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Old 03-24-2010, 10:31 PM   #1
datura
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big al's in mississauga, on


you're right, i shouldn't be embarrassed about this question! i would really like some actual people experiences.

does anyone know anything about this store? i will be visiting shortly... but if anyone has any reviews that would be lovely, especially in regards to the health of their plants and fish... it is the closest fish-specific store to my house.

also, is it generally expensive in comparison to other fish stores in mississauga/oakville?

Last edited by datura; 03-25-2010 at 01:45 AM..
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:14 AM   #2
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then why click post?
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by datura View Post
you're right, i shouldn't be embarrassed about this question! i would really like some actual people experiences.

does anyone know anything about this store? i will be visiting shortly... but if anyone has any reviews that would be lovely, especially in regards to the health of their plants and fish... it is the closest fish-specific store to my house.

also, is it generally expensive in comparison to other fish stores in mississauga/oakville?

I go on a frequent basis, from my experience, they are healthy, ive never had any issues at all with freshwater fish/plants. For me price's aren't too bad seem fair and decent.

there is PJ Pets at Sq1 as well that should be somewhat close to you, right beside Big Al's theres a Chinese Plaza, they had 2-3 Aquarium places as well, I went into the Dragon Aquarium, and purchase my Java Moss, it was excellent quality.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:33 AM   #4
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I bought some(can't remember the name)plants anchored on driftwood, and as a bonus it came with two dragon fly nymphs, that scared the !@@#$% out of me while I was doing a water change, and a whack load of snails to boot!!

Since then I've shied away from buying live goods there, though their selection of equipment and supplies is pretty good.

There's also Aquatic Kingdom about a kilometer east on Dundas that has a large selection of fish and plants.
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Old 05-08-2010, 02:03 PM   #5
The Plantman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by datura View Post
you're right, i shouldn't be embarrassed about this question! i would really like some actual people experiences.

does anyone know anything about this store? i will be visiting shortly... but if anyone has any reviews that would be lovely, especially in regards to the health of their plants and fish... it is the closest fish-specific store to my house.

also, is it generally expensive in comparison to other fish stores in mississauga/oakville?
They have excellent products but the staff knowledge is just a joke. DO NOT ask anyone but the manager about ANYTHING!
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:29 PM   #6
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Seriously, it's a huge mistake to ask anyone in any fish shop anything. Know what you need to know before going in.

Personally I think big als has become bloated and is not what they once were.
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Old 03-06-2011, 12:25 PM   #7
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When I was first setting up tanks I was in Georgetown (outside Brampton) and would head into the Brampton Big Al's for most of my fish and equipment. Nice enough gear, but my fish survival rate from there wasn't great. Better than Petsmart, but not knowing much at the time meant I would rely on them for advise and quickly learned how bad of an idea that was.

I was lucky in Georgetown that there was a really good independent store across the street from me. After I found that I never weent back to Big Al's.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:02 PM   #8
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"Seriously, it's a huge mistake to ask anyone in any fish shop anything. Know what you need to know before going in."

Thats an unfair statment to make. So many fish hobbist claim to be the experts, yet use forums to find answers to their questions..
Im no expert nor a beginner.
I have had many questions while in LFSs but seek out someone knowledgeable, but dont shun the beginner, as we were all one at some point in time.
Do you know how hard it is to sell a quality fish in a fish store?? I do this everyday.. " it all starts with the supplier and how its shipped.
havent you all had fish die on you at some point?? Its no easier for a LFS and given the amounts of fish they deal with on a everday basis.

