I stopped by Aquarium Depot today. It was a mixed experience (maybe I was expecting too much,) however the selection alone definitely puts it above the local Petsmarts/Petcos.
- lots of different sizes of tanks and matching stands on display. It was nice to actually see some of these in person, since I'm shopping for a new tank...
- what looked like a good selection of lights (at least to my noob eyes,) as well as filters and other equipment.
- Seachem products! I'll definitely buy these from them at the very least once I get my bigger tank going.
- Awesome selection of fish that looked healthy. No dead ones to be seen. The cichlid selection was particularly impressive.
- tank decor like rocks, driftwood etc was pretty lacking and disorganized. It looks like they may just have not restocked for a while.
- Not all of the tanks were labeled well, and they could have been organized better. It felt like some of the sections of fish (tropicals, cichlids, marine) were kind of jumbled together and could be confusing for the inexperienced.
- the plant tanks were hit or miss. Some looked good, some looked terrible. Some were fairly empty too, so I may have just been looking at old stock.
Overall I'd say that it was pretty good, although I was specifically hoping to buy some moss (they did have christmas and java, but neither looked very healthy,) and perhaps some rock/driftwood (limited, as I said, and all the driftwood I saw just looked like grapevine,) so I left empty-handed. That being said, I will probably return sometime soon to get a couple of the Panda Cories that I saw, I think they would go well in my nano tank! It seems like the employees were a mix of those knowledgable and those who were just there for a job, but that sort of thing doesn't bother me. I'm not the type who insists on a ton of assistance when I'm at a store.
As for prices, they seemed a little on the high side compared to the petsmart/petcos I've been in lately, but I guess that is to be expected for a small store vs. chain. That being said, it was still informative to see pretty much everything that I would need to setup another tank all in one location, even if it did make me realize that it's probably going to cost more than I expected if I want to buy everything new (probably going to start seeing what sorts of deals I can get on used stuff.)