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Sera-North America

From one man to one company, Sera has become a Global Player in the fish industry.

By: Leila Lotfi

At 18, Josef Ravnak began selling tubifex (sludge worm) out of his garage. His continued interest of fish and his disappointment with German-made fish products led to his creation of Sera in 1970.

This German-based manufacturer is a privately-owned full-range supplier for aquariums, garden ponds and terrariums that offers a complete range of food, vitamins and technological products for aquarium care, pond keeping and terrarium care.

Sera has been deemed one of the leading forces in aquaculture today says managing director, Matthew Zadravec, who works out of the Montgomeryville, Pa., facility. “Our intention is not only to sell the product, but we are always trying to bring new products.”

Sera O-Nip is a popular specialty food tablet for all fresh water fish. This tablet is one of the many things that sets Sera apart from its competitors, says Zadravec. Sera O-Nip is a 50 percent high-quality flake food and 50 percent vacuum freeze-dried tablet that is placed (with slight pressure) on the inside of the glass in front of the aquarium.  The food tablet attracts all fish in the aquarium to the front, so even the fish that hide in the back come out of hiding to get some food.  O-Nip is available in the U.S. market, but only in specialty stores, as with all Sera products.  

Education and information are paramount to Sera. “Our biggest intention in 2008 and 2009 is not only to make a strong market in products, but also to educate people on how to make the right choices,” says Zadravec. “People are buying products without knowledge of how to use them which can result in dead fish.”

Sera offers seminars, guide book services, news periodicals, computer-aided resources, a Sera CD and an Internet-based Sera laboratory for online water testing. Zadravec says with the right approach and the right education, they can improve fish industry trends.

To date, Sera has signed on 300 schools in the Philadelphia school district that have all shown interest in an educational program. “We believe that this is the right time to educate [kids] as they are very important customers,” says Zadravec.

Sera At A Glance:

Founder: Josef Ravnak

Location: Montgomeryville, Pa. (Headquarters in Heinsburg, Germany)

Flagship Product: Sera Vipan Flakes

No. of years in business: 38 years

Web address:

Ravnak’s innovative freeze-drying process for manufacturing dry food turned Sera into a successful enterprise. Now, nearly 40 years later, Sera products are present in more than 80 countries with subsidiaries in North America, France, Italy, Chile and Japan. 

New products for 2008 include reptile products, saltwater fish products, Koi snacks and Catfish chips.  These are only a few of Sera’s novel additions that combine variety with nutrition.

Ravnak will turn 70 years old in March 2008, but his objective to create products that are beneficial for all fish and aquariums hasn’t diminished. Even 38 years later he’s still very active with Sera says Zadravec. “He’s still investing in the research department.”  <HOME>

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