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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know about you but I read about these cool fish online then I'm disappointed when my LFS only have basic fish. Once in a while I might get lucky but most of the time they don't have really what I'm looking for.

Someone on this forum said that Petco lets you custom order fish.

Does anyone know if petsmart also lets you do this or Petsupermarket, etc..? If so, how does it work exactly? Is there like a catalog or does the nursery they order from have a website,etc..?

I went to Petsmart and got like 2 Silver Hacket fish when they are suppose to be in groups of 6 or more. One time, they only had silver(female) red cherry barbs( that were not red!),etc..

They seem like they order such small amount of fish.

Anyone if anyone could share some knowledge either from being an employee or actually ordering a custom fish, that would be great.

Thanks.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My lfs has a list you can get put on and they will call you went a specific variety of fish comes in. They also will do special orders of its available. You can always ask yours what they can do. Other option is mail order
Is your LFS like a big box chain or mom & pop store,etc..?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I worked at a petsmart for 6 years. This was not something we could or would do.

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Wow, so even if you could do it, you would not do it! Yikes.

The people at Petsmart today told me that they have no ability to order fish and they receive a mystery box from the supplier and they will only find out what is in the box once they open it.

I have been trying to get some black phantom tetra and been calling around and they don't seem to have them. In fact, they had a sign that said black phantom tetra but actually whey were black skirt tetra and I purchased them by accident and within 1 hour, my red cherry barb was dead(which I have had for over 1 month) and its face look like it has been smashed. The new fish I got today were

Black skirt tetra
Orange Ron Rio flame Tetra
White finned Rosy tetra
Flyingfox

I am thinking that the black skirt tetra did it.
What do you think?

Anyway, is it true that you have no ability to order new fish backed on customer feedback or local market demand for a fish?

Just a mystery box arrived picked by whatever the supplier feels like sending that week?

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Have you asked at a Petco?
The person in change or fish at my local petco will order fish to the store that petcos can carry, but not specialty fish that no petco ever carries. So if no petco ever carries.. lets say melon pleco, then he cannot order a melon pleco. But if the petco fish distribution center gets melon plecos for a petco in another state, he can get one to *this* petco (of course for wild caught fish there are only certain times of the year the fish are available in stores as there is a limited harvesting season on many species. At least that's how he described it to me.
I ordered cherry barbs (common enough and farm bred) as all they had were a few sickly females, got there while fish were still I the shipping bag and grabbed out my 1:2 m:f ratio new cherrie barbs before they hit the store's tank water.
 

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What you might do is post what your looking for and where you live. It's quite possible that some of the people here might know A LFS that stocks what you want.

If you want something very unusual, you might have to purchase online, especially if you like in an area with only one or two stores that are big chains.
 

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So the live stock and most hard goods were (very likely still are) on an "auto replenishment" system. We would do weekly counts and update or inventory accordingly. Once stock goes before a certain number, the distributing centers would ship out the replenishments. Higher volume stores receive higher quantities of fish.

Only fish our store was listed for would be shipped. Likewise, with hardgoods (not livestock), we could order more of a product, but could not order any product or store was not listed for. So if you wanted a fish that we were not listed for, there was no way we could order it. To that end, livestock quantities were dictated by volume of sales, as I said, so we got what we got.

However it is not a mystery what we will receive. There's always a manifest that shows what we were shipped and quantity. We did not have the ability to know if we would receive a fish that we were out of stock of, as sometimes depending on season and popularity, we would be out of one variety of fish for weeks at a time. I worked at a lie volume store. We may have gone weeks without a certain fish while nearby, higher volume stores may continue to receive them.

If we could, we probably still wouldn't as each fish needs to have a "home" or tank space to dedicate to it. Say a customer requests a certain cichlid and we had the ability to order it. It would be unlikely, given how the rest of the tanks were stocked, to provide a safe place for it on the sales floor. So if it were me, I wouldn't do it.

A few of my local lfs have a lot more room to work with in that regard, however they are limited as to when they can order as well as how much. As such, I've never successfully had an lfs order any livestock for me.

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The Petco I generally go to told me that I can order whatever fish I want and that people do, and also specify the supplier. They told me that they need the customer's phone number so they can be called when the fish came in, and strongly implied that they would sell it pretty quickly if the customer wasn't there soon after being called because they had no way to take prepayment or hold the fish. I haven't tried it yet.

