Aquarium store to feature shark tank
Sharks in Lake Tahoe may sound like the stuff of nightmares, but with the opening of the town’s newest business, Rich Aquarium and Pet Supply, it might just become reality.
Among thousands of varieties of fish and coral, the store will feature a 400-gallon shark tank with hound sharks, cat sharks and other marine life.
“They won’t be very big at the start,” said owner Bradford “Tyson” Rich. “They’ll probably be around a foot long.”
For Rich, the new store, opening in early November, is the culmination of a lifetime of raising all types of pets. He hopes the store will provide a service that doesn’t currently exist here and act as a draw for visitors and, potentially, aquarium and reptile conventions.
“I want to make it a place where people can come in and hang out and see stuff that they’ve never seen before,” he said.
Rich, originally from the Bay Area, has lived in South Lake Tahoe for three years. As a nearly fanatic aquarium enthusiast, he quickly noticed the lack of serious supply stores in the area.
“The aquarium side is really lacking,” he said. “You can’t find good stuff within a 100-mile radius. Everyone who’s in the fish trade up here has to drive to Sacramento. There’s nothing up here for us.”
South Lake Tahoe has three pet supply stores already, including Dog. Dog. Cat., Pet Supermarket and Pet Station, which does carry some aquarium supplies.
In addition to the rows and rows of aquariums and aquarium supplies, the store will be stocked with reptiles and reptile supplies as well as supplies for dogs, cats and other pets. The reptile part is bit of a problem for Rich’s wife and co-owner Denise Rich.
“I have a deathly, deathly fear of snakes,” she said, standing way back as her husband pulled a red-tailed boa from its terrarium. “I have a strong respect for every animal even as small as an ant, but I have no desire to have a snake slithering around me.”
Denise Rich does want to break down the idea that keeping an aquarium is a complex project, requiring a diehard commitment and ultra expensive supplies.
“A lot of people think it’s really difficult to maintain,” she said. “We want to bring that knowledge and show them how easy it is.”
The Harrison Avenue location, which used to be the back section of Video Library, still needs a lot of work before the store can open. Rich needs to install and stock his shelves, put in an ADA-compliant doorway and restroom, and, of course, put in the shark tank and the other aquariums, which will be modeled after the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences.
“I’ve been working until three in the morning,” Bradford Rich said. “I did that for about a week.”