Is Anyone Having Long Term Success With Petsmart Fish. Question 

Kathryn Crook

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I was just in my “local” Petsmart and I was impressed with how clean the tanks were and the fish were stunning. Even their salt water section was amazing. Beautiful fish and saltwater shrimp and corals. If I were to buy any fish, I wouldnt have any qualms about buying from them. They sure looked better then the Petco down the road.
 

rjacks

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No issues with PetsMart or PetCo fish.

As stated previously, tank conditions and fish appearance will tell you a lot.
I have had more issues with a local chain than big box.
Do your research before you go in as well. Many big box stores will put any average Joe who can drop a "vacation feeder" into a tank and use a gravel vac in their aquatic Dept.
For every 1 knowledgeable aquatic rep in a big box store you will find 10 who have no clue.

I will say, PetsMart has had some killer deals on buy online-pickup in store items. Especially things like bottles of prime, stress coat, or even TSS+.
 

St3v3

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Annie59 said:
I buy fish from them. No problems, I only get fish from ANY pet store if they at least look healthy. If they look sick or the tanks not up to par I won't get them that day. But sure I've gotten fish from them with good results as from most of the other pet stores.
Same I once bought a gold gourami from there that lasted me a couple years then I returned him because I want to start a small fish tank with shrimp
 

Erupto35

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nikm128 said:
They have at least an hour worth of oxygen in the bags, no need to worry about a little extra time
Ahh I didn't know! Thanks!
 

yinoma2001

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Really take advantage of the stores' return policy. We bought a small school of zebra danios and they were just terrorizing everyone so we returned them. No questions, just a refund. Don't be afraid to return stuff.
 

MamaLlama76

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Heathen said:
Guppies have a disease much like neon tetra that has no real signs where they just drop off. Some live on, some don't. I wouldn't feel too bad over it, though it does suck to lose a fish no matter what.

There is nothing inherently wrong with getting fish from big chain stores, some are quite good.. some not so great. The workers there don't go through professional training but there is some good folk out there in the trade trying to make a difference. Mom and pop stores are hit and miss, this is why it is so important for us to support one another and help in research. Rather than say "Here let me google that for you", we give help because people go to other people that have that experience to pick at that knowledge.

It's important to QT anything. Plants, guppy, feeder, betta, only fish, 104th fish, snail, shrimp, etc.

What I mainly look for in fish when buying:
-fin conformation
-fin condition
-body condition
-overall appearance/health
-if the fish is eating
-OTHER tank mates if they look sickly

Of course, I keep in mind where it will go after QT if it's compatible, and all that good stuff.
 

Deku-Cory

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Crispii said:
Would you support a German chain pet store?
I’ve heard care standards for fish in Germany are quite good, so it would depend on who they’re getting their fish from. If they get them from good suppliers than yes, I would buy from them. But I’m American so I doubt I’ll ever find out firsthand.
 

MamaLlama76

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A lot of times the live bearing species get a "disease" called "live bearer disease". It's not actually a "disease" , but a metabolic problem created by born and raised in heavily mineralized brackish water (seawater mixed with a little bit of freshwater) usually in the far east and then being imported to QT facilities in the States that try their best to start converting them to freshwater...the salt and minerals are lacking usually in big box pet stores that run everything on 1 or 2 big systems (because some other fish, Amazon species in particular like softer neutral pH to acidic water, while others like guppies and African cichlids like very hard and higher pH.) So the big box stores tend to run their water systems in a fairly neutral balance trying to maintain water that will suit most fish.

If bring a live bearer home, try adding a handful or two crushed coral to the gravel (depending tank size) or some rinsed and crushed egg shells inside a hang on back or internal filter if you are running one of those (or put them in an old nylon sock/pantyhose, and tie in a knot and hide behind plants.) This will add some calcium and other minerals to buffer the water closer to what live bearing fish prefer. Remember that the females in particular need to take in this calcium from the water and their food ,as well as other minerals to create and grow all those little fry (even as newborns they are still bony fishes and mama gives them her calcium to grow in gestation like any mammal would... only baby fish aren't breastfed after birth like a puppy or kitten or people, they are independent of their parents at birth and often preyed upon by their own mom or dad.)
That said, a lot of times that big beautiful guppy or molly you bought in a fish was middle aged to elderly already when you got it and you lost it a few months later because it was just old and you didn't realize that was the case. Most live bearers only live 1-3 years (average of 18 months is normal) depending on the temperature they are kept in and how they are fed. It's rare that they reach 3 years old, so if you were expecting a lifespan. So, when making this type of purchase, look for obviously young, slightly immature fish (even if they aren't as pretty yet), as they will live longer and younger fish often adapt better to the home aquarium environment. It takes a few generations, but you can breed them to handle less and less dissolved minerals in their water and cooler temperature (back to the "guppy" your older family members remember from the 1950's-1980's, which were pretty tough and didn't die if somebody sneezed in the same room as the fish tank...slight exaggeration, but not much. I was out of the aquarium hobby for about 20 years and I was shocked at how fragile guppies and other live bearer species had become.)

