Tropical fish hobbyists have definite ideas about where to find the most unusual and healthiest species, and their preferences are often based on decades of experience in caring and cultivating aquariums for fresh and saltwater fish. Novices and seasoned fishkeepers alike love these local venues for their well-versed salespeople, vibrant aquatic selections and their ability to inspire individualized waterscapes for any home.
The Fish Nook
266 Great Rd., Rte. 2A
Acton, MA 01720
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fri – 10a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat – 10a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Fish Nook earns high marks from its patrons for its selection and excellent personal service. Livestock here is sourced locally whenever possible and checked individually to ensure each animal that goes home does so healthy. The store boasts third-generation customers, working hard to guarantee great customer education in addition to service and products.
Uncle Ned’s Fish Factory
1590 Main St., Rte. 109
Millis, MA 02054
Hours: Mon to Sat – 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Sun – 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Owner Ned Bowers brings his lifelong passion to his business, a source of diverse and unusual fresh and saltwater fish for more than 15 years. It’s difficult to say the store they specializes in a particular species, because it carries so many, but Uncle Ned’s is celebrated for its African and South American cichlids. In addition to its onsite offerings, Uncle Ned’s hosts an online discussion forum, where it announces new arrivals and tank specials, answers questions on fishkeeping, posts requests for rare species and offers pointers on care and feeding.
Unique Aquaria & Reptile
70 Southampton St.
Boston, MA 02118
Hours: Mon to Fri – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sat to Sun – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Formerly known as Skipton Pet Center, Unique Aquaria & Reptile is run by a group of passionate hobbyists with more than 50 years of collective experience. Its 4,000-square-foot facility is high on the list of longtime tropical fish aficionados who appreciate its excellent selection, reasonable prices and caring personal service. Its name may have changed, but not its commitment to customers, who keep coming back, year after year.
Krystal Clear Aquatics
700 Southbridge St. (Rte. 12)
Auburn, MA 01501
Hours: Mon to Wed – 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thurs to Fri – 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat to Sun – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Krystal Clear Aquatics is the only retail outlet in New England that offers the new Zero Edge tank, designed primarily to enable unhampered view of corals. Its 3500-square-foot facility showcases more than 2,400 gallons of international marine species, 900 gallons of coral tanks and more than 50 varieties of freshwater fish, as well as invertebrates, aquatic plants and pelleted food.
Tropic Isle Aquarium
4 Pierce St.
Framingham, MA 0101
Hours: Mon to Sat – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sun – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A favorite for more than 40 years, since its founding by zebra fish expert Ellis London in 1967, Tropic Isle has more than 540 tanks full of freshwater and saltwater fish. Its display tanks exhibit employees’ appreciation for exotic reef species. Its Facebook page offers up-to-the minute information about new arrivals, fishkeeping tips and special deals.
Maureen Harmonay wears many hats. She is a real estate agent who specializes in country estates, antique homes, and horse properties in the metrowest suburbs of Boston. With certifications in Feng Shui and as an Eco-Broker, she is keenly attuned to how energy affects the health of a home and its occupants, both humans and pets. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.