Buying tropical fish is a very easy thing to do. You can find them all over town in the most unusual places. They are in the pet stores, pet supercenters, large department stores, malls, and even manage to pop-up in some large grocery stores. Have you ever seriously thought about which place is going to give you the best buy?
Buying tropical fish at the best price is a tempting tactic. You are almost certain to find your lowest prices sitting in a big supercenter, like a Walmart, KMart, or another national chain. With their bulk buying for all of their locations, their prices are normally very low. Before you run out and buy your fish there, you need to be aware of the bad side.
Those same supercenters are normally staffed by people who have no idea of how to properly care for tropical fish. They happened to get stuffed into the pet department when they were hired. Their knowledge of fish is very low. With the level of care, the fish are given they are more prone to come to your home diseased and not survive. Your savings just evaporated.
Your next choice in low price will be the pet supply supercenters. This is a big step up in quality over a general supercenter. At least in the pet supply center, the people are given more training, the fish are normally better cared for, and the sales are higher resulting in fresher fish being in the tanks. The knowledge of the staff is usually adequate, but not high.
Your highest priced option will be small pet stores or tropical fish specialty shops. You may pay $1 higher for each fish. The good news, you get exactly what you are paying for. This time you have employees who know about the fish. They take proper care of them. They can give you quality advice. The fish are usually healthy and disease free. The added cost can actually translate to your highest value by making sure your fish survive and last a long time.
Both the pet supply supercenter and the specialty shops will have all the tanks, accessories, and general foods you need. You may need to go to the specialty shops for the higher end live foods required for some exotic tropical fish. The specialty shops will have the freeze-dried, frozen, live, and flake foods which are needed for almost any type of fish you can imagine. Their shelves will have the proper salts for your saltwater aquarium. You will have higher success with local stores or online stores which specialize.
Buying tropical fish is not all about price, it should be all about value. You are going to always get higher value from people who know the needs of the fish and take care of them properly. They will provide you with the proper foods, chemicals, equipment, and healthy fish. Do not make the mistake of buying on price alone, or your adventure into tropical fish may suddenly become very expensive.