Now, Here Is A Real Fish Story

As we all know, wintertime in Lakewood can get rough. The holidays are over - the presents have been returned, the decorations taken down, and now all we have is three more months of snow and ice. People spend a lot more time indoors, and many come down with the proverbial "cabin fever."

For lots of people, bringing a bit of the tropics into their home can fight the winter blahs. That is why the winter months are the most popular time for aquarium sales. Having tropical fish not only conjures pleasant images of palm trees and sandy beaches, but also bestows health benefits. The serenity and beauty of a well-stocked aquarium helps to reduce stress level in humans. In fact, many medical offices have aquariums installed in lobbies or waiting rooms in order to provide a calming influence on patients.

A wide variety of Lakewood residents own pet fish. For example, younger adults, many of whom are living away from home for the first time, choose fish to brighten up their first apartment. Families, on the other hand, own them because an aquarium is a good education tool for children. Greg Schnupp, owner of Pet's General Store on Madison Avenue, has seen all types of customers. Pet's not only sells a wide range of fish and equipment, but is a leading source in Northeast Ohio for information on fish keeping.

Before buying the store five years ago, Greg owned a pet shop in Westlake for a dozen years. Before that, he spent eight years working at the 4th floor Higbee's pet department on Public Square.

John Schnupp, Greg's son, has been working at the store for five years. A self-described "fish geek", John has noticed that many of the store's customers form close attachments to their fish. With many species having life-spans of 10 years or so, it is not surprising. "The bigger the fish are, the more attached the owner gets" he observes.

The Schnupps have also noticed another interesting phenomenon: "Cat TV." In many homes, the resident that spends the most time watching the aquarium is the pet cat. The movement of the fish triggers the cat's hunting instinct, and many cats spend hours watching the tank. (Note: Obviously, cat owners need to have covered aquariums, or else they will wind up with an empty tank and a full cat.)

If you've ever considered owning tropical fish, you can get a stocked 10-gallon aquarium for as little as about $50. Many hobbyists start out with a smaller tank, and then move up to a larger model as their interest grows. In addition to daily feedings, an owner needs to spend time each week changing water and cleaning.

To learn more, stop by Pet's General Store 16821 Madison Avenue.
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Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 07.58 AM / 11th January 2006.