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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anyone give me any information on the House of Tropicals in Glen Burnie? I live on the Eastern Shore and there isn't much selection of plants around here. I stopped in at H.O.T. about ten years ago while visiting friends. At that time they had a good selection of plants, but they also had snails and BGA in their plant tanks.

I'm getting back into aquariums after taking a few years off. I'm setting up a 5.5g planted nano tank for starters. I would rather pick out the plants by myself instead of ordering them. The thing is Glen Burnie is about 100 miles away and I don't want to make that drive just to be disappointed. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Fish are nice there, plants not so much, they have a few, nothing special. Maybe some anubias, hygos that is about it. If you want some nice plants come to a GWAPA meeting. Check my sig for details
Thanks for your reply. Unfortuneately, it looks like attending a GWAPA meeting would mean about 3 hours of driving each way. I may just post a want list in the swap shop.
 

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If you saw the plants at a GWAPA meeting you wouldn't mind the 6 hours. We do move the meetings around so not all of them are in NOVA, oh, and joining the club lets you in on group orders when we do them.
 

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Thanks for your reply. Unfortuneately, it looks like attending a GWAPA meeting would mean about 3 hours of driving each way. I may just post a want list in the swap shop.
Yes, the group orders are a plus will more then pay for your membership, the plants, and you get access to the forum, where you could also buy and sell plants if you like.
 

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I'm from NJ, but stopped by HoT on the way back from one of my trips to DC. Was very disappointed. Stock was weak, condition of the store was poor.

So far ive checked most of the stores in the DC area, HoT and most in SE PA and southern NJ. Best if the bunch for planted tanks by far I think is Aquarium Center in clementon, NJ. Lucky for me for sure. It would be about a 90 minute ride from Baltimore on 95 to 295/NJ turnpike.

If you're really struggling with LFSes, them it may be worth the ride. Ask for Annie, she knows her stuff, her stock and won't sell you anything not ready.

Good luck.
 

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I wanted to post something here about this store, but since this thread is open I'm going to post here. I'd rather just go to the local Petsmart at this point. The staff here has been so useless. When I ask questions there answer are completely vague and useless - "yea that could work, but it might not" "those fish should get along, but sometimes they dont" - then when I ask them to elaborate they can't... I've bought some Chain Sword from them about a month ago and guess what! snails!!! woohoo, free snails - lol. I've got those under control, but it's the point of it.

Unfortunately we don't have much of a choice when it comes to LFS, but I'll be ordering anything I can online from now on.
 

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Well for the pay at the pet store your going to get young kids that want a job mostly, try going mid day during the week and you'll find someone more commited to their job. I like the store and the layout but you have to know a little about your purchase or you may lose a valued fish or plant. It's hard to find a store with a good selection of fish,plants,rocks,etc, plus they have saltwater, I only wish it were closer.
 

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I like HOT. IMO, it's about the best MD has left since Scales closed and AC is no longer AC. You have to take the netters with a grain of salt. I usually just search the tanks and ask for what I want. My favorite isle is the one before the main room. Usually lots of apistos, shrimp, angelfish and discus. The blackworms come in on Monday afternoon and are fresh. I get my plant needs satisfied through GWAPA. HOT's plant selection is sparse but worthy if you want to set up a new tank.

The other stores around here:
Tropical Lagoon: small moved a couple of doors down and downstairs.
Showcase: small, sometimes has cyperus helferi and pikes; my favorites
Tropical Fish World: small, has a lot of sales
Congressional: small. I've been there once.

All of these stores support our club and give the members a discount. The stores support our club with donations. I try to support them by buying something. I like going to brick and mortar operations more than shopping online.

Francine
www.capitalcichlids.org
 

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About two months ago I bought three types of plants, Corkscrew Val, Anacharis, and Green Cabomba (Cabomba Carolinia), and some fish. They were Neon Tetras & Celestial Pearl Danio's, all of them juvies and in great shape.

The first guy wasn't the best, but when I lucked into the second guy he seemed to be "on the ball" and knew enough to be helpful.

I first dealt with them at their old location around 1969 or so.
 

