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Old 01-25-2022, 07:51 PM   #1
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What happened to the aquarium hobby ?

I am again living in the town that I grew up in.....population about 20.000 and only about 50 miles up the Hudson from NY City.

I remember when I first got into Aquariums in the 1970s
There was about 4 privately owned Aquarium shops in town that had most every kind if fish that was popular Back then.
There was also a couple of pet shops that sold birds, reptile etc as well as fish..

I recently go back into aquariums after a long absence. .

Today, there is not single privately owned pet shop or aquarium shop in the entire area
All we have is a "Pet Smart" and "Petco" . both on the the out skirts of town where all the malls are........and their fish depts are jokes.

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Old 01-25-2022, 08:07 PM   #2
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Here in the UK aquarium stores are based around garden centres.

Im lucky to have one of the UKs leading aquarium stores within 10 minutes drive. Privately owned, full of people who know what they are doing. Healthy fish and a great selection.

A chain of aquarium stores called Maidenhead Aquatics can be found in most mid size plus garden centres. Kind of a halfway house between the privately owned stores and the chain pet stores. Really cool places to walk round, reasonably knowledgeable staff. Absurdly expensive. But it does mean you are never too far away from a good store when you need one.

Then there is Pets at Home which is our largest pet store chain. I suppose kind of like your petco or pet smart. Nothing wrong with anything you buy from there, healthy fish, everything competitively priced, limited range of fish and equipment. Staff dont know anything though.

All these places have their place i suppose. What i do find is generally the privately owned stores are often poorly run here, unhealthy fish etc. These are the places i would never buy a fish from. I was in manchester last week, and found an exotic pet store in the city. Way too many dead fish on display, which i brought to their attention. Maybe it was just an off day, i think they were short staffed. They did have some really cool bettas though, and their reptile collection was amazing.
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Old 01-25-2022, 09:42 PM   #3
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I should add that the privately owned Aquarium shops in the '70s- '80s that I spoke of were all expertly run.
After all, it was most likely their hobby also and it was their business and, livelihood at stake. People most always go into business about something they know well and like

Yes, they were in the business to make money from the general. public but also catered to the more knowledgeable Aquarium hobbyist..

I am reminded of an incident back then. I had bought about my first real Aquarium piece meal from him, choosing all the lowest priced items, and set it up...even added a few fish.eventually
However I was having much trouble with the cheap heater I got from him.
So I eventually went back to him about it and said "I need a good heater" describing the trouble I was having trouble with cheap one I got.

He said that he was glad to hear that I wanted something good and started to treat me a bit differently than just another know nothing customer..... things like.he began to steer me away from fish that would be no good for a community tank, etc

Be contrast, Pet Smart and Petco could not care less about what they sold..
Also all they are ever sure to have are :glo fish and Bettas..
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Old 01-26-2022, 02:42 AM   #4
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Glofish are illegal here. Apart from photos on places like here, ive never seen one. Upto a £15000 fine and 10 years jail for keeping and selling them.
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Old 01-26-2022, 03:00 AM   #5
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What happened to the aquarium hobby ?

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Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
Here in the UK aquarium stores are based around garden centres.

A chain of aquarium stores called Maidenhead Aquatics can be found

I was in manchester last week, and found an exotic pet store in the city. Way too many dead fish on display, which i brought to their attention. Maybe it was just an off day, i think they were short staffed. They did have some really cool bettas though, and their reptile collection was amazing.

Garden centres are a great bet to find fish.

I agree the Manchester exotic stores (there are a couple) are pretty poor.

By contrast, my local maidenhead isnít that great for fish either.

This Maidenhead and another store further out which is by far the best for supplies and hardware have TDS measurements of over 800ppm. I measure the bags they come in. Fish always without fail die from these stores after being placed in my tanks which is around 100ppm TDS.

