What should one look for in a Marine Store

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Dr. Rick

Feb 18, 2004
I wanted to start a thread on what you look for in a store. Please list what you would like to see. How clean, or how much knowledgable, price, selection, location? I am new to the area, and I know what the stores in Las Vegas are like, haven't been to only a few so far. Thanks, R


reefer addict
Aug 26, 2003
Portland, OR
I guess, besides the obvious - claen, well lit, friendly, hours of operation and knowledgeable.

The first thing I do when I go into a store, is head for the fish tanks. If there are floaties, or other fish picking on the dead one that is one good indication that it's on the same levek as Pet*#[email protected] Then go toward the dry goods and checkout the prices and selection. The best for last, ask specific questions to test the workers or even the owner of the place.


New Sheriff In Town
Jul 21, 2003
Missoula, Montana
I personally like a LFS to be very clean and have a friendly atmosphere. Having knowledgeable people running the store is a plus.

I like a LFS to have a good selection of dry goods and livestock for you to be able to purchase pretty much what you are looking for. I know this will not happen with everything but also the ability to get you the stuff you need in a reasonable time frame.

Our LFS just moved to a new location and much bigger store. It has an Amazon water display with lots of large rocks and waterfall.

They have a huge room with four 300 gallon tubs down the center of the room. First one is FW koi fish. The next three are LR curing in different stages.

They have several small tanks with different species of SW fish and have a large sump with mangrove plants that feeds all their saltwater reef tanks. Have two large 150 gallon reef display tanks in the front of the store.

Usually have a great selection of corals to chose from but would like to see more sps corals in the future as my new tank will be sps/clam dominated.

Overall I am please with the store and happy to go there alot even if it is to just talk reef. :)


Oct 30, 2003
Well we have several fish stores in town, at least 6 or 7 but only three marine stores, so other than an hour drive we are stuck with what we have. Fortunately we do have some good in each of them but I favor only two, I think the other is out for the money at almost any cost. It isn't easy finding the right place, I also look at personal relationships with these people, will they be willing to get to know me & help me when I'm stuck or have major trouble.


Active member
Oct 19, 2003
One with a Cheapskate Tank

I like a store that has an impulse-buy/cheapskate tank. That would be a tank loaded with $20 and under bits or rocks with shrooms, polyps, etc. How about one with an orphan tank?


Well-known member
Jan 25, 2004
All great points. Healthy livestock, knowledgeable staff is importan, and great customer service. I also think an openness to all methods of reefkeeping....if you have a customer that likes DSBs, for example - just be able to help them make educated decisions, instead of trying to sell one form of reefkeeping or another


Well-known member
Jul 10, 2003
Covington, WA
I hate to see a dead fish in a tank, but I know it can happen. However, what assures that I will not be shopping at a store is when I see 6+ dead fish in a tank. I just think that It shows a lack of care in general.

I would also love the convenience if, in addition to what the fish was and its price, they added where it was caught.

I also like it when a store that doesn't carry what you want will try to get it for you instead of trying to sell you something else.


Well-known member
Jul 18, 2003
I can't abide dead fish in tanks; from personal experience I know it can happen quickly, especially with new arrivals but some stores seem to rely on dead fish as part of the food chain!

Aside from the obvious factors of cleanliness, price and availability, I want good customer service. I'd rather pay a few dollars more to a store where I know I can get assistance when needed, with a good attitude, than deal with rude personnel.

Service with a smile! :)