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Service Recovery Strategies

Providing Aquatic Tanks to Reduce Stress in Those Suffering From PTSD

president & founder

Michael Lujan

VP of finance & business philanthropy

Dr. Ruthmary


Greater Tampa Bay area, FL


Fall 2019


Health, Sustainability, Learning

Service Recovery Strategies (SRS) is a nonprofit in the Tampa Bay, Florida area dedicated to providing aquatic tank systems to veterans, nurses, police, firemen and all first responders with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to aid in their recovery. Their activities have positive social impact–care for fish and corals is an innovative way to reduce stress in individuals with PTSD–and positive environmental impact–the “frags” of corals their members grow are harvested and placed in the Gulf of Mexico to stimulate natural coral reef regrowth.

Quick facts

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that can occur after living through or seeing a dangerous or traumatic event.

  • More than 8 million Americans ages 18+ have PTSD.
  • 67% of people exposed to mass violence have been shown to develop PTSD.
  • Stress reduction techniques must be included in the treatment of people suffering from PTSD.
  • Caring for an aquarium reduces anxiety, emotional agitation, and blood pressure and promotes relaxation (sounds of running water, colors, swimming fish, growing coral, maintaining temperatures and water chemistry, etc.).

Sources: ADAA, NCBI

The team at SRS passes down aquatic marine and freshwater tanks donated by the community to their participants at no cost. They connect with the participants by helping them build their own personal tanks using donated supplies and materials. The learning experience lets them develop new interests and reconnect to being back at home.

There are 5 phases to the process (see infographic below). With each tank they develop, participants can grow their own small “frag” of corals. As the corals develop, they harvest the pieces and place them on artificial reefs to continue growing in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, the team will conduct monthly meetings with members to collaborate and provide more resources. As members build relationships with other members, they can share stories and ideas related to their tanks and their recovery from PTSD.

The $2,000 Stardust grant will fund startup costs related to obtaining 501(c)3 status with the IRS and other initial costs associated with the project that will not be able to be funded through local donations.