Best places to buy supplies
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Best places to buy supplies

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Best places to buy supplies
Old 06-08-2010, 09:45 PM   #1
 
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Best places to buy supplies

Alright, since I am new to the world of fish, I am looking for the best places to purchase fish and supplies. I am a dog person and I have learned over the years that often times, staying away from chain stores you can save tons of money and get better quality supplies, once you find the places. Is this the same for fish and fish supplies? Are their resources out there that I am just not yet aware of? What are all of your thoughts.

Also, How big of a tank is the average tank for fresh water? Do most of you have 100+ gallon tanks? What are the advantages to the smaller tanks 60 gallon vs. larger, other then just cost?

I have been to 3 places that sold fish today and none of them really impressed me. I saw a lot of dead fish floating around in tanks, which to me doesn't make me think the fish are healthy there. Also, I am getting a lot of conflicting messages about which fish would work best for my tank. Ideally, I wish I could get a bigger tank but I am on a limited budget so that is out of the question at this point. Maybe, hopefully, some day... Until then, this is what I have to work with.
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Old 06-09-2010, 04:46 AM   #2
 
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Quote:
Alright, since I am new to the world of fish, I am looking for the best places to purchase fish and supplies. I am a dog person and I have learned over the years that often times, staying away from chain stores you can save tons of money and get better quality supplies, once you find the places. Is this the same for fish and fish supplies? Are their resources out there that I am just not yet aware of? What are all of your thoughts.
To be honest, most of the "mom and pop" fish stores are actually more expensive than the big chains, but what you pay extra for your fish you get back in quality. That's not always true, though, and I do encourage you to spend some time shopping around until you find a really great store, but the dedicated fish stores (or privately-owned pet stores with big fish departments) will usually have healthier fish and a larger variety of fish. However, for supplies, I buy what I can online as it's much cheaper to do so than to buy from any brick-and-mortar store. Sites like Drs. Foster and Smith, That Pet Place/That Fish Place, etc. save you a lot of money on stuff like lighting, filters, heaters, etc. You can also save a ton of money on equipment by buying used stuff from craigslist. Finally, Aquabid.com is an auction site dedicated to fishkeeping. Sometimes you can find some excellent deals there, and it's also a destination for harder to find fish and other items.

Quote:
Also, How big of a tank is the average tank for fresh water? Do most of you have 100+ gallon tanks? What are the advantages to the smaller tanks 60 gallon vs. larger, other then just cost?
I have no idea what the average size is, to be honest. I think most people who have multiple tanks tend to have a few smaller tanks (maybe a few sub-10 gallon tanks, some in the 10-29 gallon range) and one bigger one, say around 55g. Tanks larger than 55g are less common as they start taking up a lot of space and costing a lot of money to buy. Larger tanks are more forgiving than smaller ones, though, as they're generally a lot more stable. Larger tanks also give you a lot more options for stocking.
Quote:
I have been to 3 places that sold fish today and none of them really impressed me. I saw a lot of dead fish floating around in tanks, which to me doesn't make me think the fish are healthy there. Also, I am getting a lot of conflicting messages about which fish would work best for my tank. Ideally, I wish I could get a bigger tank but I am on a limited budget so that is out of the question at this point. Maybe, hopefully, some day... Until then, this is what I have to work with.
Again, just keep searching until you find a good fish store. Maybe browse the net to see if you've got a local aquarium society or a similar group that can point you toward the good stores. As for the conflicting advice, I'd say that generally the mom and pop places know what they're talking about more often than the big chain stores, but in any case any fish store exists to make money. That said, you're better off getting advice from fellow fishkeepers who aren't trying to sell you anything rather than from a fish store employee (or worse, owner) who's trying to fatten his wallet by selling you all kinds of junk you don't need.

Hope that helps!
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:16 AM   #3
 
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Yes, it most certainly does help. I appreciate your advice. I will be looking at a few more places today. I am hoping to buy some rocks and decor today and maybe filling my tank. I have to check into balancing it as well. I think it is balanced but it is on a wood floor so it might be a little off. I am learning so much here, I am so happy that I found this forum.

Keep the information coming, the more I have to work with, the better. :)
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:47 AM   #4
 
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Driftwood is one of those things you sort of have to bite the bullet on and buy wood intended for aquarium use. "Found" wood tends to be soft enough that it rots quickly in your tank, not dense enough to sink, be full of nasty chemicals or bacteria that throw your tank out of whack or some combination of the above. The driftwood sold for aquarium use at fish stores (there's usually also quite a large selection on Aquabid) is usually either dense enough to sink right away or is the type that's fastened to a piece of slate to weigh it down, is hard enough to not rot in your tank and is usually fairly safe to use (though giving it a quick boil is usually a good idea).

As for rocks, though, you can save a ton of money on those by buying from a landscaping store rather than the fish store. I bought some nice red shale at the landscaping place for $0.14/lb while the LFS wanted about $4/lb for almost identical rock. All rocks have to be tested to make sure they're aquarium safe, though.
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Old 06-10-2010, 06:31 AM   #5
 
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Great advice, thanks again. I bought a piece of Mopani wood and it is currently soaking because I read that it could leach color into the tank (tannins?) So far, the color in the soak tank is still clear after about 18 hours of soaking so I am guessing it is alright.

bettababy mentioned boiling the wood but I wasn't sure it this was necessary with this piece. I had asked her about just regular wood first.
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Old 06-10-2010, 06:51 PM   #6
 
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I would still boil it, it can't hurt it. I went to walmart and get a big lobster pot, I fit as much as I could and flipped it, i let it boil for about 2 hours on each side (probably a tad excessive) and then soaked in a 5 gallon bucket over night.

