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Pulling out all of this "stuff" is not nessesaraly a good thing, that is one does not want things such as phytoplankton to be removed, and it does get removed, one would like it suspended in an aquarium pelagically like what happens in the ocean. I think that skimmers like yours would be unhealth for my aquarium inhabitants as a GaLLON a day is a bit much, right?
I dont think so. I do all of my water changes through my skimmers, and on my 225 DSB tank and pull out between a gallon and a gallon and a half a day.

On my BB tank i dont skim quite so agressively. Its a 90 and i pull out 1/2 gallon a day.

You can follow the link in my sig to see how unhealthy the tanks look from all of this skimming. I feed my tanks nothing besides homemade food for the fish, calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium.

To be sure, ,many ways to skin a cat in this hobby and a skimmer ISNT a necessary piece of equipment to have a happy healthy reef. But quality water is, and a good skimmer can help tremendously in this regard.

To keep this thread on track....:)......I think it is a good idea for any LFS to keep a couple high dollar skimmers in stock. Many people prefer to buy locally and you might as well capitolize on it. And even if it isnt the exact skimmer someone wants, they at least know you can get the right size for them as a similar one is already on your shelf.
 

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Salifert test kits, Calibration fluids for pH meters, refractometers. A few lines of external pumps to go along with the powerheads like some Iwaki, Pan World, Little Giant, Sequence, ect. Maybe some TEK or aquatinics T5 fixtures (something with individual reflectors). Also nice to have basic plumbing supplies like bulkheads for those emergencies.
 

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What is wrong with debate about a product, I am not debating skimming v.s. no skimming, I am debating that RS is a good product a good mover if you will for a salt water store. I am sure that debate about a product happens all the time inside the mind of a store manager.

Yes, I am sayin that you should not over skim. The only thing I can think about that is its ocean equivallent would be the waves breaking upon the shore. But the rising tide would wash it all back into the ocean.

Conclusion: Red Sea is a wonderful product that works. Demographically speaking, it is more open to a diverse array of aquarium owners with its ease of use, functionality, and price. Sure a few customers will pay for more expensive skimmers(that can be easily ordered) but if I were stocking a shelf in a medium pet store I would stock it with Red Sea. I believe that this is common buisness sense.
 

· Little fish in a big pond
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Icebear, in my experience as a retailer... Kent and Seachem are easy to get via distributors and are quality products.

I prefer Current USA to Coralife - both easy to get, but Current has better customer service.

I carried Salifert tests but nobody bought them... lots of people talk the talk but few walk the walk. Having said that I carry Seachem tests and you will NEVER find an AP test kit in this store. Red Sea tests are good too - and have a copper test from Red Sea if you sell Cupramine. The Red Sea test works with Curpamine but the Seachem test is a pain in the rear.

No Sea Clones either OR Prizms - spend a few more dollars at cost and go to a bit more trouble and get AquaC or CPR - PM me if you need distributor info because they don't come from your main line distributor. Neither does Salifert but there's a couple of places you can get them.

Carrying every wattage/colour temp etc., of lamps is impractical for most stores. Depending on your sales volume, a couple of each of the 65 and 96 watts move well. Metal Halides may be "order only" because it's expensive inventory to have on the shelf, and if you have 10,000K the customer wants 20,000K or if you have 175 Watt they want 250, etc and it's hard to keep some of everything on the shelf without going broke.

Bulkheads, plumbing kits, and other PVC parts are good to have on hand. Black tubing - Lee's makes good stuff readily available through most distributors.

See if you can't replace the Wardley and API stuff with comparable Kent and Seachem... better products, more "high end". I like Omega Sea for flake/pellet foods, there are some other good ones too.

San Fran, Piscine Energetics, and Ocean Nutrition (and Hikari) are good for frozen.

Salt: Kent, IO, Reef Crystals, Oceanic. I haven't found that Seachem moves at all, and Red Sea salt is awful, IMO - so is Coralife salt. You'll move way more IO than any other, but Kent's up there for me - but I prefer it, so I push it more.

