saltwater and add freshwater, we re-opened that location as part of Kona Reef. 

In April 2021, Kona opened the long awaited Chandler location which had been about three years in the making. Chandler is the largest and flagship location after which any additional moves, remodels, or new locations will be modeled. It also houses our very own private aquaculture facility - the largest in the southwest. The aquaculture facility is currently not open to the public, but we will be offering private tours in the near future.

In mid 2021, Kona moved the Surprise location to the corner of Bell & El Mirage to re-open in late 2021. Due to staffing shortages, much of the Surprise location was not completed until 2022, but it now boasts the largest showroom and overall square footage of the three locations.

Overview of Care Practices

Caring for New Livestock: It is a top priority to have quality and healthy livestock at Kona Reef. That is why all specimens are handled with extreme care from the day they enter our doors. All coral specimens are dipped from a selection of several different coral dips depending on their needs. They are then individually examined for any parasites, injuries, or signs of poor health. This assessment ensures that proper future care is planned for each individual piece. After their assessment and cleaning, corals, fish, and inverts are carefully placed to ensure appropriate lighting, flow, and aggression requirements are met. 

Ongoing Care for Livestock: Fish are continuously monitored for behavioral compatibility and eating habits. Our saltwater fish systems are continuously medicated to ensure all fish are as healthy as possible when they go to their new homes. Fish are fed 2-4 times a day with a variety of foods including vitamin enriched flake, brine, mysis, krill, and silversides. Some fish may have supplemental feeding of sponge, seaweed, or live pods depending on their dietary needs. All corals and fish are assessed daily for any additional care needs. If a coral colony is in good health and is large enough, we may frag several pieces to add to our frag system. If individual inspections of livestock indicate any health issues such as underfeeding, overfeeding, parasites, or infection, that specimen is treated accordingly and monitored daily until it has fully recovered. All corals are target fed with appropriate foods two to three times a week to ensure best health. Systems are thoroughly cleaned at least biweekly. We will happily discuss the health history of any livestock item with our customers as well.

Watch below for a detailed outline of our in store prevention practices.