What should I look for when checking out a new LFS?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by LiterallyHydro, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    I recently discovered there are two other LFS within a 25 mile radius of my home. I want to check them out this Saturday since they both seem to be dedicated to fish (My current source of fish is a general local pet store). What should I look for as far as quality of stock and knowledge of staff goes?

    So far I'll be looking for the obvious such as aquariums riddled with disease, dead fish etc. But I don't know what else I should look for.
  2. NympxzieValued MemberMember

    Knowledgeable staff is important. Ask them a few questions that you know the answer to. eg: what's the minimum tank size for a single fancy goldfish? How much ammonia in a tank is safe? you can get a good feel of how much they know based on that.
    Check stock, there should be no more than 2 dead fish in an entire row or column of tanks.
    Look at the behavior of the fish and maybe the colors? Pale fish might be stressed and unhealthy. A good LFS will have brightly colored happy thriving stock!
  3. elliot5445Well Known MemberMember

    I got this idea from BornThisWayBettas. Say that you have a 10 gallon tank and you need to get an algae cleaner, and ask what they recommend. If they go to snails, they know something. if They go for the plecos, you know they just want to sell you whatever you will buy! Also ask what size tank a betta should be in.
  4. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

  5. Anders247Fishlore LegendMember

    Agreed with the above posts....
  6. BDpupsWell Known MemberMember

    If you know how to check out the fish to make sure they are healthy, and you know your fish, there is not much the staff is going to help you with. I like the suggestions elliot5445 gave, but you know this stuff. What difference does it make if the staff does?
  7. elliot5445Well Known MemberMember

    Personally, I have found that storekeepers who know their job are a lot more careful with their fish. mine wont sell me fish if they are diseased, even if I don't really see anything wrong. They take better care of the fish in general as well, and I have been warned about mixing certain fish that they knew wouldn't work and I didn't. and its about giving the better store more business. I don't want my money going to a Store that will sell bettas in a half gallon tank :)

    And glad you like my suggestions :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2015
  8. BDpupsWell Known MemberMember

    I get where you guys are coming from. I just wouldn't go in looking to discredit them. Just check it out. Listen to what they tell other costumers. It's amazing what you can find out by just observing and listening.
  9. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Actually, I came into Petsmart to examine their fish, as I'm thinking I'll switch over to them. I came in with a "negative attitude", ready to point out and jump on any dead/diseased fish in the tanks. Instead, I was shocked to find that there was only one dying fish, and the employee I spoke to was very knowledgeable. So this sort of thing even happens in chain pet stores, some individual stores are better than others, I guess.
  10. LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    So I will go this saturday to three different LFS and take notes on everything I find at all three.

    I will take the advice you guys have stated and listen to how the employees interact with other customers. I'll also make sure there are less than three dead fish on any given row/aisle.

    I'm open to any other suggestions to determine the quality of the LFS, if anyone else has any to offer.
  11. BDpupsWell Known MemberMember

    Make sure it doesn't smell. Seriously. I have one near me that used to reek. They sell reptiles and birds. It smelled awful.

    They have since cleaned up their act and gotten rid of the smell. They have one of the better selections of fish around here too. I just go to look. Im still skeptical of buying from them.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  12. LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    I'll keep that in mind. My current LFS never did smell, so I never thought to check into that.
  13. ClearEyesWell Known MemberMember

    Do you have anything like Yelp in Thailand? Or are you actually located in FL? Maybe you could find some sort of online reviews from customers as well.

    I like the suggestion of playing dumb and asking basic questions, but I'm a terrible actor, so I'm not good at it.

    One thing I've done is go when it's really busy and eavesdrop on how the staff interacts with customers, especially customers who are clearly newbies. I went one Saturday afternoon, and heard a staffer tell a family, "CYCLE, CYCLE, CYCLE! It's all about the cycle! Don't do anything else until you understand the cycle!" And then he pulled out a chart or something and proceeded to give a detailed explanation. That's the LFS I've always trusted most ever since. Also, they have over 700 tanks, and I go there at least twice a week, and have seen a total of 2 dead fish ever.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
  14. Anders247Fishlore LegendMember

    Lol, he doesn't live in Thailand anymore he lives in Florida....
  15. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    If you read his bio, he was born in Thailand but now currently resides in Florida...

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  16. JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    Who reads bios on here? ;)

    I also agree that it's best to just visit the stores and observe. I wouldn't try to scam them by playing dumb. It's not good to start out a relationship by misleading someone. What if the person in question turns out to be great, and you later want to strike up a good relationship with them, and now you have to explain that you were just testing them?

    It seems like there should be no problem just asking questions you really do have, or asking about how they run things for real. If they aren't trying to rip people off, they won't have any problems with that. And take into acount that any store may have some staff who are experts, and some who are new, and just learning themselves.

    To me, it's the overall atmosphere and attitudes of the owners or managers that set the tone for the place. You'll figure that out pretty easily just by talking honestly with the people. I'd just be natural and enjoy the visits, and see if they have any equipment or fish that catch your eye.

    You'll learn a lot just by browsing and being there for a while.

    I like the ideas of scrutinizing the conditions of the fish and aquariums, and smelling the air, too.

    I'd just have fun and see what they've got, and how things look and smell. You'll get a sense of how the people are easily enough. If they're busy, you will pick up on their interactions with other customers. If they're not busy, they will likely approach you, and you'll learn a lot from the questions they ask you, and the way they answer real questions you might have.

    Also, a store can be useful even if the staff is not good. They might still have a good stock of some products you may need. :)
  17. LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    That's right! ;D

    By the way everyone, I already went ahead and checked out the LFS and made a post about it which could be found by following this link:


    I'm going to close this thread now, since the topic has run its course.