I think having the competition is good. It keeps lousy LFS
from screwing people over. All it takes is a few bad experiences to make someone 100% online only.
My first ever experience with a LFS
was terrible. Despite a 2 hour acclimation, and completely cycled tank, I watched my first two clowns ($40.00 total) die within the first week! The LFS
would not return calls or emails about it. Later I find out they were getting fish from a crappy local breeder and had stopped doing business with them. Me? Still out $40.00!!!!!!!
I was heartbroken to watch those cute things die! I then found a much better place, but stick to corals with them. I get my fish online from places with guarantees. I did get a strawberry baslet from the LFS
that is doing great! But after my neon goby died, and had to deal with problems before he even went into his tank, thats the last fish I buy locally. That was A LOT of money down the drain as he was $20.00 and then I had to go out and buy meds and everything to treat him. Gosh what a waste of money. They dont guarantee anything, just offer low prices and know that 90% of the time things are better than anywhere else. Oh well...Corals only...
It IS hard to know if someone knew what they were doing or just tossed the fish into an uncycled tank. Id stick to selling on forums where you know you can trust, for the most part, the customers. Like you said, you cant absorb the hit when an idiot kills the fish.
will have to figure out something to stay competitive! I have gotten my nicest stuff from online! MUCH cheaper too...