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Old 12-06-2004, 10:09 PM   #1
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walmart fish and petsmart

i recently read somewhere that walmart sells fish, and disturbingly diseased and unheathy ones. this did not surprise me, i have seen for my self the terrible conditions and scrawny half-dead live stock they attempt to sell. But what surprised me was that the article said that "walmart's fish are worse than petsmarts fish, if that's possible." What's wrong with petsmart fish? i have fish from petsmart and all seem healthy and very well taken care off before their purchase. Maybe my local petsmart is above average? should i avoid petsmart?

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Old 12-06-2004, 10:21 PM   #2
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Avoid the superstores if at all possible. They really don't have a good history of "best practices when it comes to livestock.
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Old 12-06-2004, 10:26 PM   #3
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We have never had a problem with Petsmart but have had very bad problems with Petco. We now only have sw but had fw for 20 years and I always tell everyone to never buy from walmart. If the tank is full of dead fish there is usually a reason.
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Old 12-06-2004, 10:36 PM   #4
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It varies in all reality. I've never seen a good wal-mart fish department. But my local petsmart has a good selection, and were healthy when I was in there.
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Old 12-06-2004, 10:45 PM   #5
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SHop only at lfs, btw i just started a thread on walmart and fish cruelty, u just missed it.

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Old 12-06-2004, 10:47 PM   #6
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My petsmart usually has healthy fish and I was surpised by the variety they had. I have never seen a dead fish in there.
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Old 12-06-2004, 10:51 PM   #7
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i personally shop at the store that has the best quality for the best price, along with that the people/employees must be cutious and knowledgeable regardless of size or number of the stores. lfs can be as "bad" as some superstores and some superstores can be as great as lfs.
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Old 12-06-2004, 10:59 PM   #8
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We don't have too many chain pet stores up here in the north. I went to a Petsmart 2.5 hours away last weekend...and their fish looked pretty good. Looked much better than any Walmart fish department I had ever seen.

PetCo started putting a few stores in the area. The one 30 minutes north has a wonderful fish section, with a very knowledgeable staff. Never seen a dead of diseased fish in the place. The PetCo 30 minutes south is horrible!!! The fish section itself smells like rotting death. The number of dead fish in the tank is appauling! I do not even take my kids into the PetCo so they do not have to witness the horror.

What gets me is the water recycling that goes on in these chain stores. They all use the same water that circulates in every tank. Any fish get a disease...can spread to all tanks. Need to treat 1 fish...you treat the all the tanks. I can only imagine that these chain stores have antibiotics circulating throughout all of their tanks, including snails and shrimp...which do not tolerate antibiotics very well. The fact that the antibiotics are in the tanks are concerning, but what conerns me more is they probably only have a small fraction antibiotic that they need...and the best way to breed antibiotic resistance to provide a lower than needed level of antibiotic over a prolonged period of time....which is what these stores must do (again this is only an assumption...but the amounts of antibiotics to treat the 300-500 gallons of water that these places have must be enormous). I don't know if antibiotic resistance is a problem in fish...but it could happen.

One of my LFS has single tank setup...so they do not have to treat all tanks...just 1 tank if trouble arises. Which makes me more comfortable buying from there.
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Old 12-07-2004, 08:16 AM   #9
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I get my fish at PetsMart and (knock on wood) have never had a problem. A couple staff people there are very knowledgeable and have MTS at home.

It just depends on the individual store and staff. Like xxmoorishmanxx said, some chain stores can be great and some horrible, and the same goes for lfs. Not all lfs are good. Judge by what you see.
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Old 12-07-2004, 08:48 AM   #10
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IMO any store that has healthy well cared for stock should be supported. Consider it their reward for putting the time in.
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Old 12-07-2004, 11:15 AM   #11
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Understand that a store like Walmart is a department store for all practical purposes ... its not like they have pet training to work in the fish section. You might have a walmart with a tank junky working the section, or you could get some 16 yo who's never owned a pet in their life. It all depends.

But, I've bought fish from my walmart and never had any probs ... I've had a redtail shark from there for over 3 years now (5" and he's a beaut!) ... the most important thing is ... be smart about the fish you buy ... have some knowledge of what you're buying ... especially at a walmart type store where the salesperson isn't going to be reliable. Know the signs of healthy fish and healthy tanks.

