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Do You Have A LFS?


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Disclaimer: I understand this could cause some fights/jealousy, this is not my intention with this post.

The question is simple. Do you have a LFS? I know some people are talking about going to Big Box Stores ( i was going to type the abreviation BBS, but that is more often Baby Brine Shrimp) because they dont have a LFS. Im trying to understand better how many user on here have LFSs.

So 1.do you have one?

2.If yes How Many

3.If yes how far away is it from you?

there is no need to post any store names here.

so here is me:

1.I have a LFS

2.I am very fortunate i have 2 and they are both pretty good. For me its a trade off  of going to the smaller one, less selection but cheaper, or the bigger one more selection but more expensive.

3. 1 is a 10-15minute walk, the other is around a 20minute drive, but can be reached by public transit (as i said im very fortnate when it comes to LFSs)

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No.

 

Used to have a pair of very nice shops within 10 minutes.   There was also a youtube-worthy shop 90 minutes away, but that closed too.  Best one is an ugly 90 minute drive.

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  1. I have a LFS
  2. There are at least 4 lfs here but I'll only say 2 as the others are marine only. One of the lfs is an online store but I can do a local pickup. When I combine the lower cost in addition to the aquarium club discount, I usually buy from this lfs. The trade-off is, I can't wander the store looking at all they have to offer. I've gotten nothing but the best of stock from them. The second store is great to wander about and also offers a club discount. 
  3. Both of them are a 20-minute drive from me. 
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Not really. There's a local pet store that has tanks, but don't really take good care of them and don't have knowledgeable staff. The nearest true LFS is about thirty miles away. Go back thirty-forty years and there were probably twenty (or more) good fish stores within thirty miles. The local fish stores have become a dying breed.

The 70s and 80s were the peak of the tropical fish hobby here in the South Jersey area. Every town had one or more stores and all were staffed by folks who knew their stuff. More often than not you'd be dealing with the store owner when you went to them. Some of the bigger stores would hire staff, but they trained them up and typically hired hobbyists who already knew their stuff. Everyone wanted you to succeed. 

It's a tough business to succeed in these days as crazies will poison tanks and kill your stock. (As happened to Predatory Fins in their massive display tank when they were in Florida. And also to Aquarium Center at their old Clementon, NJ location when someone poured mercury into their tanks.) You need the tanks accessible to catch the fish, but there are enough crazies around to put you out of business pretty quickly. 

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I have 5 LFS very close to my home or work. I am also fortunate enough to be within a 30 min-60 min drive to 3 premier Florida fish farms. Within 3 hours and I can visit the fish farms that Cory and the gang visited. Even with all this, I prefer small online breeders and/or the 2 fish clubs near me. Stock always seems healthier to me. 

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Not really “local”. nearest one north of me is about a 45 minute drive and the nearest south is about an hour. Neither is a “hop in the car for last minute/emergency” trip. I have to rely mostly on BBPS (big box pet stores) of which there are 3 in my town (the biggest 3) or online. 
 

in another universe, I’d open one if 1) had money to do so, 2) had enough experience to do so 3) had more knowledge about running such a business 4) didn’t find value the “leave work at work” aspect of working for someone else. There’s a lot to be said for being able to do that sometimes. Kudos to those that own businesses and don’t live under constant stress.

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On 2/12/2023 at 9:01 AM, Katherine said:

I have been to 4 in my area. Google thinks there might be a few more. 2 look like general pet shops that might or might not have fish. It's a 20-40 minute drive depending on which store I want to go to.

And now that I've done a little more looking there's at least 1 I've never been to that definitely looks worth a visit.

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I live between Philly and Baltimore: I have nothing within 20 minutes of me. But within 30-60 minutes I have

House of Tropicals (I think many people know that place, it's like a live fish supermarket)

Frags to Fishes (omg the name is amazing and the store is SO CLEAN AND BEAUTIFUL)

Go Fish- which I have not been to

Tom's Tropicals

And several more I do *not* recommend.

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On 2/12/2023 at 11:31 AM, egruttum said:

Wow.  Hard enough to own a small business when everything goes right.

Yeah, and it's dangerous for the employees. Here's a link to a news story on what happened to the Aquarium Center. https://6abc.com/mercury-clementon-aquarium-center/1341398/

It's uncommon for someone to use mercury, but crazy people will use other things to poison fish given the chance. I'm not sure Predatory Fins ever discovered what someone used to poison their huge display tank. It's not that hard to poison a closed system and there are enough lunatics in the world to make it a problem.

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On 2/12/2023 at 10:40 AM, gardenman said:

Yeah, and it's dangerous for the employees. Here's a link to a news story on what happened to the Aquarium Center. https://6abc.com/mercury-clementon-aquarium-center/1341398/

It's uncommon for someone to use mercury, but crazy people will use other things to poison fish given the chance. I'm not sure Predatory Fins ever discovered what someone used to poison their huge display tank. It's not that hard to poison a closed system and there are enough lunatics in the world to make it a problem.

