As aquarists many of us can remember walking into our local fish store for the first time and being inspired to set up our first fish tank. However, this experience as a whole is at risk with the internet slowly driving local brick and mortar stores out of business.
There are some specific advantages to being able to walk into a lfs that you don’t get from ordering livestock online.
1. Knowing exactly what you’re getting (size, color, health)
2. Speaking with and asking some important questions of the employees that the person doing the ordering should be asking wholesalers. How was the specimen sourced? How was it collected, (wild caught/collected vs. mariculture/aquaculture)? If wild caught/collected, was it from a region known for cyanide fishing?
If so, does the port authority check for evidence of cyanide fishing? If maricultured/aquacultured, how many generations it’s it removed from the wild caught parent/s, in terms of sustainability in the hobby and survivability in home aquariums.
3. Building a relationship with your lfs. They know you and your setup. You know them and whether or not they’re in the hobby and for how long.
Sure, there are exceptions to these, but most LFS owners and employees aren’t in business just for the money. They truly have a passion for the animals, science and want to help inspire one tank a time.
With this is mind, some friends and I decided to organize a trip that would help bring awareness to this problem and support local fish stores. We challenged ourselves to visit 50 fish stores in 5 days across 10 different states across the U.S. and make a short film about it. Enjoy: