Tal Williams

How long have you been keeping fish?

I have been in fishkeeping since I was six years old. Then at thirteen I turned my hobby into a career and got my first job at an aquatic centre. I have been fishkeeping as a career for 28 years.

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

My first aquarium was a 60 litre tropical aquarium. I kept tropical community fish, such as Tetras and Catfish. I actually lived in Vancouver when I was younger and that’s where I had my first aquarium and began fishkeeping.

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

I have always been interested in aquatics and marine biology. I actually studied marine biology at university. Once I finished my degree, I found a job at Maidenhead Aquatics in Surrey, turning my hobby and interest into my career.

Which species do you most enjoy keeping and why?

I really enjoy keeping marine species. However, at the moment I am currently keeping goldfish due to them being much easier to look after, especially with having less time on my hands.  I do also enjoy breeding fish, particularly marines. In the past, I have bred Clownfish, Dottybacks and Peppermint Shrimp – which are particularly challenging, so even more rewarding when successful.

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

I would love to keep Leafy Sea Dragons, as they are particularly challenging to breed.

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

My pearl of wisdom to first time fishkeepers would be to be patient! Also to keep a check and test your water. This can prevent a lot of problems and is good practice to learn early on. 

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

My favourite aspect.. I enjoy helping out beginners who are new to fishkeeping. But also helping those that keep fish already and need help with diagnosing an illness with their livestock. Our Fishkeeper Plus programme means we can visit customers who have poorly fish and help to diagnose the issues and restore them to full health. This can be very rewarding. We can all get unwell at times, even our fish, and it’s nice to be able to help these customers and give them a specific diagnosis and any advice in order to help their fish recover.

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

The water change pump is probably my favourite piece of fishkeeping equipment. It works by pumping water back into the tank. It definitely makes my life a lot easier, by doing all the hard work and saving me the heavy lifting – also helping my back!

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

I am personally a big fan of the LINI project which encourages and sustains the protection of reefs and coral areas. I would like to see more of these projects in sustaining fishery, and expanding on projects such as LINI and all their great achievements they are making to help reefs in the coastal communities of Indonesia. 

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

I currently have three aquariums at home. They all keep goldfish - I have Japanese Ryukin goldfish and Bristol Shubunkin Goldfish. My three aquariums are all 160 litres. 

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

Throughout my time at Maidenhead Aquatics I have cared for some very unique types of Angelfish, particularly in our Windsor store. We’ve had Kingi Angelfish and Butterfly fish which I found particularly unique.