New aquarium installation, maintenance business launches in Henrico

Kole Tang Aquatics Cropped

Kole Elkin (right) with Kole Tang employee Jay Holcomb and the company van.

Starting with a makeshift aquarium in a kiddie pool when he was a child, Kole Elkin has taken care of fish all his life. 

That hobby has now spawned into a new business: Kole Tang Aquatics, which Elkin launched a few months ago to provide commercial and residential aquarium installation, emergency repair services and fish care advice.

After working for pet stores such as Petco, Elkin said he wanted to “step out of the comfort zone” and launch his own business.

Elkin, who grew up in Mechanicsville, said the goal of his new business is to spread accurate information about proper fish care and aquarium maintenance. He said business has been brisk, with 30 clients in place so far. 

“We’re only 90 days in and we’re so busy,” Elkin said. “We’re almost turning away jobs.”

Kole Tang Aquatics provides custom aquarium tank installation at $150 per hour and maintenance for freshwater and saltwater aquariums starting at $125 per tank. The business also sells saltwater at $1 per gallon and freshwater for 50 cents per gallon, as well as fish, coral and maintenance supplies. 

While based in Henrico County, Elkin intends to serve all of Virginia. His services outside Henrico require a travel fee of 75 cents per mile after 15 miles outside of the county.

Elkin also responds to emergency calls for issues such as leaks or cracks in the tanks, which he said can be a “death sentence” for fish if not taken care of immediately. Emergency repairs cost $250 per hour. 

“If they can’t find somebody to come within 45 minutes, the chances of them losing everything is pretty high,” he said. 

Kole Tang aquarium

One of the company’s aquarium installations.

Other aquarium services in the Richmond area include Aquarium Pros VA and Richmond Aquarium Prime, which both provide saltwater and freshwater aquarium maintenance and installation. 

Elkin previously was also a partner in Henrico saltwater aquarium store Reefology, according to a Richmond Magazine article. That business appears to have closed and Elkin declined to comment on Reefology. 

Kole Tang Aquatics currently has two employees. The business operates out of one van, but Elkin plans to open a storefront in Henrico after about a year. Upcoming services include a Saltwater Saturday delivery service, which will allow customers to leave containers outside for Elkin and his team to fill up with saltwater.

Kole Tang water tanks

A custom saltwater mixing tank built by Kole Tang.

Building on his lifelong fascination with the ocean, Elkin keeps up to date with the latest information on fish care – which he said is constantly evolving – through other hobbyists and experts on YouTube or fish forums. His exploration into the aquatic world informs his counsel on fish care for his clients. 

He said he has provided guidance on proper types of salt, water, corals and light spectrums for aquariums most often. 

His commercial clients include doctors’ and dentists’ office waiting areas. Popular tank animals at the moment include a stony colorful coral called goniopora and yellow and purple tang fish.

Trending aquarium installation requests include tanks installed directly into the wall as a form of art, Elkin said. In-wall tanks are typically 6 feet long and can hold 125 to 275 gallons of water. He said he tends to sell a lot of saltwater because of its vibrant appearance in a tank.

“I’m just so blessed to be able to spend every day going around reef to reef, making sure that the life on the reef is a good life on the reef,” Elkin said.

Kole Tang Aquatics Cropped

Kole Elkin (right) with Kole Tang employee Jay Holcomb and the company van.

Starting with a makeshift aquarium in a kiddie pool when he was a child, Kole Elkin has taken care of fish all his life. 

That hobby has now spawned into a new business: Kole Tang Aquatics, which Elkin launched a few months ago to provide commercial and residential aquarium installation, emergency repair services and fish care advice.

After working for pet stores such as Petco, Elkin said he wanted to “step out of the comfort zone” and launch his own business.

Elkin, who grew up in Mechanicsville, said the goal of his new business is to spread accurate information about proper fish care and aquarium maintenance. He said business has been brisk, with 30 clients in place so far. 

“We’re only 90 days in and we’re so busy,” Elkin said. “We’re almost turning away jobs.”

Kole Tang Aquatics provides custom aquarium tank installation at $150 per hour and maintenance for freshwater and saltwater aquariums starting at $125 per tank. The business also sells saltwater at $1 per gallon and freshwater for 50 cents per gallon, as well as fish, coral and maintenance supplies. 

While based in Henrico County, Elkin intends to serve all of Virginia. His services outside Henrico require a travel fee of 75 cents per mile after 15 miles outside of the county.

Elkin also responds to emergency calls for issues such as leaks or cracks in the tanks, which he said can be a “death sentence” for fish if not taken care of immediately. Emergency repairs cost $250 per hour. 

“If they can’t find somebody to come within 45 minutes, the chances of them losing everything is pretty high,” he said. 

Kole Tang aquarium

One of the company’s aquarium installations.

Other aquarium services in the Richmond area include Aquarium Pros VA and Richmond Aquarium Prime, which both provide saltwater and freshwater aquarium maintenance and installation. 

Elkin previously was also a partner in Henrico saltwater aquarium store Reefology, according to a Richmond Magazine article. That business appears to have closed and Elkin declined to comment on Reefology. 

Kole Tang Aquatics currently has two employees. The business operates out of one van, but Elkin plans to open a storefront in Henrico after about a year. Upcoming services include a Saltwater Saturday delivery service, which will allow customers to leave containers outside for Elkin and his team to fill up with saltwater.

Kole Tang water tanks

A custom saltwater mixing tank built by Kole Tang.

Building on his lifelong fascination with the ocean, Elkin keeps up to date with the latest information on fish care – which he said is constantly evolving – through other hobbyists and experts on YouTube or fish forums. His exploration into the aquatic world informs his counsel on fish care for his clients. 

He said he has provided guidance on proper types of salt, water, corals and light spectrums for aquariums most often. 

His commercial clients include doctors’ and dentists’ office waiting areas. Popular tank animals at the moment include a stony colorful coral called goniopora and yellow and purple tang fish.

Trending aquarium installation requests include tanks installed directly into the wall as a form of art, Elkin said. In-wall tanks are typically 6 feet long and can hold 125 to 275 gallons of water. He said he tends to sell a lot of saltwater because of its vibrant appearance in a tank.

“I’m just so blessed to be able to spend every day going around reef to reef, making sure that the life on the reef is a good life on the reef,” Elkin said.

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Ryan Charles
Ryan Charles
5 days ago

Follow your passion, work hard, do right by your clients, and carefully scale when needed and the sky is the limit, young man! Continued luck!

Last edited 5 days ago by Ryan Charles