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Old 03-09-2005, 09:37 PM   #1
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Need to get some ideas for inventory of my friend's LFS...

Hey everyone! One of my friend's, who I work for part-time, would like me to gather up as much information as possible on what you all (the customer) feel is the best equipment and also fish. We have a retailer convention to attend soon and before we go we'd like to see what people REALLY want. This includes medicines, test kits, filters, heaters, and all the accessories included in having a successful tank(s). Also, feel free to list what, in your opinion, are the most popular fish for the home aquarium. This includes salwater and freshwater. Basically, what do you all wish your LFS would carry or what they do carry that you can't live with out. You guys don't have to reply if you don't want, but it would really help us out and our customers. We're located in Jacksonville, FL and have a new website in the works...www.fishbowlaquariums.com.

Thanks again everyone for your time!

*NOTE - Moderators, this is not an attempt to spam this forum in any way. Please, do not delete my post. Thank you.
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Old 03-10-2005, 03:25 AM   #2
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Personally, I really like to have a very large selection.

Ebo Jager heaters seem to be highly rated here, and I love mine.

As far as fish go, it might be good to always have the basics but then also be constantly getting new kinds of fish. Maybe try to get a reputation for having a new selection of fish every week. That would get me back in your door more often.
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Old 03-10-2005, 07:04 AM   #3
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Aquarium pharm products like their freshwater master test kit, stress zyme, etc etc.
Penguin, marineland, aquaclear filters.
For fish, i'd definitely recommend getting some of the less common types of plecos. Something maybe like albino bristlenost plecs? (sorry i'm addicted to those -- my favorite fish) clown plecos, etc, various types of tetras like cardinals, rummy nose, etc etc.. For the fish, its just what is available. All lfs have the same thing like neons, cory cats, common plecos, goldfish, guppies, etc. Just get some more uncommon things and see how they sell.
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Old 03-10-2005, 01:33 PM   #4
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Jacksonville...excellent. Well for me the most important thing about any LFS is the condition of the tanks, I am more than prepared to pay a little more for a store that has spotless tanks. I think that most people will always want the staple fish, Neons, Angels, Plecos and Corys etc. But having a selection of fish that changes and occasionally bringing in some oddities etc. will encourage people to pop in on a much more regular basis.

Personally as a resident of Jacksonville who is currently shoveling money at the hobby -aren' we all- I would love to see a couple of Bichirs....Hint, hint, hint!

Oh and product wise the Marineland stuff is great. Tanks are also very important personally in the next few months I am going to be after a 55 gallon, but it might be difficult on basic tanks competing with Petsmart etc. they do a 55 gallon kit -admitedly the filters etc. are bottom end- for $160.

Hmm, other than that a selection of live foods, and maybe live food culture kits would be much appreciated, something beyond the ubiquitous brine shrimp hatchery.

Where abouts in Jacksonville is the store going to be?
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Old 03-10-2005, 03:41 PM   #5
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Dont sell those catfish labeled as sharks/catfish that get massive. Don't sell fish like pacus, silver dollars, bala sharks, or other biggies to beginners or people with small tanks.

If you sell bettas give them large containers with filtration.

Don't sell betta in teeny vase kits or others like them.

Don't sell anything pertaining to goldfish in bowls.
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----20 gal with Penguin 170 Filter- 2 angels

----10 gal-Leaf fish, clawed frog

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Old 03-10-2005, 03:45 PM   #6
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how about some cheap used tanks, that might get some other people in
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Old 03-11-2005, 03:31 AM   #7
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hashbaz,
Your recommendation is always a good idea for a successful LFS in my opinion. And yes, it definitely does keep customers coming back. I myself am always in high anticipation for our next shipments or trips to local state fish farms and hatcheries!

stewie,
We DO carry AquaClear right now, and so far have had great success. I will also keep note of the other products you had mentioned. Plecostomus, exotic Plectostomus at that? Well, you hit it right on the spot buddy. I've pushed the idea on to my boss greatly, and it is in the works as of right now to have a nice tank setup for them with a great assortment of exotic Plecostomus. I understand uncommon fish do keep people coming back...I know it keeps me spending lots of money! Ha!

redwhiptailplec,
A fellow LOCAL hobbyist...always good to have those! Clean tanks...a HUGE part in selling fish! We do our best at that, although I cannot always make it in to get them cleaned because of my second job, but that second job is what supports this great hobby of mine. Most of the time, they look great! I only wish my boss would switch to a different filtration system for our freshwater tanks. That plan is also in the works. Our saltwater is killer though, always sqeaky clean because of the massive filtration systems used on them! Having oddballs, which you also mentioned, is key as well. And you don't even have to mention Bichirs to me...Bichirs along with Dottybacks are some of my favorite freshwater fish! Pretty much anything that is an eel, or at least half eel such as Bichirs and Dottybacks gets me excited! You also said you're in the market for a 55 gallon tank? We only sell All-Glass right now for our prefabricated tanks and we also build custom acryllic tanks. $160 you say from Pet'sMart? What does this combo include? By the way, our store is already open . It's located off of exit 329 coming from I-95 South on CR-210. If you know the Mandarin area, you can also head down San Jose Blvd. South and cross the Julington Creek bridge and it's only 10-15 minutes beyond that. Feel free to stop in sometime man! The address is in my signature, along with our future website.

cheezysquirrelz,
One thing we are all about is customer service. We will not sell a customer a fish or product that we know is going to cause a problem in the long run. Any LFS that does that just needs to close their business right now in my opinion. When it comes to the Betta housing method you mentioned, I feel the same way. Plus, to me, it looks cheap. I want to have a custom built tank with 30-40 seperated chambers all being filtrated through one system soon. I think that would make us so different from any LFS in town!

bussardnr,
It's a possibility, but alot of times people just get online and go to forums or auction sites for used equipment.

