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Aquariums can add tranquility, beauty to homes

By: Mike Koury | C&G Newspapers | Published April 3, 2019

METRO DETROIT — There are many choices facing a homeowner when decorating a home.

Something that is not uncommon, but definitely stands out, is an aquarium. Victor Bondi, a Warren resident and president of the Motor City Aquarium Society, said he has at least four fish tanks in his home, and at one point he had as many as 18.

For Bondi, having an aquarium in his home is no different than someone who has a lot of plants. While some people might like flowers, he prefers tropical fish.

“You bring a flower into your house. Instead, I bring a live fish into my house and I care for it and cultivate it, watch it grow, watch the characteristics, care about it. … I take pride in my little bit of bringing nature into my home,” Bondi explained.

Sarah Hanscom, general manager of Pet Supplies Plus in Royal Oak, has people coming into the store a few times a week to look at or ask questions about aquariums. She said fish tanks seem to bring a “tranquil feeling” into a home.

“It was aesthetically pleasing to see the fish swimming and hearing the water running on the filter,” she said of the aquarium that she previously owned. “I thought it was relaxing. I would love to have another fish tank. Once I find somewhere where I can set another fish tank up, it’s on. I’m gonna get another one.”

Depending on the type of setup a homeowner wants, they can opt for a freshwater or saltwater aquarium. Hanscom only has experience with freshwater tanks and — though she said saltwater tanks look cooler — they are more expensive than freshwater tanks, which she called more for beginners.

“The fish are more expensive,” she said of saltwater aquariums. “It’s just a more expensive hobby. I don’t think saltwater’s for beginners. … I’ve always been under the perception that freshwater is more beginner-friendly.”

Aquarists can decorate a tank with different gravel, plants, rock formations and air-powered decorations. But the most fun comes from watching the fish thrive.

“Just the colorful aspect of fish, like looking at colorful, different, cool-looking fish — like angelfish have a different shape than an average fish, so I think those look kind of cool,” Hanscom said.

Bondi has been into aquariums for more than 30 years. He first got into his hobby after his nephew brought over a tank to his home. Bondi later went to a fish club to learn more, and years later, he’s now the president of said club, the Motor City Aquarium Society.

While he doesn’t get too much into the decoration of his aquarium as some other fish tank owners might, Bondi said his part of the hobby is raising the fish, pairing them off, breeding them and sharing the progeny with his fellow aquarists.

“There’s just so many facets of this hobby,” he said.

There is a lot to learn for beginners, from maintaining the tank’s water quality and temperature to determining the types and numbers of fish that can inhabit the tank together comfortably. There are many guidebooks on the subject, there is much information on the internet, and there is often information and advice available at stores that sell tropical fish and aquarium supplies.

On whether owning an aquarium improves the quality of one’s life, Bondi could see how somebody could use the hobby to escape from whatever troubles they might have in life.

“All these other things, life’s challenges, I can’t think about those right now, because I’m busy. I’m busy cleaning the tank or adding a new decoration,” he said. “So call it an escape. I think that’s a good thing.”