If we don't trust the chain stores and we don't trust the LFS...

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Nancy Drew

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...who DO we trust? No really, where are we supposed to buy fish, plants, etc., if no one knows what they are talking about?

I've mentioned cycling my tank at Petco and the LFS and employees at both did this and told me to overstock my tank. I haven't talked to anyone at my local Petsmart, but I overheard an employee talking about cycling a tank to a customer, and she seemed to be on top of properly stocking the tank. Yet today there were dead fish in the tanks, just sitting there. And I can't even think about the number of dead fish at Petco. The LFS doesn't seem to have many dead fish in the tanks, though there was that giant crayfish who was devouring the goldfish in his tank.

Is there anyone "out there" who I can trust? Where am I supposed to buy my fish and plants? Where do YOU buy fish and plants?
 

Akari_32

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my chain stores here take better care of their fish, ect, then the local stores, which is pretty sad, if i do say so myself. some people order their fish and plants off the internet, like at liveaquaria, or a few other places.
 

sirdarksol

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This is a personal decision to make.
Here's what I do:
I get my information from sources other than the stores.
I then pay attention to which stores keep their fish in the best conditions. The best of the local stores is the one I go to first. If they don't have what I want, I go to the next best, and so on.

Edit: I forgot to add, I try to buy my fish from local breeders as much as I can. Sometimes this is through one of the stores, and others it is through the aquarium society.
 

Meenu

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Nancy Drew said:
...who DO we trust?
Each other?

Seriously, trust thorough research.
 

jetajockey

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I have one good local owned lfs where the guys really know their stuff. They are old school when it comes to cycling but they give good advice, only thing is that its a business, they aren't gonna talk you out of buying anything.

When it comes to knowing who to trust. Trust in your own research and don't make hasty decisions. Take care!
 
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ryanr

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Hi Nancy,
The first thing to remember is that any chain store/lfs is primarily there to make money.

That said, there are many employees who actually care, but predominantly there job is to sell the stock. More often than not, the employees/shops don't actually take the time to learn about the stock they are selling.

There will always be a battle between what's good for the fish, and what's good for the shop, which then keeps the person employed.

As for who 'I trust'. Well I always get my livestock and plants from the same little LFS. They look after me, and generally always consider the needs of the fish.

Have I seen dead fish in their tanks? Yes, I think it's inevitable that some fish will die, not necessarily from a disease ridden tank in the shop, it could have come from the breeder, stress of transport etc.

Have I had their fish die on me? Yes, again, the stresses of transport can often be too much for some fish. And often, disease may not be present in the fish at the time of purchase.

When it comes to advice, I turn to fishlore and I try to research the species before I buy it. That way, hopefully I have the best advice/research behind me.

I know it doesn't really answer your question, but I hope it helps.
 

SFwriter

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You can mail order fish from a number of places, shipping ain't cheap.

Or you can just buy at the chain stores anyway, use a quarantine tank and take the dead ones back for exchange until you get fish that stay alive. Once they're under your care for a while, they should be fine. Just stock the tank knowing you will lose some.
 

ayelie

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No matter where you get your fish and other stuff from the one thing to remember is research research research. Know what your fish should look like to be healthy. Know what you are looking for when you go into a chain store. Know what it is to do and know how to use it.

If a chain store tells you something that you are unsure about come here to the board and ask question. Somebody here will know the straight answer on what ever it is.

As to here well we have a couple locally owned stores and they seem to know their stuff, but a time or two I have got wrong answers from them too. So I check here before I decide and I read everything I can find on the subject. Trust, well trust your self with the help of this board and research.
 

ccb04

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You're currently on what I'd consider to be the best resource to educate yourself. From betta's (and most all other species fresh & salt) ... to reef tanks and corals ... live plants ... all things equipment ... and pretty much everything else inbetween.

There are of course other reliable resources as well ... such as some solid books, various sites, etc. You may even run across persons locally who know a thing or two. I even found a couple of fairly knowledgable guys at a local Petco (believe it or not).

After researching, asking questions, reading, etc... where you shop won't matter. Why? Because you'll have the confidence to make your own informed decisions vs. relying on information from sources that are unreliable such as big chain stores, etc.
 

dvc_r

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Funny you bring this up. I just came back from our monthly meeting (Aquatic Association), and we spent the most part discussing this exact topic!
Here is what most seem to think:
The trend in our hobby has been moving from the local mom & pop shops to the big chain stores. The mom & pop stores are slowly closing up shop over the last 8-10 years because they can't compete with the prices. Now the larger stores who who have control of the market and are only "money driven" not only just keep the "same-old...same-old" variety (top sellers) in their stores but have "corporate" making the decisions but have no idea how to properly keep and maintain their fish.

Here's where the problems begin; most the tanks are on one filtration system, and they insist on dumping in salts and other chemicals into the water (remember: policies from corporate) but this makes the conductivity sky rocket. I have stuck my meter into many local tanks to find out their conductivity reads between 2000-6000 µS.

Now buy a fish from that store and put it into your tank... don't forget to float the bag for 15 mins. as per the employee. Release your fish and lets see how many days it takes your fish to die. Due to osmosis, the cells in the fish's gills what to equalize so they expand and start to hemorrhage. Most the employees have no clue why but use the old excuse "PH" shock. Corporate doesn't care because you have to buy something else to change your ph (or buy whatever else they can think of). Most people give up and give up the hobby.

How many kids do you see in the hobby lately?
I'll tell you at my meeting, there where about 40-50 who attended but no one under the age of 30.
 

Kunsthure

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After researching, asking questions, reading, etc... where you shop won't matter. Why? Because you'll have the confidence to make your own informed decisions vs. relying on information from sources that are unreliable such as big chain stores, etc.
An emphatic +1 to that!

I haven't been impressed by our LFS (especially their prices--$4 for a Mickey mouse platy :shock and I have found the stock at the Petcos to be really good. I ignore everything they say and buy what I know I need. I research extensively and then I ask here to get a confirmation or contradiction of what I've read, especially when it comes to specific fish species and technical stuff like lighting. I've found a core group of members whose advice I thoroughly trust because they haven't steered me, or anyone else I've seen, wrong. That's not to say that I ignore anyone else's responses because I don't.

-Lisa
 

RayRay

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Research and experience definitely won't beat the stores' advice, but I also found it depends on the store and who's working.

I'm lucky enough to have several stores around me (one of them being a petco) and of the best two I've been to so far it's also depended on who I talked to. I went into one for the first time and the woman working there was trying to do anything to sell me a fish, even lying to me and telling me any fish in the store would be fine without a heater. The next time I went in there, there were two workers, a young girl who helped me who didn't even know what danios were and what I assume to be the owner who was rather knowledgeable when I got talking to him.
 

Tigerfishy

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I buy my fish from 2 places. The info in one is questionable, so I pretend to listen, nod. Carry out my original plan anyway and go on my happy way! The fish are kept in healthy conditions so I don't mind putting up with some dodgy info if it means the fish are not bad.
 

ariolex

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If you find a place with both, quality/healthy fish and reliable advice you are lucky. I have a LFS close by where fishies are in good shape, but, on the knowledge departments is not brilliant. So i do my part of researching before buying since i can rely on what the guy's advice.
 

SFwriter

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TedsTank

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Trust your experience and the advice of others, never ask the store questions unless you truly trust them. Only buy healthy (well kept fish in a store should have reasonably good colors) looking, active fish. Never buy from a tank with several dead fish floaing in it.... It could just from shipping stress, but also possibly disease...check closely if feel you must buy them...we've all done it.
 
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