Everything's fishy about this store

With brilliantly colored fish and a black tipped reef shark swimming around in an aquarium, The Shark Reef brings inhabitants of the world’s most exotic waters to Bremerton.

The saltwater aquarium store officially opened April 13 at 4215 Wheaton Way adjacent to the Petco store.

Owner Eric Morgensen is a saltwater aquarium specialist who grew up in Bremerton and attended college in Utah. While there, he worked for a saltwater aquarium store — The Painted Fish. He has been working with aquariums for about two and a half years.

By the end of May, Morgensen hopes to have 34 aquariums set up in his shop, including a supersized 350-gallon, 10-foot long one. Some will be four feet wide to accommodate sharks he is bringing to the store.

Morgensen said people interested in exotic fish need not fret about excessive tank upkeep.

“As long as it’s (an aquarium) set up right, and we set them up right, it’s not that hard,” said Morgensen about aquarium maintenance

So far there is only one shark for sale at The Shark Reef — a black-tipped reef shark. But Morgensen said he is planning to have many more, including a leopard shark, a nurse shark and a bonnet-head shark.

However, sharks aren’t the only thing sold at The Shark Reef. Morgensen sells many other saltwater fish, including eels, puffer fish and lionfish.

Currently, the reef shark lives in a tank that is eight feet long and four feet wide. It swims around with a lionfish, a zebra eel and a nasotang with streamers.

Morgensen said there is a basic rule of thumb for putting other fish in the same tank as the shark.

“You shouldn’t put any fish (with the shark) that it can get in its mouth,” Morgensen said. Still, he said that doesn’t always prevent the shark from biting the other fish.

The black-tipped shark eats frozen octopus and krill, and sometimes, live fish, Morgensen said.

There is a sign on the side of the aquarium that asks customers to not put their fingers in the tank. Morgensen said this is not necessarily because of a hungry shark, but because of the poisonous dorsal spines of the lionfish.

He said the shark would not normally bite him unless she has an open cut or is bleeding.

The high number of shark killings since last summer’s spate of shark attacks in Florida upset Morgensen.

“We kill many more sharks than they kill or even hurt humans,” said Morgensen. “It’s their world.”

The black tipped reef shark is priced at $1,200, but Morgensen said he wouldn’t sell any shark to someone who didn’t have their aquarium set up correctly.

“I care about my fish,” said Morgensen.

Most of the fish come from fish farms in Indonesia.

The Shark Reef does not just sell fish. Morgensen said he sells all the equipment a person needs to set up a good aquarium. He hand makes all the aquariums and will go to homes or businesses to set up or maintain an aquarium.

The Shark Reef is open from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The phone number is (360) 782-2568.

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