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Old 06-19-2006, 10:18 PM   #1
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Aquarium supplies in the Central VA area

I've seen several people's ratings of individual stores, but thought it might be a good idea to get a complete list of stores together in one spot. It sure would have been helpful to me.

So far, I have visited (I'll update the list as I visit more):

PetSmart @ Hull St and Highway 288
- Not much can be said that is new. Big box store, wide selection of the most common fish. Freshwater only. One negative is that when discussing setting up a new tank, there was no mention of a real cycle - just the standard "wait a few days after setup, then start adding fish". Typical retailer attitude. Otherwise, the staff seem fairly knowledgable and helpful. Tanks are typical big store clean, with few floaters. Plant selection was limited to the basics.

Pet World @ Route 10 (Ironbridge Rd) and Centralia in Chester
- Very small store, friendly staff. Freshwater only. Decent tanks, few floaters. Again, no warning about a performing a full cycle on a new tank, although they were knowledgable about cycling after the fact. Very limited selection of products/feeds/accessories. No plants to speak of (staff says that they are having supplier trouble).

Pet Club @ Robius and Heugenot
- Decent sized store, still had the small store feel. Staff seems knowledgable, but didn't spend much time with them. They sell Bio-Spira. Fresh and saltwater. Decent selection of fish. Had many "specialty" fish, as well as the more common items. Small accessory selection.

Richmond Aquarium @ Speeks, off of Hull near Robius
- Small store, mostly saltwater but a decent freshwater selection. They seem to have more uncommon fish, although they still have the "basics". Best looking tanks and fish I have seen so far. Very small accessory selection on hand, but I didn't ask about stocking levels. Didn't have much contact with the guy at the desk - he was dealing someone else, and my time was limited.
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Old 06-19-2006, 11:45 PM   #2
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Excellent post, and the reviews are appreciated. I'd love to see more of this in our dusty old Central VA forum, lol. SRC, have you been to Noah's Pets lately? It seems like they would be in your neck of the woods, if they are still in business. Also, Fish World, on Busy Street near Courthouse and Midlothian, are a strictly SW establishment but they will order anything you may want, from heaters to filters to FW substrate, just to get your business. I have been impressed with this shop on multiple occasions, as they are eager to give you a good price to earn your dollar.

Anybody been to the new LFS on Rt. 360 just east of Laburnum, before you get to Mechanicsville? I can't remember what it is called (Wet Pets?), but I went in there a week or two ago and reptiles are heavily featured, with a huge stage-like cage that houses a massive retic/Burmese python that is way too big for a pet, as well as inappropriate pet-store offerings like a Nile monitor.

They have a lot of tanks that are dry since the store is new, so I assume in the coming weeks they'll fill up and become fully stocked. I was impressed with the FW selection they had so far, and I think this place has a lot of potential, but I am a bit put off by the reptiles that they seem to want to encourage people to buy and keep at home. It makes me wonder if they will be selling oscars for 10 gallon tanks, and piranha as community fish.

I don't log on that often these days but I am not out of the hobby and I do appreciate reviews such as these, so keep them coming, even if they are reviews of shops in other areas - I'm willing to take a little road trip if there is a LFS worthy of a visit.
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Old 06-27-2006, 05:18 PM   #3
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noah pets recently got the best fish person from petsmart, theres pet tails on laburnam, that may be where tank girl is tlaking about.

theres awesome pets at genito and hull, never been thrilled with them before they changed ownership, still wiating fo them to get their tank displays built, was told theyd be getting better stock in, but who knows
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Old 06-27-2006, 06:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Hovoc
theres pet tails on laburnam, that may be where tank girl is tlaking about.
No, I had forgotten about Pet Tails - that is not a bad shop, either. The one I mean is a brand new store that opened in a virtually abandoned strip mall on Mech Tpke (360) east of Laburnum before you get to Mechanicsville.

I have not been to Awesome Pets in a good long while, but I seem to recall them having a suprisingly diverse selection of FW tropicals.

BTW, who is "the best fish person from PetsMart?"
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Old 06-27-2006, 11:20 PM   #5
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ben, now at noahs pets, he almost refused to sell me fish until my tank was cycled :P

he knew more about the fish than anyone else at petsmart.....although thats not saying much, but he was quite helpful, and everything he said had been confirmed here or elsewhere
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Old 07-01-2006, 12:48 AM   #6
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I just wanted to update my earlier reviews a bit. I've been spending a LOT more time in some of the stores, and first impressions fade.

Pet World - their selection is VERY spotty, and they stock some VERY odd things. Right now they have a LARGE stingray in a 10G tank. The thing's body covers 1/3 of the tank bottom. Very sad. I've seen a good deal more floaters, and some being eaten which means they have been in there a while. Almost every time I go in there, they don't have what I am looking for (fish or equipment).

Pet Club - I'm really concerned with the state of their tanks. LOTS of algae, the tanks just look old and worn out environmentally. Maybe they are just "well settled", but I'm feeling less inclined to trust fish from here.

I still need to visit some of the more distant stores. Hopefully next week.
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Old 07-21-2006, 06:31 PM   #7
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your not missing much, i havent found a decent fish supplier yet. the best looking tanks outside of petsmart ive seen have been at richmond aquarium, my issue with them is price on equipment and their (lack of) selection of fish. they primarily deal with salt water and even then they are dwarfed by fish world (i think), over by midlo and court house.

im still waiting for the day a full fledged FW store opens up. im curious how itd fair, but id shop there assuming reasonable prices and selection of fish.

i did do a small financial statement for a month of a fish store running, and it does seem feasible in the right area, and with the right services availble. but i doubt anyone will ever open a good one.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:49 PM   #8
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There is also Strictly Marine in Hopewell. That is who I have been going to. Equipment is a little pricey but it beats having to wait on shipping. Small store with a decent selection of fish and a nice 120g display/frag tank. Coral prices are a lot cheaper than what I was used to in Washington State though. the name implies just SW but they have birds too! Mike the owner is very friendly.
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Old 08-06-2006, 01:52 AM   #9
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One more update. I was in Pet World the other day (5 Guys sure takes a while to make burgers!) and saw that they were selling the Berry Tetras. Dyed fish are absolutely out in my opinion. This on top of the stingray just pushed Pet World off my list, permanently.
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Old 10-04-2006, 05:36 PM   #10
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There is also Fishworld on busy street off courthouse Rd in Chestrfield. Excellent Saltwater reef Store. They have everything you will need to make it in the SW hobby. I totally recommend them for all your needs.
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