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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just went to the a different petsmart while out running errands and they had the biggest selection of freshwater fish I've seen to date. Even more variety than my go-to LFS. They have three types of rainbowfish, 10 or so types of tetras (including black neons and congos), four types of cory cats, easily 20 types of cichlids (including rams) and african barbeled leaf fish just to name a few. Anyone seen this before from a chain store?
 

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Which store? Im in Fairfax and I have noticed that it definitely varies by location and by the knowledge/interest of the employee in the fish department.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Which store? Im in Fairfax and I have noticed that it definitely varies by location and by the knowledge/interest of the employee in the fish department.

The springfield location across from the Target in the mall. Easily twice as many tanks as any other location I've seen.
 

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My local petco is like this. They have some stuff I couldn't get anywhere locally like signifier rainbows and albino cherry barbs. They probably have 6-7 different kinds of rainbows.
 

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My Petsmart has a decent selection. They have a big section of just cichlids. They have the usual pet store staples - neons, otos, guppies, Glofish, etc. - and also some oddities. Mexican dwarf crayfish, African butterflyfish, eels, puffers.

My local PetCo also has a good selection. I like their freshwater inverts. Amano shrimp, bamboo shrimp, all kinds of snails (nerites, trapdoor, mystery, rabbit snails, assassin snails, you name it), dwarf crayfish, and of course, cherry shrimp of various colors.

I always quarantine critters bought from these chain stores, though. With their shared water systems, you know they'll have ich. Even inverts can carry it, though they don't get sick from it.
 

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I think the big 3, including Petco and Petsmart, imports 70%+ of the fish in the USA, they kind of set the international trade price almost.
In a way, supporting them reduces competition and shrinks options and quality of fish suppliers in the long run.
 

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They are definitely different depending on the location. I don't generally go to petsmart anymore but if I do I visit the Fair Lakes location. The selection of fish is really somewhat dependent on the area of the store. For example the stores in Fairfax carry more and generally less common fish than the stores in Manassas.
 

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They are definitely different depending on the location. I don't generally go to petsmart anymore but if I do I visit the Fair Lakes location. The selection of fish is really somewhat dependent on the area of the store. For example the stores in Fairfax carry more and generally less common fish than the stores in Manassas.
This store is near my house, go there often. The fish seem pretty healthy there and the tanks are clean. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of other stores I have seen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In a way, supporting them reduces competition and shrinks options and quality of fish suppliers in the long run.
Agreed, I support my LFS as much as possible, even when he's more expensive which in some cases is 200% or more. He's good about price matching on a lot of stuff if you bring it up. Though some fish he just has no interest in bringing in for some reason, also he won't offer a warranty on any fish either. I had two penguin tetras out of ten kick the bucket in a well established tank that was and is understocked and he refused to replace them. I'm sure he has his reasons so I don't hold a grudge about it but just seems like in that case why not? Especially when he's over charging for them already at $7 a pop.... and I've already spent thousands in his store. Anyhow I'm off topic here. If my LFS won't bring in something I want and petsmart happens to carry it then I'm going o petsmart. :laugh2:

Bump: Also my LFS is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, sometimes those are the days that you need to buy stuff.
 

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There's one LFS left in my area. (I still mourn the one where you could buy live blackworms and other life food.) It's actually bigger than the chain stores, and has an excellent supply of dry goods. All kinds of food, test kits, supplements, decor, filter parts, etc.

The fish selection is not that great, though, and they have no plants at all. I end up buying most of my fish and plants online.
 

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I've noticed up here in ny a difference in the stock between different Petco/petsmart stores. Some have salt, some don't, some have corals, some have lots of love plants, some just tissue culture. There's even one that has discus, it's almost like each in an area specialized in a certain area. They even have different tanks and decorations for sale depending on the store.

That being said, I still spend the vast majority of my fish budget at the lfs's in the area
 

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Same here, most have closed up over the last 5 years or so. Petsmart/Petco has done what HD/Lowes did to the hardware stores. The LFS that sell mostly aquatic only survive with a good base of install customers. I used to go to a store in Queens that actually let you catch your own fish, those days are long gone.
 

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I have never returned a dead fish, that is not a known concept here.
I think fish dieing in store is a bad excuse, breeders overpack at least 10% to make up for losses in transit.
If they know what they are doing, this should be to their profit, most of the time.
I paid 2 dollars for a red swordtail female today, nearly swallowed my tongue.
ironicaly the swordtail males are ignoring her, but the 2 super red variatus platy males I have, are giving it a go.
They are super beautiful though, they even have red eyes, so not too worried. I actually want to mate her with one of my black swordails, as you can't cross them with anything with black in the fins, because of cancer.
 

