LFS--Tong's in Fountain Valley (SoCal--Orange County)
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Old 08-23-2004, 04:25 PM   #1
John P.
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LFS--Tong's in Fountain Valley (SoCal--Orange County)


I've been to Tong's twice in the last three months ... in my opinion:

Pros:
-Large store--good selection of dry goods
-Large store--decent amount of livestock for sale
-Some plants in back--a few "exotics" like Marimo Balls and Hairgrass

Cons:
-On both visits Tong's stocked dye-injected corys and glassfish
-Tanks seem a little overstocked
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Old 08-23-2004, 05:38 PM   #2
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I've been to Tong's as well - nice store as far as space and dry goods, but I noticed lots of tanks with dead fish and some that had a notice saying something like "This tank fish not gauranteed."
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Old 08-23-2004, 06:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dennx
I've been to Tong's as well - nice store as far as space and dry goods, but I noticed lots of tanks with dead fish and some that had a notice saying something like "This tank fish not gauranteed."
I noticed that as well. Usually in tanks with "show" discuss & the like. Not a big confidence booster.
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Old 08-24-2004, 04:53 AM   #4
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big store, and a lot of livestock...prices are usually on the high-end (for saltwater at least)
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Old 08-24-2004, 06:07 AM   #5
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Here are my opinions about Tong's:

PROS:
-Rather large selection of fish
-Great quantity of dry goods, you can find almost anything here
-Some good display tanks
-Somewhat decent selection of plants compared to all of the other LFS in SoCal
-They have many hard to find species sometimes
-Tanks are kept clean

CONS:
-Everything is expensive as heck! The prices of the fish, dry goods are all hyped up. That's why I always go somewhere else unless I really need something.
-Not very knowledgeable, but that depends on who you talk to I guess
-Dyed fish, sick fish, dead fish, overcrowded tanks (the SW section is maintained a lot better than FW)
-If you come across as if you don't know anything, they'll try to rip you off.
-Their fish policy - the words "NO GUARANTEE" is written on almost every tank
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Old 08-30-2004, 11:26 PM   #6
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Here's my 2 cents:
Pros-
One of the best, if not THE best, lfs's in or near O.C. Strictly Fish is close second.
LOVE the surprise of going there and finding a fish I've never seen in an lfs before. Sometimes, exotic cories!
Really good plant selection-best I've seen.
Almost mind-blowing dry goods and aquariums section.
Most of the employees are helpful, and not trying to get you to just spend money (but there are a few who do...)
Conveniently located (405 & Magnolia)

Cons-
As with most lfs's, pretty expensive
Certain employees can't answer even the simplest questions, and I won't ask one in particular to bag my fish ever again because they were really rough.

I wish there were more places of the quality and variety of Tong's, but they seem to have the monopoly in O.C. Go there any day of the week, at any time, and they've got the foot traffic to prove it.
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550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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Old 08-30-2004, 11:41 PM   #7
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Christina, have you been to Petown in Lake Forest?
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Old 08-30-2004, 11:52 PM   #8
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I haven't been there yet for two reasons:
It's probably furthest from me of the lfs's. How far is it from Strictly Fish? Is it near the 91?
The other reason I haven't been there yet is my preconceived opinion based on the name- Pettown. Leads me to believe that it isn't JUST fish, but a regular pet store. And most regular pet stores aren't (IMO) worth going to for specifically fish-related stuff, i.e., the Pet City chain. If it is just fish, then it sounds like it's worth the trip.
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MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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Old 08-31-2004, 02:28 AM   #9
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Petown is in Lake Forest off El Toro Rd and the 5 freeway. The name is decieving... it's all tropical fish and saltwater fish/goods.
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Old 08-31-2004, 04:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wonder woman
I won't ask one in particular to bag my fish ever again because they were really rough.
Oh man, I know who you're talking about. I'm really picky about my fish and this one time I told the guy to get the EXACT fishes that I wanted because the other ones looked kinda sick. So the guy tries to net them but can't, so he just nets all of 'em and puts them into the holding container and grabs each one by the tail and asks me if this is the one I want. I was pretty shocked when I saw that.. Got home and found the fishes dead in the bag. Mind you I live 10 minutes away from there so it wasn't because of any transit issues. I'm sure he's the one to blame because I've bought many other fish when he wasn't the bagger and they're all doing fine.
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Old 08-31-2004, 08:43 PM   #11
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M3th0d- actually the salesperson I had the bad experience with was female. I won't ask her for fish help ever again. She bagged 4 cories for me, and practically squished them up against the glass to catch them, and then literally tossed them into the plastic bag. Not gentle at all. But last time i was there, I had a great experience- I wanted specific fish too, and the big guy who was helping me was kind enough to let me net my own fish. Wish everyone would do that. Well...maybe not.