The issue with carrying all the big-dollar, high-end stuff is that unless you're in an affluent area, you won't move as much of that as the middle of the road stuff. Don't carry the junk - it's not worth it. The downside is that if you have a decent HOB skimmer for $10 more than the crappy one your competitor sells, more than half the people will buy the POS from down the road and a few months later they might buy the good one from you. It's a catch 22 sometimes, but IMO you're better off carrying the better stuff in the first place, then you aren't as likely to find the name of your store being smeared online because the "stupid LFS" sold them crap ;)

I am sure I could go on and on about what stuff moves well, what's good to keep - but that's something to chew on for now ;)

Jenn
 

· Little fish in a big pond
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Just stumbled on the thread is all :)

There's no "exact science" to what to stock. Many people ask what I use and recommend so I move most of the stuff that I .... use and recommend.

The store I used to work at pushed a lot of different stuff than I do, and I started carrying their big movers when I first opened but found that that stuff didn't move as well.

For some unknown reason, in this area anyway, stores push "Stress Coat" like it was going out of style. It just gunks up the water. I'm sure it's good if you have an injured fish etc., (I carry Seachem's compatible product and it's better - no aloe, no scum)... but I break a lot of people of that habit - it's a waste of money, IMO.

The Melafix and stuff is pretty useless also IMO. I've got a couple of FW customers that use it, so I have it for them, but it's never on my "recommended" list. I also try to suggest real remedies for stuff like cyano instead of chemical fixes - fix the source of the problem, not just the symptom.

I do have a lot of stuff that simply doesn't move. When it does finally move, I usually try to replace it with something that does. A store only has so much shelf space - no sense filling it with "dust collectors" and when I got into selling FW fish a few years ago I had to re-learn a lot.

It's not an exact science. You have X, they want Y. You get Y, they want Z.

OH and I don't carry Power Sweeps either ;) But Maxijets and Hydor Flos work a lot better.

People buy junk because it's there. If it's not there, they'll buy the good stuff (unless junk is cheap down the road...) Retail is a frustrating business to say the least at times.

Poly filters, replacement cartridges, carbon, media bags, salt, frozen food, bulk filter pads, scraper blades and such move well and often. Whatever filters you sell the most of, keep enough replacement media on hand at all times because that moves well. If your distributor has a special, stock up.

Go to trade shows if/when you can - keep up with the "latest things" even if they're junk - if you've had the chance to see them firsthand and play with them, you will know what people will be looking for and what to stock - or what to dissuade them from buying if it's not good. You can also give manufacturers feedback on their products.

Books. Lots and lots of books. When a new customer comes in looking to purchase a tank setup - that's where I bring them first. If they look at the price on the back of a book and wrinkle their nose, I know immediately if they are serious about a new hobby or not. I can't believe some people will drop hundreds or even thousands on a setup, without a $35 "owner's manual". Said books are also a good thing to have for yourself to look things up when you get hit with a question you don't know the answer to ;)

Jenn
 

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True dat, you CANT stock everything, and if you are working for someone else, esp a chain store, some bean counter is going to have the last word what you can and can't stock. Corporate couldn't care less if a product works, they are only interested in will it move and the profit margin on it.
I agree that so many people shop price,esp when they are first starting in the hobby, sadly its a steep learning curve,and an expensive one
 

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Just stumbled on the thread is all :)

There's no "exact science" to what to stock. Many people ask what I use and recommend so I move most of the stuff that I .... use and recommend.
There's a reason I will drive 3&1/2 hours to visit Jenn's store besides the fact that I just plain like her... :)

...and rather than beat a dead horse on some of the topics listed in the thread, I'll just say I've been around when much of the stuff in the last 30 years has been introduced into the hobby, and I have learned (unfortunately) from both trial and error and the experiences of many other hobbyists and professionals on what works and what does not. I will try to keep folks from spending money needlessly in this expensive hobby on items that either do not work or have better alternatives for a reasonable amount of money. For example, I would love to own a self-cleaning Deltec Skimmer, but for the marginal increase in function, I cannot support spending twice as much as what I spend for a quality high-efficiency skimmer like the MRC or Euroreef lines for larger systems here in the US. This is not to say that I think the RS skimmers are crap, but better skimmer technology is now available at about the same price. I imagine that the next manned interplanetary trip we make as a people will not be using Apollo-level technology either.

