House of Fins in Greenwich, CT, just north of NYC, one of the oldest aquarium stores in America, is about to celebrate its 60th anniversary. This store is top notch. Done right. The real deal. It is packed with fish and corals beyond your wildest dreams. Working here gave me the opportunity to work with species I could have never imagined even seeing in real life – peppermint angelfish, Dr Seuss fish, Fuscipinnis anthias, and sailfin anthias. I got so used to seeing banded angelfish, black tangs, gem tangs, conspicuous angels, and Borbonius anthias, they almost became common to me. This is where the best and brightest corals and fish are found.
Many of their customers are maintenance clients, so they focus on carrying the most reliable, quality products to keep these tanks going for the long haul. You won’t find snake oil or products with shoddy workmanship here. You’ll only find equipment, supplements, medications, filtration, and lighting that is suitable for the most discerning aquarist.
I vouch for the health of the livestock. Use of only the highest quality suppliers, effective filtration and system design, strict protocols for prophylactic Crypto and disease treatment, heavy feeding and conditioning allows House of Fins to have very low rates of livestock loss – as low as is physically possible. I personally recorded the numbers and tracked the loss rates, and even I was impressed. House of Fins wants you to be successful. They are so confident in the health of their livestock, they offer a 7 day livestock guarantee.
Rob Bray’s team of employees are among the most talented in the nation. When I worked there, my coworkers included a marine scientist with extensive aquaculture experience, a marine biologist who studied at Brown U, and Joe Mulvey, House of Fins’ own aquarium celebrity with more than 20 years of employment at House of Fins. Many of the employees on the maintenance team have marine science or marine biology degrees and/or impressive resumes in the aquatics industry.
Rob is a classy, charming fellow with a wide grin and a big heart. His lifelong passion for aquariums started when he was very young. He worked at House of Fins when he was a teenager, and had the opportunity to purchase the business when he was in his 20s. He has renovated the store a few times, but kept many of the original elements like the iconic front door and big shoppe window.
Rob has an eye for beauty, decadence, and style. One of my favorite Rob quotes is, “If you love it, you should have it!” Not only does he have a lifetime of experience keeping livestock healthy, but he has the ability to design an aquarium that says, “I might have a Ferrari in my garage.” His clients’ aquariums are beautiful, properly maintained, and healthy; they look like high fashion status symbols that belong on the pages of magazines being admired by supermodels. I’m all about customer service, but in my humble opinion, Rob spoils his clients. He often knows what his clients want before they do and has been known to fly to the other side of the world to personally bring a fish to a client’s aquarium.
Full disclosure – I used to work at House of Fins. I feel that instead of making me biased, it just gives me a deeper familiarity with the store and allows me to review it more honestly. I’m passionate about supporting local aquarium stores. This is just my way of giving back to those who gave me great experience, opportunities, and friendship. Please support your local aquarium store every chance you have. We can’t afford to lose the value and culture local fish stores offer our hobby.
Images by author unless otherwise noted