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From fins to feathers: Lansing’s Aquatic Life & More is a hidden oasis for animal-lovers

Pet store celebrates seven months in Lansing

LANSING, Ill. (October 23, 2023) – The sound of chirping birds and wall of aquariums lets animal lovers know they’ve found a hidden oasis in the village when they step into Aquatic Life & More.

The store that sells both freshwater and saltwater fish opened in March at 18155 Roy Street, Suite 3.

The “more” part is that the business deals not just with fish.

“We have a little bit of reptiles in our store, and we have small animals,” said Tiffani Johnson, who is co-owner along with her husband, Greg Kowalski.

Fish and birds are among the animals sold at Aquatic Life and More, which opened in March. (Photo: Paul Czapkowicz)

While the store carries fish, birds, and hamsters all the time, other animals such as guinea pigs, rats, and turtles can be pre-ordered. Snakes, a hermit crab, and a frog are animals currently on sale. The store also carries finches and parakeets but can order other types of birds upon request.

A bearded dragon is currently on display but not for sale, along with Johnson’s personal pets — a rabbit named Bunny and a chinchilla she calls Nyx.

Tiffani Johnson, co-owner of Aquatic Life and More, holds her pet rabbit, named Bunny, at the store located at 18155 Roy Street. (Photo: Paul Czapkowicz)

But Johnson can order such animals if customers should decide they want one of their own.

“I can get everything pretty much except for dogs and cats,” Johnson said.

A bearded dragon is an example of the type of animal that customers can have specially ordered at Aquatic Life & More. (Photo: Paul Czapkowicz)

Opening a pet store in Lansing

Opening Aquatic Life & More made sense for Johnson and Kowalski for a number of reasons. Both are animal lovers with many at their own home, and Johnson is going to school to become a veterinarian.

It made practical sense as well.

“There isn’t one around here and I own this building and I had an empty spot,” Kowalski said.

Pictured is an inside view of Aquatic Life & More in Lansing. (Photo: Paul Czapkowicz)

Kowalski also owns Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders, which is located in the same building. He rents space to Pour on Roy, the wine bar that shares an outside entrance with the pet store.

Aquatic Life & More is helping to fill a void that occurred when Terry’s Aquarium and Pet Store that had been located at 3642 Ridge Road closed due to a fire in 2004.

Fish for every budget

Johnson said cichlids, of which the majority of the species are African, are the most popular type of fish sold at the store.

An Albino Red Oscar on sale goes for $32.99, but there is a wide range of prices.

“It really depends on the fish,” Johnson said. “The bigger they are the more expensive, of course, they would be.”

Johnson said she was surprised to find out how many people have saltwater tanks.

The store also sells a wide variety of pet supplies, including items such as fish food and medications, filters, tanks, cages, toys for small animals, water bottles, and even treats for dogs and cats.

Johnson said people who come in comment on the cleanliness of the fish tanks and how healthy the fish are.

Aquatic Life & More shares a main entrance with Pour on Roy at 18155 Roy Street.
(Photo: Paul Czapkowicz)

Growing the business

She called the business, “a mom and pop store” at which customer service is a priority.

Whether the couple decides to expand by opening another location could depend on the success of the store in Lansing. Johnson said the store is hidden in the back of the building but business has started to pick up after a slow start.

“A lot of people don’t know that we’re here,” she said.

The hours for Aquatic Life & More, which can be reached at 708-858-2956, are as follows:

  • Monday through Friday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: noon to 2 p.m.

The business is located at 18155 Roy Street, Suite 3.

Paul Czapkowicz
Paul Czapkowicz
Paul Czapkowicz has served as a correspondent for the Northwest Indiana Times, so he is familiar with local politics, local business, and local goings-on in general. His training as a teacher gives him an innate sense of how to present facts in an organized and meaningful way, so readers gain understanding of complex subjects.