Back on topic, If I had one thing to add to Jenn's comments, it would be that it would be nice to have a lfs with a 125, 250 and 400 watt spare MH bulb in stock, I can't say how many times I wish I had in the past been able to find a bulb within 3 or 4 hours drive time. I now keep a spare bulb, and for the same reason, have the same type of bulbs through all my systems, but I am sure that if folks knew that they could get a bulb in a LFS, especialy in areas away from metropolitan areas like Atlanta, it would be a bonus for the LFS selling them.

Icebear, I congratulate you for searching for "the good stuff" to carry rather than relying on the wholesalers best seller list, and as always, I thank Jenn for opening her shop in Georgia.

JMO, HTH
 

· Bubble Algae Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Thanks for all the info everyone! I figured i ought to do something about what we carry in-store cause when i get questions i find myself recommending or suggesting stuff and then turning around and saying, but we don't carry it :(, but then i tell them "yet, but i'm working on it"...
but, then...nobody else local carries it either....:doh:

i'll put it all in a list and do some extra research and submit it and see how it goes, if i can at least get some other substrate in the store other than CC, that will be one small victory. :D
 

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Ice, do you work for an independent or a chain or franchise?

Jenn
 

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JennM

You said "For some unknown reason, in this area anyway, stores push "Stress Coat" like it was going out of style. It just gunks up the water. I'm sure it's good if you have an injured fish etc., (I carry Seachem's compatible product and it's better - no aloe, no scum)... but I break a lot of people of that habit - it's a waste of money, IMO."

Perhaps you will reconsider whether or not this product is a waste of money or for that matter why you think it is nessasary to break someones use of a good product like it was an illegal substance. Dr. Wood, a noted researcher on cephalopods(cuttlefish,octopus squid,natulis), must think it important enough to include it, by name, in a paragraph about cuttlefish husbandry. here is the paragraph:

Once you have captured your critter, place him in a cooler. If you are going to be near the ocean for a while, do some water changes, especially if your cephalopod inks. If your trip home is going to be more than a few hours long and you have room, take some extra containers full of sea water in case your ceph inks on the way. Running a portable air pump will help keep the oxygen levels up. Also, try to keep your cephalopod out of the sun - cooler water holds more oxygen plus your ceph will need less oxygen at lower temperatures. Products that scavenge ammonia and balance pH, such as Stress Coat, can be used to help keep the water quality stable. If you have to keep your cephalopod in a sealed container for more than 6 or so hours use oxygen.

I DONT UNDERSTAND WHY SOME OF YOU THINK THAT IT IS NESSESARY TO "PRODUCT BASH".
 

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I DONT UNDERSTAND WHY SOME OF YOU THINK THAT IT IS NESSESARY TO "PRODUCT BASH".
Bubbashrimp, respectfully, I do not know why you are so opposed to other people having an opinion that differs from yours.

You stated your opinions, you weren't flamed, however some of us have differening opinions. That's why it's a *discussion forum*.

If you like Stress Coat, use it to your heart's content. In MY OPINION, it is not necessary but if it makes you feel better, it will likely do no harm except to inhibit gas exchange because of its oily nature for a little while.

There's one heck of a difference between schlepping cephlopods around on a boat, and taking your guppies or clownfishes home in a plastic bag with clean water and oxygen in it, and the scientist could easily have plugged whatever OTHER product was GIVEN to him for a plug.

I don't like Stress Coat, and I stated the reasons why. I don't sell it and I don't even "push" the similar Seachem product although I do carry it for folks such as yourself who just feel a compulsion to use it, and the *occasional* individual who has an injured fish that could benefit from it.

Your opinion is equally as valid as mine, so please don't bash me for having an opinion, and for chiming in my experience as a LFS owner, because the original poster asked what types of things to carry. Since I'm in the business, I feel like I'm qualified to answer.

Respectfully, of course.

Jenn
 

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One other thing, Bubbashrimp - I'm not singling you out or flaming you, but I *am* going to challenge your statement that AP tests are good.

What is your statement based on? That's *all* I would like to know.

For what it's worth, my contention (and Tom's, and others here) that the test kits are NOT good, is personal experience.

