I love Triangle Trop Fish in Durham. The only beef I've got is some items they don't provide a warranty with. That's fine, for the most part, but occasionally you do get fish that aren't perfect. The people in there are great too.
As for Raleigh, Fish Pros is good. They've got a decent selection and for the most part I like the people. Cindy is the owner and she's cool. I really like dealing with Kevin and (I can't remember his name) the big guy that deals with all the reef stuff.
Fish World is CRAP. Everytime I go in there, there are TONS of dead fish in their tanks. That goes for both salt and fresh water. Their fw
plants are ok, but they focus too much on swords. Daniel is the manager and he's a nice guy, but I don't like the overall store. It doesn't help that they don't open until 2pm M-Th either. Alan is the plant guy and he's cool to deal with. FYI
...anything special order is w/o warranty. I had Daniel order a Male Hystrix Ray for me. Got it in and it alread had Death Curl (for those who don't know, it is an uncurable sign of HORRIBLE water quality. Once the curl happens, generally only about 48-72 hours to live). Got stiffed on that one.
Aquarium Outfitters WAS ok in the beginning. Kurt (owner) knows his stuff for the most part, but charges WAY TOO MUCH. If you can somehow find a decent deal one time, the next time you come in there, the price is different. No consistency. I didn't mind paying extra for good advice, but I maxed out their knowlege when I got into predators and haven't looked back. I go to them as a last resort.
Most other places in the Raleigh/Cary area have closed. I'm not a huge fan of chains b/c they don't carry a decent selection.
If you are looking for saltwater or reptiles the guys to see is Brad at Pet Paradise on Leesville Rd. Cuts killer deals on both livestock and hardware.
Just my take on the lfs
's. I hope to talk with you guys more!