RI is a fishtank wasteland. No one likes aquariums and the LFS are terrible.
I would have to strongly disagree with you on that one.
I will agree that good LFS are few and far between, but you clearly have not checked out the local fish clubs. http://www.tfsri.net/
The website is lacking, but check out one of the monthly meetings. Always an auction at the end of every meeting. The annual auctions and the regional convention auction are insane. You can get killer deals on some rare stuff. You will also find a wealth of knowledge, and once you go to a meeting or two, you will figure out who you can talk to to find specific things.