Water’s Edge Aquarium Service celebrates 20th anniversary
Located on Maple Road in Amherst, Water’s Edge designs, installs and maintains aquatic tanks for all of Western New York. The business creates saltwater, freshwater and living coral tanks for commercial and residential customers.
Nick Kokinos and his wife, Susanne, own Water’s Edge Aquarium Service Inc., having founded the business in 1997. For Nick Kokinos, tending to aquariums began as a hobby.
He was introduced to fish when he was 21 and eventually had tanks in almost every room of the couple’s first house.
When the couple went out to dinner at a local restaurant before creating their business, Kokinos noticed that a fish tank in the establishment wasn’t looking clean and healthy for the fish.
“I knew then that I found a need in the community that I could fill,” he said.
Maintaining tanks provides a lot of business for Water’s Edge, with several set maintenance schedules for its customers.
“Maintenance is our bread and butter,” Kokinos said. “All the customers have to do is feed the fish, and it’s our responsibility to keep the fish happy and healthy in their environment.”
When a customer wants a custom aquarium built, the designing process begins with meeting the customer at the individual’s home or office. The Kokinoses look at the desired space for the tank and provide the customer with options of aquarium size, materials, filtration, cabinetry, fish, corals, special lighting and more. The finished design is sent to local manufacturers to build the tank. The couple then buys other necessary materials for installation. Water’s Edge also sources most of its fish and hard materials locally.
One design they created was actually built by Wayde King and Brett Raymer, co-owners of Acrylic Tank Manufacturing, and stars of the Animal Planet show “Tanked.”
“It was an interesting process, and it’s nice having a few shows on TV that highlight our market,” Susanne Kokinos said.
Sizes of tanks vary from 25 to 600 gallons, which was the company’s biggest build. The lead time for an aquarium can take one or two weeks for smaller tanks and between 12 and 16 weeks for larger tanks, depending on the level of customization. Cabinetry surrounding the tank can be made from almost anything. Favorites among customers include wood and metal.
Susanne Kokinos said there are numerous designs a customer could want in a space.
“Most people want their tank to reflect the vibe of the room,” she said. “If we have a school, they may want it to look colorful, fun and interesting for the kids. But if it’s downtown in a high-rise and it’s more sleek, they probably want to have cabinetry to match their office or furniture.”
The couple’s favorite tanks are ones that recreate an original environment.
“If we have a say in how to design the tank, Nick and I try to keep it authentic,” Susanne Kokinos said. “Actually taking a slice of the reef or river or lake and putting it into a tank to make the most beautiful recreation of its indigenous setting is, we feel, the most successful.”
Water’s Edge is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call 689-3343 or look on Facebook by searching “Water’s Edge Aquarium Service Inc.”