How was your last LFS experience?

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Lost in the Sauce

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Definitely have to check it out. What was the store?

And sorry you have to deal with that, terrible. I bought a orange spotted goby from there and it was already stressed out before buying. 3 days later it died. It's a shame because I traded a very healthy clown fish for him too.
The Aquarium Connection is the LFS I roll hard for her in Simi
 

Ardeus

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My last LFS experience was 7 months ago, when I went to get a confirmed male filefish for my tank. I found out that the nearest LFS from me is in another country and it was the first time I went there.

From now on, I will only go to a LFS again to get frozen food.

I don't plan to buy another coral ever and I'm determined to not get another fish at least until I lose half of my fish population.
 

MarshallB

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My last LFS visit was disappointing. For fish selection the owner normally only orders enough fish to sell over the weekend ( shipments on fridays ) and most reefers in the area know this so there usually isn't many fish left by Saturday. The coral selection has been very limited in the last few months as well.

However, the store is the biggest in my area and they do a fantastic job on keeping everything clean and clear. Everyone is very knowledgeable and if an employee doesn't know an answer they will call the owner to find out.

Their coral prices are pretty great too. They do not individually price corals, they just have 3 price points. $25, $50, $70. Every now and then they will stick a colony up for sale and those sometimes go up to $399.
 
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MaxTremors

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I have three lfs near me. They’re all just okay in terms of their stock. One is way over priced, the other has inconsistent pricing (they don’t post their prices and every employee tells you a different price), and the other is run by QAnon crazies who tried to shame me for wearing a mask a few months ago (even though there’s a county-wide mandate… so that one’s out). And then there’s Petco, which is just awful.
 

James_O

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My LFS is awesome! The owner is a super knowledgeable guy and he is very friendly. Him and I have conducted business in the past and he was very open to it! I have never had a bad experience at my LFS.

Their saltwater section is a bit smaller than their freshwater section, but they have an amazing selection of corals and fish:
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I’ll have to remember to get more pictures next time I go!
 

Arcite

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The people in my two LFSs are really nice, but they don't carry a lot of captive-bred fish and they've never been able to order stuff for me.

The prices on places like saltwateraquarium.com, Algae Barn, and Live Aquaria are on par with the LFS but they have a wider selection and rewards programs. As much as I normally "shop local," this is one instance where I do not.
 

MERKEY

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In the Seattle area as well....

Saltwater city
Seaking
Seattle corals
Barrier reef
Unrivaled reef
Rogue aquariums

All have their hot spots.

We hit the 1st four up each week just to stop in and shoot the sh it.

Saltwater city with Trev, Jacob and Sidney (sorry I'm misspelling her name) are the ones that hooked us up with the tank we have now so they hold a special place in our hearts. We get our pods and most of our weekly maintenance stuff from them.

Nima at Seattle corals is really fun to talk to and he does get in some of the things no one else around does. Just gotta inspect everything as he gets A LOT OF CORAL in each week. Tons of fish selection. He also has all the equipment you could ask for.

Chris, Krista and Paige at seaking are really cool people! K&P have a phyto business and their stuff is really good, we get it when ever we go over. Chris gets some really nice corals in and he's a really nice guy to be around.

Barrier reef with CY and Jeff is where our torch addiction started. They have a dragon soul in there little tank that got me HOOKED! Took almost 2 years to get Jeff to cut a frag but he did :) can't wait to see the new HUGE tank with the remodeling they have don. love those guys!

Unrivaled reef and rogue aquariums are newer and just starting but they seem to really have a good thing going. I haven't been to these 2 yet but plan to start now that they are going strong.

Unrivaled reef does appointments and I believe they finally opened ther doors :)

We are definitely blessed to be in such a great place with amazing shops so close to each other!
 
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oregongrownreef

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My LFS rarely gets my business for saltwater now. I still trade in corals for credit in case something does pop up, but I'll never buy a fish from their disease ridden tanks again. In fact, I'll never buy a fish from anyone other than one of the online quarantine vendors. TSM Aquatics is probably my favorite for fish. If I want coral, I'm going up to Cuttlefish and Corals in Portland. Still somewhat "local". It's an hour drive, but worth it for me.
 

BlyGuy

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I have a few stores in my area but I’ve only made it to one so far (the other two have baffled me when I tried to figure out where they are lol)

But my go to (The Reef Indy) has never disappointed. They’ve actually talked me out of buying certain pieces of gear in favor of less expensive but better suited pieces. They’ve also been expanding their coral and fish selection.

oh and their weekend manager puts up with me sometimes texting him out of the blue with questions.

all in all I’m happy they’re around and I’m happy to give them my business
I’m going to have to disagree with this one. As an Indianapolis local I can’t say that I am a fan of The Reef. I know many others who feel the same way. Their prices are at least around 20% higher for most of their saltwater livestock than other places in town without any legitimate justification. Personally I make the drive all of the way to central Illinois for most of my reefing needs (The Coral Crib). Not to mention I don’t have the time to wait around for over an hour for one of their employees to come and assist me. Modern Aquatix on the south side of Indianapolis has been pretty good as well. You should check them out if you haven’t.
 

BeltedCoyote

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I’m going to have to disagree with this one. As an Indianapolis local I can’t say that I am a fan of The Reef. I know many others who feel the same way. Their prices are at least around 20% higher for most of their saltwater livestock than other places in town without any legitimate justification. Personally I make the drive all of the way to central Illinois for most of my reefing needs (The Coral Crib). Not to mention I don’t have the time to wait around for over an hour for one of their employees to come and assist me. Modern Aquatix on the south side of Indianapolis has been pretty good as well. You should check them out if you haven’t.

