Does anyone have particularly good or bad experience of fish from Pets At Home?
I only ask because I went in to kill 5min today and their fish prices were surprisingly low (for relatively common species).
I'm just not convinced by those big box stores and to be honest I want to support independents as ultimately Pets at Home will be cheaper as they have buying power. Now if everyone votes with their pocket and shops at those big box places the smaller stores will struggle and slowly disappear, then we're all left with only shopping in those big places, which is something I'd hate to see. And personally I love going to the independent little places, speaking with the owners, benefiting from real advice and seeing varied stock rather than the same generic fish and speaking with someone of college age on minimum wage. I know day to day in life voting with your feet in terms of a supermarket vs your local butcher, greengrocer, etc, isn't that easy due to work, etc, but where I can I will and aquatics wise I always do my best to. Same with buying online. I ordered a filter earlier from a sponsor on here who doesn't have it in stock and so it will take a week or two to get to me. The same filter is on Amazon with free next day delivery for the same price. Fortunately I don't need it straight away so that obviously helps
In terms of Pets at Home stock, here's my direct experience. I went in one a while ago just for a look as we were at a retail park and like you was tempted by their prices and to be fair some of the fish looked decent. Now in the bank of 9 display tanks there was one tank which was covered with a sign basically saying the fish were ill, being treated and not for a sale (from that one tank, not the bank). Whilst stood there the assistant came over and asked if they could help and I asked about the tank with the ill fish (which after pulling the sign back showed that they had fungus) and so I asked him to confirm if the tank with the ill fish was on the same bank, loop, filter as the rest. He wasn't sure and brought over the assistant manager who after sliding some covers back and forth confirmed it was. Now I wasn't sure if I was going to buy anything anyway but needless to say I didn't
Think it all depends really on what pets at home you go to as some shops have well maintained tanks and some are nothing short of awful. I've had albino Cory's from them in the past and didnt have a problem with them but that was from a store that maintain there tanks very well.
In terms of quality of fish then there likely isn't going to be much compared with other shops. P@h buy from a wholesaler and they aren't exclusive to the chain.
With that being said I won't buy from my local p@h for exactly the reason fisher mentions above. The nearest one to me not only puts all their diseased and dying fish in one tank but they actually move fish from the other sales racks that have diseased fish, so they only have one tank off sale. So basically they have no idea of fish health management.
I also know a couple of people who worked there in the past and they had terrible things to say about company policy.
I also agree with Paul that it very much depends on which p@h you go to, as it does wit any shop. Some seem to be well maintained whereas other just have fish because they have to and their staff are more knowledgeable about other animals.
I agree entirely on the ethics of big chain vs local. (For those with an interest in profane, post-perestroika, anarco-punk, click here. For all others, click here.)
Everything I saw looked perfectly healthy, and there was a good range of fish - maybe 30 speciaes - albeit nothing exotic.
I didn't buy, but was sorely tempted by prices that were around half that of my LFS (even the big-ish chain LFS) ... who are super helpful, very knowledgable, and I'd far rather support.