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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey All,

Well I have to say within the past 2 weeks I have been in and out of pretty much all of the LFS in San Antonio and also some chain stores (PetsCo, PetSMART, Pet Surplus Supply, etc.)

Each store has good things about it:

Local Fish Stores (LFS):

Fintique
Phone: (210)735-2829
Site: http://fintique.home.texas.net/
Location: I-10 take West Ave exit down about 1.5mile on the right

I would have to say that they are pretty much a one stop shop when it comes to plants/fish/and supplies. I pretty much buy 90% of my fish supplies from them. I have found that they seem to have most of the things that I am looking for as well has having the most competitive prices in town. I would also have to say that they have the healthiest plants I have seen in the city. Another good thing about this LFS is that they post their inventory (Fish and Plants) online so it makes it very easy to just look up what they got in before making the drive there (I live in Helotes so is about a 15min drive). They also get shipments in TWICE a week (Mondays and Wednesdays) with fish/plants/and supplies which is a really big. Most LFS only get shipments in once a week and some for plants it maybe even two weeks. And if their is something specific you are looking for all you have to do is ask. Had a time where I was looking for a specific type of plant and shrimp and 'Ross' the order put what I need on the next order. Very good place to go.

Alamo Aquatics
Phone: (210)732-8282
Site: http://www.alamopets.com/
Location: Bandera Road in Leon Valley

They have a decent stock on fish. Not really anything in particular that you could not find at any other LFS. They only bad thing about this place for me was that they don't carrie shrimp there. Good thing tho is they are probably the second best place in town to get healthy plants. Downside tho is that their orders on plants are depending (really don't know when they will be in). Good store to go to for random fish and tank accessories. They have Flourish plant food that is pretty hard to come by at chain stores and they have good plant substrate (Eco-Complete). Current staff right now is very helpful but most are new and not to knowledgeable especially when having plant related questions. Best thing to do is know what you are looking for (plant wise) before going. This is the closest LFS to me so this is pretty much where I go to if I need something small like more fish food, substrate, and plant fertilizer. Usual shipments come in on Friday.

Gabes
Phone: (210)290-9376
Forum Site: http://www.maast.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=78
Location: 410 and Evers Rd.

They have a good selection of fish. About the same as if you went to any other LFS. The one big thing I liked about them is they are the ONLY fish store in San Antonio that I have seen carrying Crystal Red Shrimp (CRS). This is good if you are really into shrimp for planted tanks like I am. Only downside is that it is currently $14.99 per CRS that look to be in the grading range of about maybe 'A'. Their plant tank their does not have much of a selection as Fintique or Alamo but would recommend still seeing what they got. You never know could find something their that you might not have found at the other LFS. They get shipments once a week on Fridays.

Update (10/26/2009): Only place where I have found nano fish in town
Update (3/21/2010): Went in to Gabes today and man is his store store starting to take off. Very impressed with not only the selection of fish that he has in now but also with the plants. Starting to carry 'Dwarf Hair Grass' and also a very nice selection of nano tank fish such as 'Rasbora' and 'Endlers'. Starting to cater to the plated tank community. Salt water coral looked VERY healthy. Also does in store credit.

Texas Tropical and Marine
Phone: (210)341-3474
Location: 410 and Vance Jackson

They have a good selection of plants but they are usually priced about 2-3 dollars higher a pot than the other LFS in San Antonio and the quality of the plant is mild (Plants look mal nourished). Standard selection on fish (Nothing you could not fish at the other LFS). They have a very good selection on coral there for the salt water lovers. Seen rare coral not really found in San Antonio like frogs spawn. They also have a very good selection of salt water fish. I would probably say if you are in to salt water tanks go here. Plant shipments vary.

Update (3/21/2010): Still has nice salt water stock of fish and also coral but the freshwater fish stock was lacking. Freshwater tanks had dead fish in many tanks. Kept me from buying because did not know if it was due to something in their tanks water. Coral looked heathy tho.

Papa Jim's
Phone: (210)927-7991
Site: http://www.papajimstropicalfish.com/
Location: South Flores St.

