My reviews on 4 Milwaukee (area) Fish Stores - The Planted Tank Forum

 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-08-2012, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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My reviews on 4 Milwaukee (area) Fish Stores

So yesterday I took a trip to visit milwaukee and decided to go to the four biggest fish stores I could find. Here are my reviews purely based on my little time in each. This is my personal opinion so please don't be offended.


1. BestFish.us - I was initially excited about this store because it is conveniently located and says it has a large shark tank. The shop was supposed to be open at 10am and when I arrived at 10:02 they were locked up. I called and asked if they were even open and I wasn't received with the warmest of welcomes. Upon entering I realize it isn't as large as it had made itself seem. Basically it is a long narrow corridor lined with tanks. The selection of livestock was okay but not very impressive and some of the tanks were quite dirty and underkept. Also, the selection of aquatic plants wasn't very great at all.
SCORE= 3 stars

2. Hoffers Tropical Pets- Another user pointed me towards this place. Although the drive from downtown to the place was a little sketchy it was definitely worth it. This place was HUGE, a warehouse esentially converted into a pet paradise. This place had a baby alligator pit and a pit with tortoises along with birds and reptiles galore. But on to important parts. The fish selection here was pretty great. It took me quite a while to "quickly" browse over. A very generous portion of the warehouse itself was designated for aquariums. There were several tanks stacked with aquatic plants and some interesting show tanks as well. The one downfall to me was that the staff wasn't great. Some of them were nice but some were not as personable.
SCORE= 4.5 stars

3. The Fish Factory- This place is more removed from the city but still worth a visit. The staff here were very nice and it had a very relaxed atmosphere. Also, they have good deals going on depending on the day and even when it rains they have specials. Although the place was pretty small it was well kept and had a decent selection of livestock and plants.
SCORE= 3.5 stars

4. Aquatics Unlimited- This was the one place I was most excited to see. Let me tell you it definitely doesn't disappoint. This place was like a giant square room lined top to bottom with tanks. Sadly my time in here was limited but overall the place was very clean and well kept. I didn't really get a chance to talk to the staff so as for that I have little to comment on. The plant selection here was decent but not as great as hoffers. The fish selection here could easily compete with hoffers and was very impressive. This place is definitely worth taking a trip to.
SCORE = 4.5 stars

Any questions or comments on the stores feel free to ask!

Last edited by tenzero1; 04-20-2012 at 01:04 PM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 04:35 PM
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id say best fish deserves at least 3 stars for being one of the only stores in the inner city and for the fact that they've gotten some unusual fish in (saw some freshwater pipefish there which apparently are in fact freshwater)
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GOJIRADOR View Post
id say best fish deserves at least 3 stars for being one of the only stores in the inner city and for the fact that they've gotten some unusual fish in (saw some freshwater pipefish there which apparently are in fact freshwater)
Like I said this is just my opinion but I will bump it up based on that. I more or less based it on overall stock not just specifics. I almost did it based on my interest (dwarf shrimp) but if thats the case there wouldn't have been too many good scores....
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 01:54 PM
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Overall I will agree with your assessments. The only thing different, based on my personal experience, is that evey time I have gone into Hoffer's I had wonderful, helpful, knowledgeable service. Aquatics Unlimited has been just the opposite. I have never received good service there. Also, the only stores with more dead fish in their tanks than AU have been big box stores.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 10:01 PM
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thanks for taking my thoughts into consideration
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 03:36 PM
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Hoffers staff was actually less helpful in my opinion that Aquatics Unlimited. Maybe I just caught them on an off day though. I usually go to Aquatics Unlimited and that was my first time in Hoffers.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 04:28 PM
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I dont know for sure but it seems to me that lfs owners dont really teach their employees anything besides business, they just expect them to know from experience and personal research. I've seen knowledgeable people at crummy stores and I've seen amateurs at good ones.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 04:58 PM
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I agree. I do remember one employee telling me that plants wouldnt grow in a 2.5 gallon tank, and she didnt even know what equipment i had.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 06:06 PM
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Had a family reunion by Milwaukee last weekend and could only visit one shop before I drove back home so I stopped by Hoffers. I have to say I was amazed at how big the store was when I pulled up into the drive way. Pretty nice fish selection. Saw some beautiful Yellow rams(not gold or german) that I was soo tempted to pick up but they weren't what I was looking for. Kept me eye out for some Apistos which I didn't see but was really happy to find my second option which were some Scarlet Badis. They were decently priced and so far the fish are doing great. Would like to make a trip to AU but so far Hoffers will be on my returning visits for sure.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 06:42 PM
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Yea Hoffers is pretty awesome. If you liked it so much, you definately have to check out Aquatics Unlimited as well! I would definately say that there pretty comparable.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-19-2012, 01:38 PM
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Yes I agree with your assessment, except for AU. I thought that the plant selection was better there than at Hoffa's. Hoffa seems to carry lots of the common plants, but nothing to unusual, like AU.
All 4 of the stores you mentioned have just a few who know plants, if you happen to get them with your question then your experience is good. At least my exeperience with AU isthat they will get the plant guys for you.
Natural World in Fond du Lac is a nice place if, like me you only get to Milwaukee every few months.
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