Over the Top Aquatics Pet Store

Published 8:14 am Tuesday, September 19, 2023

A large tank greets customers in front of the entrance of the new pet store on 1610 East Forsyth Street, inhabited by angel fish, small tiger Oscars, and at least one catfish.
I interviewed the co-owner, Jerome Holt, as he was refilling a tank. He talked about the goldfish inside.
“The goldfish are pond raised. We have about a two-thousand, three-thousand-gallon pond that we built two years ago, and we take small goldfish, like a little bigger than a quarter maybe, we put them in there, we raise them, then we bring them to the store.
We have some black moors, we have some koi goldfish, we have some show koi and just regular standard goldfish.”
He finished refilling the tank, showing me around.
“We have some black convicts who just laid eggs, right there in the corner,” pointing to the large tank at the entrance.
He also pointed out a large tiger Oscar with his own tank.
“We raised him in our pond as well. He’s like, five, six months old now. He is about four and a half to five inches at least.”
The Oscar trails the pellet in Jerome’s fingers as I try to take a picture. Beside him, tanks line the walls, held on cinderblock stands. Horizontally striped African cichlids dart about in a tank of their own. Jerome starts listing the species in various tanks.
“We have some cherry barbs, some cory catfish, these are cory catfish and mollies. These are crawfish, mystery snails, guppies.”
He points to a tank with small fry, referencing the eggs I had seen earlier.
“Black convicts.”
He began listing several other species.
“Otocinclus here, some danios, some red-tailed rainbow sharks, some assorted plat fish.”
Jerome mentioned more kinds were on their way.
“This is an empty tank. We’re waiting for our shipment to come in and fill up these. We want to put some Pacu in here. In this one, we’re going to get the elephant nose fish.”
He turned aside from the freshwater aquariums to a large saltwater tank with dividers.
In two sections small clown swam back and forth, which I was informed were not, technically, the same species as Nemo, but were certainly dead ringers for the uninitiated.
I asked about the setup on a saltwater tank.
“It’s not difficult. Even when you are doing freshwater, you still have to do research on it. You can’t just fill up a bucket and say ‘Okay now I’m about to add fish.’ You still do the same research. To set up saltwater is just like setting up freshwater, you do one extra step which is mix in salt.”
Mr. Holt started identifying species in the saltwater tank. He pointed to some mollies that had originally been in a freshwater tank.
“A handful of fish can be converted over to saltwater. Puffers, eels, mollies.”
I asked what advice he would give to a new aquarist.
“Do your research. It’s also good to go to your local fish shops, but also do your own due diligence and do your own research.”