I'm returning to the hobby after several years away. I was previously in Indianapolis, IN, where I frequented a really wonderful fish store. Now I'm trying to find something in the Richmond, VA area. So far, I'm really disappointed with my options.
I've only been in Azalea Aquariums twice, but both experiences have been poor. The owner is extremely rude. Today I was talking to an employee about a used tank. He was in the process of building a stand for it. The owner walked up and told him not to help customers, that he was only to work on the stand. Then he just walked away without offering to answer the questions I had been asking the employee.
Also, when I approached the owner about possibly buying some rocks from one of his established tanks to use as seed material for starting a new tank, he started in about Smart Start Complete -- "Just add it to the tank and throw your fish in a couple of days later." I tried to explain that I wanted to do a fishless cycle with the boost of some seed material. He completely dismissed me and went as far as to say, "There is no such thing as a fishless cycle."
He then marched me over to another employee and demanded that that employee tell me how they "dumped" several hundred dollars worth of discus in a tank with some Smart Start Complete and didn't lose a single fish.
I understand that he has been in the business for years and maybe he's had great luck with Smart Start Complete, but I did not appreciate being completely dismissed after voicing a preference for fishless cycling. I also don't appreciate anyone who uses verbs like "throwing" and "dumping" when talking about introducing fish to a new tank.
Although the staff at Fin and Feather was polite, they didn't seem particularly knowledgeable. The guy that tried to help me had never heard of the Julidochromis genus
I will definitely check out Skoolz of Fish. It appears to be my last hope *fingers crossed*