Back in July, I met Charlie Traynor and his girlfriend Midori at Kenny’s Westside Pub on one of my Saturday dining adventures. Charlie told me that he has a saltwater aquarium store in Bartonville and I told him I had never been to an aquarium store before and he invited me to stop on by. And so, just about three months after the invite, it’s off we go. I may be late, but I’m never on time!
Aquarium Obsessions is located in Bartonville, so I plugged the address in to my GPS thingy and it's off we go on a gray, overcast day, which is just the way I like it outside. A day without sunshine is like...this Steve Martin quote.
The GPS did us right and has steered us to the Aquarium Obsessions store front. I like the colorful sign out front here.
Unplanned obligatory mirror shot of the doors as I take my standard, "let's go in and see what's happening," photo.
Here he is, the owner of Aquarium Obsessions, Charlie Traynor. Charlie told me he was a saltwater hobbyist who started this passion in the late '90's. He got hooked (pun intended) and after doing some time at the pet store, Super Pets in Sheridan Village he opened this shop three years ago. It's the largest saltwater aquarium shop outside of Chicago and he has a large local following as well as hobbyists who come here from all over the country.
This tank which lines the front wall is the showpiece of the store.
It holds 300 gallons of saltwater...
And a lot of colorful fish, school's in session, let's take a closer look.
Saltwater fish have so much more color and intensity than your average fish tank.
Fine Kettle of Fish flashback!
There's lots of other aquariums in here, let's take a look at them.
Let's check out this row of tanks.
In addition to saltwater fish, Charlie practices aquaculture in here and cultivates his own hard and soft corals and invertebrates.
Here's more coral that is imported and then Charlie grows them here in the store.
There's over 3500 gallons of saltwater in the shop.
Charlie told me it's a 70 plus hour work week for him in here and his passion for saltwater and reef keeping is obvious when you talk to him.
He told me just cleaning the tanks is a never-ending chore, but it's one he does well as the aquariums in here are spotless.
Charlie points out a venomous fish in this tank here...
With the lighting and his somewhat porcelain color it's kind of hard to see him, but he still kind of gives me the creeps because he's staring at me!
Charlie said he can put his hand in the tank and the fish won't bite him because he's the one who feeds him. I guess the lesson fish learn in their schools is, "don't bite the hand that feeds you." The little fucker is still staring at me, so let's just move along.
Back here in the supply room, Charlie shows me a new aquarium he's working on that will hold 300 gallons of water and have separate compartments for a wide variety of fish and corals.
Supplies for the saltwater hobbyists line the walls back here...
Along with plenty of food so you can clean your aquarium and not get bit!
And of course there's boxes of high-grade imported salt for the aquariums.
As I was headed out the door Charlie showed me these Fancy Clown Fish. He told me they're valuable fish and prices for them run from 50 dollars for a pair all the way up to 450 dollars.
This Clown Fish is funny, he amuses me...kind of like Joe Pesci. Thanks to Charlie for a fun tour of his shop and we'll see you all tomorrow.
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