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The professionals - "Water Inn"


WATER INN is run by George Stamatiou. The petshop is located at 32, Ilision str., Kifissia. Tel: +30 210 8003097 e-mail: g.stamatiou@waterinn.gr

When a new aquatic petshop opens its gates in Athens, our first response is to pay a visit and see if it has to offer something different to the hobbyists. This is especially so if - as rumor had it - this was the largest petshop in Greece (and one of the largest in Europe). It seems that some people decided to spend their money and create larger and better equipped shops in Greece lately. Some friends told me how to find it and, one day before the closing of 2005, there we were with our cameras and a lot of expectations. Let us draw the conclusion at this point and let you enjoy this report with no worries. Yes, it is the largest shop in Greece and - along with Hydrocosmos - the best organized shop we have seen in this country, directly comparable to the ones we have enjoyed and envied in Europe. "Water Inn" is the largest of the two by a good margin. The owner, George Stamatiou, has spent a fortune to build it and has a clear vision about its future. As he told us, being a hobbyist for many years, he knew all too well what he would like to see in a petshop and this is why (and how) he created "Water Inn".

The decoration is excellent, all in curves, with a nice blue overcast all over the place. Space is ample and the variety of goods on offer is excellent. However, what left us speechless is the filtration system and the quarantine (huge) room. You have got to see it to believe it. No compromises, no second thoughts, simply the best there is. Definitely, money was not an issue - outmost quality and safety were.

It is not for us to speculate if such a huge investment will ever break even but we hope it will. This will only ensure that more such places are built in Athens which will benefit both the hobbyists and the petshop owners. As George Stamatiou said, "we want to make hobbyists happy. We want to give them the best equipment at the best price and this is also true for our livestock. We will not display any fish for sale until we are confident that the fish is healthy and - in the case of marine fish - eating properly. We have build an adequate quarantine system and we are able to keep the fish there for months if we have to. This is why we created this system. We don't have to "push" the fish to the hobbyist." Does that work ? you may ask. Well, we have looked in all his tanks and what we saw was marine and freshwater fish in excellent shape, active, with excellent colors. What else could we ask for ? His 5 ton marine tank is an exhibition of fish everybody would drool about - mind you we are talking about a foot long Emperor Angelfish dominating it. His triggers almost tempted us to add salt and a skimmer to one of our tanks. The discus were in very good shape with vivid colors, his African cichlids were also in excellent shape. His corals, too. We were nicely surprised by the fact that all the front glasses of the tanks were crystal clear. As we learned, the tanks are all serviced from the back to avoid spillage on the display side. Little things do matter. If you are a plant addict, there is a very nice selection there with healthy plants.

His selection of food stuff, filters and accessories is as complete as it gets and the prices are really friendly. In a space below the ground floor (next to the filtration / quarantine section) there is a selection of ready made aquariums to choose from, ranging from small table top units to 500 liter tanks. Apart from that, they will create any custom tank you ask for. As George said "We don't want to promote any given brand of equipment or food. If we are asked to give our opinion, we will gladly do that, but it is the hobbyist who will make the final selection. What we can and should do is to offer him a large variety of good quality items."

We had a hard time to select some photos for you to see but we will make a stop here and give you the technical details which comprise this petshop. Many thanks to George Stamatiou for sending this information to us. He had already told us those figures during our visit there, but we were too busy taking photos.. to take notes!

Petshop Surface :
Underground floor : 600 m2
Ground floor : 300 m2
1st floor : 200 m2

Underground floor:
24 tanks x 200 L each - for freshwater livestock - tanks and quarantine
72 tanks x 200 K each for marine livestock and quarantine
2 tanks of 3000 L each for conditioning salt water 
1 tank of 3000 L for conditioning freshwater.
2 tanks of 1600 L each for conditioning fresh water.

Ground floor:
6 tanks of 200 L each for fresh water species
170 tanks of 90 L each for fresh water species
6 tanks of 200 L each for corals
6 tanks of 200 L each for marine species
18 tanks of 90 L each for marine species

4 ponds of 300 L each for plants (see photos below)
2 ponds of 100 L each for plants

1 display fresh water tank (discus shaped) with a volume of 700 L
1 display fresh water tank (hanged) with a volume of 300 L
1 display marine tank (shaped like an "8") with a volume of 5000 L

Still not impressed by the numbers ? Let's see how all this looks like..

This is the entrance. Blue is the color that dominates everything and very rightly so. The special plastic sheets create a blue shade and keep the sun radiation away from the interior. Christine and Johnny are talking to George Stamatiou. The white stones visible to the left and right of the "bridge" will become a pond.

As you can see the interior is a mixture of functionality and correct decoration. In this photo you can see the discus-shaped tank in the center and three of the plant ponds in the foreground under the hanging metal halides.

A view of what was behind us in the previous picture.You can see the plant ponds again, part of the 5 ton marine tank (left corner) and the tanks. Screen hanging from the ceiling show videos from coral reefs..

Standing next to the marine display tank (right side) we take a view of the entrance..

A view of the interior taken from the entrance. You can see the discus shaped tank, the marine display tank (in the center) and the tank arrays. The lens used was a fisheye which doesn't show you the true "sizes" but gives a better impression of the scenery.

George Reclos and George Stamatiou. We would like to thank the "other" George for his hospitality and the nice discussion we had with him. We really kept him busy for a long time but there was really too much to see and learn. We hope that his plan to create a "meeting point" for hobbyists in the first floor will soon become a reality. We will definitely be there very often!

One of the plant ponds..

and another one. What a nice way to present the plants !

At the back you will see a huge selection of foods, nets, accessories.. everything.

We are at the underground floor now and this is the place where you can choose your next tank. There is a size (and shape) for everyone.

George Stamatiou proudly shows us the three huge tanks for conditioning the water of his system. Each one of the three black containers will hold 3 tons of water. You may also see the first array of stock and quarantine tanks on the left.

Part of the filtration system. Huge, expensive and efficient. This kind of filtration will lead to fewer losses and happier fish.

John takes a look at some of the specimens kept in quarantine. I hate to say that, but at least half of them would be sold to hobbyists in some petshops I know..

In the next page, we will show you some of the fish we saw there.. only a few of them since most photos will appear in the species section of MCH sooner or later.

All photos taken by MCH and published with the permission of George Stamatiou.

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