Employees were nice. Had a standard selection of fish. They DO NOT SELL PLANTS so this was a big bummer. Very minimal selection of supplies there. Had a lot of pond Koi's. This is the only LFS that I saw that had pond fish and a huge selection of them in fact. Would not recommend this store if you need something specific but if you are looking for pond fish this probably is the place to go. Only would go here if it is the closest LFS to you and you need something very basic.

Local Chain Stores:

PetCo:
Site: http://www.petco.com/

I would probably recommend going to this chain store first. They tend to have basic equipment and fish that most people want. Then biggest thing about PetCo is that they carry different types of plants that the LFS don't carry at all in San Antonio. I think the reason for this is because they are a major chain they can afford to have very different set of plants. One main thing that I have gotten here plant wise is MOSS. Although their fish and supplies are routinely basic they carry moss. Their shipments are usually once a week as well.

PetSMART:
Site: http://www.petsmart.com/

Pretty much if all the LFS and PetCo is sold out of what you need or if you need something basic and PetSMART is the closest place to go then I would go there to get what you need hoping what you need is very basic like fish flakes or something. Or if you have a pet dog that needs to get groomed and while you wait want to browse around at fish supplies (This is where I take my dog to get groomed). Good store for pets just not really for fish.

Pet Supplies Plus:
Site: http://www.petsuppliesplus.com/

The only good thing about this place is that they carry the Flourish plant fertilizer line. So if all the LFS are sold out of it this is the place to go. Since there are only two in the city I really don't know if I would call it a chain but hey they have the ferts! They also have the cheapest Master Testing Kit bundle that pretty much tests for everything in your tank.

So yeah, that is basically the run down of most of the fish stores here in San Antonio. Here is a brief summary:

Looking for Plants (Top 4):
Gabes
Alamo Aquatics
Fintique
Texas Tropical and Marine

Looking for Specific Plant Supplies (Top 3):
Gabes
Alamo Aquatics
Fintique

Looking for Specific Fish Supplies (Top 3):
Fintique
Gabes
Alamo Aquatics

Looking for Fish Supplies in General (Top 3):
Fintique
Alamo Aquatics
PetCo

*Rankings Last Updated: 3/21/2010

I hope this helps any of you plant/fish lovers in San Antonio. And remember if you have a question about a specific item and/or fish you should call or check their website to make sure they have it before making the drive.

***IF YOU CAN MAKE THE DRIVE TO AUSTIN 'AQUATEK' HAS WAY MORE FOR PLANTED TANKS AND EVEN FRESHWATER TANKS FOR THAT MATTER THAN ANY STORE HERE IN SAN ANTONIO. WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND GOING THERE IF YOU ARE ABLE TO.***
 

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Nice post, thanks!

Two more to add to the list:

Dave's Rare Aquarium Fish

Phone: (210) 599-9444
Website: www.davesfish.com
Location: I-35 and 410 (NE)

Dave has a phenomenal selection of African cichlids and some New World cichlids as well. Great variety of bristlenose cats and synos. Not much in the way of plants.

Pet Frontier
Phone: (210)653-8880
Website: www.petfrontier.com/index.html
Location: Near the airport off of Wetmore Rd.

Very clean and nice store with healthy stock. Excellent prices as well. Not as large of a selection as many of the other LFS in the area but you can find more unusual fish there. Have plants and inverts as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey,

Thanks for the stores to add. I'm going to have to check them out and then add them to the list I have posted above. Just updated the first post today. Have not been on that much lately due to moving into a new apt. But hope to log on more often and keep y'all up-to-date on SA's LFS!
 

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Very interesting post!

Dont u know where can i buy freshwater shirmps in San antonio??? im looking for amano shirmps and CRS, i hope someone knows whre can i find them

thanks!!!
 

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Very interesting post!

Dont u know where can i buy freshwater shirmps in San antonio??? im looking for amano shirmps and CRS, i hope someone knows whre can i find them

thanks!!!

