Roadtripping in Nottingham sees us visit three rather different stores – an aquatic superstore, a Koi specialist and a chain store. Nottingham isn’t struggling for diversity…
The PFK team visit three very different aquatics stores in Nottingham.
Steve Says: i’m always excited about driving up to visit Wharf. i used to live nearby and pop in regularly, nowadays it’s a day trip two or three times a year (sadly).
The thing with Wharf is, i know it will have fish there that i covet, i know it has a stable team of experienced and enthusiastic fishkeepers that love to talk about their specialist fishy interests, and i’m pretty much guaranteed i’ll see at least one fish there that i’ve never seen in the flesh before (after 21 years immersed in the hobby). in my eyes, those three things make it a worthwhile journey, even if i’m not intending to buy livestock.
This visit didn’t disappoint at all. i had countless debates in my head about moving fish around at home to make room for some special Synodontis cats, knifefish, barbs, Corydoras or West African, South American and Tanganyikan cichlids. i spoke to staff member Graham Evans about his breeding of Tomocichla asfraci, the young of which have been shipped all over the world to breeders to increase its availability in the hobby, and i saw several fish species in the flesh for the very first time. it was a good trip by those standards. The one ingredient that tainted an otherwise tasty meal was the tankbusters. now, i’ve let Wharf off the hook much more than other shops for years because it’s been known for dealing with large specialist fish, has a reputation for doing so responsibly, it produces its own massive tanks for customers of big fish, and it doesn’t stock cheap tankbusters – there’s a big difference between selling small Pangasius catfish for £3 and selling a 30cm Hoplias wolf fish for £650. So i’m still not worried about most, but there were two fish i can’t let pass this time – nile perch, and a Goonch or Giant Devil catfish (a man-eating, migratory, 2m-long catfish). no matter how much you vet a customer, i can’t see anyone in this country being able to maintain these fish to maturity.
now that’s off my chest, what can you expect from a trip to Wharf?
There are plenty of fish sales tanks here and they are used very well – so well that i can’t imagine who wouldn’t find this place wonderful. Maybe Discus fans and those few people in the country who only keep Lake Victorian cichlids? it’s not that they don’t stock them, just that they don’t specialise in them the way they do with oddballs, catfish, fancy Bettas, shrimp, Malawi cichlids, Tanganyikan cichlids, Characins, Piranhas and plecs.
i wouldn’t say they specialise in barbs by any means, but that doesn’t stop them stocking all the ones you’d find in most shops, plus having two types i’ve not seen before and now want to keep (indigo barbs, £4.50 and Red line scarlet barbs, £5.25). The selection of livebearers is vast – mostly common varieties, but they offer so many colour and pattern variations you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Marines are amazing too, with common and obscure reef fish, non-reef fish and inverts.
The coldwater room holds some nice pond fish. The stocks are lowish now due to the time of year, but they
I’m pretty much guaranteed I’ll see at least one fish I’ve never seen in the flesh