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DeepArow

Western Canadian Fish Stores

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Hey everyone,

Just want your opinions on fish stores in western Canada. It seems like we have 3 kinds of stores; the chains, the stores that open and close within 2-3 years, and the staple stores which have extremely loyal customer bases but seem to slowly be closing shop as time goes on.

Looking around it seems even some chains are reducing livestock inventory. Is the market that saturated? Are they all losing that much business to private sales (Facebook, kijiji, etc) and group orders? What in your opinion keeps you loyal to your local fish store? Or do you shop around and buy from whoever has the cheapest livestock?

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[sorry if this doesn't flow, I wrote it jumping between sections]

Some stores carry specific fish that nobody else gets (ie: Petsmart carries synodontis nigriventris or someone privately who bought from Petsmart). I think Petland carries this fish now but mislabeled as a Moth Catfish.
Some private/home based operations have lower prices and less commonly found livestock (ie: SKA Shrimps with high grade red cherry shrimp for $4 instead of $8+ in store (Big chain or otherwise)

I notice stores are starting to carry more than your $7 betta. Such as the giants, koi colours, etc. As well as bringing in less commonly found livestock.

Home businesses are starting up around Edmonton. If this is a stable, long term option I don't know but I think it's more for the person(s) to exercise their hobby and make a few bucks on the side while having a revolving door of sweet new things (plants and fish)(at wholesale pricing) without the overhead of a store front.

I wouldn't say online ordering is killing the local market because shipping is still over $50 and the average person isn't going to justify that extra cost they may save on livestock found locally. Group orders are nice as they can offer rare fish or large quantities of fish at a lower price while often paying nothing extra for shipping. However the risk of losing fish I find is higher from their travels, maybe they only just landed in Canada the same week you ordered them. Downsides are many, including not being able to see the fish you're buying. For myself, ordering what is a $6 fish in big chain store, $4 in locally owned store, $3 private sale, and $1.25 for 100 (group order) the risk of losing 10% of my order is still worth the savings. I think this goes for a lot of people as well.

I shop around for price, availability of what I'm looking for and quality (maybe adult sizes and colouring). I still go to Big Al's as they end up with strange surrenders and while not going into prices or whatever wormhole mentioning this store always does, I have a 5" Vampire Fan Shrimp from there and that is not something I've ever seen anywhere else!

Often I have no idea what I'm looking for and will often visit "all" my local stores just seeing what's cool and available. One day my bank statement showed Aquarium Illusions, Aquarium Central, PetSmart, Big Al's and Petland all in the same day :$

I've only been to one store in Calgary, Pieces. This place is amazing and enormous with aisles and aisles of freshwater livestock. The prices weren't low enough for me to justify having a fish sit in a unheated bag for 7-8 hours however.

The market is rich with options, each offering something different yet with a lot of similarities. If I am recommending a store to someone new it is always Aquarium Central for freshwater options, plants, supply available in store from knowledgeable staff.

Edited by japanda

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Calgary:

Pisces Pet Emporium = huge selection of all kinds of fish

Gold's = Smaller store with Discus and other cichlids such as Africans

Franco's = A great selection of Cichlids. Just got a couple Africans there the other day and they are super healthy.

I buy most of my fish on Kijiji. There are so many people that breed Cichlids that you can find most of the common species there for next to nothing. I know a guy in the South of Calgary that is selling gorgeous fish for ~$10 each. I got some show quality fish from him!

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Most of my fish come from club auctions(shameless plug here) but I will stop at any pet store, just in case...

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i have been in the hobby for 48 years in Regina. We have gone from having many home based sales operations and some really good fish only stores to two independent stores and two chain stores, both useless. The local stores carry mainly the common bread and butter type fish and some decent salt/reef stuff. In the last six years we are in Saskatoon, Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver on a regular basis and the only stores I go into now are Golds in Calgary, the Afishionados in Winnipeg and Big Als in Edmonton, but I have never bought anything at Big Als as far as fish.

in the 1990's I used to buy a lot of fish from Pisces in Calgary, but since they opened the new store I found the prices too outrageous, so I almost never go there except to buy reef stuff for a friend here. I do buy a lot of fish from Golds. I hit the Afishionados in Winnipeg at least twice a year and generally empty my wallet each time. He always has new fish and his prices are very reasonable. I also try to hit the big auctions in Calgary and Saskatoon and always come home with great fish!! I was in Francos in Calgary last month for the first time and I agree with the other poster in that they had a decent selection and pricing was too high. There were fish I would have bought if I could have got back there before we left for home.

I have bought fish from Calgary members off this forum that were very nice quality. It's always nice to get fish from people that take great pride in caring for and producing top quality fish.

I used to order a lot of fish from the States and had it shipped to Plentywood, Montana via UPS overnight air. Hardly ever lost a fish and the price for shipping was around 45 dollars a box. I hadn't done it for about ten years and then ordered again in 2010 and one box cost $120.00 so that was the last time.

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I live in Calgary and buy most of my fish and supplies from Gold Aquarium over the last 15 years.

I have used The aFISHionados (Spencer Jack) in Winnipeg three times to have fish flown in to Calgary with good results. He carries cichlids I want which I often cannot find elsewhere.

I have bought dry food on-line a couple of times.

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Most of my fish have come from Spencer Jack or Fairdeal on this forum and few from various auctions and a few from some state side orders...... Most of the fish stores cater to the everyday people buying fish for their children and people very new to the hobby, so they carry the common types. Understandable they are running a business and need to sell to that crowd to stay open...

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