Pet Frontier and Alamo Aquatics both had RCS, haven't seen anyone with CRS. Fintique had amano shrimp but were sold out last time I checked. They'll likely get more in in a few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, I know this is kind of late but maybe it still could help you out. The only place that I saw CRS in San Antonio was at Gabe's and that was about a year ago. Have not see any recently tho. As for amano's the only place I have seen that is Fintique. They have some from time to time. Usually, what I do is if there is a specific type of shrimp I am looking for I just talk to Ross (he orders there inventory) and see if he could get some in. Other than that I would recommend just looking on the shop and swap on here. You never know might get lucky.

Hope that helps.
 

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According to their website, Fintique has both CBS and CRS right now. I saw both there the other day (maybe 5 days ago) so I cannot say if they still have them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
According to their website, Fintique has both CBS and CRS right now. I saw both there the other day (maybe 5 days ago) so I cannot say if they still have them.
Yeah,

Just went there today (5/23/2010) at around 12:20pm and they have both CRS and CBS. The CRS were going for $2.98/shrimp and the CBS was going for $3.98/shrimp. They still had plenty of CBS but the CRS were running low. So if you wanted some might want to head out there within a couple of days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Nice post, thanks!

Two more to add to the list:

Dave's Rare Aquarium Fish

Phone: (210) 599-9444
Website: www.davesfish.com
Location: I-35 and 410 (NE)

Dave has a phenomenal selection of African cichlids and some New World cichlids as well. Great variety of bristlenose cats and synos. Not much in the way of plants.

Pet Frontier
Phone: (210)653-8880
Website: www.petfrontier.com/index.html
Location: Near the airport off of Wetmore Rd.

Very clean and nice store with healthy stock. Excellent prices as well. Not as large of a selection as many of the other LFS in the area but you can find more unusual fish there. Have plants and inverts as well.

Yeah,

Went and checked out both these stores. Went to Dave's on Monday and to Pet Frontier today.

I would have to agree. Dave's did not really have that much when it came to plant selection but they did have MANY different types of 'rare' fish that I have not seen yet here in San Antonio. The store was pretty crammed due to huge wooden tank holders they had, but they were in the middle of remodeling and taking them out. Can't wait to see what their store is going to look like after the remodel.

As for Pet Frontier; The store was EXTREMELY well kept and it showed when it came to the fish takes. All the tanks were very well maintained with healthy livestock in all tanks. Had some plants to choose from as well as fish but has a smaller selection compared to places like Fintique and Alamo. They also had some RCS there as well. The one thing that I really liked about Pet Frontier is that they had tanks of breeder baby fish that were not for sale until maturity. Overall, not a bad place when looking to get started into the hobby and also for some breeding tips.

Thanks for the recommendations.

*If anyone has any other store recommendations let me know. I would love to go and check them out! :biggrin:
 

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I have NEVER heard of Gabes and I've been to the Petsmart by it so many times. Wow.
I just called and the guy I got was really nice. (Apparently they get plants on Thursdays btw.) Gonna try going there this week I think.

Alamo Aquatics does have shrimp, they just seem to run out of them REALLY fast since people use them as feeders. I know they at least have ghost shrimp though. Fishwise, I prefer them, but their fish selection is kinda random. They also will adopt a fish you bring in, which is really nice since lots of people tend to just dump them unfortunately.

There's also River City Exotics, but from what I've heard, they can be kinda snooty. :\
I've never been there for fish, so maybe someone else would wanna check it out. I might stop by, but they don't have anything I'm currently looking for. Also, I don't think they have live plants, but hey, still fish, right?


Leon Valley also has a Petland now. I'm considering trying that one this week. They've just started selling live plants, and I think they said they don't carry shrimp.


I've had some bad Petco experiences myself. :\
The few times I've bought fish, they like to die on me. Most my last visits, there have been lots of ick EVERYWHERE, and even the mammals are sick and bleeding. :\
At the 410/Bandera store, there were always weevils EVERYWHERE, but I think they moved. Regardless, personally, I'm not too fond of them.

Petsmarts here usually don't have a good selection, but the employees are generally pretty knowledgeable at the area ones I've been to. They also have marimo right now, at least at the Alamo Ranch location at Cluebra and 1604. (I'm a weirdo that thinks they're adorable, yes.)