I used an AP test kit. One day a tank I'd been maintaining for a client for 2 years started having weird readings. I double checked the results using a different brand of kit and found normal readings. Used a third test kit, third brand and the results were consistent with the second test. Conclusion: the AP test kit was bad.

This same sort of experience has been repeated, dozens if not hundreds of times when hobbyists come to this and other boards with a similar experience. Do a search on this board for Aquarium Pharm or similar and I'm quite confident you will find all kinds of threads demonstrating how poor the quality of these tests are.

I know you don't know me, so just FYI I'm going to let you know, when I make a statement like I have, it's based on my own personal experience, and the experiences of my clients. I don't repeat and regurgitate information that I've heard or read somewhere (or if I do, I'll state that), my opinions are all based on having been there, done that.

I don't claim to have all the answers, nor do I claim to be "right" - but I do give firsthand information. See, I've been in the hobby for a very long time, and in the business a respectable amount of time. I'll never ever be an expert... but I have learned a thing or two, and I learn every day.

I come here to learn, and to help other people - and in this thread, Ice was asking about what sorts of things to have in her store. I was simply offering up what sells well for me, what's unnecessary and what she'd likely benefit from carrying.

Again - respectfully,

Jenn
 

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I am not opposed to others having an opinion, Infact I was HAPPY to hear from a REAL store owner. Remember that what you said is an opinion, If we are to investigate the validity of something, lets do it. Claims such as "For some unknown reason..." Well maybe you should ask them why they push it or better yet do some research.

You could say "in my opinion it is not nessesary to eat or drink water" but just because it is used with the word OPINION does not make it right

of course they could have "plugged another product", it is not about the name it is about what the product does. You just happed to slander stress coat.

NOT EVERY ONE GETS MARINE INHABITANTS FROM A PET STORE!!!!!!!

When you use words such as "cumpuslion" you are clearly trying to make yours the SUPERIOR opinion...so who has the problem accepting others.

Qualified to answer what sells, yes, but in this case you discourage the sale.
 

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JennM

You said "For some unknown reason, in this area anyway, stores push "Stress Coat" like it was going out of style. It just gunks up the water....

I DONT UNDERSTAND WHY SOME OF YOU THINK THAT IT IS NESSESARY TO "PRODUCT BASH".
Product bashing???

I only see where people that have extensive experiences with these products posting their experiences and their opinions of that use.

It is difficult to find someone selling a product to give a neutral opinion on items, especially when the product in question makes money for the individual giving the opinion. Usually we have to consider what the ultimate gain an individual has when making a product recommendation and weigh that drive against the ability to get us a response that is not colored by their motive. Unfortunately, when dealing with many retail settings it is Money vs. reality...

I deal with this on a daily basis whenever a new pharmaceutical comes out that is a "mee too" drug on the market. Imagine discussing a new antibiotic product (or lately, the Statins or the ABR's) with a salesman that is paid by a multimillion dollar Pharmaceutical Company to market their product above any of the others that do the same thing when treating a patient condition. I find that a goodly number of the newer products under these circumstances might be better than the older ones, but many ARE no better or are actually less effective or have unwanted side effects, but will cost up to 10 times what the older product that is already on the market will cost a patient. By not recommending the product or discussing patient-related disadvantages with other prescribers, I am not bashing the product, as there may be circumstances that the newer one will need to be prescribed to a patient in preference to the older one (that the patient has an allergy or unusualy side effects to the old product, for example). However, if for the majority of patients, the older product in this example may be equally effective, is readily available, and will cost the patient much less; then I owe it to them to make this known. This is not to say that the newer product is crap, but that the older product in this example under the circumstances will be the better choice.

That is what learning from the experiences of others is all about, and i a hobby that is already quite expensive, helping others to not waste money on ineffectual or unnecessary products is one small way of helping to reduce the waste of time and money.

Just my opinion, which is different from yours: not wrong, just different.
 

· Bubble Algae Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Ice, do you work for an independent or a chain or franchise?

Jenn
we have a small handful of locations in this state only and they were owned by a hubby and wife who started it all by themselves, so i guess you could call it a small chain... the hubby and wife just recently sold the businesses to one person... so its still technically local ownership, but we have new owner and GM. its not totally impersonal, but we also don't have a nervous owner breathing down our necks :)

We are in the middle of some changes and the new GM is changing suppliers and we are going to be able to offer much more in the way of special orders (if we don't stock it, we'll try to find it and get it for customers), and it seems like there will be a broader selection now, so i really want to make sure we get the good stuff to fill the shelves.
 

