About Us

Established in 1973, we are the longest established pond & aquarium specialist in Gloucestershire and have been providing top quality fish, plants and equipment to fish keepers for over fifty years. We aim to cover all aspects of the aquatic hobby, with wide selections of tropical & coldwater fish, pond and aquarium plants, plus a massive range of equipment.

Who we are

From our large site we cater for all areas of the hobby. We have over 100 large aquariums teaming with healthy aquarium fish and plants, plus a comprehensive range of aquariums and equipment for you to choose from. In season, we offer a wide selection of pond fish and plants whilst pond pumps, liners, preformed ponds, waterfalls, and other pond equipment is available all year round.

We aim to supply top-quality, healthy fish & plants along with the widest possible choice of quality equipment and accessories.

Our staff are all enthusiastic and experienced fishkeepers, keen to share their knowledge.

Over the years we have won numerous awards in the Practical Fishkeeping Magazine’s readers poll including…

N Best Stocked & Healthiest Fish in the UK
N Best overall Retailer in the UK
N Best Pond & Water Garden Outlet in the UK
N Best Tropical Freshwater Outlet in the UK

Our History

In 1973 Jean & Ivor Wilden, took possession of a run down garden nursery called “Daffodil Way Nurseries” and established within it a small aquatic shop with a total of about 30 tanks. They knew what they wanted to achieve, but with very limited funds they also realised that it would be a long, hard slog…

The dream was to create one of the country’s largest and finest aquarium and water garden centres. Few who visited the site back in 1973 could have imagined just how the business would develop, even Jean & Ivor have been surprised at some of the changes.

1976 saw a major change, with Wyevale Garden Centres taking on the Garden Centre side of the business. A new modern greenhouse was erected in place of the old wood framed structure and a new 100 sqare metre aquatic shop with nearly 150 tanks was built within. At this time the name of the garden centre was changed to “Golden Vale Garden Centre”, whilst Jean & Ivor adopted the name “The Aquatic Centre” for the aquatic business.

1976 was a very hot summer, so hot that Ivor had to carry out much of the construction work at night. Once completed the new shop seemed enormous and spacious, but as trade increased it soon became clear that an even bigger shop was needed, by 1981 the crowds, particularly at weekends, had grown to the point where it was almost impossible to move. In 1982 work started on a new extension which would double the shop size to about 200 square metres. As might be expected the new shop resulted in a lot more customers.

In 1998 Jean and Ivor sold the business to their son Rob who ran the business for over 20 years. In that time there were many ups and downs and many changes, but one thing which didn’t change was a friendly welcome from experienced enthusiastic staff.

In the Autumn of 2020 Rob too retired, passing the business on into the capable hands of three long standing staff members who between them have nearly 80 years of practical experience here at The Aquatic Habitat.

We have some exciting plans in store in the coming months and years, but one thing that definitely won’t be changing is the friendly welcome from our knowledgeable and experienced team. We look forward to welcoming you soon…

Ivor Henry Wilden

Our Founder

The Aquatic Habitat was founded in 1973 by Ivor and his wife Jean. Sadly, Ivor passed away in June 2016, but the business carries on…

Ivor Henry Wilden 1934 – 2016

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our founder, Ivor Wilden, aged 81, after a short battle with cancer.

In 1973 Ivor, together with his beloved wife of 57 years, Jean, seized the opportunity to purchase the run down “Daffodil Way Nurseries” where our shop now stands. Initially he built, from scratch, a small aquatic shop with a total of about 30 tanks. With almost no funding he created Gloucestershire’s first real destination for fish and pond enthusiasts.

In 1976 Wyevale Garden Centres took over the running of the Garden Centre, and The Aquatic Centre as it was then called, was greatly expanded. The Summer of 1976 was particularly hot, so working mostly at night to avoid the heat, Ivor hand built the 135 aquariums and the wooden framework that supported them.

Ivor focused on cleanliness, healthy fish, quality service, and knowledgeable staff. Over the years, Ivor developed and adopted many aquatic innovations. He pioneered showrooms with demonstration aquariums as well as beautifully landscaped ponds and water gardens. He introduced the idea of an automatic top up for our freshwater aquariums, and we were one of the first UK stores to advocate the use of protein skimmers in marine tanks and CO2 dosing in planted aquariums. The awards and accolades began to roll in and in 1996 readers of Practical Fishkeeping Magazine voted “The Aquatic Habitat” the Best Watergarden outlet in the UK & also the UK’s Best Overall Retailer.

With water garden centres now commonplace it’s easy to forget how innovative and visionary Ivor’s approach was, with customers travelling from all corners of the country and even overseas to visit the shop.