In my experience, there's often at least one person in the fish department of a big box store who cares and knows something about fish. I'd find that person.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So the live stock and most hard goods were (very likely still are) on an "auto replenishment" system. We would do weekly counts and update or inventory accordingly. Once stock goes before a certain number, the distributing centers would ship out the replenishments. Higher volume stores receive higher quantities of fish.

Only fish our store was listed for would be shipped. Likewise, with hardgoods (not livestock), we could order more of a product, but could not order any product or store was not listed for. So if you wanted a fish that we were not listed for, there was no way we could order it. To that end, livestock quantities were dictated by volume of sales, as I said, so we got what we got.

However it is not a mystery what we will receive. There's always a manifest that shows what we were shipped and quantity. We did not have the ability to know if we would receive a fish that we were out of stock of, as sometimes depending on season and popularity, we would be out of one variety of fish for weeks at a time. I worked at a lie volume store. We may have gone weeks without a certain fish while nearby, higher volume stores may continue to receive them.

If we could, we probably still wouldn't as each fish needs to have a "home" or tank space to dedicate to it. Say a customer requests a certain cichlid and we had the ability to order it. It would be unlikely, given how the rest of the tanks were stocked, to provide a safe place for it on the sales floor. So if it were me, I wouldn't do it.

A few of my local lfs have a lot more room to work with in that regard, however they are limited as to when they can order as well as how much. As such, I've never successfully had an lfs order any livestock for me.

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Is this due mostly to corporate culture/rules or just a unfriendly system setup?

In my case, I am looking for a black phantom Tetra.

1. If you look at the Petsmart website:
Black Phantom Tetra | Live Fish | PetSmart
So they carry them all the time.
2. My local petsmart actually has a dedicated tank which said " black phantom tetra" which they have been out of stock for a while I guess and the girl had no idea if any new ones will ever come in.

I called the corporate Petsmart number and the guy was like " I don't know, maybe they are banned in your state or something" It was not exactly the response I was looking for.

Some people in this forum have said they ordered fish and picked them up right from the shipping box from Petco. I am guessing that is also a No-No at Petsmart ?

Maybe there should be a new service/website, phone app in which you can order a fish online, pay for it and pick it up on delivery date at the store.

What do you think? Would you go for it?
 

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This was all corporate policy and thankfully I don't work there anymore. There are POGS (plan-o-grams) which every store must follow to a T, the fish wall included. Stires are audited by corporate and if things are not where they should be, you lose points. Lose enough points and you're in hot water. Another policy was that livestock could not be placed on hold. Even if you wanted to purchase it and pick it up later. So even if the possibility existed to special order, there would be no guarantee that it wouldn't be sold before you picked it up. So again, there wouldn't be a tank to put the fish in without breaking policy, and there wouldn't be a way to make sure it wasn't sold.

Personally, as someone who had opened many hundreds of fish bags from fresh shipments, I would certainly not recommend getting them straight from the shipment box/bag even if you could. They smell awful and depending on the fish, usually at least one or several DOAs.

The fact that that store has a tag for black phantoms means they are listed to receive them, but as I mentioned, species availability and store volume would dictate how often the store receives them.

What I did on many occasions was call customers who were waiting on fish for weeks at a time a soon as we received them. Even then, I was prevented from holding them for this person. If it's on the sales floor, it was for sale.

Letting them know what fish you're interested in and giving them your number to call when they receive would be your best bet at getting the black phantoms (from a petsmart at least)

There are some fish which are rotated in and out seasonally. Sometimes we'd go years without a fish we previously stocked before we would be listed for it again. This is something nobody in store has control of, was dictated from corporate.

As a final note, I would be hesitant to trust most things big box employees tell you about water chemistry and fish keeping unless you can find a true hobbyist you can trust. 90 percent of employees don't even study the literature they're given for training, and those that do are limited to the very basic and often misinformed information that corporate doled out.

If you had come to my store while I was there, I'd have done everything to try to help you source what you were looking for, was never hesitant to recommend an lfs over us if I knew it was something we couldn't do. Corporate policies tend to leave one's hands tired. But absolutely not a single one of my co-workers would have. Most (seriously over 6 years of working) could not and would not understand the nitrogen cycle which imo is the cornerstone of aquaria, and the amount of total bs I heard co-workers say was scary and sad. Kids just looking for jobs.

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The Petco I generally go to told me that I can order whatever fish I want and that people do, and also specify the supplier. They told me that they need the customer's phone number so they can be called when the fish came in, and strongly implied that they would sell it pretty quickly if the customer wasn't there soon after being called because they had no way to take prepayment or hold the fish. I haven't tried it yet.