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HOUSE OF TROPICALS (Glen Burnie, MD):

BASIC REVIEW:

Overall, I like the store for several reasons. First, I drive by the store on the way home from the work which lets me stop two-three times a week (by the way great location just off I-97 within minutes of BWI Airport). Second, in terms of animal-life (fauna), they have a great stock of freshwater and saltwater fauna. Third, I have found them to be well staffed, their staff to be willing to help, and several to be very knowledgable especially about salt water and freshwater fish. Fourth, I have found their plant stock is fairly good though they are not equiped to house or sell hi-tech or specialized plants. Fifth, I have found their two owners, Mike and Mark (brothers), while always busy with store business, are friendly, approachable, and almost always available and happy to discuss special orders.

EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES:

Without going crazy, I found they stock most supplies at a reasonable prices and can probably order you anything you want. In addition, I have found that they have a huge stock of standard aquariums including some monster sized aquariums and several smaller rimless aquariums including shrimp kits and stratum (for example, they have in stock the Fluval Ebi Nano Shrimp Habitat Aquarium Kit for $72 & Fluval Flora Planted Aquarium Kit for $99 - both better than Foster & Smith). Recently, I have seen a reef-ready rimless Deep Blue Edge 57 for a really nice price (Deep Blue rimless are designed as reef tanks and come standard w/overflows).

SALTWATER FAUNA:

I cannot speak to saltwater in detail as I have little experience with salt water flora, fauna, or tanks; however, the stock broad and solid including fish, shrimp, clams, morays, slugs, sharks, and rays as well as a live rock and beautiful selection of corals.

FRESHWATER FAUNA:

In terms of their freshwater fish, I can say there stock is excellent and any fish I have asked them to order they have (they will do special orders). I admit I have not asked for anything super rare though I have requested a few challenging items (e.g., celestial pearl danios , hi-fin lyretail swords, tiger hillstream loaches, and true SAEs). When I have ordered, I have found the orders go out with general orders and usually arrive the next week (e.g., orders go out end of the week and fauna tend to arrive Monday-Tuesday). And, with my special orders, they ordered enough to sell in their general stock as well.

Generally speaking, they tend to purchase large lots of a species (18-25+ rather than 2-10). In addition, while I am not an angel, discus, cichlid, or guppy person, they have pretty nice selection of these species. Moreover, they have several very large species of freshwater fish (e.g., gars, angels, rays, and more).

In addition to fish, three kinds of large flower (filter-feeding) shrimp have been in stock from the beginning of my forays (including bamboo/singapore flower, blue, and vampire shrimp). More recently, ornimental dwarf shrimp were added to their stock (i.e., amano, cherry, cyrstal, ghost [feeder], tiger, and, I think I also saw, blue and orange shrimp as well).

*** In truth, House to Tropicals tends to specialize in animal-life (fauna) and their selection is (IMHO) one of the best in Washington-Metropolitian Area and they are willing and able to do special orders. ***

PONDS:

I am no pond expert though they have a fair stock of basic pond supplies including filters, pumps, plastic ponds, koi, and such including a decent selection of aquatic plants for ponds seasonally. Again, I would venture they would consider special orders.

FRESHWATER PLANTS:

In terms of freshwater plants, I would never suggest that they could compete with specialists including members of GWAPA. In truth, House of Tropicals is not geared for specialized plants with hi-tech needs. With that said, I will say that their stock is not so bad and is a good stop for various things some of which include the obvious anacharis and hornwort as well as anubias (afzelii, barteri, coffeefolia, lanceolata (sometimes), nana, and on rare occasion hastifolia), banana plant, dwarf baby tears (HC), cacopa, cambomba (green), crypts (various species), dwarf hairgrass, java, ludwiga (glandulosa, ovalis, and repens), moss balls, rotala magenta, sagittaria subulata (just recently), swords (amazon, chain & micro [sometimes], osiris, and I think I saw angustifolia), and vals. On rare occasion, they gets something that surprises me Blyxa japonica and Downoi. On a personal note, I have purchased several beautiful plants from them including Anubias (barteri & nana), Cacopa, Cambomba Green, Ludwigia (Glandulosa & Ovalis), & HC (on lava rock).

