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Where to buy fish - LFS or petsmart?

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Where to buy fish - LFS or petsmart?
Old 07-21-2010, 09:35 PM   #21
 
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It's 6 of one and 1/2 dozen of the other IMO. You'll find local "mom and pop" fish stores with fantastic selection and healthy tanks only to go to the next town over and find pretty dismal conditions. The same applies to the chains. For the most part, the Petco and Petsmart where I moved from on the So. Shore in MA had decent selection, healthy tanks, and a fish "people" who had a clue of how to care for the tanks and actually cared about maintaining them.

Fast forward to the Petco and Petsmart an hour away where I moved to and the conditions are hideous. More dead fish than I could count stuck to the filter intakes and littered all over the bottom of the tank. I've gone in multiple times and have never had anyone come over to ask if I needed assistance. When I asked to have someone paged, guess who never showed up??

And the local fish "specialty" store has decent tanks and no selection worth anything.

So my advice is to take a day or two and visit the pet stores within say 25 miles of where you are, pick the best one and make that your fish purchase place. Most supplies can be bought online at a much cheaper rate or you can just grab something at the chains when needed.

Good luck.
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Old 07-21-2010, 10:26 PM   #22
 
There is a local LFS in my town that's 100% a total dump, with dyed and tattooed platys, an overall dirty presentation (i just hate walking in there) and plenty of dying fish in the tanks. A great deal of their stock are stuff most people shouldn't be keeping like Pacus and Arowanas and 'freshwater' Morays, and their accessories/etc are also overpriced quite steeply. I would buy rather from the Petco in town or the Petsmart 40 minutes away any day over this store. So there's indeed sometimes that a chain store could be better than an LFS.

But I instead buy from the Countrymax in town (a chain, but they have a huge LFS-like freshwater department of several rooms, as well as good salespeople), or a big LFS about an hour and ten minutes away that has just about -everything- and a really cool presentation and great salespeople.
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Old 07-22-2010, 08:00 AM   #23
 
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Well lemme see. First off I'm hesitant to recommend any tetra and a betta. Tetras can be nippy and a male betta's finnage is going to get nipped if your fish are nippers. Also you should really keep most tetras in groups of six or more. You just get the best presentation of them the more there are. Trust me. I love tetras almost as much as I love RTBS.

Second, the betta is not going to be happy sharing his territory with that many fish, especially that many active fish like the danios and tetras. It's very likely to stress him out. If you're going to but a betta in a community tank you're best off mixing him with calmer fish.

Ottos can be sociable, most people recommend larger groups of them, at least 3. The same with ADFs. As for bettas and ottos, mine just ignore each other. The otto is calm, quiet, and sticks to the lower half of the tank where as the betta stays mostly in the upper half. Just out of curiosity what kind of set up does your office-mate have? I've got a six gallon Eclipse in my office with my fish.

Finally, tossing in a pregnant guppy is not a good idea. There's nothing wrong with the guppy but any males she gives birth too will be in trouble with the betta around, he'll nail them for the big fins. Also, you're getting up there in the number of fish in a ten gallon tank. About as many as I'd recommend.

So what I need to know is what of those fish do you really want and we can talk about how to tweak your stocking to make it all mesh a little better.
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iamgray (07-22-2010)
Old 07-22-2010, 09:22 AM   #24
 
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+1 on Tyyrlym. Tetras need to be kept 5+. They feel threatened in numbers any less. Also, a betta's long flowing tail wil lbe too tempting for the danios, plus danios are shoaling fish that should be kept in a larger group as well. Same goes for the Otto's as stated above.

I think you need to make a choice. A betta with possibly some corys as bottom feeders if you like them (you can even add a snail if interested), OR a shoal of tetras, otto's, and maybe some bottom feeders as well. Hope this helps some!
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iamgray (07-22-2010)
Old 07-22-2010, 10:19 AM   #25
 
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Lisa and Tyyrlym, thank you for the info! I had read mixed opinions on whether or not the cardinal tetras are known for fin nipping, and had read somewhere that they are less likely to nip than neons. I would like to keep either the danios or the tetras. If I choose one over the other in order to have a group of 5-7 instead of 3, will the larger group make them less likely to nip? If I were to choose, I would likely choose the danios because I heard they are hardier, but if cardinal tetras are rather hardy as well I would keep them instead just because I think they look nicer.

I mostly want the betta because I want to have a slightly larger and showier fish along with the smaller plainer fish. Is there another fish that I just haven't found that might be able to take the place of the betta and fill that role of larger and showier? Maybe something that is showy because of nice body colouring rather than flowing fins, that wouldn't be aggravated by the high activity level? I do have some hornwort in the tank as well as a few tall-ish decorations to break up sight lines if that makes a difference.

If I can't find something to replace the betta, what would you recommend I replace the tetras and danios with? I like corys, but would like to choose something that will swim around the top/middle more. Platys? Or would they also be too active for a betta? Should I just give up on the betta? I think I would rather have a group of pretty/interesting looking shoaling fish than the betta if it comes down to a choice.

As far as the frog, that's kind of an afterthought and completely expendable in my aquarium plan. If it means a happier, healthier, less crowded aquarium, I'll forget about the frog because I was thinking of having just one, and don't want to get the recommended 3 and take up space that can be used by something I like more... if that makes sense.

