So, I have this aquarium store that is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. It’s in the middle of a nice mall in Orlando. Across the whole front of the store, except for the double doors in the middle, is a huge aquarium.

aquarium In other words, if you’re a shopper out in the mall, when you come to my store, you basically see a store-sized aquarium. When you come inside, you see that the aquarium across the front is actually only four feet across, but the way I’ve got foils and backdrops makes it look from the outside like it’s deeper than that.

I have tons of exotic tropical fish in the tank—mostly from the Pacific. They’re all colors of the rainbow. I also have live coral in the tank, and seaweed and water plants.

Now, even though the focus of my business and my mission is fresh-water ecosystems and their preservation, I do have the storefront aquarium stocked with saltwater fish and plants. They just tend to be more colorful, and they catch people’s eyes more.

Inside I have both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

I have a variety of customers that come in wanting aquariums. A lot of customers are the little kids out shopping with mom and dad, who see the store-front aquarium and decide they want a fish. They plead and beg and drag mom and dad inside and leave with a goldfish and a giant bowl.

Other customers are the older kids who want more than just a goldfish or a Japanese fighting fish. They want an actual fish tank and they’re willing to shell out the bucks for it, or they have a parent or grandparent they’ve talked into the purchase.

Then there are the serious aquarium aficionados. You wouldn’t think there’d be tons of these people coming in to the store, but you’d be surprised. I probably get one every couple of days, and these men and women are willing to plunk down one or two grand for the big, deluxe tanks stocked with exotic fish.

reef aquarium One time I had a guy come in and ask me if I could design and install an overhead aquarium. He had a big fancy house with high ceilings. In one of the rooms he wanted to install an aquarium that covered the entire ceiling. Or rather, it was the ceiling. He wanted it to be five feet deep and go across the ceiling so that when you walked into the room and looked up, what you saw was an aquarium with fish swimming overhead.

I had never designed or installed anything quite like that before, so I honestly wasn’t sure I could do it. I didn’t say that, though, of course. I acted like I do that kind of installation daily, and that it was no big deal.

It did end up being a big deal, and we had some major obstacles to overcome, and I swore I’d never ever do another job like that again, but at the end of the day, everything came together, and it was a spectacular success. The guy was so thrilled with the outcome that he commissioned me to do the same kind of aquarium for his office in downtown Orlando, and that one turned out great also.

So there you have it: my range of customers from the five-year-old with the goldfish bowl to the 50-year-old with the overhead ceiling tank! It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round.

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