One more reason I am perfectly happy to have someone else's last name on my shirt patch when I go to work.  I don't need these headaches of my own business.

  

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  • 16 stores that sell fish within a 30 min. drive
  • 2 are primarily saltwater
  • 2 are "aquarium shops" selling mostly salt water and aquarium services.
  • 2 with useless or no websites so it is unclear as to what they sell, or if they are still in business.
  • 8 can be reached in <15 min.
  • 1 sells freshwater fish and groceries
  • 5 are big box pet shops that sell fish
  • 1 is online with delivery or local pickup and most of the inventory is out of stock!
  • 1 LFS that sells a few pet related items
  • Hubris killed what was arguably the best store decades ago.

Subject to change without notice🙄

My purchase order of preference is  LFS, online, big box.

 

 

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- Yes (I frequently visit 4 stores that are close to me)

- There’s about 5 that’s less than a 30 minute drive from me and if I go out of my city there’s about 5-10 stores that I can visit in any direction I go. 

- Only ONE store out of all is an Aquascape/nano fish specific store

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Yes, I have one, family owned since the 1930's.

I have 3, A general pet store with a huge fish selection (where I get rare fish 😏), a small betta and monster fish shop with hundreds of awesome bettas, and a small reef and basic freshwater species store.

They are all at least a 20 minute drive from my house, which is kind of a pain with gas prices and all, but worth it.

Also, I feel bad for anyone in the Midwest. The local supply is limited there, because it's farther from the ocean.

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I have two local fish stores, but they are both 30-45 minutes from my house and I find myself going to Petco 5 minutes from my house for some basics at times. For livestock, I will drive to the LFS.

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I have 3 that I know of local to me in Portland OR, there are probably a couple more, but after reading everyone's replies here I'm wondering just how local they actually are when I have to drive 40-50 minutes to get to them. Definitely not a hop in your car for something you need last minute kind of local, but I live in a kind of rural area so not many specialized shops of any kind are. I heavily favor one of the 3 shops, The Wet Spot, to the point where imo the others aren't even worth visiting if it's a choice between them, but The Wet Spot is also the furthest one away. It makes me sad seeing that so many are going out of business.

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On 2/12/2023 at 5:27 AM, Theplatymaster said:

1.do you have one?

Yes

2.If yes How Many

Three, but I've only been to the two closest ones. 

3.If yes how far away

Two of them are about 15 minutes away on public transportation. The other is about 25 minutes away on public transportation. 

 

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1. Yes

2. I have 2. Twin Cities Guppies (retail partner) & Quality Aquatics (ACO did a store tour). Both great stores that I’m lucky to have so close. 

3. Both within a 10 minute drive. 
 

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I'm not sure why anyone would fight over it.

But we don't have anything particularly close.  Takes about a hour to get to any of them.  I frequent just one of them.  He's an ACO partner now which is nice because when I need a couple sponge filters to sit on a shelf I'm not going to the website and spending $100.  Sorry, Cory.  I always want to make my way around to some of the others to check them out, but never really end up acting on it.  Because it's quite a drive, it ends up being a "day" where we end up at several other places like the mall and whatever other stuff my wife or kids need.  And we usually go out for lunch.  So it ends up being a bit of a production.  And if we added another 30 minutes in the car just to go check out another fish store... I'm not necessarily keen on that.

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I live in a small town, up until a few months ago, the closest "fish store" I had was a big box one about 20 minute drive. The closest LFS was about an hour drive. But, a guy in my local fish club just opened an LFS a few months ago, and that is about a half hour drive. There are a couple of other LFS within a 45-60 min drive, but none I go into, super high prices, fish always are sick, etc. I envy those of you who live in areas that have 6-8 LFS within an hour or so drive. 

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I have several stores that sell fish and aquarium products.

The three that would be considered LFS, one is a former employee of the other two stores. He has a nice store but expensive and unless you are big dollar clientele his employees are very cocky and pretend to know more than they really do.  The other two stores are owned by the same person. They are very expensive and have the attitude of selling incompatible things only to sell you more after it dies. When I go into these stores I feel like I am being accosted by an over zealous used car sales man with a lot full of lemons. 

We also have several big box stores.  We have a new one that just opened "pet supplies plus" which the staff is good, take good care of their tanks and willing to learn, however they don't have many tanks and not a big selection of supplies.  

My go to now is to do my research and buy off Aquarium Co-op and Amazon for supplies.  For live stock I typically only get fish from the big box stores or if I go out of town to the Minneapolis area or Omaha both of which are about 4 +/- hours away.


 

 

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