Where you get fish is up to you and what is available to you in your area. (If the only place available in a reasonable distance is a PetSmart...and I would include Walmart here if they weren't in the process of getting rid of the live fish nationwide...and hey, if the fish that remain are healthy or at least treatable...why not rescue a few of the stragglers that haven found homes yet from your Walmart, you'll give them better care...don't feel totally shamed out of having fish.) Wherever you go, try to find a truly knowledgeable employee to discuss your choices with and answer any questions you have.

Sometimes that will be a 60 year old small fish store owner who's done it all and seen it all. Other times it might actually be an older teen or college student who's been geeking out on fish since he or she was a young fry (like me, I got my first aquarium at the age of 10 and kept fish all through high school and college and was breeding my own fish and selling them back to fish stores at 12-13. In college I got hired on at PetSmart (it was a new concept back then and they used to be very focused on employee education back then believe it or not) mainly for my already deep knowledge of fish...seriously, I tested out of their basic fish employee test in under a week and this was during a new store set up. I worked through all of the more advance tests in short order and started in on the aquatic plant and birds manuals as well, then moved on to dog training...though I continued to work as an expert in the fish department until I met my husband and moved away to a very rural area (there it was a 50 mile drive to a Walmart that was so small they didn't even have fish. I didn't have fish for quite a while, through several moves for hubby's job.)

As much as people "poo-poo" chain stores (whether that is just a pet store type or one that sell "everything" like a Walmart), the positives or negatives mainly boil down to employee attitudes and employer encouragement for the employees to learn their craft well. The whole "slacker" culture that seems to have pervaded all workplaces in general, seems to have negatively effected everything from your local fast food joint and grocery store to pet stores (all types), clothing stores and whatever other customer service based business you can think of. I have brothers/nieces and nephews in the 16-30 years or so range still (I am 43 and my hubby is 49) and I definitely notice that most of their peers have a very lazy work ethic and a "I could give a flying cow patty" attitude toward customers and the business that pays their paychecks. Hubby (he has a master's degree in ruminant nutrition) manages a feed mill that makes feed for animals, and he struggles to find decent employees even though his company pays hourly employees far better than it's salaried management employees (meanwhile, he had to take $$ out of his 401k to payoff the student loans we've been paying on for almost 20 years and he works 60-80 hours a week w/o overtime pay. And he's on call 24/7/365 to deal with equipment issues, sick employees and the jerks who call in sick, when they are actually calling in hung-over or whatever. My family struggles with basics more than I like (I suppose that keeps us humble, but I'm aggravated that I pay for their kids schooling in public schools only to have the schools graduate them to become lazy bums AND I have to pay for all of my kids school books/curriculum, work my butt of educating them, while I run a farm, keep house, parent AND raise service dogs for disable children and disabled military people,) while people who work for him have brand new cars, new tractors, motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles etc. etc. and complain about "unfair" their employers are.) Somewhere along the line people in general have gotten to the point of thinking that they shouldn't have to put much effort into the job they do for their employer and sadly many employers have rolled over and taken the bad attitudes, just to keep the doors open and that is starting to backfire on those businesses.
 

windrunner9189

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MamaLlama76 said:
A lot of times the live bearing species get a "disease" called "live bearer disease". It's not actually a "disease" , but a metabolic problem created by born and raised in heavily mineralized brackish water (seawater mixed with a little bit of freshwater) usually in the far east and then being imported to QT facilities in the States that try their best to start converting them to freshwater...the salt and minerals are lacking usually in big box pet stores that run everything on 1 or 2 big systems (because some other fish, Amazon species in particular like softer neutral pH to acidic water, while others like guppies and African cichlids like very hard and higher pH.) So the big box stores tend to run their water systems in a fairly neutral balance trying to maintain water that will suit most fish.

If bring a live bearer home, try adding a handful or two crushed coral to the gravel (depending tank size) or some rinsed and crushed egg shells inside a hang on back or internal filter if you are running one of those (or put them in an old nylon sock/pantyhose, and tie in a knot and hide behind plants.) This will add some calcium and other minerals to buffer the water closer to what live bearing fish prefer. Remember that the females in particular need to take in this calcium from the water and their food ,as well as other minerals to create and grow all those little fry (even as newborns they are still bony fishes and mama gives them her calcium to grow in gestation like any mammal would... only baby fish aren't breastfed after birth like a puppy or kitten or people, they are independent of their parents at birth and often preyed upon by their own mom or dad.)
That said, a lot of times that big beautiful guppy or molly you bought in a fish was middle aged to elderly already when you got it and you lost it a few months later because it was just old and you didn't realize that was the case. Most live bearers only live 1-3 years (average of 18 months is normal) depending on the temperature they are kept in and how they are fed. It's rare that they reach 3 years old, so if you were expecting a lifespan. So, when making this type of purchase, look for obviously young, slightly immature fish (even if they aren't as pretty yet), as they will live longer and younger fish often adapt better to the home aquarium environment. It takes a few generations, but you can breed them to handle less and less dissolved minerals in their water and cooler temperature (back to the "guppy" your older family members remember from the 1950's-1980's, which were pretty tough and didn't die if somebody sneezed in the same room as the fish tank...slight exaggeration, but not much. I was out of the aquarium hobby for about 20 years and I was shocked at how fragile guppies and other live bearer species had become.)
that makes sense. my my water is naturally very basic and alkaline, so i don't really need to add anything. he was at 78-80 degrees, and overfed at one point. his feedings were drastically cut down later.
 

