Best/worst Pet Store Experiences?

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Brenden

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Wondering what kind of stand out experiences you guys have had from a pet-store in regards to fish?

For me, I'll start with my worst.

Bought 3 guppies from Pet Smart, not knowing that this particular one had the worst reputation in town. Honestly should have checked the reviews.

I noticed only 2-3 guppies per tank, and that they weren't the most active fish. However, I was new to guppies having previously only had a betta, cory's, and tetras. I did a little research, and made the decision to get 3.

All of them looked healthy. However I noticed one of them I nicknamed "Banana", was sluggish and developing dark red spots on him. I began doing water changes, using medications, and doing everything BUT monitoring the water perimeters (rookie mistake).

Banana eventually passed away. I went to my local Petco to look, and talked to the employee there who told me she recently bought Tetras from there and every one of them died in a week, and killed all her existing Tetras. She told me she spoke to that store's manager about it, and he said that nearly their entire stock was sick, but they have to keep selling them cause that is what the district manager told them to do.

Shortly following my visit to Petco, the next Guppy became sluggish...and died. Then shortly after, the most active one which had a beautiful blue/black color became slow...and sadly died as well. Leaving me currently, with no fish.

I have learned my lesson, listened to the advice, and will now only be buying from my local Petco. I even looked at the fish from both stores and noticed MAJOR differences in their appearance, behavior, and colors.

Can't really think of a good experience that really stands out. I've had good experiences, but can't think of anything that "wowed" me.
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Crispii

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The worst experience that I had at a pet store was when I bought my corydoras and neon dwarf rainbowfish from the same shop. A day after I bought my group of corydoras, one died and about a few days of purchasing the rainbows, I noticed that a few were lethargic and would not move from one corner. Since then, I rarely visited the shop.
 
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Brenden

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Crispii said:
The worst experience that I had at a pet store was when I bought my corydoras and neon dwarf rainbowfish from the same shop. A day after I bought my group of corydoras, one died and about a few days of purchasing the rainbows, I noticed that a few were lethargic and would not move from one corner. Since then, I rarely visited the shop.
I noticed some shops really don't care, and will pretty much sell you whatever they have to get rid of stock.

Others DO care, and I love when I find those stores.
 

MissNoodle

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Theres one in my city... you can smell it from across the street. Selling rusted bird cages for $999 and dusty supplies. Animals in crowded and dirty conditions and yet they somehow pass inspections every time

We wont shop there for anything, even if desperate.

As for another, when i bought my cories from petsmart, the worker was just so antisocial it was terrible. Just tossed the two in the bag and who cares after that. I tried making small conversation, just even a simple hello and she didnt really respond.

Usually the two at the petsmart in the fish department are really good and know their stuff on the usual fish--not so much on some of the more specialized fish but theyre good help for newbs. Theyve turned down sales to people before and they have treated their sick fish plus any in tanks sharing the same water just as a precaution.

I dunno what was with the one worker i got but meh. Could have been worse i guess
 

pagoda

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Due to various reasons I have to use online aquatics & fish suppliers, which as with anything bought online carries risk since you never see what you are buying until its bought and delivered....

I have an absolutely superb fish supplier now, very attentive, fish always well packed, healthy on delivery and good communication tween the company and myself (which is essential when buying any livestock online)

My previous fish supplier could not be worse. I ordered 6 Lemon Tetras, a Crown Tail Betta and a Blue Panaque. The company was highly rated, I did my homework in that respect so felt that I could trust them with fish welfare. I could not have been more wrong. The Lemons were so tiny at around a quarter of an inch nose to tail that they were obviously way too young to have been sold let alone to travel and they died within 24 hours of arrival. The Crown Tail was under half an inch in body length, so again far too young, and he was DOA. The Blue Panaque seemed fine initially, quite active but again was very small (the company stated that all Panaques are sent out at least 3 inches long, mine was under 2 inches). I emailed them, sent photos as requested and they were very dismissive and actually treated me like a newby who was talking out of their backside. When I informed tham that I have over 30 years experience and that actually I did know what was going on they hurriedly arranged a full refund, but no apology. I have since reported the company to the animal welfare authority to be looked at closely.