Coincidentally my local Ďmom and popí store have the dirtiest looking tanks yet the best looking fish and they make the transition perfectly. Needless to say their source water is the same as mine. As too the pets at home store. All stores are on the same water supply so goodness knows what is driving the other stores TDS up but it canít be good.

I think online is one of the major causes and the hobby has turned its attention to planted tanks. People get their advice from online videos etc and are wiser when it comes to some of the products. Filters, lights and heaters can be sourced online quite quickly with tons of reviews often cheaper due to less overheads. Fish are shipped also nowadays.

I think to survive as a local store these days you need to be unique. Build up a reputation for the quality of your fish and plants. I think the competition forces some store in to corner cutting and false advice in order to sell products. You just canít get away with it these days.
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Old 01-26-2022, 09:08 PM   #6
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I’m fortunate to have a local store here in the States that’s been in business over 40 years. It’s a quality and knowledgeable staff.
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Old 01-27-2022, 04:53 PM   #7
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I have been searching locally for a third "Panda Cory catfish" for months locally but no one one had one.
I finally had to have one shipped from Florida. . Fortunately, it was great dealer.. It was well packed and it arrived safely in NY State
However it was expensive for a Cory of course

BTW, Although Coirys are not really schooling fish, the do like some of their kind around and will often feed together before going their separate ways
Also they are right at home feeding on (small) gravel as well as on sand .

Now, I am still searching for a (fourth) "Harlequin Rasbiora" that no one locally has.. At least least I found some that are available about 25 miles away...
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Old 01-27-2022, 04:59 PM   #8
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And im having trouble getting rid of panda corys. Everyone i know who keeps fish now has at least 6 of mine. My LFS is going to give me store credit for a dozen or so when i get a day off mid week and can take them round. Spotted some more babies earlier in the week.
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Old 01-27-2022, 08:21 PM   #9
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Here in the US, the are very few privately owned LFS left, except in major cities

The national "big box" pet stores, "Pert Smart" and "Petco "have driven most all of them out of business and they will not take any fish from customers
They are just hired, mostly know nothing idiots and can not do anything they are not told do.... like maybe take a customer's fish
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Old 01-29-2022, 01:33 PM   #10
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Here in the US, the are very few privately owned LFS left, except in major cities
There was a time, about 35 to 40-years ago, when Chicago border wards had family owned LFS's every few blocks. Not all of them were good but most were interesting. Chicago still has the mighty Old Town Aquarium. They've even managed to grow a good bit. OTA now does home maintenance, all manner of hardware sourcing and the most stunning collection of suitable marine life in Northern Illinois. All this and the store is tiny compared to Petco, etc.
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Old 02-13-2022, 11:47 PM   #11
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Things are definitely different these days. Long gone are the days of multiple mom and pop shops on every block.

Unfortunately the cost of everything has gone up so much, people just became obsessed in saving a buck. Which, can’t blame them, especially when it comes to hobby supplies! But that saving a couple bucks at the big box store drove most of the mom and pop shops out of business, the people that were into the hobby, the people that knew what they were talking about and the products they sold.

Now we have big box stores that can sell it to you for 10% less, and they’ll also sell you a couple clown loaches or a few red tail sharks to put in a 10gal and say it’s fine!

I’m in the same boat here. We don’t even have a local store in our town of 20,000. I have to drive 4hr round trip just to get to a petsmart! Maybe some chain stores have decent employees but this one was trying to sell a couple red tail sharks to a lady that had a 20g tank with a bunch of platys in it. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, I had to pipe up and blow that sale, that just wasn’t going to end well.

Unfortunately Big box stores are the only option for most things but I also try to go through the classifieds and support any locals when I can and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’m not personally a fan of buying used aquariums, but I have absolutely no issue buying fish, plants and other items from locals when possible. Those definitely can’t be in any worse shape than anything you’ll buy at the box box store
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Old 02-14-2022, 09:21 PM   #12
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Back in the aquarium stores of the 70's our local store had amazing fancy guppies.

When I started looking at stores for Guppies maybe 10 years ago, I was shocked that these fish were sub par for the most part, no comparison.

