Jen Clark

Sales Assistant at Knutsford

How long have you been a Maidenhead Aquatics Team Member?

Just under 18 months.

How long have you been keeping fish?

Around 2 years, my dad kept them during my childhood which inspired me to get my own.

What was your first aquarium and what fish did you keep in it?

A small heated tank with a male Betta.

What was it that got you hooked on fishkeeping?

The sheer variety of fish available, I love visiting other stores and checking out their stock!

What was it that made you decide to turn your fishkeeping hobby into a career?

I was looking for a job after finishing university studying animal behaviour, fish wasn’t something we had really covered so i thought it would be an interesting job role where I would learn a lot.

Which species do you most enjoy keeping and why?

I enjoy keeping the micro rasboras, in a planted set up they look amazing. I also enjoy keeping Bettas, I have several in divided tanks at home.

Which species was the trickiest or challenging for you to keep and why?

Tricky one. When I first started I struggled keeping Corydoras, I couldn’t work out why they weren’t doing well and turned out I was keeping them on gravel which was wearing down their barbels, I swapped to sand and they do so much better now.

Which species haven’t you had a chance to keep yet but dream of having one day?

I’d love to keep a group of rainbow fish in a planted aquarium, once I’ve moved into my own house and upgraded to a large enough tank! Sea horses would also be pretty special to keep one day.

What pearl of wisdom would you give to first-time Fishkeepers?

Patience. Take your time and don’t cut corners, it’ll be worth it in the long run.

What would be your dream aquarium?

Tricky one as there is so many I would love to have! Probably a huge aqua scaping tank (1000 litres) filled with a good size group of discus or rainbow fish with some Brochis.

What was your most memorable fishkeeping experience?

I think it was noticing that my bristlenose had hatched out babies, and watching the dad fanning them. That was pretty cool, as I hadn’t noticed they’d even laid any eggs.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned since joining Maidenhead Aquatics?

Most of my knowledge and experience comes from working here, as I’m still relatively new to the hobby, but probably the sheer variety of fish that people keep. When you have your own tank at home you only see a snapshot of fish species, working at Maidenh

What’s your favourite aspect of your work at Maidenhead Aquatics?

The fish deliveries, it’s like Christmas when they come in! I also love all the regular customers we have, it’s nice to get to know them and their aquariums.

What question do customers ask you most often?

Is that stuff in the bottom tank pasta? (The filter media)

What’s your favourite/most useful piece of fishkeeping equipment and why?

Filter. It’s the most important part of keeping your fish healthy and happy.

What’s your top tip for customers taking their first plunge into marine fishkeeping?

Go as big as you can afford. And do lots of research.

Which aquatic habitat, like the Amazon or the Red Sea, would you most like to visit?

Probably the Great Barrier Reef for the sheer diversity, from a conservation point of view I’d also be interested to see first hand coral bleaching and other environmental effects.

What’s the best customer you ever had and why?

My best customer is probably one that I look after her tank when she goes on holiday. She’s picked out some lovely fish on my recommendations and once when they accidentally left the filter off when they went away she was so grateful that I was able to so

What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had at Maidenhead Aquatics?

I think when I’ve had customers come back and in and say how helpful I’ve been, it really does mean a lot especially when I’m still relatively new to the company.

What species would you recommend for a child’s first aquarium?

Depending on their local water hardness, guppies. Colourful, flashy and active, they are enough to keep a kid interested.

What’s the most unique species you’ve ever cared for at Maidenhead Aquatics?

Triggerfish.

Describe the trickiest fishkeeping problem you were ever able to solve for a customer

Probably when a customer has come in really disheartened after a problem and believes they aren’t cut out for the hobby, convincing them to have the faith to continue can be pretty tricky, but usually we are successful!

Which of the fish in your store has the most character?

Definitely the puffer fish. They are super interactive!

Do you, or have you had a pond? If so, what is/was the best thing about it?

No. I would like one at some point.

Which wild species do you find the most bizarre, interesting or impressive?

I think archer fish are really impressive!

What’s your secret fishkeeping “top tip”?

Go for quality first time around. Buy cheap buy twice!

What do you think is the future of fishkeeping and what developments would you most like to see?

More kids getting into the hobby would be great, they are the future fish keepers!

What’s your best tip for building a pond?

Go as big as you can afford, and make sure to incorporate space for plenty of plants and a decent filtration system.

How many aquariums do you currently keep at home, and what are these?

I currently keep 6 tanks ranging in size from 12 litres (shrimp tank) to 70 litres (which is currently planted with micro rasbora, it’s due for a rescape). Waiting for a bigger tank once I’m settled in my own house, currently saving up!