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1/3/04 - LFS' - What Do You Look For?


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#51
Milamber

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I would say customer service and staff/store appearance are what I look for. I checked out four stores over the weekend and two places, while reputable, looked pretty shady to me. I'm willing to pay the extra $$$ for a store that offers good advice and is actually interested in helping you with making your purchase. The shady stores didn't seem to be interested in helping me (as a newbie) but were waiting for a credit card or a way to unload old/used stock.

A pet peeve of mine is when you walk into a place and it looks dungy. Also, when the tanks have the fish types and price written on them but then there is nothing in the tank or the wrong fish.

#52
c3po

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My $0.02

I really think there is no hard and fast method to selecting the most reputable store or retailer. I hate to say, that i once used to buy specifically on price and selection [budget and impatience] but found that the species or product i purchased was less than healthy... I has taken me the best part of 2 years to figure price is nothing compared to the pain / angst / disappointment of losing a specimen without any clue to its demise [but an underlying suspicion of dodgy QT practice or dosing].

To this regard; i have selected a niche retailer that deals 90% in SW product. I used to think that those LFS's that did sell the full spectrum were just as reputable.
I must say that an obvious disregard to livestock is a dead giveaway ie. BTA, Carpet, GONI's, under 2x 8W NO or something similarly stupid. This really does give away the motive of most retailers; they are only interested in selling livestock quickly. Personally it disturbs me to the point i would never buy anything there....

WRT advice? Every aquarist should seek advice beyond those of a LFS. Even some sage advice that a trusted advisor gives still needs to be evaluated to your own situation. Basically, you owe it to your inhabitants to gather as much information as you can. You should never jump into something based on one person's advice.

#53
bank_vault

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Well I look for well established tanks and dudes from nano-reef working there :P

Yeah that huge display tank is pretty damn cool at BKtomodachi's shop. And they got the best looking tanks in the area. But nothing like a freaky parrot to scare people from buying livestock :lol:

But what I really look for is livestock that looks healthy, cool looking tanks, and cheap corals.

#54
bluepanda

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For me my favorite LFS is the one where I can tell that the owners love all there fish and corals. They are friendly, happy to spend a lot of time with you and never pressure you to buy anything. Also it comforts me to see the same customers returning time and again. They don't claim to know everything and are happy to take trade ins.

#55
Kimberly63

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If I need something like a tank, salt, chemicals, etc., I call every lfs to get prices first then look to see if I can find it cheaper online. Plus if I see something I want to buy at an lfs, I don't buy it until I come home and research it: Is it worth the price? How do I care for it? Was it healthy? Am I being scammed into spending money? Also I never trust anything an lfs employee tells me about anything. They are usually 90% wrong. Also I check the conditions of their tanks and corals before I buy something. At my best lfs, all their tanks are INFESTED with aiptasia so I usually wait till they get their coral shipments in on wednesday evenings and get stuff before it settles in their tanks. I bought a small zoa colony a month ago and 7 polyps had nudis, aiptasia, fungus, and TONS of bristle worms. I will never put another thing in my tank without dipping it first. Prices would be a big thing as well. Sometimes I get great deals, most of the time I don't. The last thing I priced was a tiny colony of GSP for $50 and a piece of frogspawn for $99 - I about had a heart attack. The last thing I check for is how the workers treat me. If they don't treat me nicely I try not to go back. At my lfs, I spent about $1300 there in the past 3 months and I bought a $10 frag the one day - took it home and realize it wasn't in good shape. It had bad fungus and the polyp flesh was deteriorating away to nothing. I try to take it back and was refused because MY water quality was to blame and after arguing with a manager for awhile telling her that it wouldn't rot the zoas away in a couple hours in my tank, she finally told me she'd let me trade it in if I brought some of my water in for her to test. I haven't bought from there since.
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#56
PBUEHH

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i don't sell anything i wouldn't put in my tank. A lot of what i tell people comes from hobbyist forums and the most recently published stuff available.

I work for petco (yes i admit it, cuase if i didn't work there, tangs and triggers would die everyday). Mostly i just give people advice and tell them where other lfs are, just to compare. They might come back, they might not, but if they come back they trust me and i like that.

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#57
shackaholic

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For me my favorite LFS is the one where I can tell that the owners love all there fish and corals. They are friendly, happy to spend a lot of time with you and never pressure you to buy anything. Also it comforts me to see the same customers returning time and again. They don't claim to know everything and are happy to take trade ins.


