Adding Sharks to the Family
When you’ve been in business as long as we have it’s pretty hard for a homeowner to surprise us. But I have to admit—when our client Eric approached us about building an in-home shark tank—it was definitely a first.
Bringing sharks into your house, as it turns out is no small feat. The project involves some pretty complex engineering and the creation of a very precise ocean-simulating habitat for these creatures. It involves hefty slabs of acrylic, cement foundations, filtration systems and an addition to the home that we’ve just started building.
If all goes well, a pair of Shark Rays, a prized marine fish will be moving into Eric’s home sometime this summer.
So you’re probably wondering, who is this client and why does he want an indoor shark tank?
He’s not an international spy. He’s a business owner and avid fish collector, who is intent on taking his hobby to the next level. Like many people, Eric had pet fish as a child. They swam in small 20-gallon tank at the head of his bed.
His interest in his finned companions led to a high school job at a pet store, which helped to build both his knowledge and his collection of sea creatures.
Over the years his hobby grew incrementally along with his tanks. The 20-gallon tank was traded for a 200 then an 800 and then 2,000. The new tank will top them all at 10,000 gallons, with a 4,000-gallon filtration system.
The Ray Sharks’ new tank will be linked with Eric’s current 2,000 gallon salt water habitat, which houses his collection of exotic fish.
It’s a massive tank, situated just off the kitchen. Looking at it it’s not hard to see why Eric is so enamored with his fish. The colorful display inside the tank is like art in motion. Granted investing in this type of art is a little risker than the traditional kind. After all you never find a van Goh floating belly up at the surface the day after you spend thousands of dollars to bring it home.
A massive Napoleon Wrasse that Eric and his wife nicknamed Leo is the current tank’s reigning king. It remains to be seen if the sharks, which can grow nine feet long and weigh some 300 pounds, will unseat him.
Napoleon Wrasse like Leo are so rare, today’s collectors need a special permit to legally import them—a permit that that even public aquariums are hard pressed to obtain. Luckily Leo, (and two other Napoleon Wrasses in the same tank), was already in the country when the law changed.
Eric says he not only collects fish for the enjoyment of watching them swim, but also for the thrill of the chase, in tracking down these rare specimens from sellers around the world.