Sarah Armstrong

Store Manager at Liverpool

How long have you been a Maidenhead aquatics team member?

I have been working at Maidenhead Sefton store for 4 years now, working my way up to manager last year.

What was your first Aquarium and what fish did you have in it?

My first fish tank was an Aqua 30, which was cold water with Mountain Minos and Danios in it, with the odd apple snail. Full of plants and rocks for decoration. I am a lover of planted tanks and always like to fill the tank with luscious plants to give them a good cover.

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

I started volunteering when I had left college, and I've always wanted to work with animals. I just never had the chance to study them after school. I was over the moon when I was told I was being taken on at Sefton store, with me only living close by and it was a chance to get involved with an amazing company. I wanted to expand my knowledge of fish and help other people get involved with the hobby.

What pearl of wisdom would you give to first time fish keepers?

The one word of advice I like to give when somebody is starting a new tank is to stock the tank slowly. There are many times when an aquarium is stuck in its cycle because people get excited and put lots of fish in 3 days after their tank has been set up. Patience is very important when keeping fish.

What was your most memorable fishkeeping experience?

I would say a good memory for me was setting my first marine tank up at home. I got given the chance to gain some experience for keeping marine for the first time. The marine tank I had was a TMC NANO 30L. It was exciting for me to get started and creating a mini reef. I made a diary and researched everything I could. I have had 5 marine tanks from small to large since I’ve worked here the joy just carries on.

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

What I enjoy most working here is getting to know the customers, chatting and sharing experiences. Some of the customers here are regular and we have a laugh with. They always say we are smiley and happy when they come into the store. It makes a big difference when you gain a relationship with the customer they come back for more advice and buy more products. I love to move things round the shop to gain more attraction to products, also setting up new tanks like I previously mentioned.

What is your favourite most useful piece of equipment and why?

My favourite piece of equipment is the water change pump, I always use it when pumping water in and out from my big tank at home. I also use one in store and we sell them very well because people see how good they work.

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

I would like to see more children taking up this hobby to continue the trend for fishkeeping. It would be nice to set up fish tanks in schools and colleges to gain more interest and learn about the secret lives of fish. This would keep a calm environment for young people to come and study or take some time away from their desks. More fish tanks in schools would benefit them and us.

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

 I currently keep two aquariums and one pond.

I have a 160cm oak wine rack with large fancy gold fish. I am interested in these cold-water fish, they have a lot of character and let you stroke them in the tank during feeding time. There are so many different types and I intend to collect more of these Orandas species.  

I also have a well-established marine tank that is full of coral life. I love this tank for its colour and the fish are happy in their mini reef home.