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Choosing a Pet Store- Why Go Local?

Walking into any fish store is a magical journey in itself. The air smells of salt, fish, and coral. You can hear the relaxing sounds of the water lapping up against the glass and bubbling inside the magnificent glowing aquariums. Fluorescent fish swimming through the enchanting waters underneath the ultraviolet lights. This is what we love about the experience of walking into a fish store. An important factor when finding a local shop is understanding their expertise and customer service. Large chain stores paint a fantastic picture of having an abundance of fish, but sadly, they have very little equipment for serious hobbyists. Local fish stores provide the hobbyist with quality products and marine creatures without having to go online and risk the equipment not working. Choosing the correct local fish store can be tricky because every fish store has its equipment selections, knowledge, and services they can provide to the hobbyist. When picking the one that fits you, there are a few things to remember to have your perfect supplier.

Knowledge Shopping

Going to a local fish store without knowledge of what you may need or want is not ideal for anyone, even for the seasoned hobbyist. Having a great sense of community is important, also knowing that they are a reliable resource of knowledge. You know you’ve struck gold when you can talk to your fish store salesperson and get all your questions answered and more without having to pay a dime.

Shopping for the Ideal Equipment

If you’re serious about the hobby, then you have quickly realized that big retail pet stores only carry some of the equipment and supplies you may need. You will only find some of the latest pumps, protein skimmers, and light modules. The best places to be able to find the gear that you need is in the local marine shops that are located near you. A good local fish store will test out this new and latest gear to the point where they can demonstrate it and explain its pros and cons. You should feel like they know the gear before you buy it. Just because it’s from a top-of-the-line marine equipment company doesn’t mean it’s the best. The last thing you want is to be in a scenario where the fish store stocks only one brand and swears by it but hasn’t heard or tested anything outside of that. Take a look at their tanks, is the glass clean? Are the gravel and base clean and free of debris in the corners? Does the water look as if it has the proper movement?

Fish and Coral Supplies

Big retail pet stores only carry a small variety of exotic fish. Here’s the kicker, they carry only what they know will sell. If you want to get a hold of high-quality livestock, then you’re better off going online. This means the fish and coral are susceptible to dying in shipping. You will find that buying fish locally is the best process and also the fastest. You can buy your fish or coral and get it acclimated by the day’s end. But, it is important to observe what their variety is. Do they have exotic fish and coral? And if they do, is it often that they have them? You can tell when a store puts in the passion for providing people with the most beautiful fish and coral.

In the end, it’s what mostly works for you. Not every fish store will work for your needs. If you’re new to the hobby, you will need a very knowledgeable store that will inform you of all the ins and outs of it. If you’re a serious hobbyist, you need a store with the latest equipment and the hard-to-find fish and coral. I found my place at OCD Reefs in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their staff is the best of the best, and I find myself a part of a fantastic community and friends with some of the most amazing marine aquarists.