Comet-Aurum

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almost ALL of my fish come from petsmart. Never had a problem and have bought plecos, Cory cats, zebra danios, and guppies from petsmart and they have been with me for the past 2 1/2 years. But don't do petco. All the fish I buy from petco die in a week or less.
 

nikm128

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Comet-Aurum said:
almost ALL of my fish come from petsmart. Never had a problem and have bought plecos, Cory cats, zebra danios, and guppies from petsmart and they have been with me for the past 2 1/2 years. But don't do petco. All the fish I buy from petco die in a week or less.
And that's exactly why everyone has to find out for themselves, mine are the exact opposite of that. Why? every single location for each store is different!
 

JKC18

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Wrenne said:
I'm trying to figure out why I've had 2 fish end up with dropsy. They occurred almost 5 months apart. I have some ideas of what could have cause this and I really don't want to talk about it because it's really upsetting. What I wanted to know is if other people are having simular issues.
For me it is hit or miss. Recently 4/5 otocinclus from PetSmart died. Turns out, they dont quarantine. A couple days later, I saw an employee adding stock to the tanks. I asked when the fish came in. She replied that the fish came in thst morning... meaning no time between receiving fish and putting them in quarantine, just right out for sale.
So I shifted to a local fish store - until I realized that they didnt quarantine either. I bought 10 ember tetras that came with a nasty case of ick that showed up tge next morning. I called and asked when they came in - they came in the day before.
So it seems less of a "big box pet store" than it is quality of business practice.
 

SFGiantsGuy

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My Petco's actually really surprisingly good. Only ever saw one dead fish and no tanks with any lights off. And the main fish guy there is actually really good, and breeds shimp from stock froom FLipAquatics.com. Their weekly Betta shipment almost always sells out the very next day. I got my solid white Betta from there a few weeks ago...he's got fin rot now and am treating him in a hopsital tank, but seems just fine and in good spirits regardless. And as far as their live plants go, I've only ever purchased A. Swords there, that looked in pretty good health really...got some Amanos as well from Petco. Weirdest thing I've ever witnessed was, a lady's dog was licking the freakin aquarium glass because it had tank water on it because he was thirsty! lol Oh, and some of their Rainbow's aren't all that bad either. Some of the Turquoise ones looked pretty good and healthy...
 

SuzanaBanana

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SFGiantsGuy said:
My Petco's actually really surprisingly good. Only ever saw one dead fish and no tanks with any lights off. And the main fish guy there is actually really good, and breeds shimp from stock froom FLipAquatics.com. Their weekly Betta shipment almost always sells out the very next day. I got my solid white Betta from there a few weeks ago...he's got fin rot now and am treating him in a hopsital tank, but seems just fine and in good spirits regardless. And as far as their live plants go, I've only ever purchased A. Swords there, that looked in pretty good health really...got some Amanos as well from Petco. Weirdest thing I've ever witnessed was, a lady's dog was licking the freakin aquarium glass because it had tank water on it because he was thirsty! lol Oh, and some of their Rainbow's aren't all that bad either. Some of the Turquoise ones looked pretty good and healthy...
At our local petsmart we had a great fish guy too, had tanks, really knew his stuff. He really helped us alot in the beginning stages of our hobby. He had to get back surgery but hasnt come back.

You’re lucky to have that guy!
 

purslanegarden

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Check out this link to Segrest Farms website and you can type in your zip code then use drop down box and put the largest mile radius. They are one of the largest distributors in the U.S.

That linked page will show you any store that Segrest sells to.
Nice link. Like you said, there are many more local stores that also get products from there in my general area, not just chain stores.
 

Joyceheatherington

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Our Petsmart is all the way across town. Bjt there tanks looked good and clean. We love closer to a Petco and a Premium Aquarium shop. Petsmart I wouldn't want to risk buying from there because there about 30 minutes away. Other two stores are 5 to 10 minutes away closer thankfully!
 

LuckyGourami

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It definitely depends on the individual store. I used to work at Petco. For a while, we had a good aquatics specialist who did her job well, and the tanks and fish were always in good condition. Now, they have a new guy who has no idea what he's doing. I went by there the other day. Half the tanks were dirty, and the other half were in quarantine. If your store is run by good people and the tanks are clean, the fish are more likely to be healthy.
 

Heathen

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This is why it is rather important to have your own QT system... Never expect a chain store to have one. We are lucky sometimes to even get a break room or a spot in the back stocking area where we can set a table up. Corporate just does not allow space for tanks in the sick rooms, which are primarily for mammals/reptiles/birds. Sometimes we can medicate an entire sump system/rack but that's not even QT. PetCo allowed me to place signs on tanks to not sell sick fish but that's about it. Doesn't matter where you get them, always QT everything.
 
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