Fish Enthusiast Opens Aquarium and Fish Store in Orinda Village

(Jeff Heyman, Photographer)
Now open for business, AJ Glassman’s The Fish Barn, features a variety of colorful, tropical freshwater fish and high-quality aquariums. Located in Orinda Village at 19 Orinda Way, Suite F, it’s the only nearby aquatic store for miles on both sides of the Caldecott tunnel.

    When fish enthusiast, AJ Glassman, noticed a lack of local options in the fish and aquarium market, he decided to swim upstream to provide a solution. Welcome The Fish Barn, Orinda Village’s newest retail store.
    Located next to Village Barber Shop, The Fish Barn opened June 3. It features a variety of colorful, tropical freshwater fish and high-quality aquariums. Its walls are lined with beautifully aquascaped fish tanks which house a multitude of swimming species.
    Glassman graduated from UC Berkeley in 2017 with a BA degree in urban studies. He worked for several tech start-ups and soon became a category analyst for Walmart eCommerce. For the past year, he worked at the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce enhancing his retail, marketing and business skills while working alongside Lamorinda small business owners.
    “It kind of ignited a spark in me because all these people are doing things to build community and contribute to our local economy,” he said.
    In 2022, Glassman moved to Orinda and discovered the lack of options to buy aquarium supplies and fish, forcing a trek all the way to Hayward.
    “I found that people are very much willing to drive long distances, up to 45 minutes, to a good fish store,” said Glassman.
    With the lack of aquatic stores on both sides of the Caldecott Tunnel and with easy freeway access, Glassman found Orinda to be a convenient central point for The Fish Barn. His experience is that aquarium addicts take extremely good care of their tanks and thus, The Fish Barn anticipates casting a long net of customers from the Bay Area and, of course, from its own backyard.
    Fish and aquarium keeping has been a longtime hobby for Glassman. It all started when, as a youngster, he won a goldfish at the fair.
    His interest grew dramatically when his parents gifted him a ten-gallon tank on his tenth birthday. While many start this hobby early on, Glassman assures it’s never too late to begin.
    “Don’t be intimidated. If you’re interested, just try it. It’s a hobby that is all about learning,” he said. “We are very family and very beginner-friendly. Education is a huge piece of the store for me.”
    Glassman appreciates aquariums mainly due to the pocket of nature they provide inside one’s home. They serve as a reminder to appreciate the beauty of nature and the outdoors.
    Glassman encourages customers to purchase fish from local vendors rather than big box stores, as small businesses sell healthier fish. The Fish Barn quarantines all its fish before a sale. Additionally, all fish are treated for a variety of commonly held parasites and diseases.
    “The goal is really to build community,” he said. “A place where new hobbyists can come in and ask whatever question they want and not feel judged.”
    Visit the Fish Barn at

Nicole Lamison can be reached at

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