LFS vs. PetSmart

mrsmuffin
  • #1
I have a question (obviously!) What are your opinions about shopping at a true fish store versus a PetSmart (or similar) store? Our local fish store closed down a few weeks ago and the closest one to us now is about 20 minutes away. I was just curious what everyones opinions were.
 
FL CommunityFans
  • #2
Not my favorite thing to do, but for equipment they generally have lower prices as the mom-n-pop stores try to keep prices closer to MSRp so they can make that extra dollar. When you're talking a 30-50$ difference though, sometimes you just gotta go with what is cheaper! As for fish, There is no LFS in town small or corporate that I've been to, where I haven't seen 1 dead fish. With that said, I feel more comfortable buying fish at a mom-n-pop as they do tend to at least know their stuff where as Petsmart (and such) have no clue.
 
Dino
  • #3
Our locals are over an hour away.
If the store is decent, I always choose a mom and pop.
Is not having the person you are talking with, having a clue worth a few cents/dollars more?
I think it is.
 
viking47
  • #4
I prefer to give my money to a LFS but recently I have had a few fish die within days of purchase, where as the fish (same species) I bought from Petsmart are thriving. Right now, I currently prefer to buy from Petsmart as their fish seem a little heartier. Although they do not have the variety of the LFS.

One other thing I noticed is not all Petsmart are equal. There are 3 stores in my area and two of them I would never consider purchasing a fish from them. Dirty tanks, very little variety of fish, plants are dead, dead fish floating. It all depends on the local management. Same with Petco and Petland.
 
Blub
  • #5
Hi!

I have never set foot in a chain fish store - I obviously prefer my LFS!

 
Tio
  • #6
I have a big als along with wally mart and petsmart.big als is the only place that had knowledgable staff if any staff at wally world never seen anyone in the area.for equipment and filter material and stuff they are cheaper but their selection of fish is very limited same as petsmart:
 
Tavel
  • #7
I don't have a LFS, the only one specializes in salt water and has hopeless few freshwater fish. On the flip side, the big chains have a good selection with pretty decent fish. I guess little stores just can't survive around here.

Given that, I prefer Aquatic Adventure/Petland over Petsmart for FISH. they operate on the LFS model, they buy from local breeders and keep the tanks as if they were in their own homes.

For equipment, its petsmart because it's cheaper and faster. It's like right down the street. Petland is about 25 minutes away.

(actually, some of those breeders are the guys bagging your fish! Talk about knowledge, those guys talk your ears off)
 
ninilie
  • #8
I like the Petsmart close to my house. One of the guys in the fish section actually keeps fish. He always refers me to other LFS's for things its funny. I bet Petsmart would be mad if they knew. My LFS's always seem to have a small number of guppies and they don't look very nice. They are into cichlids and saltwater mostly. But hopefully I will not have to go to a pet store or LFS for anymore guppies. They will most likely be selling my extra fish. Guppies are a breeding machine.
 
King_Snuggles
  • #9
a chain only for equipment. I have a great LFS near me though it is a little drive but I'm getting everything else from them , fish plants driftwood food. they don't sell the other stuff though.
 
mrsmuffin
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Thanks for all of the input! The fish that I have in my 5 gal all came from PetSmart, but I am about to go larger so I figured that it was time to venture out. Besides, my brother harasses me all of the time because I have been buying fish at PetSmart...he is very much a believer in the LFS. I will have to check out the one that I have found before I make my next fish purchase. I do know that they have been around for a few years, so that has to be a good sign.
 
KittieKat
  • #11
the way I see it... u can't judge a store by its name. there are quite a few petsmarts and petcos around me and no.. not all of them are the same. some are really nasty as others are wonderful with great associates. same goes for the LFSs, some are great where as others are horrible. if you check out all the surrounding stores, the best thing to do is go by how u feel about the store rather than another people's experience with stores in different states and countries.
 
Angela_96
  • #12
I actually bought an african cichlid from the petsmart in our area and I put it in the q tank of ours and kept it there for a week and saw there was no signs of sickness once that was over I put it in my 55g.. its healthy as all my others! So honestly I can't complain about our petsmarts cichlids. Now I do buy a lot of equipment from them because they are cheaper than the lfs that we have, the last 2 big tanks that we bought came from them and I am more than happy with them.

When it comes to chemicals though I do buy from the lfs that I buy most of our fish from because they actually make their own form of amaquel (sp) and it has worked wonders in my tanks for the chemistry, it don't lower the ph like the stress coat/stres zyme stuff does. I also get more personalized service from them.

