Is the Local Fish Store more or less important today?

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by revhtree, Jan 11, 2019.

?
  1. is more important

    109 vote(s)
    52.9%
  2. is less imporatnt

    56 vote(s)
    27.2%
  3. not less or not more important than any other time

    41 vote(s)
    19.9%
  1. that Reef Guy

    that Reef Guy Frag Swap Crusader! R2R Supporter

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    It is alot less stressful on a fish if you buy from an LFS and Drive it Home in 5 Minutes than Ordering it Online from across the country.

    Sure they may replace the dead fish online but if you put it in your tank and it has something and that spreads and kills your other fish will the online store replace those dead fish? No

    So I would not consider it a wash.

    I would rather see the fish in person and make sure it is healthy and one I like.

    Even if the fish online was healthy what if you didn't like the way it looked? I looked at 20 Flame Angel at LFS's in the past to get the one with the nicest pattern and color. Can't do that online.
     

  2. vetteguy53081

    vetteguy53081 Well known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    They are an important outlet for the hobbyist.
    I owned a full line pet store for years and many customers were happy to want something ordered on a personal level and get the info they were seeking. Most important were having questions that were answered accurately and having a feeling of knowing what they were buying and why.
    Mail order has great pricing but little to offer on consumer info when a customer is researching an item or future need. On LFS level, I prefer to see the fish, watch it eat then take it home to tank within an hour or two rather than hoping it arrives safely or even alive, then hope it eats and has no body or fin damage.
     
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  3. Tanglover11

    Tanglover11 Member

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    In the Denver area I feel lucky to have three very good local fish stores. One is beyond excellent. It is extremely important to have them around. I can always tap into the wealth of knowledge that I get from getting to know the owners and share my knowledge with them too. Plus it’s always fun to browse their tanks for that one fish or coral you just can’t live without!
     
  4. Jomama

    Jomama Marine fish monthly R2R Supporter

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    I wish I could say most important but I travel a lot for work and the local fish stores I see are horribly ran as a business or the owners are ready to retire. Bummer
     
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  5. ca1ore

    ca1ore Valuable Member R2R Supporter CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award R2R TV Featured Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Some half truths there. If you prefer to see the actual fish in person then the LFS is for you - cannot argue that. As to the shipping thing, the fish still gets sent the same distance, you are just buying it at a different point in the supply chain. The LFS bears the cost of that ‘last leg’ ship rather than the hobbyist; versus online where the hobbyist bears the cost. But online guarantees even things from a cost perspective, that’s why it’s a wash in my view. As to the disease argument, you ought to be doing QT regardless of where you buy a fish. I’ve not found online to be any different than LFS in terms of healthy versus unhealthy fish. Both run therapeutic levels of copper to suppress infections.

    It’s an interesting debate though.
     
  6. ca1ore

    ca1ore Valuable Member R2R Supporter CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award R2R TV Featured Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I often read the argument of having the LFS for that emergency piece of plumbing that you need, or that pump. Yet, in 30 years of reefing I’ve never needed that - maybe just lucky, maybe a better planner LOL. Knowing that the LFS is there is nice, I suppose, for that once-a-year panic call, but it’s hardly enough to keep them in business. I keep spares on hand of anything that cannot wait for next day delivery.

    I’m actually not anti-LFS, just a realist. My other hobby is hiend audio, and I constantly lament the loss of most of the local audio retailers - not killed by online necessarily, rather the iPod.
     
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  7. fish farmer

    fish farmer Active Member

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    I bet I buy about 5% of dry goods from a LFS, usually some food, carbon or salt. Wet goods 50%, came back tonight with 7 magician palys that I feel like I stole for $16.
     
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  8. aquariumreefers

    aquariumreefers Member

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    Even thou I'm an online store I still support my local fish store 100% even other LFS in my county as well.
     
