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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just had a bad experience and wish to warn other hobbiests. I've kept freshwater and marine critters for over 20 years now. I've had excellent luck with Cuppachino Bay, Aquarium Showcase, Imagine Ocean and several others. STAY AWAY FROM PETS UNLIMITED ON TERRELL MILL RD IN MARIETTA!!! I purchased sickly livestock from them once (which can happen about anywhere). Gave them another chance and got assurance that their fish were guaranteed. Well...the poor critters promptly croaked of some parasite (the other residents in the tank were and remain asymptomatic). When approached about the guarantee, Joel, the owner, refused any sort of credit, even though my tank conditions checked out. I wasted over $100 on those clowns....learn from my mistake!
 

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Just FYI, that is NOT me. I own no business and am only a hobbyist.
 

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Was curious what the reason was for them not honoring their guarentee policy. Would like to know the details behind the purchase and the attempted return.

If you don't wish to post all this to the general public please e-mail me.

Charles
 

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Hmmm place usually seems pretty good,all I ever bought from them was my 4" mantis.
 

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I had trouble with a clown I bought there too. It was a Maroon Clown and he had Brooklynella. I didn't try to use the guarantee so I can't compare experiences.

I've bought a few chromis there with no problems. I like their drygoods section (good price/good selection), but their livestock (particularly corals) seem to be iffy.
 

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I have never bought any livestock. It seemed they had decent livestock but without purchasing any, I can't give a good review. However, I have always enjoyed their drygoods section. I don't find myself there very often, however i buy my pet foods (Dogs and Cats) and they had the best prices on Salt by the bucket when I was there.

Ray
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Charles-

You asked for more detail, that's fair. About 6 weeks ago, I stopped by the store for dry goods and made an impulse purchase of a long tentacled anemone. I have 3 anenomes that have been in the tank for quite a while. None have managed to attract one of the clowns (except for the condy and skunk clown...NO KIDDING!!!), so I decided to throw another into the mix. Inside of 48 hours, the thing was turned into a booger and died. I know that harvesting can be pretty traumatic, so the loss was shrugged off.

Last week, I went by for drygoods and informed them of my loss. The fish guy said it came from a "bad batch" and that most of the anemones were dead. I also noticed a tank with silver paper covering it. Upon closer investigation, it was found to have sick fish and blue medication of some sort.

Another impulse purchase...I saw a pacific cow fish small enough for my small system. I've had them before with success...had to swap 2 out because they grew too large for a 55. I asked about any credit for the anemone from the "bad batch", and was told too late, but remember that all of their livestock is guaranteed. I asked about the sick tank, and was assured that it runs on a different system. That was satisfactory, so I bought the cowfish and a strawberry pseudochromis. 2 days later, they were covered in ick. I bought a bottle of kick-ick in hoped of a cure. As the parasite persisted, I even tried fresh water baths. No luck. The strawberry died in the live rock and was never seen again. The cowfish was just about dead when I pulled him out of the tank. Fearing fouled water, I did a 25% water change right away.

I called the store manager to let her know the fish was dead, but I live an hour away and will be working north ga and couldn't get to the store for a few days. She told me that was impossible, because (and I quote) "our fish NEVER get ick". Remember the blue tank? I was transferred to the owner, Joel, who questioned about my water chemistry, that was all fine. When asked about specific gravity, I said the water in the bucket was almost 25, more than usual. Joel, the owner, said that 25 was deadly to fish and that is what killed my stock. As the tank is by the phone, I grabbed the hydrometer and said I'd double check to make sure I was right. I had misspoken, the sg was just over 22. Joel then pronounced me a liar and refused to honor his guarantee. Even is I brought a sample, because it would probably be doctored up.

He asked my intentions and knowing I had no recourse with the guarantee, assured him that I would put the word out that he is not to be trusted. He threatened to sue me for liable...it ain't liable if it's the truth!!!

Well, that's the whole sorry story. The memo is long, but, I only thought it fair to tell everything. Yes, I misspoke, but that's all. The tank is established and well.
 

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my tank is @ 1.025 now checked weekly with a refractometer and my fish don't die from this. When I purchased my refractometer and checked my water the first time after calibrating it my sg was @ 1.028. And still I didn't lose fish from high salinity. The only thing I might see as a problem is that if he runs really low salinity and you didn't drip acclimate the fish this could've stressed them into an ich outbreak. just my .02. If they have an e-mail address you might send the link to this thread to them. Make sure to include your address just in case he has a change of heart and wants to make good on his guarantee.
 

