Like so many other, this story began in a less than a 100ft2-sized shed. About fourteen years ago, Florian Kovac, the founder of Aquadecor Backgrounds worked as a Marketing Manager in a well-known Serbian restaurant. Like every other aquarium lover, he would spend most of his leisure time by taking care of his 52-gallon aquarium.
In time, his “small” aquarium became too small, so he decided to spend his vacation building a 170-gallon aquarium, with his bare hands. And the rest is history or at least the beginning of this aquarium background-building story.
Florian Kovac: In 2004, after building this bigger aquarium, the next question that came to my mind was how could I decorate it? I wanted to do this with my own hands, as well. After days and weeks of thinking and planning, an idea crossed my mind, and I started carving my first 3D aquarium background.
I bought a dozen types of Styrofoam and similar materials, picked up a knife and started chipping away. My friends would visit, and they were baffled by my new-found hobby. Admittedly, it was a shocking sight – me with a knife, clumsily trying to carve the idea from my mind onto the material, with which I wasn’t all that familiar. But in no time, I’ve become excellent at it, and finally, I had a prototype model in front of me.
Next, I’ve encountered another problem – how to paint the whole thing, without using harsh chemicals that could interfere with the water quality and harm fish. After the trial-and-error period, and lots of consultations with colleagues and experts I was finally able to finish my initial idea, and the first 3D Aquadecor background was made in 2004.
To be honest, in the beginning, I haven’t thought about turning this new-found hobby into a business. I was well paid and satisfied with the job I already had. My friends were the ones who implemented in my mind the idea of turning this into a business. Although it didn’t make any sense to them in the beginning, they were amazed by the result – my first-made aquarium background. They said to me: “Florian, you should be doing this for a living.” And, that’s precisely what I did.
Soon enough, Florian left his full-time job and making 3D aquarium backgrounds became his full-time gig. Twelve years ago, it was a seldom thing to own a website and do online business in Serbia, but Florian was a visionary. He created the website www.aquapozadine.com (aquarium backgrounds, in Serbian) in 2006. This website is no longer active, but you can see a glimpse of it on the Web Archive website.
In the begging, this was a successful Serbian-based business, and Florian didn’t even dream that it would become an internationally-recognized brand like Aquadecor is today. But the business flourished, and it became quite evident that it needs to grow. The first step towards the international market was a creation of the brand – AQUADECOR. Next step was a new website – akvadecor.com.
Florian Kovac: We decided to use “akva” in the domain name because we were still mainly oriented toward the local market, but the website content was translated into a few other languages.
This website is no longer active, but you can check the archived homepage.
In 2007, Florian’s close friend joined the company, and they transferred the business from the above-mentioned 100ft2-sized shed to a more extensive workshop and became quite active on Serbian aquarist forums: Akvaristika & Ciklidi
Another example of our activity on forums:
Florian Kovac: In 2010, our first international order appeared in our inbox, and in 2012 we registered the official international sales-and-export business. Website content was translated into a few other languages, apart from English, and we launched our first web shop and online video showroom.
Although we had a lot of offers from distributors, we prolonged these kinds of collaborations, since we wanted to build our brand first. Finally, in 2013, we started collaborating with retail sellers.
In 2014, together with our friends and business partners, we celebrated the first ten years of successful business. The members of our small but dedicated team were the ones who cut the first slice of the birthday cake.
The reviews on the 30.000+ followers Facebook page speak enough on the subject of the quality and sturdiness of these handmade aquarium backgrounds. Their Instagram profile is growing on a daily basis, and they share the content with more than 23,000 fans and followers there, as well.
Florian Kovac: There is only one intention behind our story– to mimic a natural habitat the best we can. Nature is our role-model and our inspiration. We go through numerous amounts of underwater photography and video material every day, in search for an ideal aquatic habitat that we then try to imitate.
We stand in the middle – between nature and our customers, trying to please both sides. Since every single piece of our aquarium backgrounds is made with our hands, we have a lot of room for innovation and implementation of our customers’ wildest aquarium fantasies. Innovation is our fuel, and there is no such thing as “it cannot be done” in our vocabulary. We offer more than 70 different backgrounds, and you can easily combine models and colors by your liking.
Besides the DIY King, our work is supported by another famous YouTuber, Jennifer Lynx, who used our backgrounds to decorate not only aquariums, but her terrariums as well! Her review of our backgrounds can be watched by visiting her YouTube channel
Currently, this is what Aquadecor company makes and does:
* Create unique, hand-made 3D aquarium backgrounds in all sizes, with options to hide filters and other equipment
* Create backgrounds that come with a 20-year warranty and consist of several parts, for custom built aquariums with cross braces
* Create backgrounds for custom and standard aquariums, such as Juwel, Eheim, Aquaeon, Marineland, Fluval, with the ability to cover their own built-in filtration systems
* Create slim backgrounds with a lifetime warranty, made of flexible materials for already established aquariums
* Create Rubber Mats in the same design and color as the ordered background, that serve as protection for glass when real stones are used in aquariums
* Create non-floating bottom rocks in the same design and color as the ordered background
* Create floating bottom rocks that need to be siliconed to the bottom of the tank, and are made in the same style as the ordered background
* Create non-floating logs, roots, driftwood and other imitations of wood
* Create backgrounds for marine aquariums
*Create backgrounds for terrariums
* Build complete custom aquariums in all sizes, with all necessary equipment and decorations
Today, in 2018, Aquadecor is recognized as natural-looking, high-quality, custom-made aquarium background sort of a brand. That’s precisely why they have chosen “Only nature can copy us” as the official Aquadecor Background slogan. These backgrounds are being sold all over the world, and they are proud of the distribution partnerships with companies that are listed on the website.
This beautiful story has a bitter end, but that is only temporary. Please read the notice from Mr. Florian Kovac:
We would like to inform our customers that a few of our distributors are no longer working with us. Sadly, some of them decided to fraudulently use our brand name and other photos, as their own. We would like to disclaim any AQUADECOR responsibility for purchases made through other websites that use our name, logo, photos, or any other content.
Background models purchased after the 1st of January 2018, have a unique serial number, which is a guaranty of quality, originality, and authenticity. To check if your background was built under the name of Aquadecor, please send us your serial number to our official email address
Florian Kovac, – Aquadecor