Something fishy draws visitors to attraction at shopping mall

Sharks, stingrays among varieties at Eastwood aquarium

Staff photo / Hailey Rogenski Fish swim in the aquarium at the Eastwood Mall. It is open daily in the center court of the Niles shopping complex.

NILES — Sea creatures have been on display in an unlikely place in Trumbull County, attracting families and shoppers alike.

Known as The Aquarium at Eastwood Mall, sharks, stingrays and exotic fish swim around the three-tank aquarium at the Eastwood Mall.

The aquarium opened in 2007 and has been thriving ever since, thanks to the help of Dick Evans, the fish curator, and other curators who served before him. Evans has been there since 2015 and took over as curator after his predecessor stepped down last year.

Before his job at the mall, he said he gained experience by working at his family’s business, TW Pet Centers.

Evans said people enjoy looking at the fish.

“It’s something different,” he said. “The colors and stuff are really outstanding on some of the fish, and of course, that’s going to get somebody’s attention.”

To make sure the fish are in good health, Evans said he needs to have “good water habits” and make “frequent water changes.” He said he executes a 10% to 20% water change and replaces it with reverse osmosis water.

Another way he makes sure the fish stay healthy is by using ultraviolet radiation sterilization.

“That’s just a light that water passes and as it does, it sterilizes the water,” he explained. “You try to do all these things to minimize health issues in the fish. It helps by breaking up the DNA of certain funguses, parasites and bacteria that are in the water, and therefore, it can’t affect the health of the fish.”

He said the Aquarium has other filters including protein skimmers and biological filtration.

“It (biological filtration) helps consume the ammonia the fish are putting off,” Evans said, adding, “Ammonia is harmful to fish.”

Nine pumps connected to filters keep the water circulating throughout the tank, rather than just on the water’s surface, Evans said.

Evans also changes the lights in the UV sterilizers once a year, replaces the filter socks as needed and scrapes algae off the inside of the tanks daily. He also feeds the fish every day. He said the menu includes salmon, shrimp, cod or halibut, and sometimes pellet or flake food.

Evans ensures not to feed them too much because wasted food can create ammonia.

The nonchlorinated salt water is kept at a temperature of 75 to 77 degrees.

It’s “very rare” that the fish get sick, Evans said. When they do, he uses medicine to treat them, along with the water.



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