A selection of useful tidbits of information and tricks for the marine aquarist submitted by Advanced Aquarist’s readership. Readers are encouraged to post them to our Hot Tips sticky in the Reefs.org General Reefkeeping Discussion forum or send their tips to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible publication. This month’s Hot Tip theme is “Best Innovations in 2007 and 2008?” Please head over to our discussion forum and post your thoughts!
How do you choose a LFS?
Clean tanks with no algae on sand/glass.
Submitted by DaFrog
Friendly and knowledgeable staff, good livestock selection and healthy fish/corals/inverts. Sometimes with fluctuating livestock numbers, algal blooms are inevitable, so that’s not too big of a concern to me. I do pay attention to livestock health though.
I actually work at a LFS. Our livestock, for the most part is healthy. But the store is new (about 6 weeks old) and algae/diatoms/etc come and go here and there due to having an immature system. But I know the livestock is healthy. So again, algae is not a big deal to me.
Submitted by camaroracer214
Ideally, I’d pick my LFS based on healthy specimens, good selection, good prices, and personable staff. Pragmatically, distance from where I live/work matters a lot.
Submitted by Len
I also like a store that has friendly, available, and helpful staffers. I like a place that has good selection of healthy fish, and is reasonably priced. If there are two stores with equal livestock and aesthetics, I’d shop at the one with the more available staff – even if it cost me a couple more dollars. I can’t stand waiting an hour for somebody to bag my purchase.But if the store’s tanks look like garbage, I’m not staying around to see prices and what the staff is like.
Submitted by Magilla Gorilla
I think friendly and knowledgeable staff are the most important first impressions. Overall tank care and maintenance as the others noted are also critical. Livestock health and the appropriateness of the setting are very telling of the store’s experience and how they run their business. e.g. are high-light needs corals under the appropriate lighting? obvious parasites visible? are the fish healthy? do they quarantine? etc.
A big plus for me is if a store will hold a livestock after purchase for pickup later. this tells me they’re confident in their own abilities and that they’re also confident that the livestock in question is healthy.
Submitted by tinyreef