Fish stores in the Twin Cities

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sirdarksol

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For the past several months, I've been going to all of the pet stores in the Twin Cities, trying to figure out which ones are good and which ones to avoid. Up until this point, all of the fish-specific stores have been horrible. (Okay, not entirely true. There's a great little marine fish store, but they don't have much in the way of freshwater stuff). All of them have tanks that are filled with algae. I've seen a tank that I couldn't even see the fish because the water was so cloudy. Some of the chain stores have been pretty good. Up until today, the Petco in Woodbury was my favorite fish store.
However, today I found a little place called A Wet Pet. The prices in the store might be a little bit high, but the fish are really cared for. I showed up first thing in the morning, and got to watch feeding time. A guy walked around with a little tray of food and put little tiny bits of food, just enough for all of the fish in the tank to get a little bit. All of the tanks were immaculately kept.
The most beautiful about the place, though, wasn't what I saw, but what I didn't see. No little stack of plastic containers loaded with droopy-finned bettas.
I didn't notice this difference right away. Only when I looked in a tank of tetras and saw an energetic, long-finned comet of blue and red, then a sapphire blue streak in the next tank did I realize that the store keeps their bettas singly in tanks with other fish. One betta in with a school of compatible fish. They are so happy and beautiful compared to the poor little pyramids of bettas in most stores.
If you live near the Twin Cities, I highly suggest visiting A Wet Pet in Apple Valley. It's right off of County Road 42.
 

Tom

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Re: Freshwater fish stores in the Twin Cities

That is like one of the pet stores near me,about 15-25 mins depending on traffic. They take such good care of their fish. If they have sick fish, they take them out and take them into the basement where they say they have quaratine tanks and treat them fully there and also label the tank they were in and treat it for the same thing. The funny thing is, when I used to go to that store, you would of course see the occasional dead fish in the tank that they missed, they would get upset when I pointed the dead fish out but they were also grateful because they didn't want the tanks to look bad with a few dead fish here and there. Forgot to add, congrats on finding your good pet store.
Tom
 
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sirdarksol

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Re: Freshwater fish stores in the Twin Cities

East Side Pets
For those of you St Paul people who remember Earl Street Pets, Home of Fishman Dan, this is the same owner, but he had to move his store.
I only went to Earl St once, and swore I would never go back there. The tanks were choked with algae, there were a ton of Bettas in little jars, and the place was just kind of a mess (as in disorganized). Actually, I like messy stores, with the exception of pet stores. In order to take care of the animals, there has to be some semblance of order.
Well, East Side Pets (on 7th Street, near White Bear) is not all that much different. The tanks are currently clean, but the store is still disorganized. Further, though he has only been open for a short time, Dan has a stock of dozens of Bettas crammed in little jars along a wall. Many of them are fancy varieties and are pretty pricey, and since he doesn't have a huge clientelle base yet, I can't imagine that he will be selling all of them any time soon. I had a lot of fun looking around at the aquarium equipment, but the animals made me a little sad.
I will be heading back there periodically, because I am all for supporting local businesses (and Dan has an excellent stock of fish-care products), but I think that, unless he has a stock of fish I can't find anywhere else, I won't be buying any new family members.
Edit: I would like to add something. I visited this store again, and saw more of both good and bad. On the bad end of things, I noticed that he was keeping arrowana in stock (one of them was dead) in the standard 30 gallon fishstore tanks.
However, on the good side of things, Dan seems to truly love animals. He currently has an African Tortoise that had been abandoned in the wild around here (MN is far too cold for these things). A family adopted it, but their dog chewed it up, and they ended up giving it to Dan. He cares for the thing very well, and it was wandering around the store today.
 

cichlid seeker

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Re: Freshwater fish stores in the Twin Cities

How about the World OF Fish it is a very good store and they take care of there animals.
 
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Re: Freshwater fish stores in the Twin Cities

cichlid seeker said:
How about the World OF Fish it is a very good store and they take care of there animals.
Where is World of Fish??????? I have been told to go there, that they care for their fish, but I've had problems finding them. It seems that every time I go to dexonline.com, I get a different list of pet stores, but WoF is never on it.
 
