What questions should I ask in order to check/see if an LFS store is good??

BettasAreSuperior
Member
Hi guys, sorry if the title is confusing but lemme explain. So, I need to get some fish (as usual, lol) and I am going to go visit a new LFS I have never been to before. What questions should I ask them to see if their store is good? Ex: do you cycle your tanks? etc.

Thanks in advance!
 
Mandy627
Member
BettasAreSuperior said:
Hi guys, sorry if the title is confusing but lemme explain. So, I need to get some fish (as usual, lol) and I am going to go visit a new LFS I have never been to before. What questions should I ask them to see if their store is good? Ex: do you cycle your tanks? etc.

Thanks in advance!
You will be able to tell by quality of fish and tanks. You can ask what their tank parameters are, and if they have no idea they probably dont know much about what's going on in store. Check and see if the right species are together in tanks to be sold, check for dead fish (one or two is not a worry, when all tanks have a dead fish that's a bad sign). Are the fish in store acting the way that species should be acting? Do they look well fed and colorful? Do you see shredded fins? There is alot that goes into finding good fish keepers to buy from, but use your instinct!
 
SouthAmericanCichlids
Member
Are there dead bodies? How do they keep their Bettas, how clean are the tanks in general. Ask how/if they qt. Do they plant their tanks for the fish? Do they try to sell you useless products? See how experienced they are? This can help but isn't deciding, do the workers keep their own fish tanks.
 
Flyfisha
Member
A good fish store may still have very dirty looking sponge filters. It may even have algae on the glass and ornaments. Quote .” A dirty filter is a working filter “ A big fat cat that is feed a lot of dead fish is a bad sign. Old dirty glass that is white with calcium is not a bad sign.A dead fish is not a bad sign. Half a dead fish that is just a skeleton a few days old is a bad sign.
.A good fish store will have someone asking to help not someone playing video games at the counter.

Walk in with a torch/ flashlight if you want to have a good look at the fish .

All shops have good and bad days.
Don’t be to quick to judge.
 
ferg42995
Member
I heard an employee at my favorite LFS once asking a customer the size of his tank and what he had in it. After the customer answered, the LFS employee said "I can't sell you this fish. It won't work with your tank." That gave me confidence they aren't just after a sale but actually care as well and have knowledge.
 
fishbreeeder
Member
Ask how small of a tank does a betta need...
 
Dippiedee
Member
ferg42995 said:
I heard an employee at my favorite LFS once asking a customer the size of his tank and what he had in it. After the customer answered, the LFS employee said "I can't sell you this fish. It won't work with your tank." That gave me confidence they aren't just after a sale but actually care as well and have knowledge.
My local maidenhead has you fill out a stock request form when you want to buy fish. You have to write how big the tank is, how long its been running and what the current stocking is. If the fish you want to buy is not compatible they refuse service.

I think this approach is good. Maybe ask a test question eg. Ask if you could get a fish very obviously incompatible with your stock or too big for your tank and see what they say?

How they keep their bettas seem to be a good indication in the US
 
MacZ
Member
Since almost everyone here has seemingly not gotten that the question was, what to ask the employees and not what to look for, here some questions and conversational tricks and tipps.

Don't ask if they cycle their tanks. Rather ask them what to do when you want to do a fishless cycle or a fish-in cycle. If you get asked in return what that is, get out of there. If you get an answer like "I rather do fishless/fish-in..." and a longer explanation you're at a good place.

Other things:
If you ask "I have (insert stocking that would obviously be a bad mistake) in a (insert too small tank size, and stay realistic!), what can I add?" and the proposals are either making that theoretical tank a fishsoup or a potential bloodbath: Leave.

"How many angelfish in a 20 gallon?" - valid answer: "None."

"How many tetras in a school?" - valid answer: any number higher than 6.

"How big does a common pleco get?" - valid answers: "30cm+" or "How big is your tank? If it's unter 200 gallon don't buy that fish."
(I find this one especially telling: Some stores still have policies where employees are sadly still told to sell to any customer, as long as they pay.)

But I think you get the gist of what I want to say: Ask the same questions we see here all day every day.
 
veggieshark
Member
I don't think there is a magic question that will reveal if it is a good store or not. We have to pay attention to a lot of things to determine it for ourselves. It may take time. Visit the store several weeks in a row and observe what changes and how? Are the fish you liked a week ago still doing well? Listen to the conversations. What kind of people come to the store, what they ask, buy, or discuss and what the store owner tells them. Are there always the same people as employees, or is there a different person every time you go there. Is there someone you can identify as store owner, and do they interact with you in a friendly and informative way? What is the variety in stock (all usual farm stuff that are popular among beginners, or do they have something they breed or get from local breeders). Do they keep hard to maintain species in good shape? Do they have DIY solutions (may show they are involved in the hobby and experienced)?

Do they have dead fish? Worse is sick fish. Are they selling obviously sick fish? One other thing that may be useful (not necessarily tells good or bad about the store). are they using individually maintained tanks or a central system? (A tank may have good looking fish but it may be sharing water with a sick tank.) Are they paying attention to what is going in several tanks. Some dip the same net in several tanks, some take fish from one tanks water from another. Maybe not too important but it personally drives me crazy when they blow in the net to see a fish or grab one between fingers to get it out of the net, or squeeze them between glass and the net when catching.
 
MacZ
Member
veggieshark said:
I don't think there is a magic question that will reveal if it is a good store or not. We have to pay attention to a lot of things to determine it for ourselves.
Agree, there is no magical question to determine if a store is good. But there are questions that can help determine if it's bad quicker. It's more like a bonus round to tip the scales ultimately.
 
NofishB4
Member
veggieshark said:
I don't think there is a magic question that will reveal if it is a good store or not. We have to pay attention to a lot of things to determine it for ourselves. It may take time. Visit the store several weeks in a row and observe what changes and how? Are the fish you liked a week ago still doing well? Listen to the conversations. What kind of people come to the store, what they ask, buy, or discuss and what the store owner tells them. Are there always the same people as employees, or is there a different person every time you go there. Is there someone you can identify as store owner, and do they interact with you in a friendly and informative way? What is the variety in stock (all usual farm stuff that are popular among beginners, or do they have something they breed or get from local breeders). Do they keep hard to maintain species in good shape? Do they have DIY solutions (may show they are involved in the hobby and experienced)?

Do they have dead fish? Worse is sick fish. Are they selling obviously sick fish? One other thing that may be useful (not necessarily tells good or bad about the store). are they using individually maintained tanks or a central system? (A tank may have good looking fish but it may be sharing water with a sick tank.) Are they paying attention to what is going in several tanks. Some dip the same net in several tanks, some take fish from one tanks water from another. Maybe not too important but it personally drives me crazy when they blow in the net to see a fish or grab one between fingers to get it out of the net, or squeeze them between glass and the net when catching.
All of this. My LFS is on FB and posts when they get shipments and what they are (often with pics). They quarantine for 2 weeks (a good question to ask) to observe and fatten fish up. Also to acclimate to our local water (another good question). Often if the fish aren't doing well they do 4 weeks of quarantine. I go in 2-3 days after the shipment and again at least once before they are available. I see how many fish made it and see how the survivors look. I've never lost a fish from them (although my guppies aren't doing so hot...decided whatever I'm doing wrong is on me...guppies are just not compatible with my tank)

Good luck!
 
Aprilbeingbasic
Member
I always ask how long the fish has been there before buying. I want to make sure some kind of quarantine process has happened. And if its a wild fish also want to know they have got the fish feeding.
 

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