Refit over? Not quite. As usual a number of misshaps delayed the progress. Let’s start with the good news. We have a new marine section! Unfortunately the new marine racks aren’t working and all the fish and inverts are still in the old racks but hey, you can’t have everything I guess. So the factory have produced the pipework to one of the racks wrong so they don’t fit in one of two systems. The main pump of the other system has been installed incorrectly, a bit too much hose between the return pump and the UV steriliser meant that the hose has bent, and he apparently forgot to fix the UV steriliser to the back of the rack because it was lying on the floor behind the sump when he left. If you want a job well done, do it yourself and that is exactly what we are going to do tomorrow morning.
On a more positive note, the plant tank has been emptied, moved and refilled and we have the new coral table running. I say new… This tank started out as the humble plant tank, then graduated to become the Goldfish tank. Now it’s taken another huge promotion as the new coral tank. It will probably be Prime Minister in a few years!
To make room for the new marine racks we had to remove the old coral tank last night. To remove any 7 foot tank made out of half inch thick glass and cabinet is never a joke. Add a 5 foot sump and the grime and dirt that comes with a marine system that stood for 6 years… It’s a nightmare. We had to empty the tank for rocks, corals, hermits, snails and fish, then the water of course. We saved as much water as possible in buckets and tubs and spread them out out in every available spot overnight. Once the tank was empty we tried to dismantle it, but the pipework that had been siliconed together was not willing to move. As the pipework was attached to the main tank and went straight through the cabinet in to the sump we decided to cut the pipework but we still had to lift the tank to a considerable height before it detached from the cabinet. Ryan, Stuart, Rab, Joe, John and myself all agreed that it was heavy!
Once the tank and cabinet had been separated we moved on to get the tank out of the door. It took six of us to get it out. Stuart and Ryan took the heaviest short sides with the rest of us helping on the long sides. This went quite well until we hit the doorway. As the 2 young slim ones was on the short sides, it turned out that I was the only person slim enough to slide myself through the door along with the tank.
By the time we came out it was only 3 of us left holding it for a few VERY scary seconds. Thankfully that part of it ended successfully, although I’m not quite sure why. I credit Stuart and Ryan.
Next came the cabinet which was considerably lighter and I let the boys get on with it whilst I started preparing the external filters for the new coral table. Minutes later Stuart comes over asking if the cichlid tank at the entrance had been there when the cabinet first arrived. My blood started freezing to ice as I knew perfectly well it hadn’t. The cichlid tank stops us from opening the door completely and that single centimeter would come to haunt us for hours. The first solution was to get the door off. Rab went home and got the tools, but when he came back it turned out that the screws were… screwed! They were worn out and would not turn no matter what we tried. We tried to dismantle the cabinet. Every screw came out but it had been siliconed together. After a lot of carrying about we finally got the bottom off. That was surely the centimeter we needed? NOT! It ended up with basically having to rip the cabinet by force into several pieces. At one point I considered taking it out through the window, even though the window doesn’t open!
The full system finally left the shop around 9pm, and we were hours behind schedule. By the time we had cleared the space for the marine racks that was due this morning, moved the plant tank in to its final destination and refilled it with 700 liters of water and set up the new coral table it was well after midnight. We were actually finished just before midnight, but obviously we had to have the traditional refit leak when the inlet hose fell off the plant tank and much of the 700 liters we had just filled started to overflow the sump. We have had bigger leaks, and this one was contained very quickly but even so, it’s never been my favourite pastime at midnight!
This morning we were back, some of us fresher than others. lol. The marine racks arrived around noon and there wasn’t too much we could do whilst they were being installed, except helping installing them as the guy turned up alone and this is not a one man job. It was around 7 before he had finished and I have already explained the result above… Och aye.
So tomorrow we open our doors to the public again but if you decide to pay us a visit be aware that this is a work in progress. Most of the fish are still to be moved, a process we cannot start until the new racks are running. The movement of tanks have made certain blemishes very obvious and a good sanding and paintwork is required in a few places. One of the main features of this refit would be the planned canopy above the counter. This was meant to give us more space for drygoods as we just lost several shelf metres to the new racks and new position of the plant tank. This canopy is still to be built. Even though we have been planning this refit since December it took the manufacturer of the new tanks until last Friday to give us an installation date. By that time, the joiner is obviously booked and all our plans went down the drain. Instead it will be a longer process, probably lasting a couple to a few weeks but we aim to remain fully open throughout the rest of it.
Then there will be a party and you are invited. We didn’t celebrate our 5th birthday nor our 6th a couple of weeks back so we are making up for it once the refit is finished. Watch this space.
In the meantime,
I’m off to rehab.
I’m back finally. Last week during the nice weather, Steven and I was sitting in his garden discussing the refit. Once we finished we reassured each other that we had a solid plan, we hadn’t taken on too much, we would probably finish yesterday and go to the beach today. Yeah, right!
So, no blogging yesterday. I wasn’t home until well after midnight and today there simply was no time. Where do I start?! So we left off last time with a new plant tank, and now we also have a new Pond fish tank, a new African cichlid set up with 18 tanks and space for up to 65 species, a coral table that looks better than ever and finally we have a polished Crystal Palace, with lights, and it looks great, even if we say so ourselves.