That’s fair. I’ve clearly had a different experience. YMMV and all that. Modern Aquatix is on the southside huh? No wonder I couldn’t find them. Google maps told me they were down the road from the reef
 

Jen1978

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I have to drive a minimum of an hour to get to a LFS. The one I frequent the most has a great selection of fish. They don't sell from a tank that appears to have a fish that slightly doesn't feel well. The last visit was on a weekend. The young man that helped me I think was there for a paycheck. Didn't seem knowledgeable unlike the weekday crew. They lack in coral variety though.

I tried a different LFS recently. While they seemed to be nice people they really lacked in both fish and interesting corals.

The third on my list was over an hour and a half away. They have a great coral selection with not a great fish selection. Also not the nicest person working there. He is not very attentive and would rather play on his phone. He has numerous poor reviews for his attitude towards customers.

I wish I lived in Florida. I hear you all have several great places.
 

Quillinm

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I would have to be say that my biggest problem with my LFS is there fish qt process. I have stores around that don't qt but will replace fish if it dies with then 48 hours especially if they have only had it a day or two. Then i have stores that put fish in medicated tanks from the time they come in but will sell them out of tank the day they came which really isn't medicating them long enough to do anything. They do offer a 3 day warranty but if something happens they want to test your water and try to find any reason to not warranty them. I feel like if that's how is going to be then don't offer warranty. Then there stores that won't do anything and don't really care but the fish at all. They'll tell you it's eating well and doing good but the day after you bring it home it has ich. You walk in the next day and look at the tank you bought it out of and every fish in the tank has ich so obviously that fish already had it. A day later it dies and they so o well sorry for your loss. Fish aren't cheap and they are a pets so I think they should be treated as such. I get that you can set up a qt tank in your own home but not every can or has the know how to successfully implement the process or the skill level. I know people who have tried and killed more fish by trying to qt them themselves. When they would have had better luck dump and praying. I just think LFS should take more time to medicate fish at least for 3 or 4 days before they sell them. To make sure there as healthy as possible. I still like my LFS but just wish they took some time give quality and not just turn and burn livestock.
 
Zoanthids

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Great! Love em.

New owners in late 2020-2021 at my closest legit LFS are cutting teeth in an amazing warehouse facility (always run by enthusiasts for the last 10 years - if not always businessmen). Total honesty... quotes: "that fish is not eating yet... give it two weeks.. it's just pick and spit right now", "weather and shipping is brutal.. come back in a few weeks - we are mostly re-arranging right now".

Still... always, something amazing to see or buy.

And... if they say that a fish came in from a local reefer that is acclimated to tank life... it is a fish that came in from a local reefer that is acclimated to tank life.

The QT area and established fish area is very clear. If you insist.. they will tell you - look, this fish is at 1.017 right now and sitting in a medicated tank. Or... if they say it has been there for three weeks and eats like a pig... it has been there for three weeks and eats like a pig.

And... if you want that whole colony... established fish... and they believe you know what you are doing and will take responsibility if it does not work out (and know what it's worth)... I can work out a deal. Because... I know them.. and they know me.

Still... if you are a total idiot with a ton of money that overstates your abilities and experience - you could probably get yourself into some disappointment! There is no money back guarantee or anything like that implied.
 
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Double monti 61

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Aptasia I see it in the tanks of local shops they may have nice coral but when I see aptasia growing on them why would I want to buy one?
 

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oregongrownreef

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I would have to be say that my biggest problem with my LFS is there fish qt process. I have stores around that don't qt but will replace fish if it dies with then 48 hours especially if they have only had it a day or two. Then i have stores that put fish in medicated tanks from the time they come in but will sell them out of tank the day they came which really isn't medicating them long enough to do anything. They do offer a 3 day warranty but if something happens they want to test your water and try to find any reason to not warranty them. I feel like if that's how is going to be then don't offer warranty. Then there stores that won't do anything and don't really care but the fish at all. They'll tell you it's eating well and doing good but the day after you bring it home it has ich. You walk in the next day and look at the tank you bought it out of and every fish in the tank has ich so obviously that fish already had it. A day later it dies and they so o well sorry for your loss. Fish aren't cheap and they are a pets so I think they should be treated as such. I get that you can set up a qt tank in your own home but not every can or has the know how to successfully implement the process or the skill level. I know people who have tried and killed more fish by trying to qt them themselves. When they would have had better luck dump and praying. I just think LFS should take more time to medicate fish at least for 3 or 4 days before they sell them. To make sure there as healthy as possible. I still like my LFS but just wish they took some time give quality and not just turn and burn livestock.
I feel this so hard. I bought a fish from my lfs that died within 24 hours. If the fish can't handle 1 transfer with only a 10 minute wait before its acclimating, then it shouldn't be sold. I drip acclimated for an hour. I went back the next day to get a refund/credit, and they told me I couldn't because I didn't quarantine the fish...
 

Tamberav

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At least you know it’s there so you can remove it and QT or keep an eye. When I go to frag swaps the plugs look clean but I put them in a coral QT and a few weeks later they got all sorts of bad hitchikers popping up.

That’s how people get stuff in their tank... it’s not what you can see. It is what you can’t.
Aptasia I see it in the tanks of local shops they may have nice coral but when I see aptasia growing on them why would I want to buy one?
 

G Santana

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My first two fish were purchased from a LFS and were in relatively good shape, I have been back a few times which included yesterday. There are only a few saltwater tanks and a limited selection, but yesterday several fish in all the tanks had ich, I saw the owner, made small talk and walked out.
He knows better and chose to put infected fish in his tanks rather than QTing the infected.
I wish the LFS were like in the 80s oh well.
 
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