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  9. JCTReefer

    JCTReefer Active Member R2R Supporter

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    I voted less important simply because we don't have much here anymore where I live. My local fish store used to be awesome when I originally got into the hobby back in 2000 or so. And continued to be a great source for fish and basic dry goods until I got out of the hobby in 2011. They continued to be a great store long after that until Kyle the owner of Mr. Aquarium closed the doors in the last year or so. He was great to talk to and would always match prices of online stores. Fish only had a 24 hour guarantee with a water sample provided, but at least you could see the livestock before purchasing. That's hard to do on line. I mean sure they have wysiwyg vendors, but it's kinda hard to see a fishes behavior from a pic. Lol!! Even back then though, if you wanted high end equipment, it had to be ordered. Most places just can't stock expensive protein skimmers and high end pumps, lights, etc.. People are so choosy about what they buy, you just can't afford to have that type of stuff sitting on the shelves hoping it will sell. I mean sure you could pick up a seaclone, but that's about it. And we all know what quality skimmers those were. I do remember purchasing a backpack 2 for one of my smaller tanks locally back in the day. I can't say that was great skimmer. Marine depot was my go to place for higher end stuff back then. Now days the limited shops we do have don't carry much live stock. Corals or fish wise. I do purchase food locally though. But good luck getting LRS or Rods locally. I've been back in the hobby for a little over a year now and 95% of everything has been purchased on line except the tank. I purchase most of my dry goods from BRS. And some from Marine Depot if BRS doesn't carry it. I use Red Sea blue bucket which can't be bought locally. There's just so many things that have to be bought on line because they're not sold in any stores here.
    Lubbock Texas isn't exactly a small town either.
    BRS's customer service is hard to beat though.
    WWC, Unique, and Austin Aqua Farms is where all of my corals have came from. Those places are hard to beat selection/quality wise. And all have great customer service. I just wish the local stores had more to offer. I'm all for supporting the local economy though.
     
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  10. cracker

    cracker Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    Iv'e never ordered live stock . I feel the LFS is very important to me. I can get a bulkhead or such,salt, two part right now when I want it . It's a convenience thing to me
    Also I feel it's to my advantage to do what I can to help keep his doors open..
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  11. Crystal Reef Aquatics

    Crystal Reef Aquatics Active Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    We just recently sold our retail store to focus solely on manufacturing and online sales. I've lived in both the online and LFS world and both have their merit. I think for most of us, our initial obsession with the hobby stemmed from interactions with livestock at a LFS. It's interesting to track the market from the perspective of a LFS owner. The joy of having children come in and feed seaweed to the tanks or clams to the puffers was definitely a highlight. I feel that helps foster a relationship with the marine environment that the internet could never fulfill. With consistent attention and a diverse range of offerings, including maintenance and retail sales, the dream is still alive. Support your LFS of they are in it for the right reasons. Blessings!
     
  12. Ariel V Rosa

    Ariel V Rosa Active Member R2R Supporter

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    Really depends on where you live, lots of markets are switching to live stock only. Atleast that is the trend in my area. If yiu are semi serious in this hibby and neeed hardware LFS is the dead last place to look. Sure they can order it for you... what ever you need gets there week ti two later, then you got to drive back, pick it up. Once you walk out the door with what ever hardware you bought they hsually wash thier hands clean of you and will not entertain anything beyond passing you the manufactuers number.

    Now if I order from a place like BRS the relationship continues and they will make the best effort possible to remedy a situation. They even have returns. Kniwledgable witeups on product pages as well as tons of staff that can answer questions you have about products, since places like BRS dont sell you things they havent tested or erified to atleast do whats described in the box and be effective at it.
     
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  13. tony'stank

    tony'stank Active Member

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    I have been reefing for over 35 years and I still find my local LFS to be very important. I am lucky that in th Detroit area I have multiple quality LFS. I lived in rural AZ for 9 years and had to drive 2 hours to get to a LFS. I bought my first tank in 1984 from Pet Connections in Livonia, MI. I bought my most recent tank in 2016 from the same LFS. In both cases the owner helpedme pick the tank, delivered it, and helped me set it up. I broke a bulkhead on a Saturday night and Ken at Pet Connection opened the shop to get me a replacement. You just can’t get that kind of service online.
     
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  14. CJS80

    CJS80 Active Member Partner Member 2019 Hospitality Award

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    Yes it is. From looking at everyone's post you can see that a good, bad, or no LFS can change how people feel about the topic.
     
