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Aquarium Design Systems

Robert and Jodi Lysiak run a fishy business.
The Hilton couple own Aquarium Design Systems, a firm that sets up and maintains fish tanks throughout the city.
The business grew from a hobby, one that Robert Lysiak began with frustration. Ten years ago, Lysiak stocked his first salt- water tank with $150 worth of fish, only to watch them die a month later.
Nobody he consulted could explain their demise, but Lysiak restocked his tank and tried again. One month later, more dead fish.
Eventually, he discovered his failure to dechlorinate the water had delivered those death blows. Though costly, the experience planted a seed for starting the aquarium-maintenance business five years later.
Roughly 75 percent of clients are businesses and offices in Rochester. Lobster tanks at Wegmans Food Markets Inc. receive regular service, as do aquariums at Southside Apothecary and several doctors’ offices.
Cost varies for aquariums and equipment such as filters and purifiers. Salt- water tanks cost more than fresh water, and custom-made aquariums designed to match an office decor run up the tab even more. A small fresh-water tank goes for $35, for example; larger salt-water aquariums cost $150 or more.
And don’t forget the fish.
“The look of the tank is important, but picking out the fish is the most fun,” Lysiak says.
Fish range in price from 39 cents to $500 or more. Clown fish–bright orange with white stripes–are popular, and cost approximately $15. Puffer fish that “look like round balls with fins” also are a hit at $25 each.
Most businesses shy from exotic fish that require complicated daily feeding schedules, Lysiak says. Aquarium Design services tanks on a monthly or biweekly basis, with prices varying according to tank size and amount of maintenance required.
Because only a handful of Rochester firms offer aquarium design and maintenance, the Lysiaks get all their business from a listing in the yellow pages telephone directory. Revenues have increased each year, Lysiak says, and the firm is profitable.

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