Others refer to him as "Bill the fish guy." But Bill Pratt, owner of Atlantis Aquatics, prefers to be called just by his first name.
Pratt specializes in setting up and maintaining saltwater and reef aquarium systems, visiting homes and businesses one to two times a week.
"There are a lot of ghost stories surrounding saltwater fish tanks and how hard they are," Pratt acknowledged. "It's not that they are difficult, it's just important to set the tank up correctly and maintain it," he disputed. "The fish come from the most stable environment in the world so they are used to things being consistent and clean. So, when we stick them in water-filled boxes, it gets tricky."
Pratt also sets up and maintains freshwater tanks.
"It's a hobby," he said about having a fish tank in a home or business. "But it's as easy or as hard as you make it."
Some of his clients, Pratt said, are hands on with their tanks, feeding the fish, cleaning the aquarium, rearranging items in the tank regularly. Others ask him to install automatic feeders and prefer not to touch the system.
Pratt takes clients of all levels. One client has six large tanks in the house. Another has only one small aquarium. He can clean tanks while clients are in the vicinity or not, whatever they prefer.
In addition to setting up, maintaining and troubleshooting aquariums, Pratt propagates and sells fish. Tang fish, lionfish, eels and butterfly fish are
The most common things fish owners do wrong, Pratt said, is to overfeed their fish and not clean the tank often enough. "Overfeeding is the No. 1 killer of fish in aquaria," he said. "And just because it looks clean doesn't mean it's clean."
Fish tanks are good for people's health, according to Pratt. "Findings show that fish tanks have a pronounced effect on blood pressure and memory," he said. "I maintain a tank at an Alzheimer's place and although the residents don't remember my name, they know that I come once a week to clean the fish tank."
Pratt has multiple large aquariums set up in his living room, one that houses Angus the cowfish. "He's like a dog - trainable and personable," Pratt said. "He's more cognizant than people are aware and I make it my business to change people's perspectives."
"An aquarium is better than TV," Pratt continued. "It's fun to watch and is a great conversation starter."
For more information, call 775-9271 or e-mail atlantis.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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