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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, just wondering what fish stores and/or farms people frequent in the tampa area. I live near Marine Aquarium Warehouse and its pretty good, but definitely caters to saltwater. I've been otherwise unimpressed by the shops I've visited. Also, does anybody collect their own driftwood around here?
 

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Only LFS I have been to is Pet Wize near USF area. I found a guy in Brandon on craigslist that has a bunch of driftwood I will probably checkout his selection soon.
 

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Only LFS I have been to is Pet Wize near USF area. I found a guy in Brandon on craigslist that has a bunch of driftwood I will probably checkout his selection soon.
Pet Wize is a joke.
Since Gus left Nick has driven it downhill. They were great when they were Pet Mart and on Busch Blvd. The moved to 56th street and really started downhill. After they moved from there it really went down. I won't shop there. Creature Castle in Valrico is pretty decent. Nolans in Lakeland isn't bad either. It's under new ownership. Must say though I haven't been there in a while. Might hit it over Christmas vacation.
 

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Yeah I haven't bought anything from Pet Wize, only gone in a handful of times to see what kind of plants and fish they have. I am in New Tampa and to my knowledge no real LFS around here. I will be in Sarasota/Venice for a couple days to see family so I might have better luck down there.
 

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Check out Westside Aquariums... I'm there AT LEAST 2/weekly. I've been going to Paul (owner) since I was 13 (21 now)... Hes SUPER knowledgeable and if he doesn't have it then he can get it.... Let em' know Nico sent you....

3402 S Dale Mabry Hwy Tampa, FL 33629
(813) 839-4751
 

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Don't buy driftwood. There are many places to gather. For example, the southwest end of the Howard Franklin bridge on the "causeway" has absolutely EPIC pieces of driftwood from tiny to GIANT , dump trucks full. Bring you a little saw and have at it. Look down on the back sides of mangrove shorelines And you will find all sorts of various driftwood that is typically old and often dry. Areas near the saltwater are your places to look for wood.
 

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Fear the Swamp!
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That's good news. I've lived here and Tampa for years and didn't know about that area for driftwood.
 

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Thanks for the driftwood collecting site tip. I might check it out soon. The causeway stretches out far, and I may have limited time to look for the exact site you are referring to. Any additional "clues" on where to find the driftwood site you are referring to will be gladly appreciated.

I will post again once I find the site. Hopefully with pics.
 

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Don't you guys worry about salt content in driftwood from the bay? I am asking a serious question, because I would MUCH rather gather than buy (Pasco County, on the Gulf).
Pressure wash, soak, or boil it; you should be fine. Just make sure to brush it off real good before adding it to your tank. Florida has plenty of great wood to use in tanks, so don't buy, unless you specifically want manzanita, Malaysian, or some other non local wood.
 

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Over the weekend, I went to Living Color Tropical Fish (https://plus.google.com/115066439385475175506/about?gl=us&hl=en) in Pinellas Park. Of all of the LFSs I've been to in the greater Tampa area, this one might have the best freshwater fish selection I've seen. The guy who runs the place, Ken, knows his stuff, and is very helpful and friendly (unlike most of the staff at Marine Warehouse).

There is another place called Westside Aquarium and Pets (https://plus.google.com/103893590713807201947/about?gl=us&hl=en). It's on South Dale Mabry. The guy who runs this place is also very helpful and friendly. There's a pretty good selection of freshwater fish here too.
 

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Hmm... All I can say for sure is that they do sell some plants, but I don't think there was too much in that department. As for inverts, I also did not look closely for these. I was mostly looking for my 55g African Cichlid tank (I am just getting into planted tanks--bought a 20L at the 1$/gl sale. They did have a decent selection of non-cichlid FW fish though.
 

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Fear the Swamp!
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Check out Westside Aquariums... I'm there AT LEAST 2/weekly. I've been going to Paul (owner) since I was 13 (21 now)... Hes SUPER knowledgeable and if he doesn't have it then he can get it.... Let em' know Nico sent you....