I don't care if its your lfs, petsmart, petco or walmart ... if the tank looks sick or the fish aren't acting right ... don't buy from there, unless you have the desire to attempt to revive whatever you buy. I've seen some lfs that have crappy looking tanks & fish as well.
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Old 12-07-2004, 11:34 AM   #12
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I have some fish from petsmart and a LFS. I never thought petsmart was particularly great at keeping fish, but I got some ich from the LFS and I never have from petsmart. It was my fault though since I didn't inspect the fish as much as I should have I guess. I'd always try to support the LFS if possible since they need our business more then the chain store.
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Old 12-07-2004, 11:47 AM   #13
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What gets me is the water recycling that goes on in these chain stores. They all use the same water that circulates in every tank.
Is this true, or are you guessing? I often wondered myself, but since I have never seen "behind the scenes" I cannot make that assumption.
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Old 12-07-2004, 01:10 PM   #14
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Local Petco has unhealthy looking tanks.
Local Petsmart has a good variety and healthy fish. I have purchased quite a few from them. All are healthy.
Also have 3 local fish stores. Only one had all decent looking tanks. However, all of them had individual tanks which is reassuring from a disease standpoint. I have purchased from them also. I just browse around for the most part, but I have banned my local petco.
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Old 12-07-2004, 01:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by WhiteCloud
What gets me is the water recycling that goes on in these chain stores. They all use the same water that circulates in every tank. Any fish get a disease...can spread to all tanks. Need to treat 1 fish...you treat the all the tanks. I can only imagine that these chain stores have antibiotics circulating throughout all of their tanks, including snails and shrimp...which do not tolerate antibiotics very well. The fact that the antibiotics are in the tanks are concerning, but what conerns me more is they probably only have a small fraction antibiotic that they need...and the best way to breed antibiotic resistance to provide a lower than needed level of antibiotic over a prolonged period of time....which is what these stores must do (again this is only an assumption...but the amounts of antibiotics to treat the 300-500 gallons of water that these places have must be enormous). I don't know if antibiotic resistance is a problem in fish...but it could happen.
I run the aquatics department at my Petco, and I can say I'd be shocked if any Petco has a system like that.

The way ours is setup is that there are different sets of tanks. Usually a set is 2 or 3 tanks, with the same species being in all those tanks (or at least them all being in the same family). Medicating the fish never seems to be a problem, except for the few times a scaleless fish gets mixed in with everybody else.

Anyway, as far as petsmart, I haven't noticed anything HORRIBLE there. A few things I didn't like (why are there no tops on the tanks?, 40 oscars shoved in a 20 gallon tank), but its like that everywhere I go. I've never seen a walmart with a fish selection, and based on the stories, I'm glad I haven't yet.

I guess I should speak of Petco as well, being that I work there. I've seen some pretty nasty Petcos before, but at the same time, I like to think there are more good ones than bad ones. I run mine the best I can, in the limited time I have. It's hard to taking care of 12 salt water tanks, 1 brackish tank, plus 70 or so freshwater tanks in just 35 to 40 hours a week. I get a little help from my co-workers, but its hard finding people who understand things like water chemistry, salinity levels, and even compatibility. Usually things go pretty well with my department, but even I'll admit I've had a few problems in the past (**** feeder goldfish).
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Old 12-07-2004, 02:24 PM   #16
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i bought a load of fish about a week ago, some from my lfs and some, that i couldnt get at the lfs, from wal-mart. all in all i got 10 fish, 6 lfs, 4 walmart. i lost a cory cat due to gill disease 3 days later. where do you think that cory came from?

the lfs, which i have never had a problem with since they opened 4 years ago.
i haven't had any problems from walmart in the entire six years i have been buying fish there.

things like that happen, but as long as the retailer keeps clean tanks and healthy fish even the biggest retailer can keep things like this to a minimum.
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Old 12-07-2004, 04:03 PM   #17
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DanW, it just goes to show that it just has to do with who is running the tanks rather than what the sign over the door says. I refuse to go into Wal Mart for non-fish-related philosophical reasons, but apart from that, I'd just go where the fish are looked after best, even if it's more expensive.
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Old 12-07-2004, 04:34 PM   #18
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When I first started my aquarium I got some rotten advice and some diseased fish from my local petsmart. Problem was I didn't really know any better at the time. When I got the fish they looked fine to me but within a day or so I started having problems. When I went back to the petsmart to get a water testing kit and a bunch of random stuff like aquarium salt, it was obvious that the fish at the Petsmart were suffering from the same thing as the one's I had taken home. What was worse, it wasn't just the tank I got mine from which was the platies, it was over 2/3s of the FW tanks. That came to over 20 infected tanks, so something wasn't right there.

That being said, I went back a little while ago and it turns out they hired a new manager for the department and the tanks look great! Fish look really happy, if a little crowded. I'm a little pissed that they don't tell people how big knife fish get but other than that, I don't have a beef with them anymore.

So petsmarts are highly variable I guess.
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Old 12-07-2004, 06:03 PM   #19
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of my six platies, four came from petsmart. the other two I bought from a little neighborhood shop. I'm new to this so I'm learning what to look out for as I go- however, my petsmart fish seem much healthier.. one of the two I bought at the little store died within 24 hours. I also just realized some catfish I bought at the smaller store were incorrectly labeled. now I have no idea what kind of fish I actually have on my hands. basically, I'd say petsmart's quality and service was far superior to the other store. walmart, I'd avoid first on principle.. they dont take even take good care of their employees so I wouldnt expect they'd take good care of their fish...
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Old 12-07-2004, 06:47 PM   #20
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My local Petsmart has a pretty good set up. The area has an ample supply of late teens, early twenties fish geeks that think a position in the fish department at petsmart is THE COOLEST part time job around. Which it is, compared to being a retail zombie at the all too many strip malls and megastores of the area. Compared to most of the LFS's, the Petsmart teenage fish geek is happier and willing to spend more time chatting with you. LFS employees around here are usually staffed by an owner and his/her overworked relatives, who just seem to have lost some of the enthusiasm over the last few decades, and can't afford to let the other guy walk out without buying something while they chat to you.

As far as the tanks and livestock, I have not had any problems, and end up stocking my tank about 30% petsmart and 70% LFS.

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