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It depends on what part of chi town your in. I was up there a few weekends ago. Did a google search and hit up a few places that where not the normal petco, petsmart that I have near me. I hit up aquarium adventure. Not sure if its a chain or not. New to me. It was the best one out of the 5 or so I hit. Nice plant selection. Best of luck on your adventure.
 

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I hit up aquarium adventure. Not sure if its a chain or not. New to me. It was the best one out of the 5 or so I hit. Nice plant selection.
Aquarium Adventure is an off-shoot of the PetLand line of stores but much more upscale. There is a A.A. store in the northwest suburb of Hoffman Estates near O'Hare, there is also slightly smaller location west-southwest in Bollingbrook. One note, fish prices are higher at their stores, especially now with the local swap meets shut down and no competition.

Are you looking to browse, or looking to buy and transport back home?
 

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I would second @Slappydooda, Ocean Design Aquarium, beyond Portage Park. Great range of fish and plants and hardware. They've been growing tissue culture plants in store the past few months, so have a wide variety of grown out immersed plants/stems/etc., plus lots of legacy "low tech" stuff around the store. Fish are always v. healthy, service super friendly and knowledgeable.

Would also suggest Golden Aquarium in the Bridgeport/Back of the Yards area. They've been getting into planted tanks more the past few months. Lots of fish, wide range of schooling fish, and in high numbers. Shrimps too, and the more than a few oddball fish. Friendly. Fair prices.
 
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