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I think the big 3, including Petco and Petsmart, imports 70%+ of the fish in the USA, they kind of set the international trade price almost.
In a way, supporting them reduces competition and shrinks options and quality of fish suppliers in the long run.
I've said it many times here: buy from the box store today, don't complain when they're the only place to buy fish 5 years from now and you'll have even less of a right to complain about price and quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
They are definitely different depending on the location. I don't generally go to petsmart anymore but if I do I visit the Fair Lakes location. The selection of fish is really somewhat dependent on the area of the store. For example the stores in Fairfax carry more and generally less common fish than the stores in Manassas.
There's a LFS near Fair Lakes somewhere that I've yet to go to, hear they have a great selection of tanks. I usually go to Quantum Reefs in Springfield though, He mostly deals with saltwater but he's got just about every type of rainbow you could want in a 180 by the front. He also carries all the ecotech line, has jebao pumps and powerheads, koralia stuff. He also carries planting substrate, manzanita, co2 supplies and all the chems you could ever need. It's like a hoarders attic in there though, you really have to dig around to find what you're looking for. :laugh2:

Bump:
There's one LFS left in my area. (I still mourn the one where you could buy live blackworms and other life food.) It's actually bigger than the chain stores, and has an excellent supply of dry goods. All kinds of food, test kits, supplements, decor, filter parts, etc.

The fish selection is not that great, though, and they have no plants at all. I end up buying most of my fish and plants online.
I've seen lots of stores come and go around here. Seems like you really have to have a big online presence to keep a brick and mortar open these days.

I've noticed up here in ny a difference in the stock between different Petco/petsmart stores. Some have salt, some don't, some have corals, some have lots of love plants, some just tissue culture. There's even one that has discus, it's almost like each in an area specialized in a certain area. They even have different tanks and decorations for sale depending on the store.

That being said, I still spend the vast majority of my fish budget at the lfs's in the area
Same here. Only Petco carries saltwater that I've noticed. I do go to to big box stores when I don't have time to drive the 30 minutes to the nearest LFS though. I try to plan it so I can grab most of what I need from Quantum reefs but doesn't always work out that way.

Same here, most have closed up over the last 5 years or so. Petsmart/Petco has done what HD/Lowes did to the hardware stores. The LFS that sell mostly aquatic only survive with a good base of install customers. I used to go to a store in Queens that actually let you catch your own fish, those days are long gone.
I have never returned a dead fish, that is not a known concept here.
I think fish dieing in store is a bad excuse, breeders overpack at least 10% to make up for losses in transit.
If they know what they are doing, this should be to their profit, most of the time.

All the big box stores warranty their fish for two weeks or so, I'm sure it's much easier for them to do that than a mom and pop shop.
 

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My PetCo has a 30-day warranty for freshwater fish. (It's shorter for saltwater critters.)

I can see how that's hard to match for a LFS. That might explain why the only LFS left in town has such an extensive selection of dry goods but not much in the way of fish.
 

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PETCO's and Petsmarts are hit or miss around me. I religiously use my LFS. Their prices are on par with any other brick & mortar store and actually aren't too far away from Amazon prices when it comes to electronics and supplies. I do usually purchase my filter refills/chemicals online, but when it comes to fish and plants, I like to support my local small business. Their knowledge base is extensive enough to make it worth the extra cost.

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Theirs a petco I'll sometimes check out that gets a huge assortment of fish and I mean even some somewhat hard to find fish as well but they always seem to have ich in their wall tanks so I avoid picking any livestock up in fear of what else they might carry, their is one exception to this however because they keep a supper wide like 4x4 ft if I remember right planted tank in the center of the store run off of its own equipment I've seen cool baby monsters in their before including arowana, small red tail cats, eels, knife fish, elephant fish, various cichlids including discus, and ballon Rams once and I swear they have had everything in this tank at one time or another I even saw a dat in this tank and some bichirs once however I beleive they were senegals so nothing to rare.
This store also carries a wide variety off freshwater tetras and rainbow fish etc. but that's not really what I keep so I pay less attention to these guys I can tell you they had a nice stock on salt water last time I was in this store though I saw a Australian tusk fish, some cool lion fish and even a couple young angles and tangs that looked in great shape. This is the only chain store I bother looking at the livestock in when I get fish food or other things like dog food however I haven't been to it much as I've been running to my LFS more often for things.
 

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There's a LFS near Fair Lakes somewhere that I've yet to go to, hear they have a great selection of tanks. I usually go to Quantum Reefs in Springfield though, He mostly deals with saltwater but he's got just about every type of rainbow you could want in a 180 by the front. He also carries all the ecotech line, has jebao pumps and powerheads, koralia stuff. He also carries planting substrate, manzanita, co2 supplies and all the chems you could ever need. It's like a hoarders attic in there though, you really have to dig around to find what you're looking
Its Centreville aquarium. This used to be my go to LFS, but my last 3 trips there ended in diseased fish that died within a few days. Every time I go in there it seems that all the tanks are just riddled with ich so I just don't buy fish there anymore. I end up driving to Winchester to get all my fish from now on. It's called Winchester Aquarium and Pets and they have a huge fish section and lots of oddball fish. All their tanks are individually filtered and the guys that manages the fish section is super knowledgable. It's well worth the 45 minute drive for me.
 
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