Meet the aquarist: Ritchie Stix Newell

How old are you?


Where you from?


How long have you been keeping fish?

Wow, a long time on and off since my first goldfish when I was about 4.


Why are you called Stix? Is that an aquascaping reference?

Haha no, I’m called Stix because one of the bands I used to be in. I had a habit of dropping my drum sticks mid-song. So my guitarist gave me that nickname.

What’s your favourite fish/plant?

Easy Discus and Nymphaea sp. “red tiger lotus”

What tanks are you running at the moment and what’s in them?

At the moment I’m trying to grow in my first high energy aquascape for this year’s contests. The tank is a Beta Line 90, 90x50x50cm Optiwhite rimless, with Lifeaqua Master pro RGB LEDs, a 2kg CO2 fire extinguisher, CO2art pro se dual stage regulator, CO2art inline diffuser, Eheim heater and 350 surface skimmer.


Favourite facebook page/Instagram/YouTube channel?

Facebook would have to be my group of course UK planted aquarium and aquascaping, Instagram @aquaman_aquascaper. For a YouTube channel that’s hard as there’s so many for different things. I’ve just started my own but I love the stuff ADA, ADG and Greenaqua are doing and I do watch George Farmer a lot.

What’s your dream setup and what would you have in it?

Dream setup would probably be either a big 1800 fully aquascaped ADA setup or more realistically a big Aquariums4life custom setup full of discus.

You now do aquatics for a living. Can you tell us about it and how it came about?

It happened purely by chance when a mum from my son’s school asked my wife if she knew anyone that knew anything about fish tanks so she suggested my good self and I ended up looking after the tank at her place of work over two years ago, and I still do it now.


What’s the best part of your job?

Creating beautiful aquascapes and aquarium designs for clients.

What’s your aquatic pet hate?

People who buy fish with absolutely no knowledge or research and then moan about when things go wrong.

Where do you wanna be in 10 years?

Doing this full time, I’d love an aquascaping store, to be rich and famous and to still do workshops.


What’s your favourite bit of advice?

Look after your water and the fish will look after themselves.

What’s your favourite bit of equipment

Has to be the canister filter

Tell us about your merch

It came about as a sideline but I noticed there wasn’t much out there for us hobbyists so I decided to do a range of funny, tongue in cheek t-shirts. For some reason people in the aquarium hobby have a bit of a reputation for not having a sense of humour. So obviously that’s not true!


What’s your contact info if people want to use your products or services?

Tel 07810 708013


Instagram @aquaman_aquascaper

“””””””””””””””””’ @tridentclothing

Facebook Aquaman Complete Aquarium Services




Jeremy Gay

Author of three fishkeeping books and lifelong fishkeeper. Experience includes editor of Practical Fishkeeping magazine, editor of Pet Product Marketing magazine, multi award- winning livestock manager and aquatic store manager.