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Assuming that by 25 you mean a specific gravity of 1.025 (as opposed to a salinity of 25), then if he told you that 1.025 is "deadly" to fish (and I have no reason to doubt thats what he said), then he's just wrong, or worse. Most reef tanks are kept at or near 1.025. According to R. Shimek(www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aqfm/1997/nov/features/1/default.asp) the minimum SG for a reef tank at 77 degrees should be 1.025, and range up to 1.027. At 82-83 degrees its more like 1.024 to 1.025. But I suspect that you already know that. But you do need to be careful with hydrometers (unless calibrated against a refractometer), as they are notoriously inaccurate.

If you haven't already been there, I'd recommend Marine Fish and Cappuccino Bay, both good shops in that area...
 

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Gracie --- I do appreciate you posting the long version of your story. I thought it would only be fair. That way everyone can come to their own conclusion about your experience.

I only wish Joel would come on the forum and post that way we all could hear his side of the story.

We have a bunch of sponsor stores and usually one employee is a member of this forum and does post on ocassion. In the rare instance where there was some type of problem both parties posted and the problem got solved to everyones likeing.

These kind of things not only happens between LFS and members but also between two members especially with the large amount of FS/FT threads we seem to have.

I also appreciate everyone keeping this thread in a very cival tone. Stateing only facts and not opnions is usually more productive.

Thanks again.

Charles
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thanks ya'll for backing up my understanding that 1.025 sg was well within acceptable limits. Perhaps the varying results were attributed to an uncalibrated hydrometer. As I have a heavy fish load, I keep the SG a little low to encourage the osmosis whammee in allot of parasites. Anyway, when the store owner stated that 25 was deadly, all credibility was lost and I assumed that I was dealing with people who don't know anything. After all they have never had ick. Nope, not ever. The fish were properly acclimated 1st by floating to reach the right tempurature, then by a fast drip into their bucket...a bucket only used for tank mantenance. I haven't tried Marine Fish, but have had excellent results from Cuppacino Bay, Aquarium Showcase, and Imagine Ocean.
 

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That's sad to hear. I wish someone would open a reef store up near the Mall of Georgia!!!!

Driving to Under the Wave or Aquarium Showcase just takes forever....

Thanks for sharing your experience Gracie. I likely won't ever go out of my way to go to that store.

Bill

ps - Just thought I would add a little quote from Delbeek and Sprungs "The Reef Aquarium"

"Distilled water has a specific gravity of 1.000 while seawater ranges from 1.022 to 1.030. The acceptable range for specific gravity is between 1.015 and 1.032. Specific gravity values depend on the temperature of the water and so aquarists' measurments of specific gravity are usually only approximate.

We have seen healthy corals and other marinelife in nature, and in captivity, at SG values within the range of 1.010 and 1.035. Full strength seawater is about halfway between the extremes of this range, about 1.025 and this is a common value many open ocean reefs around the world that are not influenced by run-off from rains, and not greatly inluenced by evaportation due to the high rate of exchange of water from the open sea. "

He then goes on to talk about how a specific salinity is not as important as maintaining whatever salinity you have. And then cites sudden changes in salinity are one of the major contributors to ICH.

1025 IMHO is perfectly fine.
 

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Pets Unlmited Responds

I would not have known about Grace's posting on this board if she didn't send me an e-mail bragging about the fact that she was placing "numerous reports" online about our store:

Date: Fri, 4 Jul 2003 13:10:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: grace crenshaw <[email protected]>
To: [email protected]
Subject: Please forward to Joel or store owner
Joel-

As promised, I have warned many other hobbiests about your busiiness. The following is a copy of one of numerous reports I placed on line. Thought you would be interested in the opinions offered by various experienced marine fish keepers.

It has taken a while, but the ick episode is about handled. It has been a costly for me and stressful for the little guys in the aquarium.
--

So, here's my response:

Grace left out a few facts.

First, the fact that she has been harassing employees at Pets Unlimited even before this incident happened. We have always treated our customers with the upmost respect, even when they do not reciprocate. I will respect her privacy by not going into details about what she has said.

Secondly, she also left out a few details about her tank... the "small tank" that she packed these fish into was a 15 gallon. I would hesitate even calling it a mini-reef. The tank simply had too many fish in it. No matter how good the quality of the fish coming out of our store, if you start taking fish after transport and cram them into an unstable system with too many fish and anenomes, your fish is going to get sick.