I think that in all honestly it makes no difference if you buy online or in person, there is always that risk of your fish having health & welfare issues. I also think sometimes those who sell you the fish will try to treat you like a newby in the hope that you will believe all they say without question and when faced with an experienced fishkeeper they simply cannot handle that. I blame the companies in their lack of care and training. Fishkeeping is not an easy pet choice, there is alot involved and even more that can go horribly wrong......and unlike a dog you can't just put a fish on a leash and take it to the vet, you have to be able to recognise illness in your fish and be able to treat it properly. Pet stores online or in person hardly ever tell you this unless they are very very reputable and have staff who really do know their fish.

Buying fish is entirely on trust and you will always get stung sometimes by companies who really do not know what they are doing, staff poorly trained and profits being above the welfare of the fish in their list of priorities. But when you do find a good, caring, knowledgeable company, stick with them
 

qldmick

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well I went to my local to get a red and white comet and a shubunkin to get the pond going again and they wouldn't sell me a shubunkin because that tank had white spot. it was a little disappointing but that's what I would call a pet shop doing the right thing.
 

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I don't really complain about pet stores, especially when it comes to fish. Of course there are going to be problems with sickness and stress. They're dealing with wild-caught and mass-farmed animals that are shipped long distances and crammed in large numbers into limited space, and you know what? That makes things convenient. For me. For you. For everyone. So I'll take the good with the bad, because they enable us to enjoy this hobby, and like it or not, profits do matter. That's real life. Don't believe me? Then quit your job.

This isn't directed towards anyone. Just my humble opinion.
 

NC122606

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I have never had a problem with fish stores... All my fish are healthy and look good. I have went to Petsmart to get mollies and now they eat everything.
 

chromedome52

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I used to go to Milwaukee once or twice a year just to visit certain fish shops. However, of the three top stores, one was sold, and the new owner didn't care to get the unusual fish that the previous owner always had in store. Another recently closed down; it was a shock, as they were known all over the country for their selection and quality. The third is still going, and getting good fish from them has been sort of hit and miss over the years. One time I bought 4 different species of fish and eventually had three of them breed. Another time, I bought three different types of fish, and lost them all from illness within a couple of weeks. Service there always seems slow, because they tend to be busy all the time and have limited staff. But they got a lot of interesting species, which made it worth a visit.
 
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Brenden

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scarface said:
I don't really complain about pet stores, especially when it comes to fish. Of course there are going to be problems with sickness and stress. They're dealing with wild-caught and mass-farmed animals that are shipped long distances and crammed in large numbers into limited space, and you know what? That makes things convenient. For me. For you. For everyone. So I'll take the good with the bad, because they enable us to enjoy this hobby, and like it or not, profits do matter. That's real life. Don't believe me? Then quit your job.

This isn't directed towards anyone. Just my humble opinion.
No I can agree with that to a degree. Yes it is a business, and yes profits are what drives said business and allows for people like you and I to walk in and buy fish that we'd have to otherwise travel to ponds and lakes to get ourselves.

Pet Stores and the work they do, has enabled us to have this hobby in the first place.

However, people wanting to do this hobby is why those pet stores are in business. So for me, yes I understand that fish get sick and issues happen. However major pet-store chains having a problem, and KNOWING there is a problem, but choosing not to do anything about it...is disgusting. Because at that point it's no longer a balance between profit and well-being, it's all profit.
 

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By far my worst experience was when a young woman and her ~7 year old daughter came in looking for a bottom feeder. I was There eyeing the black skirt tetras, as my school needs to be a bit bigger, and she asked the employee there about a young common pleco. Specifying that they had a 5 gallon octagon betta type tank with guppies. The employee says that the common would do perfectly fine and even told them not to feed it. Me, having had a tragedy with Pukka Shell, my first pleco (a common sole to my stepmother with the wrong info), interjected as politely as possible letting the employee know he was actually wrong and that the pleco could get to be 2 feet long, and not only a few inches, and that it would likely have bad health issues if put in that tank.
His response? To tell me that I didn’t know anything because I’m “just a kid.”
I’m 14, and I’ve been fishkeeping for almost 3 years now. I’ve had my fish come through my care, and have enough personal experience to know that putting a common pleco in a small tank is a terrible idea.

