How to Pick Your LFS
With the “business of reefing” thriving, and the sprouting of a new LFS in your neighborhood every other month, picking the best LFS (local fish store) is no longer an easy task! Without a doubt, picking your LFS is ultimately a subjective decision, for what works for you might not work for another reefer. Having said that however, there are several factors to consider when shopping for livestock and aquarium supplies.
1) Aquarium Supplies.
If you are an advanced reefer, the big chains are unlikely to stock all the supplies you are looking for. The big chains stock items they know they can sell, so it’ll mostly be mainstream and beginner equipment, and not advanced reefing equipment. This is not a rule, of course; some big chains might have employees passionate about reefing working in their marine department, in which case you might find what you are looking for as a result of these employees’ dedication. However, if are to make a generalization, the best place to find the latest reefing gear and equipment is a specialty marine store. A good specialty marine store will almost always try out new equipment in their store before selling it to customers, so that they can clearly explain how it works. In fact, some specialty stores stock only one brand of each gear because they believe you should follow their advice regarding which brands are the best!
Proper care of fish and corals in-store is essential for their survival. The last thing you want to do is introduce a sick fish into your tank! So how do you know if a certain LFS properly takes care of their livestock? The first sign to look for is a beautiful display tank with fish and corals inside. A thriving display tank shows they have the required knowledge, skills, and experience to keep fish and corals alive and well. If the store doesn’t have any display tanks, try looking at the aquariums they keep their livestock in. Are the aquariums clean? Is there any debris in the corners? Do they have proper air flow and filtration? Does the store quarantine its livestock? Does the livestock look active and healthy? Are they eating well? Ask the employees about what they feed specific fish. A good LFS will know their fish favorite food, and if a certain fish has not been eating well lately… It’s also useful to ask some general questions, such as the lighting requirements for certain fish.
Finally, finding the right LFS isn’t only about finding the latest gear and the healthiest livestock. A big component of what an LFS can offer, and which cannot be found online, is their advice, support, and willingness to share information and knowledge picked up over many years in the hobby! This is huge, especially if you are not an advanced reefer yet.
As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch with us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!
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