Davy Carr took the plunge when he opened the doors to his new venture - Rivers 2 Reef on Hebburn’s Victoria Industrial Estate - earlier this month,
The shop specialises in marine and tropical fish as well as salt water and fresh water corals - all inspired by his diving expeditions in the Maldives.
The 44-year-old, who also runs his own building firm, said: “An aquatics shop is not something I ever envisaged having. But the more I was diving, the more I was becoming interested in the marine side of things.
“I fitted my own fish tank at home and the interest grew from there.
“I decided I wanted to have my own shop and after finding a unit in Hebburn which was ideal. I converted it to the way I wanted it to look. “I wanted plenty of room for people to come in, have time to look in the tanks, not have people squeezing past them and make the shop wheelchair and pushchair friendly.”
The shop has taken delivery of a range of fish from places as far away as Bali and Sri Lanka.
Mr Carr added: “Everything is going well. We have had a steady rise in footfall since we opened and have had a lot of positive feedback.
“I have kept the prices as low as I can and any money I make is being put back into the business.
“I have my building business but this is my passion. It’s not about making money, it’s about providing a unique and welcoming place for people interested in aquatics to come for advice or find new additions for their tanks.
“Shop manager, Dave Jennings, has a vast amount of knowledge in the aquatics industry and can provide to support to people setting up new systems, as well as carry out free water checks on tanks to diagnose problems.”
In the future, Mr Carr is hoping to create a show tank featuring predatory fish.
Rivers 2 Reef is open Mondays and Fridays, from 9am to 5pm; Thursdays from 9am to 6pm: Saturdays from 9am to 4pm and Sundays from 10am to 4pm.
For more details visit Rivers 2 Reef Aquatics on Facebook.