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Hi All,

Moved here a couple years ago from NY. Just started back with fish keeping about 6 months ago. Here's my question:

Where are all the good fish stores at??????

So far, I've been to:

Coastal Reef - They should be shut down in my opinion. The fish stock is pitiful and I had to leave the store or start freaking out on the guy working there when I saw a poor peacock in a tank with two others that was literally being eaten alive from the tail up and the dude just shrugged his shoulders like "meh".

The Fish Room - is a nice shop but their freshwater stock is really tiny or really huge. I placed an order for a Synodontis Angelicus weeeeeeeeeekkkkks ago and still nothing. They told me they were finally getting an order of freshwater fish in today after not getting any for 3 weeks but when I got to the store late afternoon, they hadn't even started on opening the order and they said they received much less than they though they would. Sheesh.

Petco - Has continuous decent stock coming in just about every Friday but their tanks are super unimpressive with dead fish in every other tank. One of the fish experts is great because he actually raised African cichlids but the rest of them are iffy text book quoters or make-it-up-as-we-go-along kind of help. I have however, gotten some of my best fish from them so far.

Petsmart - Whole lot of nope right there. Their tanks are terrible. Their supplies are varied though.

This is all really strange to me since back home in NY, you NEVER tell people that you got your fish from Petco. It would be such a rookie move.

I finally resorted to ordering a few from Imperial Tropicals online. Anxiously awaiting their arrival now.

Geez, I didn't mean for this to be so long! Sorry!!

Where do ya'll go for fish in this town??????
 

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Your best bests are in Raleigh which is gonna be Reefkeepers and Finntastic.

If that is too far, then Live Aquaria will have the fish you want and a 14 day guarantee which alot of places are not able to offer locally.
 

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You pretty much nailed down the local fish stores in Wilmington. You had some pretty good reviews.

Not sure if you know this but fish diet. Well it consists of fish. And if the fish in question is still swimming. Breathing and eating. Well there is now reason to move to a different tank cause other fish will again eat fish. Also. Did you want them to put down the fish? Flush it ? Kill it?? Should we put down a 3 legged dog? Just asking.

Coastal is a great store if your well looking for saltwater fish and coral. They have gone a few employee changes over the last year. And that has taken a toll on the store itself.

Come back by and speak to the guys that work there. Andrew. Dillon. David. And skeet ( owner).

Not sure since you are new to the area if you have been in lately well before your first visit. But those guys are working tirelessly with making sure tanks are stable. Water parameters are good. Oh and store cleanliness.

The fish room Charles ( owner ). Just awaited the store. He is also a great guy. Since him taking ownership I heard they are getting more into cichlids. So when you went in there it may have been thru the transition stage.

Also. Being a avid fish guy in the hobby a few years now. Just cause we want a fish. Coral. Or invertebrate. And we request it from our LFS. doesn't nessecarily mean the wholesaler has them in stock. And well hate to say if the wholesaler is out of the request. Well it doesn't show up.

local fish store aren't like most stores. They are bound by the market. And what available to them at the time of ordering. Sometimes they get lucky. And sometimes it takes time.

It's not like you said to yourself. " hey I want a boxer ". And well go down to pets mart and buy a boxer. Do you give bad reviews if we could get the boxer?

Or if you went to Walmart to buy a movie. And they were out of that movie. Does that get a bad review also?

Market always meets demand. And those local fish guy would love to have everything when a customer wants it. But that just can't happen.

As with anything in life. Patience.

I hope this finds you well and I hope my opinion made sense.

Please support your local fish stores. Cause if these guys go out of business. Well petco. Pet smart or long drives are in the future.

Btw. I was the " dude " in the store that day. You came in walked around mentioned the fish. I understood what you were saying. Then you were gone. However. Behind the scenes I was fighting a loosing battle with trying to top off all our tanks in the system. Making saltwater for other customers to purchase.

If you would have stuck around for a few seconds longer I would have loved to talk to you more. And possibly given you great deals on the remaining cichlids we have left in the store. As we are currently taking down the freshwater and cichlids area cause it doesn't get the attention it needs currently.

Thank you again And please come back and see me. I will be there all next week open to close. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday.
 