With regard to plant stock, I will say that they staff is helpful and, while their knowledge is not bad for general aquarist, it is not expert. As I noted I do not believe they are equiped to stock or house hi-tech and specialized plants. Over the last nine-months in which I have been visiting the store, I have found their plant stock greatly improved; however, on occasion, the stock is dips low or is cleared.

SUMMARY COMMENTS:

In terms of prices, I would suggest that the equipment and supplies stock is fair and competative with any LPS and, and with regard to fauna and plants, are extremely competative w/LPS (often the best). Although I do sometimes need to ask for help, more often than not I am asked, and, regardless, the staff is always ready to help. And, finally, when I have asked for a special order, I have found the owners approachable and willing to entertain any requests. I cannot say with 100% certainty, but I believe one of the owners is always in the store.

In terms of minor issues, I would say the duckweed and snails and these are minor issues. With regard to duckweed, I have had no real problems though once a few got into my tank, which I could have easily picked-out. Instead, I (emphasis on I) chose to let the duckweed grow (ah, what a neebie... live-and-learn)... so that was my fault. With regard to snails, I have seen the staff work to pick-out snails though I suspect the issue is more with their supplier. So, again, it is a minor issue, mainly eggs, but still inspect-clean plants for snails for pond and ramhorn snail free tanks.

In addition, while it is not an issue in plant tanks, a fair number of the tanks housing their fish stock (which are generally bare of live plants) have Black Beard Algae (BBA). With that said, I have used this store to stock most of my fish and have had no major problems. I do have an occasional tuft on an anubias leaf which my true SAEs handle or I snip (back before I incorporated CO2 and Fertz). Once I began to supplement with CO2 and Fertz, BBA cleared and I have not had one problem.

IN CLOSING...

All-in-all, I stop in a couple times a week and prefer House of Tropicals to any other local petstore. I also shop at Congressional Aquarium in Rockville which is a good second choice though their prices are much higher (likely due to their overhead costs - Rockville vs Glen Burnie) and their stock of each species is much smaller.

GWAPA Members are given a 10% discount when they show their cards which I know because I am a member and set-up their sponsorship. In addition, I believe PVAS has established an identical relationship though members should check.

~Tyger~

House of Tropicals (Website) : Directions
 

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They have stepped up their game here lately with all the tanks cleaned all the time, now if they could just get better in the equipment isles and a little more variety in the planted isles, if you have it we will come so with a fast turn over there is no special set up needed for high requirement plants, they just need to fly out the door. This is the last good LFS in Maryland so unless you want to be stuck with Petco & Petsmart you'd better get your butt in the store and start buying, if this one goes we are all sc#$%@&ed.
 

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THOT has definately made a change, I picked up a beautiful and super large Cryptocoryne wendtii v. tropica for only $5.98 and 3 bunches of Bacopa caroliniana with 8 stems per bunch for only $2.98 ea, I also notice swords growing out of the water they were so big.

Most of the tanks are clean but they still have bad BBA in some sections, it seems they are starting to stock a little more in the odball fish too.

If you are think about going, it's most likely going to be worth the trip.
 

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Someone is bucking for a promotion here, HOT is getting cleaned up nicely with the full line of Fluval filters from small to the FX5, tons of all in one nano tanks set ups, Fluval Stratum and other substrates, LED lighting in a variety of sizes, more plants and fish than the norm with a selection of Apisto's!!!!

If you haven't been in a while, things are changing at HOT and it's for the good, it's not a super store yey but if they keep it up this place is going to be great.
 

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I agree with everyone remarking on the changes at HOT. I've been going there for a couple years, and the recent changes have been great to see. I remember stopping in after I hadn't for a number of months, due to being away for college and all, and being awfully excited about what I saw. I told a bunch of people who didn't care at all about it how awesome it was the way they were improving the store, if I remember correctly.

Fish selection has always been pretty good, and in my opinion has gotten better too along with the rest of it. Though tastes in fish differ, admittedly.

Point is, if you can, I'd give the place a look.
 
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