Dealing in living wildlife is no piece of cake. Imagine having started a new tropical fish store in the middle of winter, in Fridley, and having your furnace go out in the middle of the night. Yikes!
Discovery Aquatics—at Moon Plaza between Plaza Cleaners and Universal Hair Studios—is now open for business despite this calamity. The former tenant’s sign still hangs above the store for the time being: "Moloney Securities."
For now, Clint Anderson, the owner and driving force of Discovery Aquatics, has a showroom of saltwater corals, fishes and turbinid snails. Freshwater fishes and other freshwater stock (including snails and aquatic plants) are planned for later.
Anderson has been an avid saltwater enthusiast for 10 years. Besides his new brick-and-mortar store, he establishes and manages saltwater aquaria in doctors' offices and business lobbies across the metro.
Seeing living wildlife that is not from our local habitat is a reminder of a bigger world.
The small corals at Discovery Aquatics survived the temperature fluctuation and are stunningly beautiful and diverse. They are starter corals, termed "frags" (fragments). Though they look plant-like, swaying with the gentle current, they are actually animals.
Anderson and his assistant, Terry (who didn't give his last name), said there are two broad categories of aquarium corals: "hard" and "soft." Hard corals draw calcium out of the water to construct their skeletal system and they grow slowly. Soft corals do not—and are capable of much faster growth.
Individual frags cost between $20–60 depending on species, color and size.
Saltwater aquariasts must invest more in their systems than their freshwater counterparts. This upgrade is most often paid by freshwater tank owners after they succumb to the behavioral charms of a clown fish or of some other saltwater beauty, according to Anderson. The higher price is because water quality management and filtration equipment is more complicated in saltwater systems.
Anderson and Terry are at an early stage of planning out their new Discovery Aquatics space, which recently relocated from Anoka. They have more aquaria to install and plumb, shelving to construct, pricing systems to work out, and pet-store personalization to achieve.
When they get closer to Anderson’s goal, there will be a grand opening event to kick off one of the largest saltwater-focused aquarium shops north of downtown Minneapolis. A Jan. 29 swap meet for aquarium enthusiasts will be a big milestone for the new location.
But already, in winter, in Fridley, there is a place to go for live, tropical corals.