My best experience was in a small, local shop called Freind-Lee pets in lee, NH. They’re a family owned shop that sells birds, fish, reptiles, and even tarantulas and praying mantis. They have an indoor koi pond near the fish displays, which has a filter, heater, and three adult common plecos keeping the algae down. It’s a 250gallon enclosure. Bettas are kept in tanks, half gallon tanks per male, and the females are kept in one 15 gal. The fish associates actually know what they’re talking about and gave me great advice for handling my shrimp, and gave me a wonderful discount as a first time customer. I go there a lot now, if even to just visit their resident African butterfly fish that likes to make people think he’s dead. The plecos in the koi pond will also let you touch them
 

MileyMorkie

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The better times I had at a pet store was getting lucky with a staff member who knew his stuff about goldfish. Along with the betta guru staff member at Pisces who handed us NewLifeSpectrum pellets and gave a lot of care advice.
The PetLand in Market Mall always allowed me to interact with their snakes and other reptiles. I haven't had issues face to face with stores other than stuff with my dog. My uncle says he has the worst luck with saltwater fish from Pisces.

As for bad experiences... My dog comes to mind for this. I don't know where mom went but it may have been a PetSmart because she once came home with this bottle toy because dogs get "bored" with their food and stop eating. Miley hated the thing and I made one out of duck tape, a torn dog toy, and a Pringles lid. Mine had slightly better results. AND THEN THERE WAS THAT BUZZ CUT. I am not going to go into full detail but some lady who I think once worked at the Coca-Cola factory with my dad. Either she did work with dad or it was the aunt. We wanted a puppy cut and we came to pick up Miley and she look so skinny and she had sores from the clippers. On the phone we got a call from the groomer "umm she's just about done" was one thing I remembered from the call, the whole conversation was suspicious. When we got there, yeah she didn't look close to the fur length or variant as when we dropped her off.

PetSmart can do feather extensions for your furry pet. Since I already had feathers in my hair, Miley got some too. I liked that little thing.
 

FrostedFlakes

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My experiences with my petstores have been pretty great. My local petco has a really great guy in charge of the fish. He's super nice and was talking to me about how he used to have a bunch of snakes and his current reef build. My petsmart isn't as good, but it's not the worst. I was getting guppies and I could tell the guy wasn't too knowledgeable but it's okay I don't really care. He was getting my guppies and for some reason started talking to me about his pet daddy long leg spider named Maurice. I really didn't know what to say so I was just kinda like oh wow that's so cool. I thought it was funny lol. He did accidentally give me a danio but it's okay he's doing his best. I hope him and Maurice are still cherishing their life together.
 
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Brenden

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Pukkafish said:
By far my worst experience was when a young woman and her ~7 year old daughter came in looking for a bottom feeder. I was There eyeing the black skirt tetras, as my school needs to be a bit bigger, and she asked the employee there about a young common pleco. Specifying that they had a 5 gallon octagon betta type tank with guppies. The employee says that the common would do perfectly fine and even told them not to feed it. Me, having had a tragedy with Pukka Shell, my first pleco (a common sole to my stepmother with the wrong info), interjected as politely as possible letting the employee know he was actually wrong and that the pleco could get to be 2 feet long, and not only a few inches, and that it would likely have bad health issues if put in that tank.
His response? To tell me that I didn’t know anything because I’m “just a kid.”
I’m 14, and I’ve been fishkeeping for almost 3 years now. I’ve had my fish come through my care, and have enough personal experience to know that putting a common pleco in a small tank is a terrible idea.

