Petco. Where The Healthy Pets Go?

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dead-fish-petco-600x450.jpg Every time I go to Petco for just fish food or filters, I always see a dead fish. Most of the time, dead fishes. It strikes me with realization, that the people who work there don’t notice it. And I, a random person just coming around and buying something, see it. It’s quite disgusting. I bet everyone has seen a dead fish or two, but EVERY SINGLE TIME I go to Petco, there’s like 5 dead fish right in front of the workers there. Its almost annoying. Sometimes I tell the people there to take the dead fish out, but they obviously ignore me, and try to sell some little boy a goldfish bowl. Also, I’ve been to PetSmart, and Kahoots, and their service and fish quality is over 100% better. I bought a Zebra Danio from Petco, and BAM, the next day it died. My father complained to the store and they said ” oops, sorry about that, how about a nice betta fish?'’ I walk over to the betta fish isle, and there are several dead ones. I nearly exploded when I saw that and (calmly) asked my dad to leave. This happened around 2 years ago. Also, I took another picture when I was there l.jpg

There were some dead crabs floating around one of the tanks. I baby barfed inside. How gross is that? (Wait I think they’re crabs) I highly suggest a Kahoots or PetSmart for anyone interested in fish, not supplies.

Kahoots vs Petco

• good service | • ignorant if customer needs

• fish healthy and well | • dead fish in most tanks

Well, that rant is out of the way. Thank you for reading, and maybe someone can suggest another good fish store? I’m planning on getting an Oscar, and I want a healthy one. But thanks again, for reading.