and... lets not forget the customer who comes in wanting 4 large angels, 2 plecos for his 20gal tank only just purchased from wallymart and set up the night before. yah we have the frustrating task of trying in simple terms to educate them on cycling and water quality for his/her tank.. but they have had fish before most say..
... then return to the store with a baggy of dead fish claiming "WE" sold them sick fish?
All stores are not the same nor run the same way..
Management LFS
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:18 PM   #9
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Big Al's has the best fish locally( I'm In Newmarket) but as usual some fish are ok and some are not.
I bought a 1/2 dozen glolight tetras from them last year and after a few weeks they all died except 2. They all developed hemmoragic septicemia.
I have had terrible gouramis from them and have seen fish in the tanks covered in anchor worms. However the fish room manager is very responsive to being shown sick fish. After all he can't be there all the time and he probably doesn't stand staring at the fish like I do.
I will go back and forth to the store for a number of days before I buy my fish. I look for wasting, open sores, parasites and just generally how they interact.
last month I picked up some very healthy ottos, siamese algae eaters and a couple of nice platies.
I have an issue with how fish are shipped around the world and the ensuing death rate BUT having said that I have seen theprivate little van that delivers to the local store and it is all insulated.They try to keep the fish healthy. Unfortunately sometimes when they open the boxes, the fish may be all dead or the bags may leak.
The kids that work in the store seem to be continually doing water changes and most are very knowledgeable. Some know more about one fish than another-just like you and I- not everyone can know everything.
if i want help with disease issues I try to get the manager of the front part of the store because I know he has a degree in marine biology.
By and large they try to be helpful there.
if you are inT.O there is also the aquarium club you can join if you want to buy fish privately and there are any number of privately owned fish stores. There is one on Rutherford road near Vaughan Mills as well as a Big Al's and I think there are a number of shops in Scarborough.
Is there not a branch of the aquarium club in Mississauga?
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:42 AM   #10
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I live just down the street from the Mississauga Big Als. They are not bad, but last time I was there, late December, they did have half a dozen tanks with various fishes that had ick on them. When I pointed this out to a staff person, he didn't seem very concerned, and did not mark the tanks in any way. In my opinion, they should have been marked right away as not for sale. Most of the staff in the past have been polite, helpful and willing to listen, and I think you mostly get what you pay for there, though it is not cheap. Aquatic Kingdom seems to have very nice stock, not a fancy place, very plain, but clean tanks and stock, nice people, very helpful. Dragon Aquarium seems to have good stock too, though the front of the store is crowded, rather disorganized and kind of dusty, they seem to take very good care of their livestock. I haven't been in there for awhile though.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:13 PM   #11
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Big Al's in Brampton is a decent store. Every store has it's downfalls at one point or another. The prices are generally higher than most other pet stores, but they have more rare species and far better selection. The thing that bothers me is their absolutely horrendous guarantee. Petsmart guarantees their fish for 14 days with full refund or exchange and no water sample necessary. Big Al's is 5 days, with water sample and they only replace HALF the value of the fish in store credit. HARDLY worth it, and there is no way that this guarantees their fish - many ailments can show after 5 days. If your fish very obviously died of a disease that presented itself after the stress of moving, why are they replacing only half of it? You are the one that has to make another trip there, wasting your time and gas to get there. It just isn't worth it and I never take my fish back.

The MAIN benefit of Big Al's is their plants!!! PJ's and Petsmart never have things like Cryptocorynes and Anubias. Big Al's gets some amazing, AMAZING plants. That yes, are more expensive than the other two major chains, BUT when you buy plants at PJ's and Petsmart, you are only ever buying cuttings of stem plants for the most part. Big Al's plants are always WELL rooted and potted in rockwool. The plants are generally healthy, large and established. Buying certain plants as unrooted cuttings from PJ's and Petsmart is alright, but it depends on the types of plants and their healthiness. If you catch a fresh delivery (which is rare with PJ's/Petsmart), you are golden. Big Al's gets plants in regularly, perhaps weekly or biweekly and there is always something new and beautiful that I want from there. Unfortunately, my tanks are STOCKED! Time to start a new one!

Suffice it to say, I have honestly had better luck with the fish I get from Petsmart and PJ's. Some locations are visibly better than others. The PJ's here in Brampton has a relatively small selection with few plants. The PJ's at Square One is amazing by comparison! They have dozens and dozens of planted tanks and a very large selection of plants and fish usually. They have many mature plants and fish for show/sale as well and some rarities. I got 4 beautiful, mature, pearlescent, long-fin, gold Angelfish last time I was there, for only $28 each. They were in such good shape that they have laid eggs twice and I have had them only a month!

My adivce, each store has it perks and drawbacks. Use them for what they're good for. If Petsmart has the fish you want, get them there if they are healthy. They have that 14 day guarantee which makes it all worth while, and they are less expensive usually. Get your plants at Big Al's.

Have fun with it and shop around. There's no better way to get the best of all worlds!
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:15 PM   #12
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Hm... what is this aquarium club you speak of...?
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:18 AM   #13
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The big al's in Oakville, (A midsize town near Toronto, Ontario) has so-so plants and great fish. I buy all my fish from there and each and every one lived for at least 2 months. The plants there are established and healthy but not much selection. Great staff, lots of knowledge and they have unbelievable marine stock. They have every coral, shrimp, marine fish and everything you can think of. They sell reptiles as well, but go to petsmart for reptiles. They sell amazing equiment but the decor offered is quite limited. However, they sell frozen and live food, medicine, and aquariums up to 140gal. However, they closed down weeks ago... But in 1 1/2 years a new one is expected to open in oakville, and much better!
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:35 AM   #14
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Old thread but I wanted to say don't buy reptiles at any chain stores it is super easy to find breeders. I haven't yet seen a store that properly houses all of their reptiles.

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