River City Exotics
6025 Tezel Road, 78250
(210) 681-1552‎

Petland
7030 Bandera Rd.
210-688-7387
 

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I was visiting San Antonio back in June--the typical Alamo, Riverwalk and Zoo family vacation--and since we had decided to eat at Jacala's, it was easy to convince my wife to let me go to Finitique. :)
I have 5 boys ranging from 13 years-18months and at least one wasn't originally thrilled to be visiting "another fish store". He was rather vocal about it, too. :icon_roll However, when they first stepped into the fish room at Finitique, the oldest three stopped, gasped and almost in unison exclaimed "whoa!". Unfortunately, Tulsa doesn't have any quite the caliber of Fintique. I had never even seen B. sidthmunki in any pet store until then. At the time, their plant stock was nothing to be excited about, but there was enough new fish there to keep the boys absorbed for nearly 40 minutes. Myself, I could have stayed longer. Found a very nice rock slab to put in one of my tanks and my wife insisted we purchase a dragon t-shirt she found there (it's now my favorite shirt to game in--Heroscape, that is. :redface:).
If you guys say there are better shops there in San Antonio than that, then you are very fortunate.
 

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Why haven't I been to this Fintique? Oh, because I don't live nearby. :(

Recently, I've had better luck with Petsmarts. Also, they have pretty nice marimo. And I consider marimo a pet on its own.

Gabes was pretty nice. Went there a while after that last post. Plants were HUGE and healthy and still like $3 each. (No $3 plant should ever be higher than my waist.) Small store, but still really great. Bought an angel and some tetras.

This past week, I went to River City Exotics, which may have stolen the spot of funky petstore smell king from Alamo Aquatics. They have NO plants, but they have a decent fish selection. Especially if you're into chiclids. They seem to have alot for reptile people though. Despite what I've heard, the owner was a pretty cool guy, and explained to me the lack of amphibians that I want. From reading the online opinions about the place, then going in for a while, I have a feeling he just told people if they're doing it wrong, and they got mad. Also bought an angel and some tetras. ...Yeah, I don't buy many other fish.

Went to Petland too. Okayish place. Small fishie area, decent selection, had several aquatic frogs, crabs, and crayfish too. They also sold... puppies? I've never seen a store that sells puppies. I had no idea you could go to a store and buy a puppy. Which makes no sense, because there are plenty of free and/or cheap puppies. I also played with a hamster. I hadn't touched one before.
...Yeah, the fish side was small, and accessories were expensive. Alamo Aquatics is right down the road. Go there. Unless you want... a puppy? (I'm still in disbelief there's a puppy store.)
 

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Why haven't I been to this Fintique? Oh, because I don't live nearby. :(

Recently, I've had better luck with Petsmarts. Also, they have pretty nice marimo. And I consider marimo a pet on its own.

Gabes was pretty nice. Went there a while after that last post. Plants were HUGE and healthy and still like $3 each. (No $3 plant should ever be higher than my waist.) Small store, but still really great. Bought an angel and some tetras.

This past week, I went to River City Exotics, which may have stolen the spot of funky petstore smell king from Alamo Aquatics. They have NO plants, but they have a decent fish selection. Especially if you're into chiclids. They seem to have alot for reptile people though. Despite what I've heard, the owner was a pretty cool guy, and explained to me the lack of amphibians that I want. From reading the online opinions about the place, then going in for a while, I have a feeling he just told people if they're doing it wrong, and they got mad. Also bought an angel and some tetras. ...Yeah, I don't buy many other fish.

Went to Petland too. Okayish place. Small fishie area, decent selection, had several aquatic frogs, crabs, and crayfish too. They also sold... puppies? I've never seen a store that sells puppies. I had no idea you could go to a store and buy a puppy. Which makes no sense, because there are plenty of free and/or cheap puppies. I also played with a hamster. I hadn't touched one before.
...Yeah, the fish side was small, and accessories were expensive. Alamo Aquatics is right down the road. Go there. Unless you want... a puppy? (I'm still in disbelief there's a puppy store.)
It's been an ongoing battle for some to burn that place to the ground. I am equally surprised that you missed the bombardment of picketers and slogan chanting free willed activists protesting in the vicinity of the location. There may have been none. Possible lunch break. The petlands here in austin are constantly being protested(strongly i must say) and are in the news atleast once a week. Just an FYI.
 

