I mentioned I was out of town in the previous post. I had a meeting in Chicago for a few days. While I was there, I took some time to visit a local aquarium store. Located in the Old Town section of the city, the store is aptly named - Old Town Aquarium.
Located just a few blocks from Lake Michigan, Old Town Aquarium sits on N. Wells Street in a quaint little neighborhood filled with little shops and street cafes. The store occupies the street level floor of a small brick building just north of W. Schiller Street.
With all aquarium products in the front half of the store and the fish room in the rear, the store is nicely laid out and organized. Rather than species-only tanks, the store utilizes multiple 20-30g acrylic tanks that each house multiple species. Marine livestock is on one side of the store while freshwater occupies most of the other. The cichlid selection is not very extensive and, from what I could tell, focuses mostly on new world species. I saw some nice Firemouths, Geophagus, Salvini, and even some dwarf pikes. An interesting and rather unique aspect of the retail tanks in the fish room is that each tank is aquascaped. Aquarium stores typically provide little decoration and cover in their tanks, which I personally think is a mistake.
Unlike many aquarium stores, Old Town is full-service, meaning they'll not only help you decide what to buy but they'll even design it, set it up, and maintain it for you. Prices are reasonable on everything from fish food, to new tanks, to the fish themselves. In fact, the store offers a nice selection of products that is sure to provide the needs of every fishkeeper from the beginner to the expert.
If you live in downtown Chicago, you undoubtedly already know about this friendly neighborhood LFS. If you're in town visiting, take the time to stop by and check it out.
The Cichlid Room Companion
Tropical Fish Hobbyist
American Cichlid Assoc.
African Cichlid Hub