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Fountain City shop features exotic fish and aquarium supplies.
Ruth White

Tucked away in a quiet courtyard area in Fountain City, between Harbor Freight and Big Lots, is a new store – Stingray Bay Fish & Aquarium.

Inside, tanks line the walls, but it is a pair of California saltwater stingrays in an aquarium up front that steal the show. They dart through the tank, swimming to the surface – eager to interact and to be patted.

Up until four months ago, fish were just a hobby for Crossville resident Phillip Knight. “It’s a brand new business,” said Knight. “This is my first time running a store. Aquaria has been my hobby for 20 years or so. But I’ve worked in apartment maintenance for the past 15 years, and when someone bought the property I was working at, I had to decide whether I wanted to go ahead and start my own business.”

Knight said he prefers to specialize in more exotic fish. “Saltwater is a big thing, right now,” he said. “And I try to have the products in stock that a lot of people in other places don’t.”

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When Knight started his hobby, he had 20- to 30-gallon tanks, but when he made the switch to saltwater sea life, he progressed to much larger 125-gallon tanks.
“They are prettier tanks, you can keep more colorful fish and actually grow coral in saltwater tanks,” he said. On average, Knight has 100 species on display in his 1,500 gallons worth of tanks. His firm favorite? Stingrays. “I have two saltwater California stingrays right now, they’re about 15 inches around and 2 to 3 feet long and they’re really friendly,” he said.

“Right now I sell just live freshwater and saltwater fish, live…