I personally don't like them both. They know nothing, and when I was getting a snail, this man was chating away with his friend, threw the snail in the bag, cracked his shell, and he died. And I stood there for half an hour before waiting for them to ask me if I needed help. So eventually I was like 'HEY! I need a snail! I will be telling the manager!'
So yeah. But I do buy stuff there. I got both my Bettas from PetSmart. I just don't listen to their crap.
Both the PetCos and PetSmarts around here are about the same regarding fish care, knowledge, and selection. They both take poor care of their fish, which makes me mad. The employees also don't know anything about bettas, or any fish or plants. Heck, when I first started out a PetSmart employee told me gold ribbon and white ribbon plants are aquatic, and that she'd had them in her tank for months and they were doing fine. I did a little research when I got home and found the truth in five minutes! As for selection, it's pretty hit or miss. I got all my sorority girls from one store or the other, and they're all quite pretty for pet store bettas. They both have an overload of reds and blues, but I've found lots of different colors there, including a purple girl!
I can only get fish from Petco or Walmart. petco has better tail selection but walmart has more unique colorings and they are in better shape then the ones at petco. I dont know what walmart's fish return policy is as none of them have died. I know petco has a 30 day return policy as I had several die in less then 24 hours
Where I live, Petco seems to be better at taking care of their fish. However, it's a smaller store than the Petsmart in my area so they have less animals and can take better care of them all. It's also right next to my college, where the only pets we're allowed to have are fish, so they probably make more money off fish than Petsmart does, which is a little further away. They also seem to have more of a variety, though I haven't been to Petsmart in a year or so so things may have changed.
Both Petsmart and Petco here are pretty decent about the fish. The Petsmart has the bettas in that blue water stuff and the fish guy said he changes it every couple days. Petco said they have their bettas in clear water and told me they change them when they get cloudy or debris on bottom. The fish were healthy for the most part at both of them. The other fish in the tanks are par for the course in retail. Saw very few dead ones. Did see a dead gold fish in a tank of carnivors so I'm guessing that was dinner.
I haven't been to either of those in 10+ years.. and the closest Petco/mart to me is literally 1 hour 45 minutes away. So.. I rely on the single LFS that is within 40 minutes of me, and Walmart, which is 30 minutes if I want to go looking for one. Luckily though, the LFS usually has a great selection, just take poor care of them =(
But I do order from Petco for all my animal needs, from dog food (high dollar brand, can't find it out here) and kritter keepers/tanks because they ship and tend to have free shipping over $50 lol.. otherwise, neither for me!
I'm done with both Petsmart, Petco and I won't even look at Walmart. If I want a nice healthy Betta, I will order from a place out of Milwaukee. Very reasonable shipping and his specialty is Bettas. So, I know I am getting a Betta that is healthy.
Both petcos and petsmarts around me have gotten far better in the past year regarding betta and hermit crab care. They suggest bigger housing for hermies and tank mates(which IS good for them) and although they sell the small betta bowls, they mention bettas need heat and even say that it's hard to heat something less than 2 gallons(Though they do sell weird "mini fish bowl heaters" I had never seen before. Do these work? Are they safe? Had never heard of them) and always have healthy bettas(occasionally see one with SBD, but never the half dead things usually found)
But they still are HORRIBLE as far as reptiles go. Saw a chinese water dragon that had rubbed it's nose so bad it had exposed bone on it's face! Terrible.