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Hiya Company 101 Dude,

I have to say thank you for your response. I've been a bit humbled by your thorough explanation. I do still stand by many of my original thoughts but I'd like to explain myself and reply if I may. :)

I am well aware that fish die. Really, I do know that. I've never faulted a store for having a few dead fish here and there. I know that some fish may not fare well in shipping. I know some tank mates may unexpectedly take a life. I get that. I guess I should have been more clear.
As a customer, I am not a big fan of walking into a store and seeing multitudes of dead fish. It makes me immediately uneasy about my purchasing from there. I find that to be a huge time/task management issue on the store's part. I know staff get busy and have tons of things to do but it doesn't mean there shouldn't be a task that is a part of routine maintenance that focuses on taking time several times a day to run a check on each tank and remove any dead fish. I really only want to see dead fish at my grocery store. Again, the errant dead fish isn't a giant deal.

I talked to the guy I like at Petco and he helped me understand a bit about how life has gone at Coastal Reef so I DO have a better grasp about the transition that ya'll have been going through. I know it hasn't been easy. You say you are removing the freshwater fish and I understand if that doesn't work for your store. Ok, so you totally get a pass on having sparse cichlid/freshwater tanks. Makes sense. I'm sorry to see that happening because I WOULD rather give my money to a local store rather than a big chain.
Buuuuuuttt, again, as a customer, I do NOT want to walk into a store and see some poor fish struggling just to swim in the tank with it's entire tail chewed off. My tree-hugging widdle heart just broke for him. I KNOW that sounds silly but it did. I'd much rather you take him out of there and euthanize him IF he can't come back from it. It was kind of a terrible impression for me. BUT I also didn't wait to talk to you about it. I DON'T know if maybe that was the tank he was put into in order to rehab him after he'd been in another tank that caused the problem. That is definitely MY bad to jump to that conclusion. I will say I had a goldfish once that got some weird pop-eye disease and his eyes swelled unnaturally and blinded him. My mother told me to flush him and I refused, he lived happily for many years even after. So I get your point. Besides, who doesn't love a 3 legged dog?!
I DID come in there once before, 3 or 4 months ago and I will say that the place was much messier. You all have obviously made improvements. And you were cleaning as I came in so I definitely see a difference from my first trip there.
I don't see myself being cool enough for a salt tank at this point. All those filters and sub tanks and lines and tubes baffle me frankly. Maybe one day. But for now I'm still just so thrilled to have freshwater fish that come from other parts of the world that are beautiful as compared to the sunnies and blue gills and suckers that are prevalent where I come from, lol.
As for Charles at the Fish Room, I HAVE spoken to him. I really like him and the other staff. They're all super friendly and seem knowledgable. I've been there many times. I've bought a few fish for a community tank I have from them as well as a couple of cichlids. They even took a cichlid back when I realized it wasn't the right mix for my tank. No questions asked. I LIKE their store. Their only real drawback for me is that the stock they carry seems to go from small to big with not a lot of in-between. Or so it would seem. And of course they also have a slight bit more of a focus on salt. I guess impatience prompted my remark on my previous post about not getting the cat I ordered. I know it takes time.
I guess I'm just feeling frustration over not having as much freshwater availability in a city this big. I KNOW it's cool to have a salt tank especially when living so close to the ocean but back home in NY salt tanks are reserved for big business and those with big money to spend, like my brothers. I'm really only at a freshwater fish budget and I exceed that sometimes. Ok, most of the time.
I stand by my assessment of Petco though. Their staff are friendly and helpful (especially the one guy I mentioned, he's really great. Smart, practical, helpful)even though there are a few that need to get away from text book quotes and talk to me. They need to work on the dead fish issue especially when there are several people scheduled at one time. But again, it's Petco and no offense to Petco folks but I'd rather buy local/small business.
So anyway, that's my long drawn out clarification. I really appreciate that you took the time to explain your stance on my "assessment" and I REALLY appreciate that you didn't just yell at me for not staying in the store to talk to you. ;-) I'm really sad to hear that the only other small store I know of in this town is saying goodbye to freshwater because that leaves the public with only one option other than the big box stores. As far as your freshwater stock goes, I'm not sure what you have left or if they'd be suitable for my tank but that's a different conversation.
Thanks again.
 

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BTW, I swear, next time, one word responses. That's it. I seem to not know when to stop talking, lol.
 
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