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  15. Doug 7727

    Doug 7727 Member

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    online buying is becoming more and more important because of ease of access but the local fish store is still of the utmost importance because of their knowledge because of their know-how because of their experience that they've had in the hobby most of the time it's a hobbyist that has taken the hobby to the next level and become a local fish store where I live there's no local fish store anywhere close except for like Petco but for the most part I can go to Austin Texas and I can go to Austin aqua farms and I can get Coral that way or I can go to Dallas and go to the fish place or if I'm really feeling froggy I can go to Houston and there's a whole bunch of nice local fish stores there. Whether it's online stores or it's a local fish shop what it's all about is who do you support do you support the local person in your community or do you support the big conglomerate that sells online a lot of these guys do sell online the local fish shops in Coral places but to me I think we need support our local fish shops because there's so much more interesting things that you can get from their versus online.
     
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  16. Lukas75

    Lukas75 Active Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    For years I really didn't have anything that I considered great near me. That has changed. Especially now with the way fish are coming in, being able to see and examine what you are buying is priceless. That and he has a full quarantine for all saltwater fish. Yes I pay a little more but it is worth it! No I do not skip my own quarantine, but it's nice to start one step ahead!

    That's for fish. Coral is a whole other story and finding that one stick that I really want usually forces me online. If they begin selling more corals and their selection improves then I'll shop there and I won't hesitate to grab a frag if I like it.

    That having been said, nothing can beat the selection and price of online stores for supplies. If the items price is set by the manufacturer and my LFS carries the item I will usually buy it there, but all too often I'm forced online to find the product I'm looking for. Or the better price for an identical product has me online as well. Let's face it this an expensive hobby and we need to penny pinch where we can!
     
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  17. lapin

    lapin Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Hospitality Award

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    I went with less important. When I started there was no internet. Tanks were slate bottom with metal trim. So then it was the only place to get a lot of things. That being said I do buy most things from my LF Stores. Sure they might not have everything but they have it now or can order stuff. Map pricing is Map pricing. No use sending dollars out of state when my LFS employees buy food, gas and a lot of stuff locally. I think they still supply a valuable service you cannot get from an online retailer. You can talk shop, trade livestock and find out what is going on in the trade from their perspective. You never know when you will walk in and they just took in trade a coral or fish you have always wanted but cant find anywhere. Its nice to walk in on a Sunday when they open and see a line out the door even though you had to park 2 blocks away and carry that bucket of salt.........
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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  18. BestMomEver

    BestMomEver Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    I think LFSs are extraordinarily important. Especially for aquarium staples such as RODI water, salt, food, spare pumps, fragging supplies, etc. We have two smaller stores in my area that provide really beautiful corals. The third (and biggest) has a huge selection of fish and a basic selection of supplies..... it’s an all around pet store and sells all kinds of stuff for all kinds of pets. If I want something special like high end lights, wavemakers, controllers, etc I have to drive a long way or order. I couldn’t have a tank without all three local companies. Actually, I learned the other day that I was the best customer in 2018 in the biggest store.....I spent more than any other person last year.... that’s seriously unsettling.

    But, equally important to the LFS is this forum. I wouldn’t have a saltwater tank if it weren’t for everyone here.
     
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  19. Tiburon_100

    Tiburon_100 Member

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    My LFS is important for me because all my 11 tanks are at the school where I teach. I have some biotop aquariums, species specific aquariums, and just-for-fun aquariums. They all serve an educational purpose for my marine biology class and for the students who see them every day. The owner of my LFS knows what I'm doing, what my skill level is, and what my goals are. He & his staff are honest and won't sell me stuff I don't need or shouldn't have. Even though I'm a biologist with an education in marine biology, I don't know everything, and their insight and advice is helpful. Although I'm not opposed to online purchases, the face-to-face relationship is important.
     
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  20. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I agree - if only my LFS had the selection I was looking for and the knowledge & advice I can trust. When I ask for specific fish they don't ever seem to stock they make a note and say they'll call me. 4-5 times I've tried. Only time I got a call back was the first time for my first pair of Percs to go with the tank setup I got from them. That employee doesn't work there anymore. One other store that is a 90 minute drive away was great until they started cutting back on the marine section and the awesome manager of it left as a result. Only reason they are open at all is because they are diversified into pond, freshwater and hydroponics supply.
    So I guess my answer to the poll would be "I want them to be more important, but they need to be great". Otherwise they make themselves irrelevant.
     
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