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Re: Vancouver plant stores

>         I have just recently moved to Vancouver, B.C. and am looking
> for a good source of aquatic plants and fish.  If anyone familiar
> with the area petstores can direct me in the right direction, I'd
> be grateful.  TIA!

Hi Chris,

Since you're at SFU, the nearest decent place is Big Al's Aquarium
Services; just down the hill on North Road, halfway between Lougheed 
and the #1, on the right when heading south.

I live in the Fraser Valley, where there's not much of note for anyone
looking beyond goldfish, dime-a-dozen tetras, gaudy neon paraphernalia,
and plastic plants. So I find myself at Big Al's fairly regularly. They
have another store in Richmond (where I work) which often has radically 
different stock.

Their plant deliveries are spotty, but quite often very nice, if not
cheap, or particularly prone to more than the most common varieties. 
Very rarely, Total Pet in Langley gets a nice shipment of plants,
and their supplies can be reasonable; but that and the Petland up the
block are a long haul for you. You may find the odd decent plant at
other locations (e.g. Brighouse in Coquitlam), but I can't vouch
for the fish stock; and prices tend to be higher for dry goods.

Big Al's fish stock is generally good, and the tanks clean and healthy. 
However, I have seen very sick tanks full of new arrivals, which I've
been told were under quarantine when I pointed it out; only to find
(when I asked where they went) that the whole lot sold the very next 
day... so their whole quarantine strategy/honesty in these sales is
suspect. Then again, some experienced person who didn't care may have
requested the lot despite a known illness. Exercise some care, and
ask the right questions. The people there tend to be helpful and
forthright when _asked_, but largely do not offer up information
about stock (quality, etc.) in the absence of a directed question.

For special order cichlids (large orders of apistos for example), or
regularly stocked Africans, you could check out Perky Pets in New 
Westminster. They're a small outlet, and like you to come by and 
pick up your special orders as they come in (by the box, at a savings
over other local retailers, based on their not having had to maintain
your fish in their tanks). They don't generally have much of a plant
selection. Not sure about their downtown shop (though I do know that
they don't do the special orders).

I succeed in plant purchases largely by random spot checks on a range
of small stores and the treck to Big Al's.

Aside from that, I can't help you. I don't have much experience further
into town (at least not good experience). I tend to rely on my Seattle
source for that which Big Al's or Petland in Langley does not have:-)
I have heard, however, that there are a couple of good downtown sources,
but my excursions down that way are for more entertainment-oriented 
goals, and I couldn't name them.



Shawn Young
Systems Engineer, Space and Defence Systems
MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates

Tel:  604-231-2957            E-mail: young at mda_ca
Fax:  604-278-3469            URL:    http://www.mda.ca