Same. I look for PASSION. If they are as obsessed with this as I am, then most of the other stuff will fall into place.
28g HQI, 14k 150w MH, aiptasia and algae tank - soon to be resurrected in one form or another.

#58
CorvetteJoe

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Few things I look for:
1 - they stock things I like
2 - the prices aren't a ripoff (which is rare, and well.. never happens)
I usually get my big items online or used, and livestock from the LFS, along with food and chemicals local too.
3 - Staff that doesn't badger me into buying stuff or staring over my shoulder
4 - Staff that actually knows what they are talking about (more often than not they never do, even in a reef only store)
5 - some place close by (my LFS i frequent often is less than 3 miles away, I can ride my mountain bike there if I wanted to heh). The better stores are 30 mins away though, so I don't visit them very often :(
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River - 75gal, sand, river rock lots of loaches, barbs, tetras and others (Est 2004)

#59
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#60
Orphicdragon

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Old thread is old.


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#61
Apoptosis

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I work at a LFS and generally look for service on par with what I offer my customers. One nearby store has algae choked LPS and SPS, so I don't buy from them.

I ask my customers questions to see what their experience level is and try not to sell them anything that they might end up killing. Like a previous post said, half the time the customer is trying to impress me with their knowledge by explaining the 10g they had many years ago. Basically as long as I show them honesty and integrity and try to do the best job in answering their questions I feel I am doing the right thing.

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Edited by Apoptosis, 18 May 2010 - 08:28 AM.

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#62
Bio-Reef

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Well my lfs is amazing actually. The employes tell you if you can keep the animal. There sw section has huge self cleaning protein skimmers and computer controlled filters. All of the coral tanks have 400 watt MH. Aquariumlivestock.com is the website
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#63
Haifisch

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I look at it like an inspection. quick once over is it worth looking more into it if the place smells bad, and or looks unkempt. if the initial look is acceptable the onto the tanks, are clean algae free? specimens look healthy eating swimming properly? are the species identified correctly? is the equipment up to par? do they quarantine? does the help have a clue as to what they are doing? there is a lot that I look for. I may seem too demanding but if you want thousands of dollars from my shallow pockets you better have your ship tight. If we all set a high standard by research and demand the best from our LFS we will pay a bit more for the quality help and animals, but it will help everyone in the industry and the hobby in the long run. imagine healthy animals already quarantined feeding, and someone to guide you through from beginning to expert. who knows before you find out the hard way if that specimen will be compatible in your tank

#64
dickie52

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I miss caja

why didn't you use the site feedback and questions forum? you ass hole.

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#65
Zombiz

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After Dealing with Several LFS, going threw the "advice" do and do-nots. I just left it all up to myself and took in as much info as i could find book/magazine/internet. I tought myself what i feel every LFS employee should know and some.

So the things i look for when i go to a new LFS is.
1.Tank conditions ( if i can notice any algae or bacteria growing in the tank)
2. I ask how they acclimate their livestock( i prefer Drip- Acclimation )
3. Make sure they know weather or not the tank is on a different system ( nothing worse than an LFS just putting everything together)
4. How they bag their livestock ( the double upside down bag method is best because the corners wont collapse during transport and kill fish...It happens alot.)
5. Look for the Display Tanks, normally an awesome LFS will have a nice display tank to show off their work and collection as well as dedication to the hobby)

Thos are just the big checks for me, once i get in there and some face-to glass time i tend to look over everything very carefully and ask anything i might not know before i consider a purchase.

#66
Haelstrom

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I have but one LFS that sells saltwater livestock and unfortunately it is not the place I would want to buy my live stock from. Most employees of LFS are high schoolers or just out high school working while in college. Taking care of fish is not really a priority for them so the tanks don't get the tlc they will from a true reefer. I don't expect the place to be perfect. They have to run their lights for much longer than would be suggested so algae is expected to some degree. But when I seen the cyano and pointed it out to the work who didn't seem the least bit concerned I was not happy. I was there to buy some LR. Which looked horrible in their tank. But I only wanted 5lbs. Every piece pulled had apitasia. Finally found Some i liked (which ended up with 2 aptitasia which I found at home). If they have so little concern for their stuff don't expect them to be concerned about yours. When I mentioned the aptitasia on all of their LR the worker said that everyone has to deal with at some point or another. He didn't care if he was selling me some. Here is a pic of the tank with cyano.

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