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment or give me a


  • Joe_450: The petcp buy my house is horrible at it, I saw 5 dead fish in one tank! And then in another I saw 2 with around 4-6 skeletons! And the fish were still picking and eating at another! Then there is never ever anyone back in the fish dept, so I went back to get a 10g and I see a dude who pours concrete for a living cleaning the dead fish out and said he’s tired of seeing them, then he went and grabbed several of the healthy looking guppies(prod only one that weren’t gonna die in the next 24hrs ) and he packaged them up himself. I about lost it. I contacted Petco corporate and filed a complaint, and the rep said that they will definitely look into it.
  • rpsp_07: Hmm must all be regional.
    My Petco is actually pretty decent (I still wouldn’t buy fish from them).
    I have seen the girls take there rounds cleaning the Aquariums And removing dead fish. And our petsmart is a total dump :P
  • Amber: Both of the big P chains can be horrible. There really is no rhyme or reason to it. I prefer local fish stores or online for actual fish, the only thing I buy at chains are supplies, and even then only if I don’t have the time to wait for it to arrive in the mail.
  • Madeye: The Petco by me have good quality fish and there are almost no dead fish. Every. Maybe once a month there is a dead fish or two.
  • Zach: Same as rpsp.
  • Shannon: Both of my local Petco’s do not seem to have healthy fish. I have seen some fish at both that appeared to have ick. The closest PetSmart seems to be the best of the big box pet stores in town. Their fish seem healthy and I hardly ever see a dead fish. I talked to the manager about what they do to try to avoid diseased fish and he seemed very open and didn’t care that I asked. The fish dept. employees that I talk to all have several tanks and home and I think that makes a big difference in the care given to the fish they work with.
    The PetSmart on the other side of town is iffy, sometimes seems okay and then other times not.
    I prefer my LFS, LiveAquaria, or Aquabid but still scope out the fish when I’m in one of the big box stores for cat food/litter/supplies. I won’t buy from them but I like to just look at the fish (and the cats that I have no intention of adopting b/c I already have 2).
  • Kirrie: My local Petco is the only place I will buy fish around here. Both the PetSmart, and the other LFS are horrible. Ive only bought two fish from PetSmart, one died 2 weeks after I bought it without infecting my other fish, the other is my betta. All of the other fish I have came from Petco and were all healthy when I bought them. I think it definitely depends on the workers because I know there is a guy at my Petco that does his best to keep the fish healthy. He actually stopped me from buying fish and told me about cycling, although he only told me I had to wait a week.
  • Shannon: I’m glad they are finally starting to mention cycling to folks. Last year when I was searching for a tank so I could get back into fish keeping, I went to PetSmart. A lady there told me about cycling. She said it could take 6 weeks or longer. I had never heard of it so came home and got on the internet and discovered what she meant. I was able to do a fishless cycle because of her and I sure do appreciate it!! So do my fish, I’m sure :)
  • Snails: My Petco has absolutely 0 dead fish and their tanks are very healthy, albeit overrun with unwanted baby snails....
    I still choose to go to PetSmart simply because of Petco’s god-awful, TERRIBLE advice.
    Here’s an example-
    (Me asking about bamboo shrimp care, not very trusting of Internet sites)
    Me- How do you take care of bamboo shrimp?
    Petco Employee- You need four filters and live plants and (blah blah blah)....
    I obviously know that bamboo shrimp do NOT need four filters, and live plants are optional.
    I’ve also heard a lot of outrageous info there, whereas Petsmart actually has people that know about fish.
  • Snails: Plus Petsmart has no dead fish at all.
  • Bonnietaylor: It depends on the management. I asked both petco’s I frequent how often they change the Betta’s water and one said once a week and the other said every two or three days. The Petsmart I go to said every other day, and I have never seen a dead Betta at that Petsmart, but have seen several at one of the petco’s.
  • Snowman: Sorry your petco is like that. Honestly, I’ve never found any correlation between chains, lfs’s and quality. It depends entirely on the individual store. There are a dozen petcos and petsmarts within easy driving distance of my home and five or six lfs’s. Lot’s of fish stores!
    The closest petco is one of the best stores I’ve ever been in, bar none. They treat their fish and customers like royalty and the tanks are always perfect. An associate there is the only person ever to give me straight advice about african cichlids, after which she gave me a tour of their sump system. The closest petsmart is horrible, cloudy tanks, filters off half the time, fish mislabeled, empty tanks, not good. They do remove the dead ones, the only positive.
    The closest lfs is a mildew factory, dark, smelly, idiot owner, just bad!
    The second closest "p stores" are next to each other and are both perfect. Why the petsmart near me is awful, I haven’t a clue, except someone is managing the place, right? There’s a clue!
    Farther away yet are the awesome, buy whatever your heart desires LFS’s which are mostly excellent. It takes a lot of effort to maintain 100 tanks, so they all have good days and not as good days.
    For some strange reason, the yucky close by petsmart changes their betta bowls daily. Great risk management, guys, put all your effort into bettas and let 50 tanks turn into cesspools. No question the culprit is management with a slight balance problem.
    It all depends!
  • Timedformula8: My petco treats the fish great but I go to Petsmart for supplies because of bigger stock my petsmart gives out bad advice and my Petco doesn’t.I found a pet store that doesn’t over stocks it’s tanks it understood them and keeps about a fourth of their bettas in 1/4-1gallon tanks for a temporary home only one or two bettas were in bad condition!
  • Snails: The only problem with all my Petco/Petsmarts are their bettas.
    All of the betta cups are full of **** and leftover food, most of the bettas are dead or barely alive.
    My LFS is by far the best fish shop I have over here.
  • Snails: What? It censored c-r-a-p. I’ll just stop typing that word, then.
  • amneris3: I got a fish infected with camallanus worms from a Petco. I guess they would consider it a bonus pet. :) Anyway, though they are chain stores, they are still individually owned. Some are nice, some are not. The best thing to do when you see ANY store abusing animals is to complain and never shop there again.
