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Old 07-22-2012, 01:36 PM   #1 
puppyrjjkm
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Petco Questions!!

Hello all! I will be going to a new university in about a month (transfer student) and I'm super pumped because I will have a Petco for the first time ever!!!! I'm a little excited. So I've been in one for about 10 mins but didn't have much time to really look around. I was wondering if Petco has different kinds of decor/tanks etc, other kinds of freshwater fish, and specifically wondering how they have live plants, since petsmart has them in tubes. And also what kinds of plants they sell (java moss?) , since I just have the basic amazon sword and water wisteria from petsmart. I feel like this is a lame question but I'm just wondering how petco compares to petsmart in products, live plants, and fish, since I'm itching to get to the store as soon as I am moved in! Thanks!
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:42 PM   #2 
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If they don't have what you want, order it. I'm at the local PetCo several times a week, I got to know the staff and when the fish/plants arrive.

PetSmart does have some different stuff, so check out both websites. Whatever is on the website the store can order for you.
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:44 PM   #3 
Lost Eventide
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It really depends on the Petco in question seeing some will have things while other do not =3 The Petco we have here does have tubed plants (which I have seen Java Fern, Java Moss, Amazon Sword, Anubias, I could have swore I saw Duckweed or Frogbit, but now I'm wondering if I was just seeing things, and some other species that I'm not too familiar with). However, it also has some live plants scattered through the sale tanks and attached to driftwood and rings and such.

My Petco also have a VERY large betta selection. It has some choice ones they display out front, and then there's like mini pyramids of cups closer to the other tanks on a couple different levels. They also have a decent selection of freshwater fish, and a couple saltwater ones.

I thought their supplies in general concerning fish was a bit lacking though. They had the general stuff, but they do not carry many different varieties of the same item. Maybe one or two brands. If you want to get an idea, try visiting their website (petco.com) and see what they offer there. Most likely your local store would have at least some of what's offered online.

However, I haven't been to a Petsmart in years, so I can't really offer a firm comparison I'm afraid.
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:49 PM   #4 
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Personally, and this could only be in my area, the petsmarts are much better than PETCO. The PETCO does have an older, smaller building, so this may be why they carry less stock. Both store in my area have a few aquatic plants. They both sell tube plants but PETCO's are all.. well, dead. Our PETCO also has a lot of non aquatic plants in their tanks, whereas in Petsmart the only problem plant I saw was the mondo grass. They both also keep lucky bamboo but Petsmart actually keeps the leaves/top above water..

The one thing I really prefer at Petsmart which I have.not seen any PETCO is the cultured plants that come in the small plastic bags with gel in them. My Petsmart also carries some planting substrate and appropriate lighting for planted tanks.. they're much better than PETCO, but maybe it's just that location.

Also, they have more plants available in the tubes that they can order if they don't have it. I purchased pennywort out of a tube for instance..
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Old 07-22-2012, 02:14 PM   #5 
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I'm in a decently populated area, and both the Petco and Petsmart are in rather new locations, with a decent collection of items. Both have their ups and downs. Lost Eventide's post is pretty accurate on most counts, even with the stores near me. I'm at Petco probably 2 times a week, as its only about 10 min away, where as Petsmart is upwards of 30 min.

Petco has a very large selection of betta's, and a wide variety of color ranges (I've seen some pure white or dalmatian, at least one black orchid/devil, reds and blues, grey/silver, etc.). They have most of the tail types in stock with each shipment too. They've even had a couple double tail veiltails (though, I've never seen them XD The workers get first dibs usually). The only thing they really lack are dragonscales, where as Petsmart seems to have a decent number of them.

In terms of supplies, Petsmart does have a wider selection. Many many different brands and sized heaters, filters, tanks, etc. Petco really only has two or three different brands of anything. Most of their stuff is Petco brand, too. Its not bad, the selection is just rather limited. They offer silk, plastic, and live plants (tubed, potted, anchored and rooted). The live plant selection between the two is pretty similar, but Petsmart has some things that Petco doesn't, like dwarf hair grass, hornwort, pennywort, marimo moss balls, etc. I just haven't seen those plants at my Petco, so I go up to Petsmart to get them. Only bad thing, Petsmart's plant take is completely overrun with blue-green algae. It might just be my Petsmart, but its pretty gross. I also haven't seen tubed plants at my Petsmart, but I'm never there for long XD

The tank selection seems fairly similar, but there's one thing Petco has that Petsmart doesn't: the 6.6 gallon bookshelf tank. Its been described by many as the perfect tank for bettas, and I have to agree. I love it. Otherwise, my Petsmart has a variety of dividers, while Petco only had one (29 gallon). Petsmart also has ghost shrimp, and Petco doesn't.