Dennx- Come to think of it, I have made the trip to Pettown in Lakeforest. I didn't think I'd been there because I keep getting it confused with Lakewood, and think it must be a different store. Pettown was okay, I liked the fw fish selection, (and they had cherry shrimp, but they were $$$) but I found the plants to be of a rather poor selection, and algae-ridden. Not much dry-goods slelection. Another thing I found disappointing: their display tanks were nice, but had unusual fish and plants that they did not have in their sale tanks. I really don't understand what the point of that is.
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MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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Old 10-03-2004, 04:28 PM   #12
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I should have taken my own advice ...

On a desperate hunt for Cardinal Tetras a couple weeks ago, I couldn't find them at my preferred LFSs. So I bought 13 at Tong's.

Less than 3 weeks later, I have 5 left, one of which is in quarantine. One of the others has some sort of internal parasite or affliction (unknown) tha is visible from the outside.

My water conditions are perfect, and the tank was 1.5 months old, full of live, growing plants.

I will never go back here.
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Old 10-04-2004, 08:45 PM   #13
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John P.-
You really shouldn't go crossing off your list such a great lfs as Tong's just because of one bad experience with fish dying. Especially known "difficult" fish like cards.
I've bought lots of fish from Tong's in the several years I've been going there. Yes, a few have died, that's the delicate nature of tropical fish. But I have found their livestock to be in MUCH better shape that those in chain pet stores, or most other well-known lfss in the O.C. area. Not to mention the sheer selection of livestock, plants and dry goods they have. No one can compete.
If you never went there again because of one bad experience, you would be missing out on a lot. But, that's your choice as a consumer. Did you try calling them, or bringing the dead bodies to the store to ask for a refund/credit? Or, did the tank with the cards have "no guarantee" written on it (which is often the case with cards.)?
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MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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Old 10-04-2004, 11:20 PM   #14
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My aquarium was chock full of fast growers & hairgrass which made retreiving them difficult. I called them the day after I bought the Cardinals to tell them that I wanted to exchange 2 of them b/c of visible external parasites*, and they said I'd have to bring them back by the end of the day. I managed to catch one only (plants = refuge), and it just wasn't worth 1.5 hrs of driving for $6 worth of fish. Over the next week or so I lost half ... and now I'm down to four (see below).

I'm 31 and have been fishkeeping my whole life (fresh, brakish, salt), so these didn't die b/c of user error.

Yep, I am 100% done with Tong's. I'm glad you've had better luck.

* the parasite was a leech or other parasitic worm--not an anchor worm. It was below the eye, and appeared as a round, whitish dome. I removed it yesterday, but the fish didn't survive the night. The That brings me down to 4/13 survival. $3/each. Now they're bullying each other b/c of the low group size.
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Old 10-05-2004, 08:30 PM   #15
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Sorry to hear that. Did you tell them your plans not to ever come back? Sometimes that's all it takes to get a little satisfaction out of a retailer.
What's your main lfs? Maybe I'm missing one that's BETTER than Tong's...
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MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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