Re: NANFA-- Visit to Sailfin Pet Shop, Champaign, IL

Patrick Ceas (
Fri, 07 Feb 2003 12:34:49 -0600

Sajjad et al.:

Actually, John (the owner) is quite knowledgeable, and has been very
helpful over the years to me and Larry Page's other former graduate
students, even getting us specimens for our research and the Univ.
Illinois ichthyology teaching collection. I think that Larry still has
a pet lungfish that John originally obtained for us as a class pet. If
you were talking to John, he most certainly meant that it was illegal
for him to go capture natives and then sell the fishes in his pet shop.
Although he would love to help raise awarness of natives, Todd nailed
it when he said most people walk into pet shop looking for exotics.
Also, John keeps many of his tropical fishes in tanks that are heated
above room temperature, which would likely increase the risk of
protozoan infections in the natives (I think). Granted, John is not an
expert on natives, but he will talk tropical fish with you all day
(unless it's a busy weekend day when he's running ragged).

He used to keep snakeheads, not sure if he still does.

Pat Ceas

Sajjad Lateef wrote:

>I was visiting Champaign, IL earlier this week and stopped
>by the Sailfin Pet Shop on Neil St. This is a large, well-
>maintained pet (and fish) store.
>They had a fairly large selection of both salt-water and
>fresh-water critters. Their tanks were decorated in a neat
>way that I ought to try. The gravel was sloped at a 30degree
>incline from front to back (1/4" in the front and about 4" in
>the back) and a couple of rock piles on the left and right.
>No live plants. But, they had a colored foil background that
>was bunched up to provide a "cave" effect. Each tank looked like
>it had individual filters and was serviced from the back. The
>tanks were on a stepped stands (lowest was close, middle 4" back,
>and top another 4" back). Some tanks had a smaller tank put
>against an opening in the background and stuffed with rocks
>and branches.
>That was a change from the usual fish stores near here with all
>tanks in a straight vertical rack, uniform painted backgrounds,
>and serviced from the front.
>That was interesting. Now for the funny part ...
>I went up to this gray-haired guy who seemed like he was
>the proprietor of the store and asked him if he had any natives.
>His response "They're illegal". My jaw drops down and I say
>indignantly "No way! I am talking about minnows. They are not
>illegal." The guy is a bit shocked and tries to bluster "But, we
>can't keep those fish at the tempratures that we keep around here.
>They would soon get protozoan infections". I am so pissed off.
>I tell him "You should've told me that before I spent the past
>five years keeping native fish at room tempratures without
>losing many". I then walk out. No use spending any more time
>in a store when they don't know about natives, huh?
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