3402 S Dale Mabry Hwy Tampa, FL 33629
(813) 839-4751
I had a chance to stop by this store today and I was impressed by the owner's knowledge. I just mentioned lights and right away he mentioned Kelvin temps for plant growth and had quite a bit of info regarding LED fixtures. We talked about several different fish and how hardy or picky they can be and different kinds of food to feed them. Prices on lights, pumps, etc are lower than most retailers too. The downside is that he doesn't keep much in stock and has to get the equipment from the warehouse which takes a couple days. But if you don't mind waiting, I think you'll be hard pressed to find a better deal locally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I had a chance to stop by this store today and I was impressed by the owner's knowledge. I just mentioned lights and right away he mentioned Kelvin temps for plant growth and had quite a bit of info regarding LED fixtures. We talked about several different fish and how hardy or picky they can be and different kinds of food to feed them. Prices on lights, pumps, etc are lower than most retailers too. The downside is that he doesn't keep much in stock and has to get the equipment from the warehouse which takes a couple days. But if you don't mind waiting, I think you'll be hard pressed to find a better deal locally.
Sounds good! Does he stock plants?
 

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I have been to Paul's place a couple of times and asked for plants. He gets them from a local person who drops of a couple of varieties each week. I guess you can give him a list of what varieties you want, and maybe he can order them for you. I got a couple of varieties of bunched plants from him they are pretty healthy. I asked him if he could email me the types of plants he gets since i am quite far from his store, but he tells me he doesn't send or check emails on a regular basis. Bummer.

He did have a couple of beautiful Madagascar lace plants in 2 of his tanks. Huge ones too!

On a side note, I did check out the driftwood collecting place at the causeway, I did not find much, Most of the "driftwood" that I saw were remnants of an activity known as "campfire". Mostly charred bits of wood and sticks...and beer cans...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
On a side note, I did check out the driftwood collecting place at the causeway, I did not find much, Most of the "driftwood" that I saw were remnants of an activity known as "campfire". Mostly charred bits of wood and sticks...and beer cans...
I ended up finding my wood in a real swampy area of Starkey Wilderness Park. The stuff you'd find in/around the bay itself is just not very big or interesting.
 

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Don't buy driftwood. There are many places to gather. For example, the southwest end of the Howard Franklin bridge on the "causeway" has absolutely EPIC pieces of driftwood from tiny to GIANT , dump trucks full. Bring you a little saw and have at it. Look down on the back sides of mangrove shorelines And you will find all sorts of various driftwood that is typically old and often dry. Areas near the saltwater are your places to look for wood.
So i found this place today. It is a good hunting ground for driftwood and i did get some pieces. You do need to get right into the mangroves, and to the shoreline. You're welcome to message me for more info.

I also wish i could have stayed longer. You see there's a lot of dubious activity going on down there, and frankly i don't recommend the site because of it. If i returned, it would be with a concealed carry no less.

When i pulled up i noticed several vehicles on the side of the road, and thought, well sure folks must just be fishing in the edge of the mangroves or something. One side of the road, was, the other side of the road it turned out (where there was better wood incidentially) contained random middle aged and older men wondering about the woods. No fishing rods, up to goodness knows what. Just standing there most of the time walking about....waiting.

Being a physician, i tend to talk to random strangers for better or worse. I got chatting to one of the guys as i was walking out with my arms full of wood, and eventually dropped the question, " what on earth is everyone doing here." His response was, you don't want to know what's going on here, although its not drugs. He also advised i got my wood and got out before i found myself in an uncomfortable situation/trouble. Needless to say i got the heck out of dodge.

I don't know if this is every day of the week or what. However, if there's a bunch of cars parked out there with random men wondering about, my warning is to watch out for yourself. Otherwise great driftwood prowl site, although know that there may be folks prowling you as much as you're prowling for driftwood. I think i have a good idea of what the site was all about, but i'll leave it off the public domain. Lets just say for a single, young male physician it was NOT the place i should have been this afternoon.
 
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