Our Story

River City Aquatics started in 2004 with its roots deeply anchored in the local African cichlid scene. Visionary, Carlos Cardenas, started the shop infusing his work experience at a major New York cichlid importer with the vibe and energy of the local network of Austin cichlid breeders. With advancements of nano tank technology and the popularity of coral fragging, Carlos's focus broadened to accommodate reef enthusiasts.

Moving in a parallel direction, Jake Wand was diving into the African cichlid scene and soon was managing RCA briefly before acquiring the shop in 2008. Jake spent his childhood in Okinawa and developed an interest in aquatic environments at a young age. His military brat upbringing exposed him to the reefs of Okinawa, coastlines of the Philippines, and cichlid clubs of central Texas.


Jake Wand

Shortly after Jake's acquisition, Francis Tran joined the team. Francis was already years into reef keeping. His trips to Vietnam and years spent in Hawaii sparked an obsession with the ocean's reefs. Francis soon began assisting in the managing of RCA.


Francis Tran

Elliott Dearborn joined the RCA team in 2015. Elliott is passionate about all things animals. His animal family consists of Pancho, his Xolo dog, JD, his Scarlet Macaw, and numerous fish and corals. His professional aquatic husbandry experience includes stints at Mote Marine Laboratory and Albuquerque Bio Park.

Elliott Dearborn
Elliott Dearborn