Anyway, to sum it up, both are pretty great (excluding fish care). Decent selection, but each of them have something that the other doesn't.
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Old 07-22-2012, 02:23 PM   #6 
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My PetCo has ghost shrimp. The marimo balls at PetSmart are cheaper than the PetCo ones. My PetCo just recently started carrying the betta leaf and log. PetSmart has always carried them. The only other plants PetSmart has are tubed. PetCo carries lots of plants but they are all "rusty". NONE carry duckweed!

PetCo bettas are prettier and healthier than PetSmart's.

They are all different, I hope you get a good one! There are 3 PetCos and 3 PetSmarts all within a 30 mile radius of my home but I have only been to 2 PetCos and one PetSmart.

There are also stores called PetCo Unleashed, no live animals are sold there.

Be sure to look for and try some locally owned small aquarium stores. That's something I plan to do but it's in the city and I haven't gotten there yet.
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Old 07-22-2012, 02:26 PM   #7 
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Hehe, see.. my PETCO has algae all over everything and dead tube plants. They're terrible.. Both Petsmart locations have minimal algae.. and mostly true aquatic plants too. They're also accurate on labelling the tubes semi aquatic.

I'm sure there are plenty of nice PETCO locations out there. I'm not sure if there's another in my area.. I live near Charleston, SC so we do have a decent sized area. I tend to go to my local store for most supplies anyway because they're far superior.

I'll also say this, the main fish employee at PETCO has multiple tanks and has been fish keeping for like 15 years so she is pretty knowledgeable, although not always correct (she's human!) and I've heard her agreeing with newbies stupid statements instead of correcting them.. that frustrates me, but I'm sure she's always got to treat the customers like they're right! The local Petsmart employees will admit to knowing next to nothing about fish care.. so they give bad advice with a disclaimer saying they could be totally wrong and direct you to their books for research lol

Apparently there is one more Petsmart and two more PETCO locations in my area so I may go check those out some day.
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Old 07-22-2012, 02:59 PM   #8 
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Some pet stores do not have healthy pets or knowlegible staff depends on the particular store.
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Old 07-22-2012, 04:46 PM   #9 
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Wow! Thanks for all the great info. It sounds like I should be able to get basic products like filter replacements, etc at petco, and I'm very excited to see more variety in bettas, although I certainly don't need another one! It's interesting how different each individual store is so I'm hoping mine is nice, and has a decent plant selection. Luckily a petsmart is only a few miles away from campus if I can't find something at the petco across the street. I'm assuming each separate petco has a different day of fish delivery? So I should call my specific store?

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Old 07-22-2012, 07:44 PM   #10 
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Mm, I dunno if they are different or not on dates of delivery. Mine I believe delivers on Thursdays, but you can always call and ask, no harm in doing that.

I will say that I think brand new stores tend to be awesome quality-wise; it's the upkeep that really brings them down. Some stores are fantastic at keeping everything fresh and healthy, while others not so much. I doubt a brand new store would intentionally set things up to be lousy, it's just whether or not their employees are good and their managers keep on top of things. I hope yours has gotten some good workers!

Though, all things considered, I'm surprised about the quality concerning workers from some Petcos. I was looking into applying for a job at my local one (though unfortunately I chose not to seeing by the time I got college plans settled for this year with loans and all that lovely stuff I would only be actively working for maybe a couple weeks after training) and their application process is rough! At least it's supposed to be. There's the paper/electronic application, then you are called in for a one-on-one interview where you talk with a higher-up and they ask you questions concerning pets and your experience in taking care of them as well as general interview questions, then if you pass that you get called in for a group-type interview where some roleplaying takes place to see how you'd deal with customers, and if you pass that you're hired and training starts.

All things considered, if all the Petcos had reasonable standards through that process, they would have an awesome business with some decently-knowledgeable employees. I really have nothing to complain about the one here seeing it's brand-spanking-new, and all the employees have been really friendly and helpful.

Of course, I've never actually asked anything about fish-care yet so I don't know what kind of advice they offer, but I was in there once while a fellow was doing water changes in the saltwater tanks and, with the exception of the fact he got water all over the floor (which his manager reprimanded him for), he seemed to know what he was doing and he wasn't trying to rush it.
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