Are we finished? Not by a long shot! There are still a few licks of paints to be done. Some shelves are a bit empty, primarily because we now have more shelf space. Huuuuge fish delivery tomorrow so we are in very early to clean the shop before the delivery. The kiosk service will continue to approx. 12 Noon to allow us acclimatise the fish safely. Sorry, this need to be very short today. I’m just too tired!
The day swished by yesterday and before we knew it, it was gone. Time flies when you are having fun and fun it was believe it or not. Not really a day filled with funny moments and mishaps, but funny because eventually we started seeing results. First on the agenda was to clean Neptune (Our 6ft SPS/LPS system with nano tanks) which had been drained the day before. Over 2 years worth of coralline algae and an amazing amount of calcified sand, glass, weirs, overflow baskets, wave makers, return pumps, heaters, sump… It took pretty much all day with at least 2 people working in shifts on it at all times and around a gallon of vinegar. The cuts and bruises became many, but hey, blood, sweat and tears built this shop and most certainly will continue to do so!
So Neptune was shining as if it was brand new, at least it would have been if the sun had still been out or we hadn’t dismantled the lighting system. Once it was refilled, this time with freshwater and then heated we were ready for the first big move. We were quite happy with the result.
Aqua Parade proudly presents its new Plant tank.
Neptune is big enough to allow us a great selection of plants and has room for a great light system, strong enough to sustain them. The nano tanks will be used for freshwater shrimps, Snails, Fighting fishes, Miniature Rasboras, Endlers and Killie fish.
As the old plant tank was empty it gave us room to move all the coldwater fish from Crystal Palace. They are now on a short break all the way to the old plant tank. A journey of a mere 10 feet, can still be an amazingly breathtaking experience… If you are a goldfish. In their absence we started draining Crystal Palace which was our original goal post of the day. The aim now that it is drained is to bring it back to its former glory. We’ve had a rethink with regards to the old LED strips and we will raise the main tank on several boards with gaps big enough for the LED’s to comfortably slide in. If they break again we can then just slide them out and change them. There are some concerns about under lighting tanks and this should never be done in a home environment but is absolutely fine with goldfish on a temporary basis. The fear is that the fish will start swimming upside down. As Crystal Palace is also lit from above the under lighting is more a decorating feature. We are also redoing the mystic air-flow that somehow don’t displace any water from the middle tower and giving it a good inside clean. We’re gonna need more vinegar…
Today the towers are being removed and last night, just before we were leaving at 10pm Steven, after a few beers, was trying to regain some masculinity after the star fish incident. The tower are extremely heavy and I had arranged with Shaun, the body builder from the shop next door who does 160kg bench press to come and lift them out. Steven tried to convince us that he was capable too. So much he did a partial strip to flex his muscles.
The worst thing that has happened so far is the realisation that we are a week late. We should have done this last week when the weather was great and the customer count low. Nothing brings in the punters as a bit of rain and we had a steady stream of disappointed customers all day. We can get you anything you want by the door, but for Health and Safety reasons we unfortunately can’t let you in. We understand it may not be too tempting to buy fish that you haven’t seen, but we hope that the result will be an improved, sparkling clean shop and thank you for your patience with us these few days.
In other news, Helen went for the hat-trick this morning. First she dipped one of them, then the other. I found it hilarious and wanted to post a picture, but for some reason she declined.
Also, Helen and I filled the temporary coldwater fish home to the very edge. When I say the edge, I really mean the edge. I am amazed that we haven’t had a flooding yet, it’s bound to happen. Anyway, we decided to play a little trick on Steven & John so we turned off the water, but left the hose in the tank and hid and watched as they came back in the room. We thoroughly enjoyed the panic in both guys as they rushed to turn the hose off, which obviously meant they turned it back on, more panic and shouting as Helen and I are shaking with laughter. Maybe one needed to be there, but you don’t get more fun than what you create yourself, as my old Ma used to say when I was bored as a child!
That’s all for today folks,
Exciting (and exhausting) days ahead as the team in Aqua Parade goes into lock down for 3 days to revamp the shop. We have been running for 3 years now, and a full 2 years since our last refit, we feel the shop is getting a bit tired and that some re-thinking of the interior is needed. A lick of paint, and a thorough re-organisation of both livestock and dry goods sets the frame for the refit. And a whole lot of blogging. If the last refit is anything to go by there’s going to be amusing disasters and mind bending problems to solve, all which was dealt with through a fair bit of nocturnal therapy in the shape of my blog, so that is a must.
So what is happening? Well, things are changing places, some things will have more space, other things will have less, but these will be more consolidated so we will not cut down on any particular stock items just display them smarter whilst our best selling lines and fish will be allowed more space and the range will be expanded. In short, we are maximising the space we have without impacting to much on the bright and clean looking status quo. Want to know more? Keep reading as there’s a couple of spoilers coming up and details of an amazing pre-refit sale.
