David Jones is the kind of person who likes to have a fish tank in his house for peace of mind.
It’s not hard to maintain his saltwater aquarium, he says, but it does require dedication and care.
“It’s something you have to be interested in,” he said. “It’s not something you have to have unless you’re like me.”
Now Jones is translating his hobby into a business by realizing a lifelong dream. This month, he opened Fintastic Aquariums of Wake County, a saltwater fish and coral store, not far from downtown Cary.
The 16,000-square-foot facility is lined with 31 tanks that are larger than those typically found in retail stores. They’re filled with beautiful, colorful fish darting around each tank and corals that seem to glow. One of the most popular fish so far has been an Ocellaris Clownfish, made popular by the “Finding Nemo” film.
“We wanted to maximize our footprint and get in more of a selection and variety than most people have ever seen,” he said. “We can get things cheaper and pass that along to the hobbyist.”
The tanks are divided into sections, allowing any sick fish to be quarantined.
“We are in the process of getting some hospital systems,” Jones said. “Once we have those set up, we’ll be that much better off.”
The store’s grand opening in Cary drew customers from several states as well as local hobbyists.
“We had brand new floors Friday morning,” he said. “By the end of the weekend, there was already a walking path worn into the floor.”
Jones, who grew up in Cary, said he was adamant about opening his store in his hometown.
“No matter how many times I tried to move away from this place, I always come back,” he said. “I’m here to stay.”
In order to maximize his collection, Jones teamed with a store in south Florida where he had been a customer. Without that collaboration, Jones said he would have had a harder time offering a quality selection at reasonable prices.
“He actually hand selects all of our livestock before it gets shipped up here,” he said.
Fintastic caters to its customers.
“Our wish list is growing daily,” Jones said. “I love getting to watch everybody leave with smiles on their faces and feeling like they got a good deal.
“It’s a niche market. It depends on how much is your budget and what quality do you want. Some people want to dip a toe into the hobby first and then they go crazy with it.”
Caring for an ecosystem properly is key, he said.
“We are all about getting the right stuff into the right tanks,” he said. “Not a lot of people have been taught what a proper cleanup will do for you. We’ve already fixed numerous problems that people were having.
“It feels so great to finally be doing something so great with my life.”
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About Fintastic Aquariums of Wake County
Location: 303 E. Durham Road, Suite A, Cary
Contact: 919-377-1839, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday through Saturday; noon-7 p.m., Sunday