Steve Cochran of WGN Radio welcomed Romney Cirillo on his show to talk about all things mobile aquatic therapy and names MAT as the Most Valuable Person on the Planet for this week. This (once) weekly segment recognizes a person or organization with a unique story that should be shared. Romney tells how Something Fishy is going beyond their normal design, installation and maintenance of aquariums within residential and commercial settings to bring a medical-grade mobile aquarium to children’s hospitals. The show ‘Tanked’ which aired for 15 seasons on Animal Planet and designed aquariums for top celebrities and millionaire homeowners, has provided much inspiration and propelled the aquarium industry forward. Something Fishy rolled out their mobile aquatic therapy program in 2019, shortly after the last season of ‘Tanked’ aired.

You can listen to the full segment here.

“In talks with hospital staff, specifically Child Life, we would hear stories of children who were unable to get out of their room to see the aquariums or have any interaction,” says Romney. MAT comes to the rescue with a 30-gallon aquarium that can travel to wherever it’s needed most — the ER, procedure rooms, the ICU — and can provide 24-7 comfort to children and families. This is a new option in animal therapy that can get into isolated places where therapy dogs would not be able to go. An extremely painful procedure such as a spinal tap that is already difficult for an adult to endure, can be even more excruciating for a child. MAT can be rolled into that child’s room to be used as a distraction before, during and after the procedure and aid in helping that child relax a bit and take their mind off of the procedure.

Though Steve offers his assistance of fishing in the river to help provide finned friends for these aquariums, Romney assures him that they are being environmentally conscious and ethical by sourcing the all-captive-bred saltwater fish from ORA, an aquaculture facility in Florida. Something Fishy also uses an artificial insert that looks like realistic coral. Therefore, they are able to provide these wildly colorful, showy tanks without the use of anything from the wild. The saltwater for the aquariums is made within the Something Fishy facility by using a mix of synthetic sea salt and reverse osmosis water and transported to the hospitals in 5-gallon buckets. The tanks are then set up in an area within the hospital. The aquariums each have an auto feeder and a timer for the light, and Something Fishy services the aquariums on a weekly basis, making them 100% maintenance-free. If hospital staff needs to move it, they simply wrap up the cord and roll it into the next room. The battery backup aerator provides continuous oxygen until the unit is plugged back in. Something Fishy services the aquariums on a weekly basis.

Anyone can help by directly contacting hospitals such as Advocate Children’s, Lurie, La Rabida, and Comer’s and let them know that you heard about our program and are interested in supporting it by giving a donation.