on Park Street
Four Days in the Corridor
What the Kids Said
Sadie Pearson & Richard Davis
Ideal Body Shop
Park Street Shoe Repair
Early Childhood Center
Yue-Wah Oriental Foods
Boys & Girls Club
Style & Grace Salon
St. Mark's Lutheran Church
Yasmin's Halal Meat Market
Italian Workmen's Club
Beth Israel Synagogue
Wisconsin Union Hoofers
Fishing Along Wingra Creek
AFL-CIO (Labor Temple)
Quality Ace Hardware
Tropical Fish World
Quann Community Gardens
Street Scenes 1
Street Scenes 2
Park Street Delights 1
Park Street Delights 2
Dane County Cultural Tour
Hmong Cultural Tour
Tropical Fish World
1529 Gilson Street
We walked to the neon-blue store/angelfish breeding
shop on May 14, in the
bitter cold. We were greeted by a warm burst of humid air the second
we walked in the door. Dick LeBeck, the owner, told us that he started
breeding fish over thirty years ago as a hobby. He also said he only
raised salt-water fish except for goldfish. He specializes in angelfish.
It smells like the ocean completely. I went to Florida
and to the ocean a lot and it smells exactly like that.
In the back of the store, where the tanks are, he grows
worms for the fish to eat. One kind that he had was the micro-worm which
he grew in some gross oatmeal-colored
The other kind of worm was the white worm. It is bigger than the micro-worm
but still easy for the angelfish to swallow.
When we walked in, Nikki, Sara, and Jay’s glasses
all steamed up from the humidity. Before Mr. Le Beck told us, I thought
Tropical Fish World was a place where people buy fish as pets. But it’s
actually a place where he breeds tropical fish and goldfish. With all
of the tanks, brightly colored fish, and small amount of lighting, nobody
cold guess that the place was once a banana store, the back rooms of
which had eight-foot-long bunches of bananas hanging from the ceiling.
And the smell. It was an interesting combination of dead fish, algae,
mod, and old dog food.
Le Beck likes to raise food for his fish. He has Grindel worms for some
of the bigger fish. They look like transparent string. For the fish
that can’t eat the Grindel worms, he has tiny worms. They are
in a dish of some kind of mush that looks like very milky oatmeal. When
you look closely, you can see the surface glittering and moving so fast,
and they are so small, that you cannot see individual worms.
Dick Le Beck has worked in Tropical Fish World for forty
years and has six hundred aquariums. He raises angelfish from the Amazon
in most of his aquariums. But some of his aquariums contain red tail
sharks or albino red tails
sharks (not really sharks), goldfish, koi, a lung fish (a big fish that
looks like a short eel), Daphnia (fish food), electric catfish, algae
eating catfish (for clearing algae off walls) and a few others.
The reason it was so hot was because there were some newborns
and they have to balance the temperature so the fish can live and survive.
The baby angelfish looked like tadpoles and were about
as big as the lead that you see on a sharpened pencil. There were about
sixty of them. After we looked at the babies, we saw a twenty-five year
old African lung fish. It was in a dark corner at the edge of the warehouse.
It was probably about one and half feet long and it looked like an eel.
Did you know that if you didn’t take angelfishes’
baby eggs out, the parents will eat them!
I want to become an ichthyologist, a person who studies
fish, so the Tropical Fish World was a really inspiring experience.
In the pretty short time we were there I decided that if I don’t
become an ichthyologist, I want to become a hatcherist or whatever you
would call it.
Smell . . .
Page Last Updated: January 12, 2005