Karen McIntyre

Store Manager at Fishkeeper Stirling

How long have you been a Maidenhead Aquatics Team Member?

I have been working with Fishkeeper for 2 years.

How long have you been keeping fish?

For 25 years.

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

My 1st aquarium was a Marina 35 with a goldfish – quickly moved up to a Clearseal 100

What was it that got you hooked on fishkeeping?

I love all animals but I first became interested after visiting my local fish shop regularly.

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

I had a friend in the trade who encouraged me to go for a position that became available and have a total career change.

Which species do you most enjoy keeping and why?

I enjoy keep various shrimp and Scarlet Badis, anything nano really.

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

A banded octopus (kept trying to escape).

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

I would like to keep a teacup stingray one day.

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

I would always advise to be patient, rushing anything to do with fish, generally doesn’t turn out as expected.

What would be your dream aquarium?

8x2x2 saltwater aquarium.

What was your most memorable fishkeeping experience?

Unplanned breeding and successfully raising discus fry.

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

There are more species of fish than, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals combined. I am also amazed at some of my collegues knowledge, I love learning from other people’s experiences.

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

I like the daily challenges the job brings. No 2 days are ever the same.

What question do customers ask you most often?

Why can’t I keep a goldfish in a bowl/small aquarium.

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

My favourite piece of equipment is a syphon, very basic but essential piece of kit.

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

Do a little research on what you would like to keep before you even buy a tank. I see so many disappointed people when you tell them they can’t keep something due to the size of tank or inhabitants they have.

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

Red Sea or Great Barrier Reef.

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

I have a great customer who visits every week, but I can always learn something from him.

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

I find the most rewarding times are when you have a happy customer leave the shop, or passing on my knowledge to some else.

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

Something like neon tetra or variatus platy’s.

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

Axolotls are pretty unique, though not difficult to look after.

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

We had an ongoing issue with a customers tank. Algae kept growing, after multiple water changes we were still unaware as to why this was. 2 months later we tested the customers tap water and found out that this is where the issue was. The customers tap water was extremely high in Phosphate, this was an issue we had to take up with the Scottish Water board.

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

Porcupine puffer has so much character, always watches you work and the face is so unique.

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

I had a pond in the past, which was always nice to watch the fish while you were in the garden.

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

Angler fish or jellyfish.

What’s your secret fishkeeping “top tip”?

Always keep up filter maintenance.

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

I would like to see more tank bred fish in the industry.

What’s your best tip for building a pond?

Make it as big as you can if you want to keep fish.

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

I have 3 nano tanks at home.