How long have you been keeping fish?
I have been in fishkeeping for 15 years.
What was your first aquarium and what fish did you keep in it?
What was it that made you decide to turn your fishkeeping hobby into a career?
I loved the idea of combing a hobby and a career. I committed to a few weeks' work experience in aquatics, loved it and never left!
Which species do you most enjoy keeping and why?
I enjoy keeping anything that is unique and has unusual behaviours. Behaviours such as those seen in fish like Archerfish, which spit food, Mudskippers that can live on land and especially the Flashing Tilefish, whose colour can change literally in front of your eyes! To be honest, I find almost any fish exciting.
Which species haven’t you had a chance to keep yet but dream of having one day?
I would love to keep Arowana and Stingrays - we often have them in store. They are real ‘pet’ fish with characters. But as soon as you get to know them in store, they soon go out the door.
What pearl of wisdom would you give to first time fish keepers?
My pearl of wisdom would be to do water changes in small amounts as often as you can. Find a way to make this as easy for yourself as possible as well. If it becomes a chore, you won’t want to do it!
What’s your favourite aspect of your work at Maidenhead Aquatics?
My favourite aspect of working at Maidenhead Aquatics would be keeping and seeing such a wide range of livestock, that in a lifetime of fishkeeping you would never be able to have the equivalent hands-on experience with in your own home.
What’s your favourite/most useful piece of fishkeeping equipment and why?
My favourite equipment is Hydra filters. Filtration is the most important part of any tank and the Hydra filters are a truly revolutionary filter working in a completely different way to the ‘traditional’ filters we have always used.
What do you think is the future of fishkeeping and what developments would you most like to see?
As our understanding of the biology and chemistry of our hobby increases, we now have better equipment than ever before and are able to provide a better environment, diet and care for our fish than ever before. Fish that were once deemed as very difficult to keep in the hobby 10-12 years ago have now become easy and even bred in captivity. Someone who has never kept fish before 10 years ago would be advised to avoid the difficult to maintain saltwater tank, whereas today a complete novice can dive straight into marines and have a stunning display at home.
As we get better, it opens up more and more possibilities of what we can keep, breed and grow to a wider and wider audience. And hopefully help to educate more of us about the natural world and why we need to look after it.
How many aquariums do you currently keep at home, and what are these?
I currently have two aquariums at home - a 650 litre Paludarium. It is complete with rain system, planted heavily and stocked with fish native to Thailand and Laos. I have a mix of Rasboras, Liquorice Gourami, Chocolate Gourami and Halfbeaks.
What’s the most unique species you’ve ever cared for at Maidenhead Aquatics?
There have been many species of unique and very unusual fish, after importing fish from all around the world for Maidenhead for 13 years almost weekly. I’m captivated by a new species we’ve never seen before from far-flung corners of the world. I would say that some of the most important species we look after are a little more humble.
Both the humble Cherry Barb and Red-Tail Shark, two species that are common in many aquariums across the world are extinct in the wild. Due to habitat loss from a huge increase in the human population of their native range, these two species are only safeguarded by the fact that so many hobbyists have had such success in keeping them. At this very moment, efforts are underway to re-introduce Red-Tail Sharks back into the wild - a whole species that would have been lost if not for the efforts of fishkeepers from around the world.
We currently have in stock Asian Arowanas captive raised in farms. The wild S. Formosa’s is critically endangered and again this truly magnificent species is safeguarded by the dedication of fishkeepers all over the world and as we work to protect the wild fish from habitat reduction, logging, pollution and an ever growing human population we know that the species will not be lost forever.