The Readers’ Poll returned for 2023, and now we can proudly reveal the stores that you voted as the top shops for the year.
We’ve reached that time again, just as the winter months are scratching at our doors, to reveal this year’s winners of the Practical Fishkeeping Readers’ Poll. This year a veritable legion of voters took part and it was no quick task, but the votes have been counted and verified and we're excited to share the results with you.
What is the Practical Fishkeeping Readers' Poll?
Historically, the Practical Fishkeeping Readers’ Poll has been a badge of honour for the nation’s aquatic retailers. It provides a chance for you, the readers, and customers to voice their opinions and reward their favourite stores with the formal recognition they deserve. There’s a certain pride that comes with being told you’re the best of the best.
It should come as no surprise that this year we’ve once again seen a few new faces join the ranks of the UK’s elite, but there’s also been a degree of consistency — many former winners can once again claim to be the top in their specialist genres, as voted for by you, the paying public.
Practical Fishkeeping Readers' Poll 2023 Winners
Retailer of the year
Winner: When it comes to Maidenhead Aquatics, bigger really is better, and this year saw a mountain of votes for what is once again the nation’s favourite aquatic chain store. With over 150 branches, it’s clearly doing something right!
Runner-up: In a repeat of last year’s outcome, Aquahome Aquatic Centre takes second place for this highly coveted category, and adds to a long string of regional and category wins for this impressive, Leyland based store.
Online retailer of the year
Winner: Charterhouse Aquatics looks like it’s not ready to relinquish the position, taking first place for yet another year. From the off, we at PFK were impressed at how progressive this business was, and it looks like we weren’t the only ones.
Runner-up: In another repeat of last year’s outcome, we find Complete Aquatics. With many prior runner-up positions, this store has set the bar high for what constitutes a great online retailer.
Independent retailer of the year
Winner: A brand new face sweeps into its first Readers’ Poll win in spectacular style in the form of Premier Aquatics. With a strong social media presence and adoring customer base, a category win was inevitable for this Runcorn based store.
Runner-up: Taking a respectable place amongst the Top 40 stores in last year’s poll, Little Fish Aquatics in Kings Lynn has pulled all the stops out for even more recognition this time around, romping home with second place in this exceptionally busy category.
Marine retailer of the year
Winner: Absolutely no surprises here to see Finest Aquatics of Widnes taking first place for marine store of the year again. Ever expanding, and even hosting its own aquatics festival, we’re sure we’ll be seeing more of the Finest name in years to come.
Runner-up: Snatching the runner-up position for marine store of the year we see Radical Aquatics of Leeds. With its solid five-star review ratings on Facebook, it’s clear that this shop’s hitting the right note for an eager saltwater audience.
Coral retailer of the year
Winner: Jumping up from last year’s runner-up position, Finest Aquatics storms into first place for corals, giving the store two category wins plus a regional win for 2023. Talk about going from strength to strength.
Runner-up: The clue’s in the name when it comes to Signature Frags in Ripley, Derbyshire. Pitching itself as a ‘UK aquaculture specialist’, one only has to glance at this store’s outstanding corals to know that this store’s putting its money where its mouth is!
Aquascaping retailer of the year
Winner: There are few stores as aesthetically pleasing as County Durham’s Horizon Aquatics, and it looks like we’re not the only ones who were taken by its amazing aquascape-focused selection of hardware and greenery.
Runner-up: A popular haunt for the UK’s top aquascapers, Aquarium Gardens of Huntingdon is one of those businesses we cannot get enough of. With inspirational tanks and top-notch staff, it’s a delight to see it getting the recognition it deserves.
Catfish retailer of the year
Winner: I mean, come on. Selling the types of catfish that other retailers can only dream of accessing, was it ever going to be a surprise that the mighty Pier Aquatics of Wigan was going to comfortably scoop up this category yet again?
Runner-up: So regularly a Readers’ Poll favourite that it’s almost part of the furniture here, Wharf Aquatics of Pinxton, Nottingham, never fails to delight its customers with offerings of all things niche and whiskery.
Cichlid retailer of the year
Winner: Not content with just taking the independent store of the year category, Premier Aquatics explodes onto the Readers’ Poll scene with yet another first place. With a long hobby history, owner Steve Chester has a clear eye for what the paying public want.
Runner-up: Once again, no surprises from the PFK team to see the ever-dominating Wharf Aquatics—and its amazing dedication to cichlids from all around the world—glide easily into the second-place position for this niche category.
Oddball retailer of the year
Winner: With two runner-up slots already in the bag elsewhere, Wharf Aquatics leaps into an uncontested first place when it comes to oddballs. With a passion for the quirkier side of aquatics, it’s the one-stop shop for anyone’s oddballs needs.
Runner-up: Last year it was praise for its discus, and this year Fur and Fins of Blackwood, Caerphilly, is receiving new praise for its oddball spread. And, to our shame, PFK still hasn’t visited, so expect a roadtrip to Wales sometime imminently!
Discus retailer of the year
Winner: Ah yes, who else could it be but the man who ran out of trophy space for winning discus competitions, and once had an indoor pond filled with them? It’s Cambridgeshire’s Chens Discus reclaiming the store’s rightful title once more.
Runner-up: A name synonymous with quality livestock, Devotedly Discus in Polegate has decades of experience in handling the finest fish around. You don’t even need to visit to see, just watch on the webcam from the store’s own website!
Pond retailer of the year
Winner: Aptly named, and repeating its success after scooping the pond category for 2022, we see Complete Koi & Aquatics of Bolton. Dealing with the very best in high-end fish, this store is a firm pondkeeper’s favourite.
Runner-up: We finish this year’s categories with yet another fresh face in the poll, this time in the form to The Carp Co. With its own farm, and offering impressive livestock guarantees, it was only a matter of time before it joined Readers’ Poll rankings.
We at PFK would like to thank each and every voter who took part, plus extra special thanks to our sponsors at Fluval for making the poll possible!
Winner: Aquahome Aquatic Centre
Runner-up: Premier Aquatics
Winner: Fishkeeper Coatbridge
Runner-up: Fishkeeper Inverness
Winner: Wharf Aquatics
Runner-up: Sweet Knowle Aquatics
Winner: Aquatic World Cardiff
Runner-up: Runner-up: Fur and Fins
Winner: Maidenhead Aquatics @ Mere Park
Runner-up: The Aquatic Store Bristol
Winner: Fish Planet London
Runner-up: Maidenhead Aquatics @ Ascot
Winner: Little Fish Aquatics
Runner-up: Scope Aquatics
Practical Fishkeeping 2023 Top 40 Listing
Advanced Aquarium Consultancy
Aquahome Aquatic Centre
Aquatic World Cardiff
Complete Koi and Aquatics
Ely Aquatics and Reptiles
Fish Planet London
Fur and Fins
Little Fish Aquatics
Maidenhead Aquatics Ascot
Maidenhead Aquatics Ashford
Maidenhead Aquatics Belfast
Maidenhead Aquatics Chesterfield
Maidenhead Aquatics Farnham
Maidenhead Aquatics Mere Park
Maidenhead Aquatics Pyle
Maidenhead Aquatics Ramsgate
Radical Aquatics Leeds
Sims Tropical Fish
Sweet Knowle Aquatics
The Aquatic Store Bristol
The Carp Co.
The Ocean Project