It just depends on what I am shopping for at the time if I will buy it from petsmart or the lfs. However the lfs I shop at isn't like most other lfs's its pretty big and they even have their own online store. (they aren't a chain though its still a mom and pops place). I only bought the one african cichlid because we were really wanting that specific species and it was the only place we could find it and the q tank was empty that day. They surpisingly have very clean tanks for a chain store. I wouldn't buy fish from them though that I could not quarintine for a while though, the ones I buy from the lfs the store quarintines when they get the shipment in for 2 weeks automaticly before they will even consider selling the fish, so I will go ahead and put them with my other fish, they are the only ones who carry my 100 percent trust like that, and if I have questions they actually have very informed employes who will spend a lot of time with you, unlike petsmart who don't really have the time or the training for the employees with the fish.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #13
To me, it depends on the local fish store. I don't have one that I really like here, so I order most things online.
 
mrsmuffin
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Well, I went to the fish store that I had found last week today at lunch because I needed a few things to set up my new tank that I had not been able to find at PetSmart. I am not ready to buy any more fish, but the guy working there was more than happy to answer all of my questions without making me feel stupid. (A BIG plus in my book!) The last person that I tried to talk to at PetSmart didn't even own a fish tank...
 
Halibut
  • #15
I like petsmart for equipment, and I have 2 LFS is Portland that has a good selection and good advice, then a small pet store downt he road in Newberg in which I have gotten almost all of my fish so far, their knowledge isn't the best but it generally is close to right. The only knowledge complaint I have on them is whent he kid told me you couldnt school the different colors of tiger barbs together which I proved wrong yesterday when I added to green's to go along with my 6 regulars. When I go back to get my yoyo loach I'll get the 3rd green but didnt want to add to much yesterday, I have 6 ea cherry barb and zebra danio that will be going to a new home next week so they don't get murdered by the rest of the tank.
 
Austin {Aquarist}
  • #16
LFS vs.... PETSMART

LFS

PROS: staff are VERY knowledgeable, personalized tank setups with creativity, great selection of rare and exotic freshwater and Marine species, and a great selection of Freshwater Plants and beautiful coral!

CONS: High prices, fish not always healthy, Tanks not always properly maintained, and understaffed.


PETSMART

PROS: Healthy fish, reasonable prices, well maintained tanks, always stocked with basic items.

CONS: Staff know NOTHING about commonly known products and fish species, no marine fish, no freshwater plants, and inhumane stocking rates (in my opinion)


^^^^^ this is a pros and cons list of my LFS: Fish Pros and my local Petsmart
 
KittieKat
  • #17
CONS: Staff know NOTHING about commonly known products and fish species, no marine fish, no freshwater plants, and inhumane stocking rates (in my opinion)

all mine seem to have a very nice display of plantlife... beautiful tank setup infact.. they do the whole waterfall thing.. very neat
 
Tayful
  • #18
I don't have many options here, there's just a mom and pop store about half an hour away and then there's PetSmart. The fish at PetSmart always tend to be pretty unhealthy, and PetSmart is loads more expensive, so I prefer the mom and pop. However, the mom and pop store is mostly saltwater stuff and I do run a freshwater tank... They don't have as many freshwater fish. I can never find the fish I'm looking for around here - no rams, rarely do I see any angels, and I can hardly even find cories! It's a little depressing.

EDIT: Oh, by the way, mom and pop don't have ANY freshwater plants (but plenty of saltwater rocks, corals, etc. but that's not what I'm looking for) and the plants at PetSmart stink.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #19
Maybe you could venture over to Dino's Fish House. Talk about incredible fish selection! drool
 
Gargoyle
  • #20
I bounce between two or 3 shops around here... I live in the second biggest city in Michigan so finding things is typically not an issue for me. There are 3 shops that I like all for different things.

If I am price shopping I buy online at DFS or big als. Lets face it if you want a bargain it's on the net.
 
FL CommunityFans
  • #21
I bounce between two or 3 shops around here... I live in the second biggest city in Michigan so finding things is typically not an issue for me. There are 3 shops that I like all for different things.

If I am price shopping I buy online at DFS or big als. Lets face it if you want a bargain it's on the net.

No doubt. Placed an order on Big Als this past week while they had free shipping. Saved over 65$ on equipment and accessories. Filters were 20-30$ cheaper than any store, and heaters were 20-25$ cheaper than any store locally. Stealths run 30-40$ in this area for some **** reason. I bought 2 Jagers for 14$ or close to it. Price shopping is always online.

Fish from Aquabid > most stored too. Quality/ price etc
 
CatladyDane
  • #22
Regarding PetSmart associates, I have found some seem to know nothing, but two that I've encountered at the closest store really, really know fishkeeping. They both keep fish and seem familiar with species and products. The young woman who helped me when I selected my first fish even discouraged purchasing too many (not more than 3!) to start a 10g.
 
Halibut
  • #23
EDIT: Oh, by the way, mom and pop don't have ANY freshwater plants (but plenty of saltwater rocks, corals, etc. but that's not what I'm looking for) and the plants at PetSmart stink.

I went to aquarium plants for both my biospira and some plants. The overnight delivery is a bit expensive but you get garunteed live delivery that way and the plants I got were healthy nice looking plants, my wife was able to get a few more starts out of the plants so we ended up with more than we paid for.

I have seen some plants at petsmart but not many, petco however has a nice assortment.
 

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