My best experience was in a small, local shop called Freind-Lee pets in lee, NH. They’re a family owned shop that sells birds, fish, reptiles, and even tarantulas and praying mantis. They have an indoor koi pond near the fish displays, which has a filter, heater, and three adult common plecos keeping the algae down. It’s a 250gallon enclosure. Bettas are kept in tanks, half gallon tanks per male, and the females are kept in one 15 gal. The fish associates actually know what they’re talking about and gave me great advice for handling my shrimp, and gave me a wonderful discount as a first time customer. I go there a lot now, if even to just visit their resident African butterfly fish that likes to make people think he’s dead. The plecos in the koi pond will also let you touch them
Yeah I noticed that a lot of stores go out of their way to sell Plecos. Even if it's not in the best interest of the fish.

Just got back from my old LFS that I haven't been to in years and I noticed that they had signs all over the store advertising their plecos. It's a great place to buy fish, just sucks that even a local place like them are trying to push Plecos onto anybody who will buy one.
 

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My worst experience was at a petsmart. I went in to get some endlers and I specified that I wanted the endlers, not the fancy guppies. There were both in the tank.

Employee bags up the fish and hands them to me. There's 2 endlers, one fancy guppy and one baby guppy.

I inform her that I wanted all endlers. She says there's only endlers in the tank. So I asked how the guppies got in here. So then she scowls at me and catches me the fish I want.


Best experience would be at my favorite lfs. I had some petco cichlids with sunken belly disease and wandered all over the chain pet stores looking for enough dewormer that wouldn't cost a lot. My last trip was the lfs who gave me a treatment plan that was cheap and saved my fish.
 

MileyMorkie

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Brenden said:
Yeah I noticed that a lot of stores go out of their way to sell Plecos. Even if it's not in the best interest of the fish.
Pukkafish said:
By far my worst experience was when a young woman and her ~7 year old daughter came in looking for a bottom feeder. I was There eyeing the black skirt tetras, as my school needs to be a bit bigger, and she asked the employee there about a young common pleco. Specifying that they had a 5 gallon octagon betta type tank with guppies. The employee says that the common would do perfectly fine and even told them not to feed it. Me, having had a tragedy with Pukka Shell, my first pleco (a common sole to my stepmother with the wrong info), interjected as politely as possible letting the employee know he was actually wrong and that the pleco could get to be 2 feet long, and not only a few inches, and that it would likely have bad health issues if put in that tank.
His response? To tell me that I didn’t know anything because I’m “just a kid.”
I’m 14, and I’ve been fishkeeping for almost 3 years now. I’ve had my fish come through my care, and have enough personal experience to know that putting a common pleco in a small tank is a terrible idea.
They really need to shove Cories, Loaches, SAE, and Ottos out the door instead. While they are schoolers, IMHO it'd be far more humane to advertise those than a giant. I do agree that common plecos shouldn't be sold as cleaner fish for small tanks. I think they are the same catfish that invaded that springs or something in Florida.

(Sorry if I'm nosey I really like talking to people)
 

CanadianFishFan

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I got many stories,
I once went in to find 1 betta and 30 gouramis in a 10 gallon. All I will say is Fins shredded! I told the employee near and she said "its fine he will be bought soon anyway".
A time I was really angry was when I asked to buy 3 very sick bettas and she said "we cant sell sick fish" and took them out of hands and went to the back. Very angry about that as there is no way they were going to treat them.
On the bright side, all my impulse buys.
9 guppies, Oops!
at least 8 of my bettas have been impulse buys. (I just cant leave koi bettas behind!)
Live plants... (I rarely im allowed to get them, so i took the chance!)
All my discounts, I started with %25, then got %50 and last %75 off on sick betta fish.
Dont forget the time i bought 6 "female" bettas at once. Best day ever!
 

Pukkafish

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MileyMorkie said:
They really need to shove Cories, Loaches, SAE, and Ottos out the door instead. While they are schoolers, IMHO it'd be far more humane to advertise those than a giant. I do agree that common plecos shouldn't be sold as cleaner fish for small tanks. I think they are the same catfish that invaded that springs or something in Florida.

