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Old 02-14-2005, 10:13 PM   #1
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starting a fish store

I am not sure where to post this, so here it is. I have been trying to find info in the internet about opening a fish store. I mean salt and fresh fish/inverts/etc... no birds, dogs etc..Does anyone know of good links, or have good advice for me? I would greatly appreciate any advice. This is just the beginning of my research.. Hopefully I will be able to hit it big and make myself and many aquarists happy!!! Thank you.
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-50gal tank
-20gal tall sump / refugium.
-About 15-20 lbs of live rock
-60 lbs (3") of sand.
-2x65w power compact lights
-2x18w power compact in the refug.
-bak pak 2R
-3 LARGE feather dusters all differebt colors
-orange spotted goby
-fire fish
-12 or so hermits
-50-60 nassairus snails
-about 12 turno snails
-emrald crab
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:38 PM   #2
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Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com!!!
For staters, you are going to need some water Actually, I do not know much about opening a fish store, but I can tell you what I look for in a good LFS. First off, product and livestock knowledge is paramount. If you and your staff are not educated you will not do well. Customer service should also be of the highest priority. In this day of large chain stores with low prices, providing excellent customer service can help you win over customers. I choose to shop at "mon and pop" stores because of the friendly service and great education. I could save a little money by frequentling the Petcos and Petsmarts of the world but they are lacking in these two most important areas. I also look for cleanliness of the store, the tanks and the general condition of the livestock. I ussually only buy from store that have all of their tanks on their own seperate filtration system. I try to avoid shops that have several tanks on one filtering loop. IF one tank gets a parasite or has a problem, they are all effected. Lastly, try to offer a wide variety of livestock and dry goods. That is it. I wish you all the luck in your venture...Lando
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:54 PM   #3
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I also look for cleanliness of the store, the tanks and the general condition of the livestock. I ussually only buy from store that have all of their tanks on their own seperate filtration system. I try to avoid shops that have several tanks on one filtering loop
Agreed. My major thing is clenliness of the store. Filtration is another big thing! Product and Livestock knowledge as well. If you don't know, be honest!

As for your research, you really need to know what the local market is like. Talk to the BBB, and other Small Business groups in your community. Do your market research.

As for product, once you find what your market wants contact the manufacturers and find what distributors they recomend. My LFS gets their products from a company called Lone Star Pets. I googled them and couldn't find the exact company, but when I go in next i'll ask them.
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Old 02-15-2005, 12:49 AM   #4
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I'll tell you Lando, if I had a lfs that had the experience, quality, and cleanliness a fish store should have, I would shop there before going online. I just don't have that luxury here.

Mike
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:24 AM   #5
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How many tanks will you have room for. ID the # of SW tanks and fresh water. What sizes?

40 & 50g tanks might be the choice of SW tanks IMO. And since I do SW, I can only offer opinions on those. My buddy has the 40 & 50g breeder tanks. Usually 6 or so are sharing water and filtration. Gotta account for your fish only tanks which should probably have an amount of copper running thru them. Of course the snails, crabs, starfish, and coral tanks won't.

A lot depends on yur floor space. I'd recommend working very thouroughly with a floor plan, laying out space and tank needs, deciding on safe wiring routines, looking at the plans for a bit, and thinking it through. Nothing like buiklding stuff and then having to sacrifice something 'cause you overlooked something. Kinda like the "measure twice, cut once" rule.

How much space you talkin?

Also, my buddy doesn't do too bad with the stock sales, but really cleans up with maintenance contracts for homes. Two trucks out there almost everyday. Also, he recently put a display tank (with hardy fish) in the lobby of a major movie theatre - w/advertisement. That was good move.

Start looking for seminars and aquarium discussion forums near you. Attend as many as you can IMO. Good luck.
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Old 02-15-2005, 09:08 AM   #6
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Some things you may want to consider...first, search the internet for how to write a business plan and create one that makes sense for your store. It doesn't have to be a huge project, but the concepts it forces you to address can be enlightening. It's much more fun to think about fish and inverts than liability insurance, but both need to be addressed. After that, some market research ensuring your local market could/would support the store might be in order. Check out the competition to see where you could do better. The existence of local reef or freshwater clubs could not only be an indicator of potential demand, but could be tremendous resources. It's likely some members have considered this or actually done it. Most small business owners are happy to help, as long as you don't plan to locate near them! All the other suggestions you're receiving here are on the mark. Good luck.
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Old 02-15-2005, 09:30 AM   #7
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Oh yeah. The business plan. This can be a fun hobby, and something you might think would be profitable - until you get it on paper. I agree whole heartedly with the business plan development. Lay it all out - including the logistical stuff I mentioned earlier. This will take a lot.

The business plan will work for the banks - and you. Get it on paper. Think about it. Then, think some more.
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Old 02-15-2005, 09:36 AM   #8
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Hopefully I will be able to hit it big and make myself and many aquarists happy!!! Thank you.

Please move to NY and open your store here in Poughkeepsie.

PM me for directions if you need them.
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 02-15-2005, 10:36 AM   #9
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also have a big sw and fw display tank so it gives your customers and beginnning aquarist something to look foward to doing and some inspritiation for those who want to do it
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Old 02-15-2005, 10:42 AM   #10
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also have a big sw and fw display tank so it gives your customers and beginnning aquarist something to look foward to doing and some inspritiation for those who want to do it
Yep. I forgot to mention the 180g tanks. Maybe one each for both display and the larger fish you might need to house for sellin'. All in the floor plan layout I wuz mentioning earlier.
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