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Old 02-23-2004, 01:22 PM   #1
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NorCal LFSs?

I'm in Menlo Park, looking for thoughts on the best peninsula area LFS

Thanks
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Old 02-23-2004, 02:52 PM   #2
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Aquatic Variations in Mountain View is supposed to be very good. I've been there a few times, but haven't purchased anything yet. Their equipment is pretty pricey, but their fish seem reasonable. I read that the owner goes and hand picks his fish every Wednesday (they are closed that day). They also have some nice looking live rock, the tanks all seem pretty clean, and the people there are helpful. I've yet to see any dead or unhealthy looking fish.
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Old 02-24-2004, 02:29 AM   #3
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i was actually there the other day...

yeah, its a clean place, the guys know there stuff it seems, and YES! equipment prices are RIDICULOUS! Things are almost double what I can find on the net.

I've heard there are some good places in Sunnyvale, but dont know specifics.
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Old 02-24-2004, 06:37 PM   #4
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This is a good page I found for reviews of Bay Area LFS's. It's a bit old, but a lot of it probably still applies.

http://www.geocities.com/LFSinSFO/Lfs.html
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Old 02-27-2004, 03:17 PM   #5
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Aquatic Variations in Mountain View are very good. Agreed - the prices on equipment are far too high, but the fish are good and hand-picked by Matt, the store owner and SW expert. Very good store.

Another place that looks very good is Aquatic Gallery in Milpitas. I just found it recently and have only been there once. The store is totally dedicated to SW Reefs and they have a good selection of stuff. Prices are very good and they even have a little room with books and an internet connection for researching those impulse buys before you take them home I suspect I'm gonna be a frequent visitor there.

One word of warning - there is a store in Sunnyvale called something like "Natural Life Aquarium". AVOID AVOID AVOID !!!! Being a newbie I went in there at the start of January for some advice and to get started with a Freshwater tank. We got talking with Matt (not the Matt I referred to above ) and he convinced that these days SW tanks are just as easy to keep as FW, so we foolishly took the plunge into SW. He told us nothing about cycling the tank, and suggested we bring in a water sample after the tank was running for 3 days. We did and after testing the water they proudly proclaimed that the tank was ready to be stocked !! (I ran some tests myself and the Ammonia and Nitrite were both over 1, unfortunately I didn't know what that meant at the time). He proceeded to sell us a Coral Beauty, Flame Angel, Royal Tang, Clownfish and 8 Chromis for a 55g, telling us that was enough for now and we could put in more later !!!! Anyway, of course the fish started dying pretty quickly and I had to rescue them by bringing them into Aquatic Variations who gave me credit for those that survived. I initially tried to bring them back to the store in Sunnyvale but they were less than helpful to say the least. His immediate reaction was to accuse me of overfeeding them. (They were finishing all food provided once a day in less than a minute). Then he said there was no way they would have sold us those fish at the water levels I listed above. Yet somehow they magically appeared in my tank . Then of course I told him I had been getting advice from other places such as online and other stores and he promptly declared that the other stores are staffed by liars, that they all buy cyanide-caught fish whereas he only buys net-caught fish !! I should have asked him how he is sure all their fish are net-caught but was so pissed at this stage that I just walked away and haven't been back since.

Anyway - sorry for the rant but I wouldn't like to see anyone else get screwed by these guys. I of course am ultimately responsible for not doing enough research up-front but I think it's not unreasonable to expect much better advice from your retailer than I was given.

Good luck !!

Brendan.
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Old 02-27-2004, 04:50 PM   #6
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Found an interesting article on Aquatic Gallery:

http://www.themilpitaspost.com/Stori...964432,00.html

I'm going to have to go check them out!
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Old 03-02-2004, 04:10 PM   #7
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I stopped by Aquatic Gallery this weekend, very impressive. They have really nice, big display tanks. They also sell Salifert kits! And from what I can tell, the prices are just about the same as what you find on the net.
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Old 03-02-2004, 05:04 PM   #8
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I briefly stopped by there on Sunday to look for some soft corals to add to my tank and I felt the prices on Corals were high. Admittedly I don't have much experience in that area but I went to Aquatic Variations in Mountain View afterwards and found most of the same corals at much lower prices. eg. I picked up a well-covered mushroom rock, a very nice green star polyp rock, a plate coral and a nice green ricordea for about $120. Not bad I felt. They look great in the tank too I'll post pics as soon as I get a chance. For other items though the prices at Aquatic Gallery do seem very good. eg. 12 Nassarius for $10. Tough to beat that .....
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Old 12-02-2004, 03:21 PM   #9
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There are lots in the bay area. Atlantis and Mermaid in fremont, Aquarium Concepts in Hayward, Wet Pets in Livermore, King Aquarium in San Jose.
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