THANK YOU so much for the replies everyone! I am trying to complete my list of products and fish for fresh and saltwater by the end of the weekend before our next convention. If anyone has any more information, recommondations, or advice...feel free to keep it coming! Once again, your responses have helped alot and so far my first couple of days at AquariumAdvice have been awesome!
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Old 03-11-2005, 06:09 PM   #8
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Some things I wish I could find all at one lfs...

1. Bio-Spira
2. large selection of frozen foods
3. at least a moderate selection of live foods. (One lfs near me always has a 10 gal tank of brine shrimp going, they keep it on the counter next to the cash register and sell 1-cup bags of the shrimp for 50 cents. I buy a bag everytime I shop there. Another lfs near me sells live bloodworms, grindal worms, and...hmmm...one other kind.)
4. some nice chunks of driftwood--including some that does not need to be attached to slate in order to stay down
5. wide variety of live plants, marked in such a way it is clear what their light requirements are. (My lfs does this color-code thing: name in blue ink means low light plant, name in green means moderate light, name in red means high light. And every so often they have a "key" that says low light = under 2 wpg, moderate light = 2-3.5 wpg, high light = 3.5+ wpg) (or whatever, my numbers might be off a tad)
6. fully submersible heaters, not these cr*ppy ones that have to hang on the side of the tank
7. peat moss
8. specialized substrates like Eco-Complete (my favorite), fluorite, etc.
9. ghost shrimp, amano shrimp, cherry shrimp, perhaps others
10. variety of cory cats, especially some pygmy/dwarf corys, which are about the cutest fish on the face of the planet. (Note: please never lump a bunch of different cory species into one tank and sell them as "assorted" corys! grrrrrrr)
11. large 5-gallon buckets for doing water changes. (Yes, I know Home Depot sells them...but if I am a newbie aquarium owner, why should I have to shop anywhere else? This way you can sell them a siphon and a bucket at the same time. If you want, just go buy them from Home Depot and then re-sell them lol.)
12. small tanks (2.5 gal, 5 gal) including lids for them
13. red claw crabs, perhaps even those electric blue "lobsters" (crayfish)--with appropriate "we eat fish" warnings. ADF's and perhaps freshwater newts.
14. breeder nets, tank dividers, java moss and similar "fry" hideouts
15. Aquarium starter sets that YOU put together yourself so they have quality stuff, but that the overall price is still less than buying all the components individually. I am a newbie to this hobby and bought a starter set-up (29 gal) from PetSmart, I think the price was $109 and included the tank (all-glass), hood (single 20W fluorescent), filter (TopFin HOB), heater (100W by Aquarium Systems), and a small fish net. The problem is, the filter was a piece of garbage, so I ended up having to buy an AquaClear anyways, plus the heater is too small (should be 150W for a 29 gal tank) so I need to replace that too. Very frustrating! For someone "new" to fish, a starter kit already assembled is less intimidating to buy than trying to figure out everything individually, so if you could have starter kits that were of a high quality, I think it would sell.

A few general other thoughts...

1. The #1 factor in whether I will buy fish from a place is the condition of the fish in the tanks. Dead fish left in tanks is almost a guarantee I am not coming back to a place to buy anything, ever again.
2. Do not sell sick fish! At the lfs I go to most of the time, as soon as an employee notices ich (or whatever) on one of the fish in a tank, the whole tank is marked "NFS" (not for sale).
3. If there is a local tropical fish society, make contacts there. Perhaps offer to donate a few items so they can auction them off, just ask that it get mentioned where the stuff comes from. If the society issues membership cards, perhaps offer a small discount (5% or 10%) for purchases made at your store for anyone who shows a membership card. Also, if the society has a lot of members who regularly breed fish, that might be a nice source of new/unusual fish for your store--offer to buy up fry from some more unusual species (various killifish, etc.)
4. Whatever and however you list the fish, I hate it when all a lfs does is list the (common) name and a price. Please list the common name, the scientific name, price, and how long the fish gets at adulthood.
5. Do not sell dye-injected fish, and perhaps hang a sign explaining what dye-injected fish are and why you don't sell them. Especially if you are the only lfs in the area that has taken that position, I guarantee you will get some extra business because of it.
6. Another factor that determines a lot where my money goes as a consumer is the quality of the employees. There is only one place (out of about 10 around me) where the employees are *consistently* excellent in terms of the advice they give. All other things being equal, that is always the place I go and spend my money. And the thing it, it's not a fish-only store even, but a complete pet store (mom & pop, though, not a chain) that sells dogs, cats, birds, etc. Yet the employees in the fish section are by far better than even the employees at several fish-only stores in my area.

Well, you asked for ideas...there are mine! Hope it's not too much. :P
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Old 03-11-2005, 07:06 PM   #9
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Personally I wish the lfs had a larger variety of plecos. They only have the commons which I am sure can't be a good thing, occasionally they have odd mixed cories, and I second that you shouldn't have fish that grow to grand sizes such as bland catfish.

Definetely having a wide variety of plants would be awesome (my lfs only carry anacharis and swords).

I'll get back to yah after I roll this about in my head for a while.
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Old 03-11-2005, 07:25 PM   #10
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Just.. have people that know how to net fish!
Im sure you do but still. When i got a fish at petsmart he ended up killing two fish and having seven of them drop onto the floor >.<
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