Thanks for all the opinions. one of my friends has asked me to help her set up a betta tank and I didn't even want to buy supplies there if I was supporting a chain that had universally bad reputation. Maybe our store is better maintained because it is new. I haven't even talked to the staff yet to see how helpful they are. I have to admit, I get excited at all the cool fish stuff they have (ok, i need a life!)
I would say its clean because its new. I was out running around an stopped in to the new Petco they built an it was great. Clean great selection workers where friendly but I'm sure that may all change in a year or so
3 out of 4 Petcos in my area are good. One of those is VERY good! I go in and chat on a regular basis. The "bad one" in my area is just based on the staff, and I doubt that's likely to change. That area is not known for the best people...
2 out of 3 Petsmarts in my area are good, too, with one being excellent! Again, I go in to chat frequently. It's really nice, because the nice stores are pretty close to one another. The bad egg, again, is in the same area as the bad Petco.
Our LFS is meh. An employee argued with me about a betta with obvious SBD, the cups are gross and overfilled, and the selection isn't good. Honestly, I would only go there if I was setting up a VERY large tank (like, several hundred gallons...).
One quick note!
If you live in an area with defined seasons, spring and fall are rough seasons for the chain stores! Their distributors are usually located in warm climates, and according to my sources, don't always climate-control their shipments once their weather warms up, which may not be the same as the receiving end.
For example, while it may be getting into the 80s in the Southwest, tomorrow's low in Rochester, NY is 35.
Chain stores lose a lot of bettas due to the immune stress this can cause.
Petcos in my area are by far the best for fish stuff, and have the widest selection of tail and color types. As with ANY corporate chain, quality depends on who lives in the area and who applies. care relies almost completely on the employees' personal knowledge. corporations do NOT train anything more than the bare minimum it takes to run the store's daily operations, NOT to educate/care. So if the people applying have a passion for fish/hamsters/lizards/whatever, those sections will be better maintained. If the people applying are simply looking for a job or have little experience caring for said animals, the animals/sections in their care will reflect that. That's why petcos/petsmart/etc are excellent in some areas and have poor conditions in others.
Last edited by LillieCharlotte; 04-24-2013 at 12:25 AM.
It really seems to depend on who is running things, honestly. We have three chain pet stores in a 10 minute drive of my place, and over the past year, I've observed things change as the people change.
My Petsmart had the cleanest tanks and by and large healthy fish, but in the last couple of months, I haven't seen the "fish girl" who worked there...and the tanks and bettas are declining.
OTOH, Petco started off with a lot of baby bettas and a raggedy selection of other adults. They've recently gotten a guy back there who loves to chat fish and in that time, I've seen the betta cups always clean. I keep looking at a rainbow wash EE male when I go in - he's been there a few weeks and is still looking healthy. I wish I had a spot for him! He even called their distributor to ask if they would ship EE girls or doubletail girls, since they normally have some number of males of those types (No, apparently, but I appreciated that they asked!) They also seem to have stopped stocking baby bettas, which on one hand, yay...but on the other hand, the only female DT I have seen was one of the babies.
The last place, Pet Supermarket, seems to have nice tanks, but they have fairly consistently been the worst on their bettas. TINIEST CUPS EVAR.
If yours does a good job with the fish, let them know you noticed
I *wish* we had a local shop...ok, there are some local shops, but they are all saltwater stores.
The bettas at my local PetCo look alright the past few times I've gone.
The staff is not terribly knowledgeable. Or at least they don't have a fish-person on hand all the time and the other employees don't know much beyond the "one inch per gallon" thing.
They used to have super strict fish department people who would like not let you replace a fish that died within the allowed return period without bringing a water sample to make sure your tank wasn't really messed up and drill people on tank parameters before bagging any fish for customers.
So I think it depends on who is on staff at the moment on whether a PetCo is good or bad.
It does depend on the store and just how much they care about their fish! My PetCo is actually really good about keeping their betta's clean, it's the Petsmart that needs to step up their game!
Ditto over here! At the Petsmart where I live, there were koi that had herpes. The PetCo is really amazing, I mean there are a few times where they mislabeled the bettas but that's really the only major problem. And they do have a fish person who is very knowledgeable with just about any fish.
The petco in my areais wonderful when it comes to bettas. Though they use cups they are always clean, there are no dead bettas, the betta area is toward the interior of the store so they arent chilled by the rare cold weather, and they have a wonderful, healthy selection.