(Sorry if I'm nosey I really like talking to people)
I wish they sold loaches. Nobody in my area sells Hillstream loaches and I’m working on a tank build for some.

Same store had a king bumblebee betta that had to be at least 5 inches long in on of those tiny cups. His spine was bent and he was trying to use his labyrinth to breathe. I didn’t have the funds to rescue him and I heard from an employee I trust a week later that he had passed in the cup. He could have had an amazing life in a big tank. I asked for a discount because he was very obviously ill and they insisted I still pay 28$ for him, despite the fact that he’d need rehabilitation
 

RHONDA PIMENTEL

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pagoda said:
Due to various reasons I have to use online aquatics & fish suppliers, which as with anything bought online carries risk since you never see what you are buying until its bought and delivered....

I have an absolutely superb fish supplier now, very attentive, fish always well packed, healthy on delivery and good communication tween the company and myself (which is essential when buying any livestock online)

My previous fish supplier could not be worse. I ordered 6 Lemon Tetras, a Crown Tail Betta and a Blue Panaque. The company was highly rated, I did my homework in that respect so felt that I could trust them with fish welfare. I could not have been more wrong. The Lemons were so tiny at around a quarter of an inch nose to tail that they were obviously way too young to have been sold let alone to travel and they died within 24 hours of arrival. The Crown Tail was under half an inch in body length, so again far too young, and he was DOA. The Blue Panaque seemed fine initially, quite active but again was very small (the company stated that all Panaques are sent out at least 3 inches long, mine was under 2 inches). I emailed them, sent photos as requested and they were very dismissive and actually treated me like a newby who was talking out of their backside. When I informed tham that I have over 30 years experience and that actually I did know what was going on they hurriedly arranged a full refund, but no apology. I have since reported the company to the animal welfare authority to be looked at closely.

I think that in all honestly it makes no difference if you buy online or in person, there is always that risk of your fish having health & welfare issues. I also think sometimes those who sell you the fish will try to treat you like a newby in the hope that you will believe all they say without question and when faced with an experienced fishkeeper they simply cannot handle that. I blame the companies in their lack of care and training. Fishkeeping is not an easy pet choice, there is alot involved and even more that can go horribly wrong......and unlike a dog you can't just put a fish on a leash and take it to the vet, you have to be able to recognise illness in your fish and be able to treat it properly. Pet stores online or in person hardly ever tell you this unless they are very very reputable and have staff who really do know their fish.

Buying fish is entirely on trust and you will always get stung sometimes by companies who really do not know what they are doing, staff poorly trained and profits being above the welfare of the fish in their list of priorities. But when you do find a good, caring, knowledgeable company, stick with them
Kudos to your story. I didn't want to just hit like or agree on this one. You hit the nail on the head. It's so sad today with all we know and have learned since I was I kid and not much was done by my parents (by no fault of their own) you just bought a ten gallon fish, and all the fake carp and threw them in tank same day and no test kits or water treatments, just pure ignorance, of course the fish were all dead in less than a week. And the tank went in the attic. But today we have access to all the info and research at the touch of a finger and there's still thoughtless inhumane practices. And all because of profit. When you know better, do better! Easy as that.
 

RHONDA PIMENTEL

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Pukkafish said:
I wish they sold loaches. Nobody in my area sells Hillstream loaches and I’m working on a tank build for some.

Same store had a king bumblebee betta that had to be at least 5 inches long in on of those tiny cups. His spine was bent and he was trying to use his labyrinth to breathe. I didn’t have the funds to rescue him and I heard from an employee I trust a week later that he had passed in the cup. He could have had an amazing life in a big tank. I asked for a discount because he was very obviously ill and they insisted I still pay 28$ for him, despite the fact that he’d need rehabilitation
Im sorry for your horrible experience, that is so sad and absolutely tells the whole story in a nutshell. The heck with morals and humanity, we rather either PROFIT from him or throw him away! Disgusting.
 
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