I usually love to visit the local stores anytime I’m visiting a foreign country, mostly for the aim of seeing what they’re generally like, and what their customers are buying. Of course many of our regular readers are major gear-heads, so it’s nice to see what products are for sale, and also to see some nifty displays and ‘local’ livestock selection.
But nothing prepared me for what I saw when I visited two of Taiwan’s biggest chain stores – NKAC and Fishpet, both huge stores with sprawling aquatics departments which are in a league of their own. Petsmart and PetCo ain’t got nothing on these two!
NKAC and Fishpet both had a great yet familiar display of aquatic life but it’s the packed shelves of dry goods that really got my attention. Not only are there aisles upon aisles of aquarium products, each one is absolutely PACKED with inventory, and an incredibly diverse selection.
Of course you expect most LFS to have a solid aisle of fish food, but whereas American and European aquarium stores will have lots of sizes from just a few of the major players, NKAC & Fishpet must have been stocking several dozen brands of fish foods alone!
The DIYers reading this will love the aisle dedicated to just aquarium airline, with a whole other section for tubbing, fittings, parts, etc. How about an aisle stocked with hundreds of air pumps? Another just for powerheads, and yet another just for power filters . . . separate from the big canisters etc.
Looking for LED lights? How about not one but two aisles just for LED strip lights?? And again, each of these held about as much inventory of LED lights from many different manufacturers from the smallest clip-on LED spot for fish bowls to fully fledged controllable fixtures.
The available tanks made up a significant portion of the store, so much that similar sizes were nested within each other to save space. No matter what the footprint of that dresser you have room to put an aquarium on, these aquarium depots had exactly what size and shape you’re shopping for.
If you’re into planted tanks there’s a whole end cap simply for freshwater plant additives, a whole aisles for aquascaping items and tools, and another section just for CO2 and plant fertilization. Sure the majority of the items I’ve listed off are mostly for freshwater tanks but that doesn’t mean any old store can’t learn a thing or two from how much inventory these stores have in stock.
It’s a lot more exciting to visit an aquarium store that doesn’t have just what you need, but a veritable cornucopia of offerings to expand your aquarium horizon. Furthermore, you’d expect that with so much space these shops would have that dark and sprawling warehouse feel, like our chain stores, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Both of these chain stores were clean, quiet, brightly lit, and very inviting to wal around and peruse the incredible variety of products. Visiting NKAC and Fishpet was like walking into a living catalog of aquarium goods, except with even more selection than you’d expect, even from an online vendor.
All of these images are from just one store, Fishpet, as I wanted to show what was available from just one store and one location, although to be fair I didn’t even photograph all of it!