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Those without a LFS UNITE!


TheCzarista
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I am 100% sure there are others that don't have a LFS handy.  All we have is Petco, Petsmart, and what we can get off the internet.  I really wish we had a place that we could go to just fish gaze.

Oh, and our Petco is one of the bad ones.  The tanks are dirty, they often have dead fish floating in them, with other fish eating them, and the bettas in their cups act almost comatose, barely moving at all.

Here's hoping we can get a LFS soon!

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I have three local box stores. One has an okay plant selection, another has a good tank selection, and the third is probably understaffed. I also have two small LPS (local pet stores), who take good care of smaller selections. I haven't visited an aquarium-specific store for more than a decade.

I think in smaller markets like Vermont, you have to sell cat food and dog food to stay open. I am grateful to have my LPS, even with just a few racks of fish and plants. Somebody cares enough to make that happen.

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I started with aquariums when I was 12 or 13 years old. I also did not have access to much money to fuel my new hobby. Given my age, I was not able to go very far to find a pet store given that I could not drive. I had a Petco about 10 minutes away and a Petsmart about 15 minutes away. I also had access to a really good local reef store which was 15 minutes away as well. But a local pet store opened up about 10 minutes away and they gave away a 10 gallon aquarium kit to the first customers (not sure how many). And to my delight, my aunt gave it to me not knowing what she had just started haha 

I may not have had access to stores with great freshwater fish or plants selection, but the one act of giving away aquariums started my hobby that has stuck with me the longest (over half my life now). Like @Streetwise said, I am forever grateful that my LPS cared enough to make it happen. 

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I have to pay ~$25 for a ferry to get off the Island  but the greater Seattle area is lucky to have Aquarium Coop, an ADA store and a handful of old school fish stores. We also seem to have a thriving hobbyist breeding scene. I’m not sure if it’s the Cory effect or if Western Washingtonians just like aquariums. 

Edited by Patrick_G
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I’m on the rural Eastern Shore in Maryland. I’ve got one LFS 1.25 hours away to the north, and if I go across the bay there’s one I haven’t checked out yet that would only be an hour (with no bridge traffic). With my health though, I rarely make it out that far, and I almost always need someone to drive me. We have an okay Petco about 45 minutes away.

That said, there’s someone in my neighborhood starting a small saltwater business out of his or her home! I have no desire for anything saltwater, but it makes me happy just knowing there’s another fishkeeper nearby. I kind of doubt they’ll have much success though unless they sell online.

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My favorite LFS closed down before Covid, and I'm still sad about it. They were an old-school type of place, in business for something like 20+ years. Now I'm left with an iffy place that focuses mostly on saltwater - their freshwater selection is always sparse and sickly (at least it was last I went in pre-Covid days, I really should peek in and see how they are now).

So I mostly shop at big box stores. We have 2 Petcos, a Petsmart and a Pet Supplies Plus. One Petco actually gets in a nice variety of live stock, which is kind of cool. I do still mostly order online if I need something specific. 

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5 minutes ago, H.K.Luterman said:

My favorite LFS closed down before Covid, and I'm still sad about it. They were an old-school type of place, in business for something like 20+ years. Now I'm left with an iffy place that focuses mostly on saltwater - their freshwater selection is always sparse and sickly (at least it was last I went in pre-Covid days, I really should peek in and see how they are now).

So I mostly shop at big box stores. We have 2 Petcos, a Petsmart and a Pet Supplies Plus. One Petco actually gets in a nice variety of live stock, which is kind of cool. I do still mostly order online if I need something specific. 

That sucks! There was a pet store in my home town since I was a child. They were around for 40 years or more. They had dogs, cats, rodents, birds, and a large fish room. Was great. They closed a few years ago and turned into a dog grooming place. Not sure if the owners were retiring or had issues with the business. They supplied to the whole central and northeast corner of my state.

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The only stores near me that sell fish stuff are small petstores and garden centers. They pretty much sell the same stuff, but luckily the wholesalers in the Netherlands have websites with their stocklist all public, so I can order them through a pet store. The wholesalers only sell to businesses with physical stores, so AFAIK we don't have online only stores that sell/ship fish. Not even the physical stores sell fish online.

There is a big pet store with a bigger aquarium section about an hour away from me, but mostly, the travel isn't worth the effort. I have the idea that the aquarium hobby is quite small here. People keep fish, but I feel it's more ornamental.

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17 hours ago, TheCzarista said:

You are SO lucky.  Ours would be in Houston, about 2 hours away, I think

Are you North or West of greater Houston? I live 10 minutes from two fab LFS I frequent and we could coordinate if you want something specific. Their stock is always super healthy and rotates often. I have seen a gold nugget pleco, arowanas (sp?), lots of varieties of tetra and cichlids, super red bristle nose, and lots of shrimp varieties 

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19 hours ago, TheCzarista said:

I am 100% sure there are others that don't have a LFS handy.  All we have is Petco, Petsmart, and what we can get off the internet.  I really wish we had a place that we could go to just fish gaze.

Oh, and our Petco is one of the bad ones.  The tanks are dirty, they often have dead fish floating in them, with other fish eating them, and the bettas in their cups act almost comatose, barely moving at all.

Here's hoping we can get a LFS soon!

My lfs is a 2hr drive I do have a good family owned pet store that takes great care of and only hires experts for there fish and reptiles but I have a petco I believe is worse than yours too basically what you said but x10 and add rude employees and they charge about double the prices on the petco website so I always price match witch makes them extra mad at me 

Edited by Angelfishlover
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Yeah all I’ve got is a Petco unless I want to drive 7 hours down to Anchorage. I’m lucky that the Petco has (2) A+ employees and a branch manager that at least supports the aquatic section. I try to buy things there every couple weeks, talk it up and support it because if that branch closes, I can’t get tanks or frozen food locally. 

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I think it all depends on what you are after.  I have a number of what seem to be quite good LFS around, but I don't really frequent them.  I plan setups for very specific fish, and then I am patient and track them down.  Like when I wanted Endler's, I wanted N-class Endler's with a known lineage I could track back to a collection point.  So, I waited until a specialty breeder had them available and bought online.  Even if I lived across the street from the Co-Op, I prob ably wouldn't get fish there because the next ones I am after are African cichlids, and FWIK they don't do African cichlids.  Great store.  Great focus.  Just don't carry what I am after. 

The things I am grateful for are the local parts suppliers.  I'm driving distance to Midwest Custom Aquariums, and I'm 20 min to Bulk Reef Supply.  When I order from BRS stuff gets here faster than if I got it with Amazon Prime!  All that, but I don't think I'll be a regular at a local place.  I just have eclectic interests I suppose. 

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Oh I forgot that the farm store down the street sells fish meds. That definitely counts for something!

@OnlyGenusCaps I don’t want to buy fish at the LFS... I want to sell them fish!! 😆 Just kidding... mostly. I do buy fish from time to time. I almost never impulse buy though. Lots of research and planning, and if I’m breeding I’m very picky.

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9 hours ago, Nancy K said:

Are you North or West of greater Houston? I live 10 minutes from two fab LFS I frequent and we could coordinate if you want something specific. Their stock is always super healthy and rotates often. I have seen a gold nugget pleco, arowanas (sp?), lots of varieties of tetra and cichlids, super red bristle nose, and lots of shrimp varieties 

I’m going to be visiting Houston in a few weeks. Which stores do you recommend, Nancy K? Thanks in advance!

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