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sirdarksol

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Re: Freshwater fish stores in the Twin Cities

Petco in Woodbury
It's hard for me to write this, but I feel that, in all fairness, I should do so.
I will not be shopping at a Petco until they stop telling customers that it's ok for their bettas to live in .5 gallon bowls with no filtration or heat and until they stop stocking dozens of them at a time, even though they'll only sell ten or twenty of them before they die in the horrible conditions.
That being said, and aside from their treatment of bettas, the Woodbury Petco is a pretty nice place. They have exceptionally clean tanks, and two of the times I've been there, the person caring for the fish, though hard to find (as they take care of more than just the fish in the store), was intelligent. One time, I had seen that an Oscar was being picked on by its tankmate, and it had several raw patches. When I told the employee this, she got sad and said that they had outgrown the tank and she was desperately trying to find them a new home. So they made a mistake, but at least the employee realized this. They have an interesting stock that periodically changes. They usually have a few oddities.
The other time I was asking about whether or not certain plants were aquatic, having been burned by Petsmart a few weeks before (stupid Mondo grass). The employee admitted to me that she was told that everything they were sold was aquatic, but the store could easily have incorrect information. She then went on to tell me what plants she personally knew to be fully aquatic.
They also have a marine section, and they do try to carry some of the more odd marine animals, but those don't seem to be doing so well. I don't keep marine tanks, so I'm not sure, but I often visit the marine tanks at the zoo, and the anenomes and other strange inverts just don't look all that healthy. They have puffer fish and lionfish and clowns, and all of these look like they're doing well.
And so, I implore you not to go to this store, based on the fact that they purposefully misinform their customers about betta care (check out the two or three threads regarding this issue). Further, please contact Petco and let them know why you don't go there. However, if this issue doesn't bother you, then this is a good store for aquarium supply.
 

cichlid seeker

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Re: Freshwater fish stores in the Twin Cities

sirdarksol said:
cichlid seeker said:
How about the World OF Fish it is a very good store and they take care of there animals.
Where is World of Fish??????? I have been told to go there, that they care for their fish, but I've had problems finding them. It seems that every time I go to dexonline.com, I get a different list of pet stores, but WoF is never on it.
u can go to there website www.Worldoffish.com and they have directions on there.
 
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sirdarksol

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Re: Freshwater fish stores in the Twin Cities

Thanks. I actually happened to run across it today, totally by accident.
Here we go:
World of Fish
The first two things that you notice when you enter the store are the walls and walls of tanks and the fact that the water in these tanks is extremely clear. Each tank has several different types of fish in it. This is where problems come in. Almost all of the tanks are overstocked, and the stress on the fish shows. Most tanks have at least one dead fish. I cannot comprehend how the water in the tanks is so clear when there are so many dead fish (more than a few well into decomposition). I'm presuming that they use chemicals to keep the water clear and free of algae. They do have real plants in most of the tanks, helping to mitigate the huge bioload in the tanks. While they don't have dozens upon dozens of bettas, they are kept in tiny little bowls. Worse, one betta was being kept in this monstrosity that looked like an upright donut, with barely enough room for him to turn around in, and only a 2" wide area at the top for it to breath. The bettas did look fairly healthy, so I'm guessing they do water changes very regularly, but they also dye the water that the bettas are kept in.
The biggest plus of the store is the wide range, not only of fish, but also of foods and tank equipment. This place actually carries Bio-Spira. They have dozens of species of fish that I haven't seen in any other stores. I even saw a few that I've not even seen on Drs Foster and Smith.
The biggest downside of the store is what I mentioned above, the fish are not given the greatest of care. It's not the worst I've seen. It certainly isn't Petco. But it's also not A Wet Pet.
 

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Sounds dodgy, that clear water yet decomposing fish.

That doughnut thing makes me so mad!
 
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sirdarksol

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Wet World in Eagan, MN

This place has its ups and downs.
Bettas are kept in community tanks, but the staff isn't very picky about what they put the bettas in with. Some of the little guys looked pretty rough.

They have two pacu (one full grown, the other about half grown) in a tank that's nowhere near big enough. I just don't think that fish stores should keep pacu in stock, at all.

The fish tanks are pretty clean, but some of the fish look like they're in rough shape. The aquariums are cared for, but I don't think the employees keep an eye out for specific problems with individual fish.

They have an interesting variety, including a bit of live rock and a bit of coral.

One of the regular employees is really nice. Another one is helpful, but is a bit of a know-it-all. He argued with me about my preferred choices in aquarium supply brands, basically suggesting that I wasn't very bright for liking the brands that have worked very well for me.
 
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