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Old 02-05-2006, 04:15 PM   #1
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Where to go fishing?

I have been reading many posts here to get suggestions for fish for my 20 gal aquarium which, thanks to help from many of you, I am taking through its first cycle. So, I'm not ready to add fish yet but I'm taking advantage of the time to really think through what I want in the tank.

Here is the question. What are the dos and don'ts for where you buy fish? I have a local acquarium-only store but to be honest I have found their selection to be not that great for freshwater. I have many chain stores like PetSmart, Petco in the area but not sure it is safe to purchase from them. Is it really a viable option to purchase online and have fished shipped?

Perhaps a basic question but hey, I'm new to this and aloud to ask obvious and stupid questions for a while, right?

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Old 02-05-2006, 04:24 PM   #2
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The first step is to inspect the tanks of the fish you want. Make sure it is clean, no diseases visible or lethargic fish, free of detrius, algae and accumulated gunk.

Inspect the fish's activity and do this for awhile. Select the healthiest fish and make sure they catch the exact one(s) you want. Keep an eye on the entire process of netting and placing into the fish bag. If something seems amiss or you have doubts, cancel your request and move on.
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Old 02-05-2006, 04:32 PM   #3
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To add to JC's advice, ask a couple of questions that you have already researched. For example, ask if it is ok to keep Bala sharks in a 20 gal tank. If they say yes, then don't ever ask them for advice again. If they say no and give a valid explanation, you may have found a gem. But for fish imparticular, avoid tanks with dead fish or any fish that look suspicous. Ask when they received the fish. If it is recent, do not purchase from the tank. New arrivals are generally still under stress. Bagging them and taking them home will just add to it.
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:42 AM   #4
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I'd say avoid fish which look like they have frayed or tattered fins. If they look queezy, week, or pale, also avoid buying them. Look for things like fungas, fin rots, ich(white spots), parasites such as ticks, etc. Check for any abnormalities such as bulges or lumps in wierd places.

I remember hearing something about checking their bellies. I can't remember what it was. Something to do with it being a healthy white and not pink or something.

PetsMart will only get their fish from sources they know they can trust, so they claim. They do not accept babies from local hobbiests.

IMO, never buy any fish which have been dyed. These fish are usually marketed as names with the words "painted" prefixed to them or something fruitty like "fruitloop," "strawberry," or "blueberry" etc. They may look pretty, but it's not pretty how they get them to look that way.
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Old 02-06-2006, 06:41 PM   #5
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I think you can buy from chain stores .... just make sure you find a good one. Even within the same city, different stores within the same chain can be different. I'd go visit the store several times, checking for neglect, disease, etc. I will buy from a chain store if they show good care of their fish over at least a few weeks' worth of inspections. Pass on the entire store if you find ANY disease in ANY tank that is not immediately attended to.

I would also QT a chain store fish for longer periods as well (2-3 weeks minimum).

I've never ordered fish on line .... but if you have a good lfs, you can ask them to special order fish for you. Even if the lfs has poor selection, they might have good contacts of where to get good stock & established shipping methods.
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