Keep this in mind, cuz I didn't and I was worried about my wood......the amount of "leeching color" in a 5 gallon bucket will be dissipated 12 fold in your 60 gallon tank....You should also watch to see if it floats on it's own, although I think Mopani is sinking wood....

If not you can tie it down or weight it down with something...
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:42 PM   #7
 
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Yes, It sinks. When I first put it in the bucket I thought it was floating because it is an odd shape and it was actually stuck. I soaked it for quite awhile and the color of the water barely changed, if at all. When I asked at the fish store, the lady said the color doesn't hurt anything as far as the fish go. It is more about the fact that it is less appealing to people. It looks less clean.

Am I wrong or does it actually help to drop the PH level in a high PH tank? I have had so much information thrown at me these past 3 days my head is mixing up some of the facts. ha ha
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:56 PM   #8
 
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Just a tip on buying supplies...I like DrsFosterSmith.com. I've ordered online from them before. They've got great prices and great customer service. But you can also print out their web page of the product you want to buy and take it to your local Petsmart and they will price match it (at least mine does). That way you can avoid having to pay the shipping cost.
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:11 PM   #9
 
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the wood itself will lower the alkalinity, which isnt a bad thing really unless your going for cichlids. The tannins are actualy good for plants and provide nutrients. check out Aquabid.com there are a lot of enthusiasts selling their own breeds of fish for cheap. always watch the shipping price, some try to get you with $25 which most of it goes to their wallet. are you planning plants? if not i would highly suggest it because its like having a collar withought a dog, sure its pretty and all but what goes in it (other than fish of course). i would really lean more towards subtle color fish with a really nice plant selection and nice layout. i find that almost everyone ive seen starts off with the bright color fish, but eventualy they get boring and they want more elusive fish which tend to be duller. also tanks with bright fish will distract you from the nice decore, and i find that the main feature of a lot of tanks is its layout and plants because they are the biggest.


Well thats my ramble about this lol, hope you find it helpful and if you need any more help or have a question about what ive said u can post it here or shoot me a pm!
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:26 PM   #10
 
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Originally Posted by Inga View Post
Alright, since I am new to the world of fish, I am looking for the best places to purchase fish and supplies. I am a dog person and I have learned over the years that often times, staying away from chain stores you can save tons of money and get better quality supplies, once you find the places. Is this the same for fish and fish supplies? Are their resources out there that I am just not yet aware of? What are all of your thoughts.

Also, How big of a tank is the average tank for fresh water? Do most of you have 100+ gallon tanks? What are the advantages to the smaller tanks 60 gallon vs. larger, other then just cost?

I have been to 3 places that sold fish today and none of them really impressed me. I saw a lot of dead fish floating around in tanks, which to me doesn't make me think the fish are healthy there. Also, I am getting a lot of conflicting messages about which fish would work best for my tank. Ideally, I wish I could get a bigger tank but I am on a limited budget so that is out of the question at this point. Maybe, hopefully, some day... Until then, this is what I have to work with.
Chain stores like Walmart sell crappy supplies in my opinion but that depends on what it is that you are planning on setting up. A very basic tank COULD be set up from shopping at a store like WM alone, but I wouldn't recommend it if you are at all serious about the hobby. You will find that buying newer, more reputable equipment is by far the safest and most cost effective way to go about it. I say cost effective because although it will cost more, maintenance and new parts once the cheap ones break will make it more expensive.

I generally shop at local pet stores (lps) because you can see first hand what you are purchasing and if you're at the right store, you may get good advice.

Smaller tanks don't really have an advantage vs larger OTHER than cost and space consumed. I prefer both, small and large freshwater tanks. It depends on what you're going for. I don't want a tank larger than 75 gallons at the moment, but I may change my mind later. Smaller tanks are easier to clean, and special lighting won't burn a hole in your pocket too bad. Larger tanks need stronger lighting for live plants (or coral, etc if you wanted salt water).

I am also a broke college student with two kids living in a 2 bedroom townhouse. I try to keep space consumed by tanks to a minimum while still enjoying my hobby, lol.

If you're not satisfied with what you see at your local shops try finding a shop that sells fish only. Some of these shops (although hard to find) can be your best option for quality livestock and advice with supplies and maintenance. I don't have one where I live now, but in Texas there were many shops that I preferred just because of the care they put into there fish.

Keep in mind, however, that shops cannot always control getting sick fish in and it happens to the best of them. If a shipment came in recently, die offs can be expected. It is best to visit shops a few times and see what kind of store they are running prior to deciding which you will stick with. Look into common fish diseases such as ich, and see if the tanks are marked 'not for sale' or ask an employee if the fish ARE for sale, and if they say yes, avoid them completely.

Dr. Foster and Smith is a very good source for both equiptment and animals. You can save a TON of money by shopping there, but I also recommend bigalsonline.com which is my favorite. The staff at Big Al's has answered many questions over the phone without making a sale, and they do so happily. I've always been impressed with them.

Lastly, if you have questions feel free to ask people on here. I, for example, am more than happy to assist a newbie at any time with anything I can help with. I am only 23- so kind of a newbie myself; and have kept fish for about 10 years- however I still regularly have many questions. Thats the joy of internet- helping the hobby grow by communication from all walks of the hobby.

Another bit of advice, don't bother jumping into anything you can't afford right away, starting small is an excellent way to 'test the waters' (heh, get it?). Believe me when I say that you can always upgrade later, and there will always be more fish to add to the smaller tank! A nice tank of 30-55 gallons is an amazing start to a nice freshwater community/small cichlid tank. There is no need to feel overwhelmed- even the small tanks when properly set up are awesome to share, great learning experiences and wonderful to sit and stare at for hours.

Keep up the questions!
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