My suggestion is for you to check for the closest Aquarium Society. Many clubs have in person meetings, some are online. You can meet some seasoned and excited fish keepers, and make good friends.

If they don't meet in person for meetings atm, you can certainly email and they should be able to steer you to someone in the club which has/ raises the type of fish you are looking for.
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Old 02-15-2022, 12:52 PM   #13
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FWIW......
I just got a fourth Hariquin Rasboras for my 10 gal tank..

No one locally had any for a while
So I had to travel about 30 miles to a different Pet Smart that had them

At least now, (with my other fish) my tank is fully stocked.. . .
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Old 02-15-2022, 07:39 PM   #14
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Glofish are illegal here. Apart from photos on places like here, ive never seen one. Upto a £15000 fine and 10 years jail for keeping and selling them.
I'm fascinated by this. What led to this law? I'd love to see these go out of style here in the US. They're carrying ugly Glo-bettas at my local petsmart now too...
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Old 02-15-2022, 07:53 PM   #15
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Glo Fish are banned in California and in some other countries, all for basically the same reason

"To approve the sales (of Glo Fish) in California, the commissioners would have had to make an exception to rules adopted earlier this year that restrict transgenic fish to scientific researchers who obtain permits and prove that their gene-alerted fish cannot escape into the wild or pose a danger to the environment.
The commissioners seemed less concerned about any environmental risk than the ethical concerns of altering the genes for the pleasure of pet owners".
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Old 02-16-2022, 02:46 AM   #16
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I'm fascinated by this. What led to this law? I'd love to see these go out of style here in the US. They're carrying ugly Glo-bettas at my local petsmart now too...
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Glo Fish are banned in California and in some other countries, all for basically the same reason

"To approve the sales (of Glo Fish) in California, the commissioners would have had to make an exception to rules adopted earlier this year that restrict transgenic fish to scientific researchers who obtain permits and prove that their gene-alerted fish cannot escape into the wild or pose a danger to the environment.
The commissioners seemed less concerned about any environmental risk than the ethical concerns of altering the genes for the pleasure of pet owners".
This. Its not a ban on glofish per se, but a ban on GM fish in general. The ban is EU wide, and even though we are no longer in the EU we retained all EU law when we left. We could now remove that particular law, i believe we are now looking at which EU laws we no longer want to retain, but i would hope they have other priorities rather than allowing glofish sale.
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Old 02-16-2022, 12:56 PM   #17
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This. Its not a ban on glofish per se, but a ban on GM fish in general....
Yes. that is what I posted.
I posted a quote from California simply because they summed it up nicely .and I live in the US

The laws may very in each country but the reasons for the bans are all basically for the same reasons
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Old 02-16-2022, 01:17 PM   #18
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Nice you found the H. Rasbora. It a good point when things can begin to settle in. Then you'll likely want to make little improvements. And the fun continues!!!
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Old 02-16-2022, 03:45 PM   #19
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Yes....

With 4 Rasboras, 7 Neon tetras, 3 Panda Copry cats ...they are all living peacefully, in harmony with each other... in my fully planted tank. They all really seem to thrive and like the home that I provided for them .

With weekly 3 gal water changes and careful feeding. Nittate levels are now down to a great level.

This pic was taken about a month a ago but it still looks very much the same.

EDIT....
At my local Petco store's website, I had given my e-mail to Petco for them to notify me when they had the Harlequins available,
Just today I got an e-mail from them that informed me that they now had them..
So, out of just curiosity, I checked the local Petco store web site..
Yes Petco had them. but.... by mail order only for a grand total tot of over $35
What big joke they are,
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Old 02-16-2022, 10:07 PM   #20
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Darn. That's a big lot of money! But if things get stable in the tank I would think, in the future you could add a couple more. They have a most beautiful color and love a cozy group.

Sounds like they will be pretty happy. The water changing will certainly help them be as healthy as possible.
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