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Bubbashrimp, I think you are taking generalizations, personally. I have nothing against you but for whatever reason, you are making this personal, and that's unfortunate.

OK - truth be told... I KNOW why Stress Coat, AP tests and other AP products sell like hotcakes and are carried by most mainstream stores.

They are cheap.

Now that that secret is out of the bag... let's carry on some meaningful discussion.

The AP test is the LEAST expensive test kit on the market, bar none. THAT is why so many carry it, and that is why so many buy it.

Think about it - you're standing in my store eyeballing the $25 API test, and the $46 Seachem one, and several Salifert tests ranging from $12-20 apiece. What is the typical consumer going to buy? The *cheapest*.

This wouldn't be a problem if the product was as accurate as the more expensive one - but it's simply not. As I said - do a search on this forum, or any other, and you will find all kinds of reports of AP tests giving faulty readings. And there are plenty of boards that neither my ilk, nor myself post on - so you'll get some independent corroboration on that.

And while you are shouting at me that not everyone gets their inhabitants from a pet store, what difference does that make? Stress Coat contains aloe and thus is oily, whether you buy your livestock at a LFS, online or at the supermarket lobster tank OR if you collect your own at the beach.

If Dr. Wood had been given another product to use by another manufacturer, we'd be here arguing the praises of Seachem Stress Guard (which does not have aloe, btw...).

All I am saying is that I have personally SEEN and SERVED people who blindly buy products that are sold to them. When somebody comes in and asks me for Stress Coat, I ask them why they need it. They always say the same thing, "I don't know, XXX store told me I needed it."

So I ask if they have a fish with an injury or stress, they say no - I ask again what the Stress Coat is wanted for.

I have a problem with selling things to people, if they don't need them.

Jenn
 

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I come here to learn too, I believe that this place is a free exchange of ideas.

Allright, I accept your challenge. While most peoples problems are with the color matching i use the calcium test that does not rely upon color(except the changing of the end color). All that being said I have matched my API against Red SEA and have found similar results. If you have a problem with Red Sea as well I would be extremely interested. How long have your tests been sitting around? API warns that the shelf life of these products is limited. I agree that salifert is one of the better products, but it is not the best in terms of acctual tests one can do but in terms of the products one would buy from an aquarium store.
 

· Bubble Algae Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
How long have your tests been sitting around? API warns that the shelf life of these products is limited.
IME api test results go wonky well before their printed expiration date...

i did a test on my tap water one day and got an amazing level of ammonia reading... :lol:

i was like, woo....time to get a new one!
 

· Little fish in a big pond
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I come here to learn too, I believe that this place is a free exchange of ideas.

Allright, I accept your challenge. While most peoples problems are with the color matching i use the calcium test that does not rely upon color(except the changing of the end color). All that being said I have matched my API against Red SEA and have found similar results. If you have a problem with Red Sea as well I would be extremely interested. How long have your tests been sitting around? API warns that the shelf life of these products is limited. I agree that salifert is one of the better products, but it is not the best in terms of acctual tests one can do but in terms of the products one would buy from an aquarium store.
AP makes a calcium test? I had to look that one up in my vendor's catalog to be sure... yep, retails about $10. Wonder why they can make it so cheap compared to Seachem's Titration test that retails for about $40?

I've compared Red Sea to Seachem - while Red Sea isn't as precise, I found results consistent with Seachem - however you can be more exact with Seachem.

OH yeah - I know what the difference is - Seachem's tests have a shelf life of about 5 YEARS. I believe API is about 8 months, but then they don't put expiration dates on their kits (or at least they never used to...)... Red Sea does put expiration dates.

The main complaint I have about AP tests is the basic bundled test kit that most people make the mistake of buying - the one that does pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate. You will almost NEVER get a negative reading for Ammonia, and one day you'll start getting wacky readings for Nitrite or Nitrate off the scale, when that's simply not what's going on.

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweet price is forgotten.

Jenn
 
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