(as far as the office-mate's tank set up, i think it's a 2-ish gallon bowl, with just the betta and oto, a couple bamboo shoots and a water hyacinth).
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Old 07-22-2010, 12:11 PM   #26
 
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Quote:
I would like to keep either the danios or the tetras. If I choose one over the other in order to have a group of 5-7 instead of 3, will the larger group make them less likely to nip? If I were to choose, I would likely choose the danios because I heard they are hardier, but if cardinal tetras are rather hardy as well I would keep them instead just because I think they look nicer.
Well, it's going to depend. If you lose the betta you can keep both breeds and bump up their numbers. They are all small fish with a very minimal bioload impact. One word of warning about the cardinals, they are a bit on the delicate side and a lower pH softer water than many store bought fish. I think I've heard of some commercial farms raising them but I could be wrong. Any fish that is wild caught is typically less hardy. Danios though are almost bullet proof and personally I like the long finned zebra danios. Very active and nice to look at. Personally I've got to recommend the danios.

Quote:
I mostly want the betta because I want to have a slightly larger and showier fish along with the smaller plainer fish. Is there another fish that I just haven't found that might be able to take the place of the betta and fill that role of larger and showier? Maybe something that is showy because of nice body colouring rather than flowing fins, that wouldn't be aggravated by the high activity level? I do have some hornwort in the tank as well as a few tall-ish decorations to break up sight lines if that makes a difference.
Well the problem is that in a tank your size "larger" really isn't possible. Most of the larger showier fish need significantly larger tanks to live comfortably. Don't discount the visual impact of a large group of smaller fish though. A shoal of 10 or 15 tetras or danios can make a pretty striking display.

Quote:
If I can't find something to replace the betta, what would you recommend I replace the tetras and danios with? I like corys, but would like to choose something that will swim around the top/middle more. Platys? Or would they also be too active for a betta? Should I just give up on the betta? I think I would rather have a group of pretty/interesting looking shoaling fish than the betta if it comes down to a choice.
Depends on the platy honestly. They're a bit more mellow than your tetras and danios. All of mine have been pretty docile and I've had them in the same tank as both bettas and male guppies without seeing any nipping. Some others might have other opinions but I think platys would likely do just fine with a betta. Now I would advise making sure you only get female platys, preferably from a tank with all one color variation in it. Expect them to be pregnant so get less than you think you'll want eventually and don't get as many as you got tetras or danios. Platys are larger fish. In your tank with a betta and maybe some corys I'd only get 3 or 4 to start with at most.

Quote:
As far as the frog, that's kind of an afterthought and completely expendable in my aquarium plan. If it means a happier, healthier, less crowded aquarium, I'll forget about the frog because I was thinking of having just one, and don't want to get the recommended 3 and take up space that can be used by something I like more... if that makes sense.
I'd definitely lose the frogs.

Quote:
(as far as the office-mate's tank set up, i think it's a 2-ish gallon bowl, with just the betta and oto, a couple bamboo shoots and a water hyacinth).
Ugh... sorry, I just hate hearing about fish being kept in a filter-less bowl.
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Old 07-22-2010, 12:25 PM   #27
 
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And just for reference, the difference between male and female platys:

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Old 07-22-2010, 07:02 PM   #28
 
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Ok. I think I'm going to give up on the betta because it seems to throw "too much to think about" into the mix for a beginner such as myself. What if I add, in this order:

7 x zebra danio
3 x platy
3 x oto

And see how I handle that, and possibly add 5-7 cardinal tetras at some point later on? The seemingly more knowledgable person that I spoke to at the LFS yesterday said that with shoaling fish I should keep them in odd numbers. Is that true or is it an old wives tale, and if true, what's the reason behind it?

and the advice to get female platys... is that only if there is a betta in the tank? If there's no betta, then am I fine to just get males since I don't want babies?

Am I overthinking this too much? Or is overthinking it a good thing?

Last edited by iamgray; 07-22-2010 at 07:08 PM..
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Old 07-31-2010, 12:46 PM   #29
 
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My local Petsmart is great. The Petco just across the interstate had so many dead fish it was sickining.
The closest LFS to me has a great selection, nice clean tanks, are over priced and either don't know squat or flat out lie. A couple things they have told me are "Clown Loaches only get 3-4 inches long" "The White Skirted Tetra isn't a schooling fish". This info came from one of the owners.

Now another LFS about 15 miles away in Austin is outstanding. Largest selection I have found, well maintained tanks, prices are just a bit higher, they will actually buy your fish back at anytime and are very knowledgeable.

Spend some time going from store to store until you find the right one. It's well worth the effort.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:56 AM   #30
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamgray View Post
Ok. I think I'm going to give up on the betta because it seems to throw "too much to think about" into the mix for a beginner such as myself. What if I add, in this order:

7 x zebra danio
3 x platy
3 x oto

And see how I handle that, and possibly add 5-7 cardinal tetras at some point later on?
That's a solid stocking plan. I will say this though, why are you getting the ottos? Never buy a fish assuming it will do some work for you, always get them because you like them for some reason. There is no guarantee that the ottos are going to eat algae for you. Once you feed them some sinking algae wafers (and you will have to, your tank won't be large enough to grow enough algae to support 3 ottos) they may not go back to eating the wild growing stuff. You will still have to clean the tank and do all the work you normally would. I just say this because a lot of people buy ottos expecting them to work and are then sorely disappointed.

Quote:
The seemingly more knowledgable person that I spoke to at the LFS yesterday said that with shoaling fish I should keep them in odd numbers. Is that true or is it an old wives tale, and if true, what's the reason behind it?
Well lemme ask you this, do you think the fish can count and process concepts like "even" and "odd" ?

Quote:
and the advice to get female platys... is that only if there is a betta in the tank? If there's no betta, then am I fine to just get males since I don't want babies?
No, all males are just fine if you want. The only down side is that in the absence of females I've had my males get belligerent on each other. Since then I've always kept females.

Quote:
Am I overthinking this too much? Or is overthinking it a good thing?
No, thinking about what you're doing is important. You're going to be caring for these fish so you should be making their lives as good as possible. Also, you're going to be investing a lot of time and money in this, you should make sure you do it right.
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