Dreaming of a big spacious aquarium stocked with some gorgeous fish, either seawater or freshwater? Luckily there’s all sorts of stores throughout the city that not only specialize in all sorts of pretty fish, but also in how to install an aquarium and then maintain it. There’s a lot of factors to consider when shopping for both an aquarium and fish: not just price, but how they keep the aquariums clean, and how healthy their fish are. Here are five of the best shops in the city and beyond.
Old Town Aquarium
1538 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60610
From freshwater fish to saltwater fish — and all the equipment that goes with taking care of our fish friends — Old Town Aquarium has you covered. With over 30 years of experience, Old Town Aquarium’s staff are knowledgeable, friendly, and will gladly help you choose and design an aquarium — complete with cabinetry, as well as coral. If you’re just a beginner to fish ownership, they can help you pick out a fish. Or if you’re looking to add to your aquarium system with an exotic fish, such as a Joculator angel, you can do that too.
5401 Patton Dr. #105
Lisle, IL 60532
For one of the most extensive options in aquariums, head to the suburban Reefwise store. What makes this store even more worth the visit: seeing their 52-foot natural reef that they’ve designed to create a healthy living environment for all the fish that live in the water with it. Other aquariums also feature exotic saltwater fish. Their system for intaking fish — new fish come in every week — involves quarantining, helping to ensure that all fish that they are sell are healthy.
Tank it Easy
3700 N. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
Just as the Lakeview shop’s name implies, take it easy with your tank maintenance. While the shop sells saltwater, freshwater, and coral fish, along with the accompaniments to go with it, they also offer in-home aquarium maintenance, which includes full-service cleaning. And if you’re moving? They can help with that too. But if you don’t have your perfect aquarium, they can help with that too. They specialize in custom aquariums, whether its freshwater or reef system, and build the tank as well as its enclosures. And when it’s done? They’ve got plenty of fish options to make your aquarium picture perfect.
1180 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642
You won’t find out-of-the-box aquariums here, and that’s because this Noble Square shop specializes in custom work, making your aquarium the perfect fit for your particular space. They’re also there to help you take care of your fish, keeping them healthy in part by quarantining before they sell them, whether its a freshwater, saltwater, or coral fish. While their selection of fish is smaller than most stores, they can order many fish on request, and their prices are some of the best in the city.
1514 W. 33rd St.
Chicago, IL 60608
For harder to find exotic fish, head to Golden Aquarium in McKinley Park. Their selection of freshwater and saltwater fish — including the coveted koi — is unlike any other. And if they don’t have it? They’ll tell you where to go, and that’s a big testament to the kind of customer service they provide: some of the friendliest and helpful people work here. They also can help you pick out what you’ll need to set up your aquarium was well.
Liz SanFilippo Hall is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she’s working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.