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Re: pet shop ideal

Roxanne Bittman wanted a few things in an ideal pet (LFS) store.  I
don't disagree but think I can, or must settle for less:

> Here's what I like to see:
> Actual equipment in stock that I and other plant enthusiasts use such
> as:
> 1.  Eheim filters, esp. the less expensive ones (not just the
> professional ones)

Most LFS don't have the size of market and therefore don't have the
volume of traffic that will support the discounts on-line vendors can
offer.  So I don't buy major equipment from lfss.  *But* my lfs does
stock an extensive amount of parts, which means that, if I need a
gasket or whatever to get my filter running again, I don't have to wait
for it in the mail.  

> 2.  Light fixtures with enough spaces for adequate lights for planted
> aquaria.  Most pet shops carry just the standard 1-2 fluor. light
> fixtures, blah.  I would go for fixtures that hold either 4 standard
> fluors or 2 or 4 power compacts (such as JBJ for example).
Yes, aren't the stores about 15 years behind the times?  One lfs here
stocks some of these things (IceCaps, PCs, etc.) and will order almost
anything yu can name.

> 3.  PLANTS!  and not in dark tanks.  In well-lit tanks (power
> compacts
> are nice here) so the plants stay nice until sold.  Too many stores
> have
> semi-decent plants but stash them in overcrowded, dark tanks and they
> rot in a few days.
I would guess that they don;'t want to risk the algae that might occur
with high light tanks.  If they aren't going to keep better lit tanks,
then they should at least move stock very quickly, less than a week, so
that plants haven't used up too much of their reserves.

> 4.  Plant tank accoutrements such as laterite, various liquid
> fertilizers, fert. tabs for in the substrate, etc.
> 5.  Substrates such as Onyx, Fluorite, and gravel of appropriate
> color
> (natural) and size ( 2-3mm).
Mine does this hit and miss.  Lots of additives but the only substrates
are aragamax and Estes (epoxy coated--name your color) stuff.

> 6.  Small fish too, not just big cichlids!  Rasboras, small tetras,
> killies (such as lampeyes), small corydoras, siamese algae eaters,
> Otocinclus.  The fish should ideally be quarantined at the store so
> the
> hobbyist doesn't have to do this (I only know of one store in 100
> miles
> of me that does this - Albany Aquarium, CA).
Hey, mine actaully does all this.

> 7. Knowledgable staff that can give you real advice on controlling
> algae, how to adjust your water parameters, appropriate fish, etc. 
> These people should be interested in seeing you succeed, not just see
> you come back in again and again.
This is really rare, ime.  The best lfs by me has, as clerks, at least
one experienced long-term hobbyist in each major category: plants,
reefs; cichlids; tetras; etc.  You have to wait to get the cloerk you
want.  Everywhere else seems to have a part-time high school student
that really doesn't know anal fins from holes in the substrate -- nor

> 8.  Nice layout with show tank(s) where you can see them easily and
> even the plant for sale tanks arranged aesthetically (grass-like
> plants
> in one, round leaved bunch plants in one, whorled leaved plants in
> another, etc.  Maybe put red plants here and there, not all in one
> tank.
>  Just a thought).
When I found out how much the good lfs by me was spending on their show
tanks, I nearly fell over.  This is a major drag on margins espeically
if they keep moving stock in and out of the show tanks because
customers insist on having *that particular* such and such in the
community show tank.

> Well, I don't want much, do I?

Well, if I could get Big Al's and ThatPetPlace in one location, with a
real "retail" (as opposed to "warehouse" storefront, and knowledgable
clerks, that might do it.

Thanks, Roxanne, you reminded me of what a very good lfs I have nearby
and how lucky I am.  It's not ideal, but . . .

Scott H.

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