We never called her a liar about her salinity levels. Rather, we could never figure out what level her tank was at. In fact, she couldn't even figure out what salinity her tank was at, commenting that "I just added salt to my tank, and I can't figure out what the right level is". We went out of our way to help her and give her the assistance that she needed. She also refused to accept our guarantee, saying that she lived too far away.

If you have ever done business with us, you know that we do absolutely everything we can to make our customers happy. Our systems are as good as they get, all using the best wet/dry filtration, UV sterilization, and R/O water. We know what we are talking about.

So, I challenge you to come in and take a look. If you think our store, our service, and our guarantee is that bad, feel free to flame/complain about us on this board.

So, feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about our store - [email protected]

-m
 

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I have been reading this thread with a jaundiced eye, not because someone is bashing an LFS, but just leery of any post like this when you only hear one side of the story. I re-read everything again today and a few things stuck out in my head....Under Gracies own admission, she made two impulse buys.....we all have fallen victim to that, so you kind of discount it's value, but the other thing I noticed was the "heavy fish load" quote. Now when you combine both impulse buys and a heavy fish load, bad things can happen fast, especially in a small tank like a 55. Ich as we all know is caused by stress. All fish have ich cysts on their body at all times, but some fish are more prone to outbreaks (powder blues). When one introduces new animals into an already crowded system, this can trigger stress...especially to the new fish. Think about it...they are already stressed from being caught and transported to the store. Then they are captured again and put in a new home that is crowded and they are the low fish on the totum pole, so to speak. They freak and ich takes over...classic example.

I am glad Joel has stepped forward and has said his side of the story. As long as we keep this thread civil, I will let it remain, but please let's keep it that way.....
 

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Joel --- I really appreciate you comming onto our forum and posting your side of the story.

There are allways two sides and readers need to be able to hear both sides before they can make any kind of judgement about the situation.

You gave the best advice to everyone that could be given in this situation:

So, I challenge you to come in and take a look. If you think our store, our service, and our guarantee is that bad, feel free to flame/complain about us on this board.
Please feel free to post on our forum any time you wish. Our club is open to the public regardless of your business affiliation. And we do encourage the different LFS to post on our foum. You only need to follow the TRT rules --- The main one for a LFS being --- no direct commercial posts.

Hope to hear from you again in the future.

Charles
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
OK gentlemen, first the heavy fish load issue. I do not believe the tank is overstocked. It has an undergravel filter with two powerheads, and over the back filter with a protein skimmer, and a little over 20 lbs of live rock. At present there are 2 very small clownfish, a small tang and a 2" damsel. Others have come and gone...I swap them out or give them away after they get large. I'd rather have several tiny fish than a couple of larger ones. This should not be enough to through the tank into a tail-spin. When I purchased the cowfish, Joel himself used the word "perfect" when I shared the contents of the tank. If I am wrong about the fish load, please educate me.

Second of all, the harassment issure. I simply stated that I felt invisible because of the slow service in the store. Yeah, the last few words we had on the phone were rude on both sides, mine included....something about "our mama's" came up.

In my opinion, it was very fair minded when I did give the store another chance. A store employee said my prior purchase was from a bad batch and most of the anemones died. If I was going to raise a stink, it would have been when there when no credit was offered, even though the help knew the stock was defective. The following purchase should provide some evidence, that I was not in the store making life miserable for the employees.

I did not refuse the guarantee...it was denied!!! I phoned because I wouldn't make it to the store by the deadline, and wished to inform them of my losses, so that there wouldn't be any miscommunication later. I was informed that the 1.025 SG is what killed the fish, that I had changed my story, and that no refunds would be issued. HONEST!!! As for not being able to figure out the salinity...get real. The quote is fiction.

Yes, ick is like the cold virus in humans, always on the lookout for a vulnerable host. The two purchases did not overlap. The first animal was long dead before the cowfish joined the group.

I didn't send the previous threads to Joel to brag...but to validate my point that my understanding of acceptable water quality was consistent with standards. If I had feared being exposed as a blowhard, I certainly would not have made Joel aware of my activities and offered him the opportunity to make a reply. I also had the hope that Joel would see fit to admit the injustice, and make good on his guarantee. Instead, the response was a string of fabrications.

Sure...go visit his store. The prices are competitive. Buy a few things, even fish. All I can do is warn you about what happened to me.
 
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