Fish are friends, not food

With Finding Dory coming out on June 17, 2016, I thought it would be a fun adventure to try to find Dory in Middle Tennessee. Fortunately, I didn’t have to travel far. The Aquatic Critter in Nashville is arguably the biggest exotic fish store in Tennessee, and there are plenty of Dory fish to find.

Chris Beggin opened The Aquatic Critter at 5009 Nolensville Pike in Nashville in 1986. Not only is his store one of the few places to find exotic fish in Middle Tennessee, but it also gives the community a place to go besides the multi-million dollar pet stores like Petco or PetSmart.

“There was a need for a true, privately-owned pet store,” Beggin said. “Every person who works here has experience with fish, and that’s something you won’t find at big pet stores.”

Currently, The Aquatic Critter offers over 350 species of fish, both saltwater and freshwater. They also offer other aquatic critters like eels, starfish and coral.

Along with his massive fish store, Beggin is also developing a breeding room for exotic fish. Breeding aquatic organisms in captivity will reduce the collection of fish in the open ocean and will stop young fish like Nemo from being kidnapped.

“By breeding fish here we can offer customers a better supply of critters at a lower cost,” Beggin said. “This will also help us give exotic fish a better tank life.”

And let’s not forget, now that some fish are being offered at an acceptable price-range, this means that college students can finally upgrade their Beta fish!

But what kind of fish best meshes with a student’s busy lifestyle?

“Definitely not Dory,” Beggin said. “Saltwater aquariums require a lot of time and effort, and college kids need that time to be studying.”

If students would like to begin an aquarium, it’s recommended that they choose a freshwater tank with a community-type environment. An employee at The Aquatic Critter can help you choose the best fish mix for your tank.

Quick tidbit: The Aquatic Critter also offers exotic reptiles! Students looking to expand outside the aquatic realm should definitely consider a little bearded dragon companion. (Also, The Aquatic Critter reptile room has a Caiman Alligator that you can feed. If that’s not a reason for you to check out the store, I don’t know what is.)

The Aquatic Critter, located at 5009 Nolensville Pike in Nashville, is open seven days a week. You can find the store’s hours of operation on their website.

Want to know which aquatic critter best fits your lifestyle? You can take my quiz here.

Photo Gallery:


Long Horned Cowfish *Photo by Etta Petersen

Green Wolf Eel *Photo by Etta Petersen

Blue Spot Jawfish *Photo by Etta Petersen

Spotted Eagle Ray *Photo by Etta Petersen

Porcupine Puffer *Photo by Etta Petersen

Clown Trigger *Photo by Etta Petersen

Blue Hippo Tang *Photo by Etta Petersen

Spotted Mandarin Goby *Photo by Etta Petersen

Flying Fish *Photo by Etta Petersen

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