So when is it happening? Tuesday15th-Thursday 17th July. And, yes we will be closed but will run a kiosk service for dry goods and live foods at the door. That is if you are not on holiday. What can I say, July is not a good time for us… A good time for a few licks of paint…!
Want to know more , I asked earlier? Well, obviously you do as you are still with me. O.K. I’ll reveal a couple of the winning stock groups that now are being prioritised. The first one is plants. Our plant selection will be second to none. When Practical Fishkeeping visited us in 2012 they gave us 4 stars for the selection and quality of our plants in a 300 litre tank. Imagine what we can do with literally three times the space, with super strong lighting to ensure our fantastic AquaDip plants that arrive on a weekly basis will remain at their peak. This will be positioned immediately next to a new plant and aqua scaping section with soils, fertilisers and equipment.
The second winning stock group is probably not a surprise to most of our regular customers, but then again, most of our regular customers are indeed cichlid keepers, and yes, it’s cichlids and especially the African varieties that will be rewarded with twice the previous space. We already have a name for providing the best African cichlids in Glasgow and it’s therefore natural for us to take this step and specialise further into the amazing Malawi, Victoria and Tangyianikan worlds. Steven (or as he prefers to be called, Cichlid Steve, but please don’t oblige him as it makes him unbearable!) must take the honour of our Cichlid success. Stevens opinion of “Marine fish are for people who aren’t brave enough to keep Cichlids” and my response “Cichlids are for people incapable of running a marine system” has kept us at loggerheads throughout our acquaintance but after 3 years of propaganda, persuasion and black mail attempts, yours truly now also have a Malawi tank going, and yez, I do love it…
Not that I have turned my back to the marine world. With Helen aboard, we are able to drive the marine section forward. Her expertise is pretty damn brilliant as she knows the things I don’t have a clue about, and she’s a brilliant teacher which both myself, the team and our customers are benefiting from. As always with marine it takes time. We have plans for a new marine fish section in the far corner of our shop, but it will have to wait for now as we are putting our focus on a revamp of the current coral tables.
As pretty much every live being in the shop will have to be moved, the less fish we have in stock when we start, the easier it will become. Therefore, we are offering 25% off all freshwater fish from now until Monday 14th July.
That’s our pre-refit sale!
Brands are an important factor when one is running a shop. Eheim is one of our leading brands and as an Eheim retailer we promise to sort any unlikely problem you may have with your Eheim product. I say unlikely, because with regards to filtration and reliability, no one gets close to Eheim. Their filters run for decades. We will continue flying the Eheim filtraton flag from a new primary location in the shop. After 3 years of failures and successes we have ended up with 2 completely different brands of remedies. API offers a good quality primarily fresh water selection of additives for beginners and experienced fish keepers alike. Seachem offers that high end alternative that suits the most discerning aquarist, whether their specialty is cichlids, aquascaping or reef keeping. I will not brush under the carpet that a refit will allow more space for these brands, which allows us higher purchase power and more competetive pricing…
As for foods, we already offer award winning frozen and live food from the Dutch supplier AquaDip. Rest assure our live foods arrive on a weekly basis. We have tried a number of manufacturer, but as most bags of Bloodworm would stay alive for 2-3 days, AquaDip’s food stay fresh all week. AquaDip also does a range of basic dry food, The quality is high, yet the prices are great. Aquarian’s full range will always be shown on our shelves. A good trusted brand, reasonably priced and with an immense amount of research behind it. We have several different Marine foods and Hikari’s full Cichlid range will also soon be on display.
So time to brace, take a deep breath, and throw ourselves into the abyss yet again. It will be worth it in the end. We know that from experience. The tenacity of my team members is fantastic and what an important part of bulding a business that is. If we stop for a second, rest on our laurels so to speak, things will fall down around us within months. God knows we’ve been close. But here we all are, fighting on in a notoriously difficult business, and little by little we are slowly moving forward, always looking to improve ourselves and I am immensely proud to create new things with John, Steven and Helen. A very loyal, friendly and hard working team, who all have the shop’s customers or rather the customers tanks best at heart. All for the love of fish… And our little shop!
We started in 2011. Throughout 2012 we went from strength to strength. 2013 was the tough year. The year everything was out to get us, everything from political decisions to the issues of a more personal nature. I am not going to mention Bird Phoenix, but the truth is that 2014 has repaired most of the damage from yesteryear, and I want to announce it from the roof tops. I choose to do so, by commending the team that has brought us through the crisis. I can’t wait to experience the future with you guys! To the customers who are still with us, not least those that chose to come back to us, well this is for you.
For more revelations about the refit (or indeed any other matter that might pop into my mind on a late night) follow this spot…
Bring your Father to Aqua Parade this Sunday for an amazing 50% cashback on all purchases of freshwater livestock over £15. E.g. spend £20 on fish and receive a £10 livestock voucher. This can be used straight away or you can save it for your next visit.
All Marine keepers can fill up their R/O cans for free when making any purchase in store.
On top of this we offer Double Aqua Proud points on everything else in store (except Freshwater fish).
You don’t even have to be a Father to receive these offers! They are valid for everyone.