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In my Travels Ė York, PA

By David L Banks Jr, TFCB

TFCB December, 2013

I recently traveled to York, PA for work.  I didnít even know where York was when I was first assigned this project, but after a quick map check found it very near Lancaster, PA.  Luck would have it that I know people in the Lancaster area, so I guess I knew people in York.  There is also That Fish Place in Lancaster, so I knew I would have a chance to do at least something fishy while I was there.  A quick check with a few people and a web search and realized I was not going to be there during any club meetings.  However, I quickly realized that I knew someone else in that area too, in fact they live right outside of York.  Rachel OíLeary runs Invertebrates by MsJinxd and we started to talk about me coming to visit during my trip.

These work trips never goes 100% as planned, so I always have to be flexible in my fishy activities.  I arrived into Philadelphia on a Sunday afternoon and started the drive to York, about a 90 minute drive.  I had told Rachel I would call her on my way and see if the timing would work for me to visit Sunday night.  She had a group coming from Syracuse that day, but wasnít sure when they would be there.  As it turned out, they had left by time I had landed I think.  After the driving, and other circumstances, we decided Monday night might work better.  So I headed directly to the hotel and went for dinner and made it an early night.

Monday I was able to get out of work at a normal hour, so headed to see Rachelís fishroom.  I arrived and she told me it had been a busy day, she had shipped out 30 or so orders that day!  And with the large group from Syracuse the day before, her tanks we low on stock.  This was fine for me, I had not planned on buying anything, I was just there to visit and check things out!  We had a great visit, I saw the tanks and what was left for nano fish and inverts.  Rachel also maintains a very large tank with very large fish, bichirs and gars!  I had been at the NJAS 60th anniversary event a couple of weeks before, and realized that some of the fish I had bought there came from Rachel as she had sent a box of fish for donations.  Chili rasboras are very neat little fish, and they are small.  At a little over ĹĒ, these are full grown.  I also picked up some Sundadanio axelrodi.  I didnít know anything about them when I bought them, but they turned out to be very nice.  They are also nano fish, just under an inch with a great bright blue body and they look almost like a neon tetra if you look quickly.  They really showed nicely in the 10 gallon planted tank I put them in with the chili rasboras.  The tank was ideal for them with just a small colony of aspidoras catfish and lots of windelov java fern, anubias nana and a few small regular java ferns.  It was a good visit with Rachel and her family. 

The next evening I was planning to meet up with Kurt Johnston, and we were going to visit That Fish Place as I had never been there and since I was so close had to plan a trip there.  Kurt doesnít have any tanks setup currently as he is rebuilding a fishroom, so the trip to TFP was a perfect outing.  Back when we started getting very involved in the hobby in the late 80ís, TFP was a huge deal.  They were running large ads for every type of fish related items at great prices and they were pretty much the largest most complete discount vendor.  There were other smaller companies back then, but TFP was definitely the biggest, and had the best prices.  Things changed over time as they got more competition and then changed even more once online shopping started.  Even so, this was a great chance to go to ďtheĒ place.  I had heard many stories over the years so I was looking forward to it.  It was just short drive from York which gave us time to chat. 

The outside of the building had a huge shark head right above the door, you could not miss it form the road.  Inside was a very large super market of dry goods, fish on the left half and cat and dog on the right half.  But before browsing the dry good we went to the fish room.  The whole end wall was done in an undersea mural with the swinging doors to the fish room right in the middle of the mural.  Once thru the doors, there were lots of tanks, and lots of fish.  The glofish were the first things you saw as you went into the fish room, tanks of them: brightly colored red, green, purple and yellow danios and tetras.  And lots of florescent plants and other decorations to go with them, all with black lights above them!  They were bright, and definitely caught your attention, I bet many a child that walked thru those doors for the first time went home with some glofish!

There were rows of tanks for freshwater fish, then a large area in the back for saltwater fish and reef items, and the pond section was way in the back.  The marine section was newer and brightly lit, it was very attractive and enticing.  Also in the back is a meeting room setup, Kurt told me this is where his club, Aquarium Club of Lancaster County (ACLC)  meets for their monthly meetings.  We went right to the back and made our way slowly forward just briefly browsing the marine section.  I spent more time going thru the freshwater section.  They had a good selection of cichlids, two plus rows which included African cichlids as well as new world ones.  Each tank had a single species, or maybe 2 or 3 , with very little else in the tank so they were easy to catch.  I didnít see anything too rare or unusual but a good selection with lots of variety.  I worked my way from the cichlid row to others and did see a few species not commonly seen in many fish stores, but they had lots of tanks and used them to have a nice rounded out selection.

As I finished going thru, Kurt asked if I had seen the plants.  No, I missed them!  There was another room across that had just plants, and I found something I had to have.  I really didnítí want to buy any fish as my tanks were already overstocked, but I found a very nice plant I had not seen before.  Anubias afzelli is a fairly new anubias being farm raised now, it had a nice reddish stem and long pointed leaves and it was only $5.  The packing station they have there is built for efficiency and had plenty of room to work.  I was there on a Tuesday evening, but I image a busy weekend day that station would be very busy!  They are setup to fill all bags with oxygen and then tie them off with a rubber band. 

From there we went to see the dry goods.  It was a quick trip down each aisle as I wasnít really looking for anything, but had to check out everything.  The stock they had was quite impressive, and I tried to catch some of the sale prices which seemed very good.  Never bothered to visit the cat and dog sections, but they were big, bigger than our local Petsmart.  As I was checking out they gave me Hikari samples even.  They had a few large display tanks in the front of the store and I quickly checked them out too before heading out for dinner.

I have plans to get back to York in the near future, I know there are other fishrooms to visit, and maybe even a fish club meeting.  I will let you know!

Click on Thumbnails to enlarge. Pictures by Dave banks.

Picture by Kurt Johnston