In my experience, there's often at least one person in the fish department of a big box store who cares and knows something about fish. I'd find that person.
I was an aquatics guy for a bit. I did things my way for the best and managed really well.

It was normal for me to allow a customer to pay for the fish and have them come some day later to pick it up.

There are multiple list from multiple vendors that are updated about twice a week. Basically listed what was available for us and what wasn't. Some items are locked due to high death/too expensive for some stores.
 

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I don't know about you but I read about these cool fish online then I'm disappointed when my LFS only have basic fish. Once in a while I might get lucky but most of the time they don't have really what I'm looking for.

Someone on this forum said that Petco lets you custom order fish.

Does anyone know if petsmart also lets you do this or Petsupermarket, etc..? If so, how does it work exactly? Is there like a catalog or does the nursery they order from have a website,etc..?

I went to Petsmart and got like 2 Silver Hacket fish when they are suppose to be in groups of 6 or more. One time, they only had silver(female) red cherry barbs( that were not red!),etc..

They seem like they order such small amount of fish.

Anyone if anyone could share some knowledge either from being an employee or actually ordering a custom fish, that would be great.

Thanks.

Thanks.
Always do the LFS don't buy from the big store support your local stores
All the ones around here will order stuff for me all I have to do is ask and they order it from lights to fish

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Always do the LFS don't buy from the big store support your local stores
All the ones around here will order stuff for me all I have to do is ask and they order it from lights to fish

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I know a lot of LFS around me have gone out of business or I think specialize in Salt water aquariums. I am going to have to check to see if there are any still in business.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I was an aquatics guy for a bit. I did things my way for the best and managed really well.

It was normal for me to allow a customer to pay for the fish and have them come some day later to pick it up.

There are multiple list from multiple vendors that are updated about twice a week. Basically listed what was available for us and what wasn't. Some items are locked due to high death/too expensive for some stores.
Yeah, give the customer what he wants. Its a win-win situation.

Petco get the money and the customer get the fish they have been hunting for. I don't know why this is such a difficult concept for some people to understand.

You seem to get it and I am sure the customers appreciate you working with them. :laugh2:
 

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I bet these LFS's would have a lot less fish deaths if they simply did a methylene blue bath with each bag of fish as they come in to treat them for the likely ammonia poisoning in transit.
 

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I know a lot of LFS around me have gone out of business or I think specialize in Salt water aquariums. I am going to have to check to see if there are any still in business.

Thanks.
I'm lucky I have 3 LFS 2 that do a lot of salt water and one that dose mostly fresh so I can get just about anything I want

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I know a lot of LFS around me have gone out of business or I think specialize in Salt water aquariums. I am going to have to check to see if there are any still in business.

Thanks.
Although I am on the outskirts of a big city, the closest LFS has been pretty unsatisfactory -- there is a limited selection and health has been an issue. I've had the best success with a Petco in my area. There are two -- one is shockingly bad, and the other is always clean and at least one employee maintains private tanks as a side job. If something is generally available, I get it there, and I've had no issues. They've been pretty honest about what fish to avoid because of dodgy suppliers. The other bonus is that some of the employees keep their own tanks and order things they want themselves that might not normally be available in a Petco. They had scarlet badis just a few weeks ago.

Anything special, I've been getting shipped from online suppliers. It's expensive, but the only other LFS in my town are several miles away and they generally don't have what I want anyway. It helps that I only maintain one big tank now, so the money is concentrated on the things I really want for that one tank, instead of a bunch of fun little things for a lot of tanks.

I guess my point is that even the chains are going to differ in quality from store to store based on who works there and the management policies. In my area, the quality of one of the chain stores exceeds that of the convenient LFS.
 

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I agree with most of what has been said about the large chain LFSs and being unable to order what you want as far as livestock goes. I'm lucky in that there are 3 or 4 good LFSs more or less local to me, so I can usually what I'm looking for. On the other hand, I don't usually get involved with anything too exotic.

Part of what your seeing is that planted tanks, as we tend to think of them, here are very advanced systems, even if your doing a low tech tank. As large as this group is it's still kind of small compared to the people coming into the store that are content to have a typical tank of plastic plants, rocks, various "objet d'art" and clown barf gravel. This means even a good LFS has to accommodate this group if they want to stay in business.

For years I have been buying most of my equipment online. Sure, I'd rather spend it at the LFS, but it's hard. Often what I want is not in stock or not carried. It seems to be getting that way for some livestock also, but I like to see what I'm getting first.
 
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