Debate: LFS & chain stores

  • #1
OK, so when I found out how bad chain stores are for fish quality and compassion, I hunted around to find a LFS nearby. I live in a capital city, so there are quite a few.

I'm finding a new one, because the LFS I found is horribly expensive. I asked about purchasing cardinal tetras through them - 6.95 EACH, and if I bought 10 or more they would sell them for 6.50. Yay. :-\
Glowlight tetras are 3.50 each from that store, too.

The department store I was using prior to my hunt for a good LFS will order fish direct from suppliers for me. Glowlights for 2.50 and cardinals TBA. They also have the cheapest honey gourami and clown loach prices (when I was looking to buy those a few weeks ago).

So anyway, I got home last night and checked the mail. The chain store I was going to (called Pets @ Home) sent me a letter, saying they have now become PETBARN! I had a bit of a chuckle when I saw that, after hearing from other fishlorians about Petbarns. They did however throw in a $15 gift voucher - how nice!

So.... the debate. Do I pay a premium for ?quality? fish from the LFS, or do I order from supplier through the (now) Petbarn, and make use of their loyalty program? I get a $25 gift voucher when I rack up $300. They also negotiate discounts for bulk purchases such as substrate...

I will add this - the Petbarn's advice is terrible - but I don't go there for advice, just supplies (fish & accessories)!


  • #2
I'd rather pay the premium for quality fish. If you have to keep replacing low quality chain store fish, you'll eventually spend the same or more anyway, and it's the mom and pop shops that really need your business. As always, this is JMO.

  • #3
I would choose whoever had healthier fish. I'll pay more if I know the fish are healthy. It makes for an easier quarantine and it's more enjoyable That just my opinion.

I hope this helps.
  • #4
I buy the less commercially available fish at LFS; for instance, the dwarf cichlids, live plants, and such, I buy the more common fish, such as ottos, guppies, and such, at the chain stores, as I mentioned in a previous post, there's something about 3 dollar ottos that just rubs me the wrong way, the ones I buy from petsmart have all stayed alive and are currently thriving, I guess I'm just lucky enough to have good petsmarts though, and heck, some of the lfs are just as bad as the chain stores sometimes. I think it really depends on what your looking for at the time As for my little supplies, like, tubing, check valves and such, I buy at walmart, it just makes sense to me,
  • #5
I tend to go between the two, though I'll never buy from a store where the majority of the fish are ill. I buy commonly available, hardy, fish from the chain if, and only if, they are healthy. I recently bought black neons and glowlights from Petsmart.
However, less hardy and/or less common fish come from either an LFS or private sellers.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Interesting points raised.

I should mention that the Pets @ Home (now Petbarn) DOES quarantine their fish for a minimum of 24 hours. I cannot purchase fish on Wednesdays, as that's when they take deliveries and refuse to sell any fish until they have confirmed quality.

I have only ever seen one dead fish in their display tanks...

Conversly, I have noticed SIX (yes, SIX!) dead dwarf gouramis in my LFS, although their tanks are all separated so no risk of contamination. I pointed it out to the owner.
I suppose it depends on your LFS, as anunez pointed out. I need to keep looking, to try and find a good one.

I think it makes sense to buy equipment from chains, as they get good bulk prices. That said, I have a couple of online stores I check first.

I completely agree with the less common fish needing to come from private stores. Better chance of quality.
My main point in the OP was with regards to common varieties - tetras, gouramis, goldfish, danios, barbs and the like.

ooooo, although I should mention when I was in the Pets @ Home last Thursday, they had a long-finned tiger oscar in there!!! I was so close to taking him home, especially when he came out of hiding to say hI to me!

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