  • Snowman: Bonus pets, I guess. Sorry.
    Good point, they’re franchised stores, so all individual.
  • mobella: Around here the petco is great and petsmart is a dump.
  • Cassie: I agree with Petco having crappy advise! I actually asked a kid what he was making for pay scale and he said minimum wage pretty much so that tells you why Petco has such bad advice.. because these kids have no idea what they are talking about!
    My petsmart does a CRAZY GOOD JOB of keeping their tanks clean. I do see dead fish at random but sometimes they are for other bottom feeder fish to clean the bacteria around from and such. I dont know.. all in all I am happy with petsmart. I do go to petco for certain supplies though that petsmart doesn’t carry.
    Question: Where would you rather buy your next animal like a cat or a dog?
  • Snowman: Wow, everyone’s experiences are different. To Cassie’s question, I doubt there’s much difference in chains’ adoption days for dogs because they’re (at least here) brought in by rescue organizations. I met my second dog at a petco adoption day, but he was fostered by a fantastic rescue group, and we set up the petco thing beforehand. The first one, too.
    Unfortunately, fish sellers aren’t regulated stringently, nor do pet fish get the press that dogs and cats do.
  • Leanne88: Its the same over here..
    Pets at home is here..some stores are terrible! Dead fish constantly in there,dirty tanks.. Terrible advice!!
    Others are ok,im still very cautious with buying fish at even the good ones..only one store out of 4 the fish survived!
    Theres other big ones here in the uk that the fish are good and advice can be ok..but then i see the bettas in jars and cups and one i guess at least has mini tanks with flowing water buuut still tiny!
    Pets at home have silly checklists.. How long the tank been set up (minumim of a week for them,they tell u nothing about nitrogen cycle) how many fish and what size tank etc.. Yet they still then sell goldfish for tiny 10L tanks,they sell u poorly fish.. They act responsible to those who dont know but those more expiereinced find them rather silly!!
    Strange how the big stores us and uk have issues..
  • Newfishmom: @Cassie, I personally like to get dogs or cats from rescue groups as it helps them continue funding their groups which really saves a lot of dogs. Plus, if a dog has been living with a family in a home setting it leaves few surprises! With that said, many of these groups are breed specific which leaves many a mixed mutt alone and uncared for. Give me a good mutt any day! Our last pup my hubby found in a broken hamper basket sitting at a gas station. He is the best dog ever!
  • amneris3: One of the Petsmarts near me is an excellent store. Weird, right? Anyway, all their cats are sent from Humane Societies, one of which I used to volunteer at. This Petsmart does not do dog adoptions, but occasionally will have a rescue come in for a day and hand out fliers for dog adoptions. Petsmart also has rescue rabbits, guinea pigs and other rodents up for adoption alongside the animals they sell. The adoption fees are always a tad cheaper. Their fish department is pretty decent too. I feel confident buying fish from them.
  • Newfishmom: Amneris3 that is so nice to hear. I think it is an individual thing right?
  • amneris3: Yes, this is definitely strange for a Petsmart. I asked one of the fish department workers why they have such a large selection compared to other Petsmarts. She said it was because they refused to switch over to the new corporate system. If they ever do, they will be down to about an eighth of the fish they currently sell. So this store is a stand alone in the franchise.
  • Ryguy77: I almost made a similar post last week. I was in Petco in the betta aisle and there had to be at least 20 dead or very near dead fish. I asked the woman stocking the shelf right next to all the dead fish when they got their shipments of new bettas in and she said "as needed". I’ve seen dead fish in Petsmart too, but nothing like the graveyard I witnessed at Petco that day. There was probably a 70/30 % split between dead bettas and live bettas. pathetic.
  • Snarggle: In the end ya got to remember most of the people working there are making minimum wage...and only work there about 6 months to a yr. My local Petsmart is allways top notch. Only dead fish i have ever seen was some of the feeder fish, but that i dont hold against them....
  • Snowman: My really good petco is what they call an anchor store, with expanded selections of everything. Just to clarify, none of them here sell dogs, only cats. Once a month or so, they have adoption days when foster parents bring in dogs for people to look at.
    When I got LuLu 3 years ago from the Animal Humane Society, at that time they were bringing truckloads of adoption dogs to Minnesota from Georgia. As Bob Barker used to say constantly, "Spay or neuter your pet!"
  • Ryguy77: How can you find out if there is an anchor store near you verse a regular store?
  • Newfishmom: Call and ask them or go online to their customer service. I did that too!
  • Snowman: It was volunteered to me by the other stores. I never really asked.
  • YooperFishLover: My local PetSmart is excellent. The people that work with the fish really seem to know their stuff. (And I do engage them in conversation just sort of to test what they know. :) ) When they do water testing, they explain everything and give you a written form that has explanations of each of the parameter with blank lines where they write your actual values down, for you to take home. So I feel fortunate! Of course, my PetSmart has been in this area for less than a year, so it’s all fresh and new, which is nice.
  • Cadevan: I actually get some fish from petco, the one in my town is very well kept, and no dogs or cats are sold, they only work with local humane societies to get cats homes.
    Petsmart is the issue here.
  • Fishobsessed.: I was on holiday last week and found an aquatics centre, when I pointed out about 4 dead fish, they got the signs out to say no fish were available that day. They got to work water testing, removing the dead fish etc. I stayed in the store watching them and they were going into every tank moving ornaments etc looking for bodies. The manager was very apologetic and thankful I had brought this to their attention.
    I went back the next day and asked what the problem had been, they had a nitrate spike and had found in one tank an empty fish food tub that someone, customer, had opened and dumped in the lot.

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