April is National Pet Month – a whole month dedicated to celebrating and raising awareness of responsible pet ownership and sharing the many benefits of our cherished companions across the UK. This year the event is focusing on the five key pet welfare needs: companionship, behaviour, diet, health and environment – all key themes that Maidenhead Aquatics embraces everyday with respect to the fish we sell and our customers pets that we support through our products and advice.

National Pet Month logo

At Maidenhead Aquatics, the fish come first. Without healthy livestock sourced as sustainably as possible, our stores wouldn’t function. Our aim is always to promote responsible fishkeeping by offering sound advice and only selling healthy livestock. We care for your fish as much as you do and their welfare is our top priority, so we always aim to abide by the following code of practice:

  • We will not knowingly sell unhealthy livestock
  • We will not sell species that are unsuitable for home aquaria or ponds
  • We will not sell genetically modified fish
  • We do not endorse the keeping of goldfish in bowls or aquaria of less than 13.5 litres (3 gallons) in capacity, as these are large fish requiring spacious accommodation as adults
  • We will not sell inappropriate species for nano aquaria
  • We will not sell fish and aquaria to the same customer on the same day
  • We will not sell large numbers of fish for newly-established aquaria
  • We will not sell artificially coloured fish
  • Wherever possible, we will encourage the use of techniques and products that avoid exposing fish to harmful water quality

Since the first store opened in 1984, we’ve enjoyed forging close relationships with our suppliers and for decades we’ve been regularly visiting breeders and exporters in many parts of the world. This way we put names to faces and get an insight into our supply chain to ensure good practice. It’s an approach which means we don’t buy blind from the cheapest suppliers, but we feel that there’s more to buying pets than price.

Any business trading in live animals faces some ethical pressures and we’re very much aware that the natural habitats of many aquarium fishes, together with the people who share them, can be either helped or harmed by global trade. For this reason, we support a number of overseas community initiatives and worldwide environmental charities

Although we support ex-situ captive breeding and culturing, it’s important to remember the benefit that our industry can bring in providing a sustainable livelihood in the countries where species originate. We’re proud to support initiatives such as the LINI Foundation as well as sourcing our most popular marine fishes such as Clownfish as happy captive bred youngsters from breeders far from their native range.

We have some old stores, some new stores and many different strengths and specialities due to the interests of our staff – a fact that we’ve long embraced. For such a large company, our stores differ far more than you’d expect, and we like the fact that no two are exactly alike. They may have the same name above the door, but all have their own character and specialities – you’ll find these as a search feature on our Store Finder.

Our stores are supported by a head office team which gets busier every year, coordinating projects such as Fishkeeper Fry, an initiative aimed at introducing children to the joys of keeping fish and the responsibilities (and science) behind maintaining an aquarium.

Decades from where we started, we’re excited to be in a position where an increasing number of species are captive bred and we are serving customers who’ve been visiting our stores since their parents brought them in as children. Many of our staff have been with us for decades and we feel that aquarium keeping really is a hobby that can last a lifetime.

Click here to find out about more about 'Responsible pet ownership, and what it means to fishkeepers'

clownfish and anemone on black background