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A tale of two fishstores (long)

Just catching up on APD...

From an exchange between Charley and Karen about the LFS with plants and the LFS 
without plants:

>>K: So why not work on him to keep a better inventory of plants 
>>K: in the store too?

>C: That store is a "pet store", and sells items for dogs, cats,
>C: gerbils, lizards, snakes, etc. as well as fish.  They physically aren't
>C: even as large as the other store, and I think are limited as 
>C: a result.  

We tried to get them to carry plants, we really tried. 

For clarity, I'll assign some random acronyms to the two stores: the one with 
plants and an attitude I'll call DOTD and the one without plants or an attitude 
I'll call DGA. 

Karla and I have talked to the owner of DGA at length about carrying plants. 
When we first started a plant tank, lo these many years ago, he was pretty 
opinionated about many things: plants were bad, live food was bad, UGF was the 
only way to go, etc. I guess he had many bad experiences with Aquarists of 
Lesser Abilities (ALA) and had geared his advice and stock to the lowest common 
demoninator. At the same time, DOTD was friendly and eager to try new things. 
They carried a few plants (which we bought), a smattering of plant supplies 
(which we tried) and even brought in some gorgeous wild-caught Rainbows at 
outrageous prices (which we paid).  Life was good. 

The owners of DOTD ("M" and "J") were also interested in plants and decided to 
set up a show tank. We showed them photos of our tank and they were inspired. 
"M" even brought in the Dupla book and supplies (which, naturally, sat on the 
shelf for a very long time, waiting for us to buy them one by one).  They set up 
a gorgeous 175g tank which did very well and inpsired many people to try plants. 
We became friends, had them to our house for show and tell, did dinner together, 
etc. "J" even liked model trains.  Life was good.  

DGA still thought plants were bad, live food was bad, etc. 

Soon, DOTD needed a bigger store. We watched them build up the aquarium racks 
and central filtration system. Awesome. At one point, they asked us to invest in 
the store. Oops. Couldn't do that. The relationship changed from "good buds" to 

Meanwhile, DGA also moved to bigger quarters. We showed "G" photos of our tanks. 
He seemed impressed. He started talking about setting up a plant section. 
Hoo-boy! He started getting in live brine shrimp (saving us a trip to Denver 
each week to get some). He brought in the ill-fated Tetra CO2 system and was 
going to be a bottle-filler. He started stocking acrylic tanks and wet/dry 
filters from a company in Denver that DOTD didn't like. He even bought some of 
our books to sell to his customers. Life was good. 

In the mean time, DOTD was doing quite well. They were looking at ways to reduce 
the cost of plants. They did the homework on the Nupro valves for CO2 (kudos). 
They set up a 250g planted show tank. Later they set up a large corner tank. We 
still traded plants to them but it was getting more difficult. Also, we were 
having trouble getting the right equipment from them. "J" didn't get along well 
with many of the wholesalers and wouldn't carry many items because he didn't 
like the rep. They tried to sell us stuff we didn't want. DGA seemed to carry a 
lot of this stuff. Money was diverted to DGA.

A while ago, DGA set up some plant holding tanks. He had a rather pitiful 
selection when we saw it, mostly very common plants and quite a few bog plants 
and other non-aquatics.  We did a trimming and supplied him with a good 
selection of healthy plants for very little in return, to "plant the seed".  His 
holding area was underlit, non-CO2'd, non-fertilized and tucked off in a corner. 
Not very much was sold and most of the plants died.  He soon returned the 
holding area to bird cages. However, "G" is still eager to work with us and will 
special order anything we want and offers very good prices (some even lower than 

So, now, we hardly visit DOTD and DGA still doesn't have plants, but DGA gets 
our business.