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Yeah, I've always heard that stores who sell puppies are generally very hated, I just hadn't seen one since like... the early nineties? I assumed people didn't go to them because... people PAY for puppies? I got a coupon in the mail today for $100 off a puppy. The last time I adopted a dog, it was... free? (I have too many puppies. I don't even know where they came from, but they seem to think they live with me. I'm also allergic to dogs. Why so many puppies?)


I've NEVER seen people protesting, but, I really don't think they make very many puppy sales to begin with... In fact, I've NEVER seen anyone buy ANYTHING there. I've mostly seen kids and teenage girls, cause they have a room where the puppies run around, and they go play with them. I'm absolutely convinced people only go there to play with the puppies. (The fabric and paint stores are next door. I go to those two alot. I wander in when I'm nearby cause I like to look at hamsters.)


We don't have many picketers in San Antonio though. (It's cause we're lame.) I've seen ONE planned parenthood protest like... ever. In college, our school would schedule all the protesters to come the same day during the year, and most of us would just skip school. Everytime I go to Austin, they're everywhere. I bet even more mind blowing is that the Petland here is in a high traffic area.
Of course, even running a yellow light is APPARENTLY illegal where it is, so, they might just arrest protesters, knowing them. (The store TECHNICALLY isn't in San Antonio, just a small town inside that is notorious for having REALLY outgoing police.)

...Fortunately, I think we're also too cheap to buy puppies here. Most people I've met don't even want to pay an adoption fee, much less the huge puppy price tag. I'm absolutely amazed they're still in business since they don't even bother to even put people at the cashier. NO ONE SEEMS TO WORK THERE. I asked a question about something once, and the one guy was all, sorry, I just tell people when the puppies are tired and bring new puppies out for exercise. ...That being said, their puppies are ridiculously friendly.
Unfortunately though, we're like, land of accidental backyard breeders. Everyone I know with a dog or cat was given it, just found it, or it was one of those FREE PUPPIES things. I don't think that many people go to vets though, which, really worries me...


I do actively hate Petco though. THEY KNOW WHAT THEY DID. Actually, no, I bet they don't. :(

Anyway. Fish stores. Totally need to go to one. Probably Alamo Aquatics, which is right down the road. They're my main petstore.
 

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The petsmart at 410/summit parkway actually has a pretty decent selection of fish, especially african's. At least compared to other chain fish stores, much better then any petco location.

And yes, people do buy Puppies, my mother-in-law has been breeding small dogs (Chihuahua, Yorkie, Pom) for 20+ years, they are all registered and easily fetch 250-600$ depending on breed/size.

I recently purchased a Welsh Korgi for 300$. People who want something other then a mutt/lab/golden/pit generally have to pay for the animal.. :rolleyes:

edit: yes petland has been picketed here, more then once. Don't know how i feel about puppies in a chain store, they tend to be overpriced and they stay too long. The petland does carry rather exotic breeds though, french bulldog etc.
 

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i belive he moved to culebra outside of 410 by the taco cabana.


hes in the corner spot of the self storage/ office space


i believe this is the same guy as the sign says gabes fish.

havent been in there yet thou
 

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Yeah, I think Gabe's moved by Culebra. (At least, reptile people have told me so.) I haven't been to the new store yet.


And really? Most people with purebreds, including me, didn't buy them at a store or something. (My cocker spaniel and dachshund were kinda pushed onto me in my case....) A few I know have been to breed specific shelters. But hey.
I saw a cute puppy there last time, and she was $1800. And, whoa.



Alamo Aquatics seems to be more plant and shrimp friendly lately. They also had a small brackish section when I went Sunday. And these freaky awesome catfish things that Mona apparently doesn't like. Didn't see as much for fish though, cause I was really there for the other side of the store. *is a fishie traitor ;__; *
 
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