Have you ever wanted to get a fish but had no idea where to start?
Meet an aquarist in Wicker Park who began creating educational aquarium videos during the pandemic which led her to a business venture.
Jamie Dalton doesn’t have any furry pets but has plenty of aquatic friends.
“Someone asked me the other day how many fish I have, and I don’t know. I would have to ballpark around 50,” Dalton said.
Those 50 include Harry, the Eastern musk turtle and Lucy, her axolotl. An adorable salamander.
“My mother gave us fish. We were not allowed to have a dog when we were younger, so we had a lot of fish around and I always grew up with fish,” Dalton said. “I had Betas growing up as well and I always thought it was interesting to learn how to properly care for them because I do think people have maybe a misunderstanding for the care that different fish and animals need and the requirements of a healthy set up.”
In 2015 Dalton started Aquarium Info, a blog to share information and tips to help others to start building their fish tanks. During the pandemic she decided to go a little further and transformed her second bedroom into a full functioning fish studio.
“With the pandemic, there wasn’t many visitors coming here and at the time I had two, three fish tanks and I thought to myself what a great opportunity to expand and really take my passion to the next level,” Dalton said.
Dalton started to create educational tutorial videos on care and options for bringing home the right fish or as she calls them wet pets.
“I recently made an impossible two story fish tank. To do this I turned one tank upside down on top of another tank. My fish are going to have a fish mansion. Do you think it’s going to work? Make sure to keep watching.”
It was just a matter of time before her videos were racking thousands of views and going viral.
“I never expected it to get this big. It was amazing watching the growth. Over 2.5 million followers across platforms which is mind blowing,” Dalton said.
With a growing fan base Dalton began selling Aquarium kits.
“This is a four gallon, I call it the mini kit and it comes with a generous amount of sand, dragon stone and we also include tools. So, a really great first step if you wanted to get into the hobby.
What started as a passion project has boomed into a business. One that Dalton says she wants to keep sharing with others.
“I’ve loved to potentially do more in person once we are able to do in person events to do demonstrations and really educate people on the fish keeping hobby. There’s so much to know and so many people do have fish whether it’s a Beta or a goldfish. So, there’s a lot of knowledge to share.”