In 1998 Ivor and Jean retired to concentrate on building their home and subsequently to spend time with their growing family of grandchildren. Ivor was a generous, humble and committed family man who withstood his illness with courage and dignity. He never complained and passed away peacefully on June 15th 2016 leaving behind his devoted wife Jean, proud sons, Robert, Andrew and Alaster and four wonderful grandchildren.

Although he is sorely missed, his creation lives on.

About Rob

Rob can barely remember a time when he wasn’t involved with fish. One of his earliest memories is of being woken by Ivor dangling a bag of guppies over his head, the first fish for the family’s new fish tank, and then, a few weeks later, being woken once again, but this time to watch as one of those guppies gave birth. From that moment he was hooked!

Rob was ten years old when Jean & Ivor first took on what was then called Daffodil Way Nurseries with a view of transforming the business into an aquarium and water garden centre, and even at that age he used to “help”, over the years that “help” became more helpful, working at weekends and during school and later university holidays.

Rob graduated from Bristol University in 1984 with a degree in Botany and Zoology, this coincided with Ivor having to undergo a major operation, so Rob started working full time at the shop almost by default. He never left! When Ivor retired from daily involvement with the business in 1991, Rob took on the role of Manager, eventually buying his parents out in 1998.

Over the time that Rob was in charge the store won many awards, including best in the UK. Like his parents before him, his focus was on providing quality, selection and excellent service, but above all else, he was determined that that The Aquatic Habitat should offer an extensive selection of high quality, healthy fish.

When a hobby becomes a business, often the initial enthusiasm for the hobby can wain with the trials and tribulations of running the business, but that certainly wasn’t the case for Rob. Over the years he’s kept and bred a wide range of fish, but angelfish are his particular passion. He first bred Angels in 1988, and in 2008 set up a fish room at home with the specific aim of breeding high quality angelfish, applying his knowledge of genetics gained at university to the task. In 2010 he organised the only UK shipment of angelfish from world renowned breeder, Ken Kennedy. He also helped organise the first shipment of “Bulgarian Green” angels from their developer, Raiko Slavkov in 2014, and still has many of their descendent swimming in his tanks. to this day most of the Angelfish we sell here at The Aquatic Habitat are lovingly bred by Rob.

After retiring in 2020, Rob added more tanks to his home fish room, and he’s now able to breed other species besides angels, including discus, bristlenose catfish and dwarf cichlids.

Rob said, “When I retired, I was confident that Emma, Lisa and Roger would do a good job at taking the business forward, and three years on, they have more than lived up to my expectations of them. It’s wonderful to see the business my parents started fifty years ago still thriving, and in such safe and competent hands, I’m sure it will continue to offer great service and excellent quality fish, plants and equipment for many years to come.”


Meet The Team



Executive Director

Roger has been working at The Aquatic Habitat since 1990. He has always had a passion for fishkeeping in all aspects and quickly moved up to Assistant Livestock Manager in 1994 and never looked back. In 2020 Roger became co-owner of The Aquatic Habitat with Emma & Lisa. Rogers’s favourite fish is anything oddball or anything that grows too big!



Executive Director

Lisa started at The Aquatic Habitat in 1996. After doing work experience here and graduating at Sparsholt Collage, Lisa started off as Marine Manager and quickly progressed to Assistant Manager in 1999. In 2020 Lisa became co-owner of The Aquatic Habitat with Roger & Emma. Lisa’s favourite fish is Koi.



Executive Director

Emma began at The Aquatic Habitat in 2000 after several jobs in the industry. Starting off as a general retail assistant Emma then progressed to Aquarium Plant Manager then onto Marine Manager but decided her passion was with plants and took back managing aquarium plants in 2015. In 2020 Emma became co-owner of The Aquatic Habitat with Roger & Lisa. Emma’s favourite fish is pufferfish.



Senior Sales Assistant

Started off as a Weekend Sales Assistant in late 2015 and began working full time in 2018. You will find Joe most likely in the pond section sorting out the pond fish filters. Joe has expensive taste in fish and particularly likes unusual plecos like zebra plec.



Sales Assistant

Mark began working at The Aquatic Habitat in March 2021. He finds cleaning tanks very therapeutic. Marks favourite fish is African Cichlids.



Weekend Sales Assistant

Billy started with The Aquatic Habitat in August 2022 after being a customer since he was younger and wanted to turn his hobby into a part-time job. Billy’s favourite fish is Oscars.



Weekend Sales Assistant

Lisa began at The Aquatic Habitat with doing work experience before working for them at weekends now she is back at sixth form. Lisa’s favourite fish is Guppies.

Need advice? Contact us.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the choices or just need some expert advice, don't hesitate to reach out. Our team of aquatic specialists is here to guide you every step of the way.