Blue Fish Aquarums officially opened it's doors on November 1, 2011 and we've been proudly growing our facilities, services and outreach to the present day.
Our goal is to keep the pace of this expansion and we are determined to meet this goal. Feel free to explore the tabs above to see what we're all about, what we've accomplished and where we intend to go next.
Check out the full story of how we got started below and watch this bonus video of Ryan educating the public about the saltwater aquarium industry on the morning news!
It started with a challenge made about six years ago.
Today, it is a challenge Ryan Kellogg, 24, is very happy he accepted.
The result of the challenge — made to Kellogg by his wife, Jessica — is a thriving business, Blue Fish Aquariums, 5412 Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst.
In order for anyone to really understand what was asked of Kellogg, one must first know a little about the Disney movie “Finding Nemo.”
“The fish in the movie all have names and they have become so popular, people refer to the names of the fish they saw in the movie,” he said.
Kellogg was aided in this knowledge by the fact he worked for his father, Scott, at The Kiddie Company daycare, located at the former public school site at 1111 Alvey Road in Lyndhurst. There, he heard the kids chatter about their favorite colorful fish portrayed in the animated movie. One fish featured in the movie was the clown fish.
“My wife challenged me to keep alive a clown fish,” said Kellogg, whose knowledge of actual fish, not the cartoon variety, had been limited to those his father kept when Kellogg was a youngster. “A clown fish is the second most iconic saltwater fish.”
The first? That would be the yellow tang.
The clown fish could pass for a Cincinnati Bengal mascot, with its orange color broken up only by vertical black and white stripes.
“I proved her wrong and I did it,” Kellogg said.
Keeping a saltwater fish alive is not easy. The water must have a constant balance not only of salinity, but of alkalinity, calcium, iodine, strontium, ammonia, phosphate, and every other element that makes up the periodic table. Improved technology over the past decade has greatly furthered people’s ability to own saltwater fish, Kellogg said.
From his success with the clown fish, Kellogg grew his home aquarium to the point where it includes over 50 species of coral and 12 species of exotic saltwater fish. He also grew to love all things saltwater
Taking his hobby deeper
“I hate to use the word addictive, but it hooks you and you have to have more and learn more.”
On Nov. 1 — using the knowledge he’d gained from his deep interest in the hobby, and armed with a bachelor’s degree in business earned from the University of Phoenix — Kellogg opened Blue Fish Aquariums.
Throughout the day, and particularly after 4 p.m. when people are off work, the store hosts a steady stream of browsers and shoppers.
“People of all ages respect the reef — people of all ages, from the kids at the daycare to those in their 70s and 80s,” Kellogg said.
Blue Fish Aquariums deals only in saltwater fish, including coral, and their environment. Kellogg concedes it can be an expensive hobby, but it is one that pays rewards in terms of relaxation and beauty.
“Look at Cleveland, they’re opening (on Jan. 21) their (Greater) Cleveland Aquarium. They’re using the beauty of the reef to revitalize a whole city.”
In all, 80 percent of all fish species come from just the 2 percent of the world’s waters made up of coral reefs.
Kellogg has the only exclusively saltwater fish store in the area, the other nearest stores being in Columbia Station and Vermilion.
He talked with owners of those stores, as well as others who formerly ran such stores, to learn the ropes. And, there are ropes to be learned.
Fish come from around the world
After all, the fish Kellogg sells must be shipped overnight in special containers from destinations throughout the world. He orders from such far-off locales as Sri Lanka, Bali, Fiji and Bora Bora. Shipping is expensive, comprising about 80 percent of the total cost he charges customers.
A gallon of water, for example, weighs 8.9 pounds. Special attention must be made to enrich with oxygen shipments that might be coming from as far away as Indonesia.
There’s also a lot of government red tape involved in bringing exotic fish into the U.S. More than 300 species of saltwater fish are permitted to be brought into the country and kept in aquariums.
What’s more, some of the shipments can be dangerous. A Volitans lion fish the store recently received has extremely dangerous stingers, each of which carries the wallop of 100 bee stings should a human be stuck. Kellogg and store manager Shawn Kinney have also taken in shipments including a moray eel and a 2-foot baby shark (that will grow to be about 12 feet).
“About 10 percent of what we get is predatory and dangerous,” Kellogg said.
A major part of the business is maintenance. Since many who own fish have the financial means (a 400-gallon, bullet-proof aquarium at Blue Fish costs $5,000), the business will go to saltwater fish owners’ homes and maintain their tanks.
“There’s a gentleman down the road in South Euclid who’s 87 and has four tanks that are over 100 gallons,” Kellogg said. “He was so happy we opened. He just calls us, we take care of it, and then he ‘turns on the TV’ and watches (the fish).”
This service includes the installation and maintenance of aquariums in businesses, such as doctors’ offices and hair salons.
Anyone looking for goldfish can go elsewhere, as Blue Fish Aquariums deals only with fish of the saltwater variety. For Kellogg and others who have fallen under their spell, there are no fish other than the saltwater kind.
Certainly, Kellogg is convinced that all who come into contact will succumb to “the beauty of the reef.”