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Old 08-15-2004, 02:43 PM   #1
sn8k
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Best SFO Bay Area Fish/Plant stores?


OK - mail order is cool - but I'd rather buy local.

Where are the best shops to visit and get some good plants? I don't mind driving around to get to where I need to go... it's just almost impossible to locate the ones that are good throught the yellow pages.

Thanks in advance
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Old 08-15-2004, 06:22 PM   #2
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Albany Aquarium is good. Prices are kind of high but they have a good selection. They are near Berkeley. I live in the south bay and make a special trip up there every once in a while since I have not found a LFS with good plants.
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Old 08-16-2004, 05:03 AM   #3
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I go to Caesars Tropical Fish in Santa Rosa, California. They'll usually order anything you want, so you know it's fresh. I go to Petsmart in Rohnert Park sometimes which occasionally get some great specimens. I got a java fern there for $1 which is at least 10 inches tall. Great deal.
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Old 08-16-2004, 11:42 PM   #4
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Chalk up another vote for Albany Aquarium in Albany. They get plants in about every couple of weeks and usually have a pretty good selection (fyi, they're getting new plants in later this week). The prices tend to be a bit on the steep side, but they get in some stuff that you won't be able to find elsewhere (A. nana petite (leaves are m&m-sized), Nesaea red, etc.). You can also add stuff that you're interested in on their list and they'll call you up when it becomes available. They also quarantine fish before they offer them for sale.

Octopus Garden is also in the same area. The selection is a bit on the low side, but the fish selection is decent. They always have dwarf puffers in supply there, as well as cherry reds for reasonable prices (picked mine up for $2 each awhile back).

If you don't mind driving, then Exotic Aquarium in Sacramento is another good place to visit. Their plant collection isn't as extensive, but they have great pricing, especially on the fishes. Talk to Mike if you're interested in something that's not around.
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Old 08-17-2004, 03:36 AM   #5
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I'll echo what's been said about Albany Aquarium. Top notch, but you sure pay for it. I never saw so many planted tanks in one place! Very impressive. The two rams and 10 otos I bought are still doing great now after a month, unlike the ones from other places. Oct. garden is pretty good too, but if I had to choose between one or the other then I would say Albany gets my vote.

On the pen. theres a few places in the city. 6th ave. aquarium on 6th/clement comes to mind. Everything is wholesale so it's all self serve. I have bought a few nice plants there for half of what Albany sells the same thing for. The only downsides here are parking (there's none, )there's no guarantee on any live items and many times you have to pass because the fish are so sickly. It can also be shoulder to shoulder in the place. He must a killing! You definitely want to QT your items from here.

There's also Nippon Goldfish company on Geary that is only a few block from 6th ave. I havn't been yet, but I called them and they stock amanos and cherries so I'd bet that they have some good plants too. That place is definitely on my "to visit list." If anyone's been there fill us in.

Another forum member told me about Ocean aquarium. I believe it's near Van Ness in the city. I called them once and they seemed to know what they were doing. I'd like to check that one out too someday. If anyones has been what do you think?

There's also a couple nice shops in San Mateo. "Fish for You" in the Marina shopping centre off of Hillsdale near 101. Has the basics as far as plants go. Probably not worth the drive from the east bay, but worth mentioning. For fish though I really like "Ultimate Aquarium" off of El Camino near Hillsdale mall. I don't go there for plants, but he has all kinds of fish that I don't see as much at other places. Last time I was there he had Kribs and Killies as well as various type of tetras and rainbows that I never see in stores and they are generally healthy. He also guarantees the fish if you provide a water sample. He also had Amanos that he was selling as glass shrimp for $1 each. Needless to say I bought all he had left for that price and he even threw in a discount for buying ten. He couldn't believe that they sold so fast...wonder why
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Old 08-17-2004, 04:24 AM   #6
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Another vote for Albany Aquarium,they`re about the best in the Bay Area for
plants.They`re on San Pablo Ave. in Albany and they`re closed on Thursdays.

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Old 08-17-2004, 04:48 AM   #7
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Dolphin Aquarium in Campbell. Best in the south bay.
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Old 08-17-2004, 06:54 AM   #8
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Sooooooooo - after seeing the responses I took a trip today up to Albany Aquarium and was very happy I did. I was also happy that I brought along my better half to keep my wallet intact . I will take more trips to the other shops recomended in the near future. Thanks for all the imput
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Old 08-17-2004, 10:03 AM   #9
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buying in store!~~ support store~
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Old 08-17-2004, 08:54 PM   #10
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GO to nippon in SF on Geary ST. i always go there!!! and also you should take a look at ocean aquarium in downtown!!! 6th ave and clement is pretty good for equipment but i wouldnt go there for fish, every weekend is 25% off all fish at nippon also!!!
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Old 08-17-2004, 11:55 PM   #11
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Ocean's Aquarium is definately the top of my list as far as plants go. Each tank in the shop are planted and you just choose which plants you want from any tank. The owners are extremely knowledgable and will speand alot of time answering all your questions. Ive been to Albany aquarium too, while they also have a great selection of plants, Ocean's seems to have more. It is a definitive visit if you live in the area.
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Old 08-18-2004, 12:03 AM   #12
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I have gone to both ocean aquarium and albany. I like albany better. Ocean does have some good stuff but not as much of the "good stuff".

If you ever thought that Albany was like a musty garage, then Ocean will make albany look like it has had the white glove treatment *LOL*
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Old 08-18-2004, 10:44 PM   #13
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I used to live in Fremont and I always went to a place in Hayward called Aquarium Concepts, which was alright. There was also a little place in Fremont (can't remember the name - off of 880) but they never really had a good selection.

Never made it up to Albany but heard nice things about it.

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Old 08-19-2004, 12:02 AM   #14
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Ron,
Aquarium Concepts really is a reefer specialty place now. They have an 'ok' stock of freshwater fish, but their plants leave a lot to be desired. I really do need to make the trek to the places in the city, but I hate driving/parking there.

Was the little place in Fremont Atlantis Aquarium in the Albertsons shopping center (880 and Fremont Blvd). They're also more of a reefer store with only a single 20g tank of potted plants (mainly swords and crypts).

In reality, right now I get way more enjoyment from the SFBAAPS open houses I've attended and the plant swapping that goes on there. I've been amazed at what my fellow bay area hobbiests have available for trade.
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Old 08-19-2004, 12:13 AM   #15
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Hmm...sounds like I definitely need to get myself to the next SFBAAPS meeting. Was talking to another fellow forum poster this last weekend and he was talking about it also.

Aquarium Concepts is definitely a reefers' bread and butter. The selection of plant really isn't the best, but they price some of them for extremely cheap every once in awhile. The owner there, Ken is a pretty nice guy, and is willing to order for you if there's something that you're looking for (where I got my Synodontis petricolas from).

Atlantis Aquarium in Fremont is really only good for the saltwater stuff, and that's limited also. The owner there, Brian, is a pretty cool guy overall, but he's not in the shop all the time and has a limited amount of time when he is in there. The best thing about the place however are the fish in the display tank. Those tigerfish are just awesome...

If you're interested in saltwater however, there's not really a better place in the area than Tropical Paradise in San Leandro. Great selection, but all salt. This is where you wanna go if you're interested in the more hard to find corals (frags galore, clams, and just about anything that you can think of).
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