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Shallow Water Tropical Fish (Chilliwack, BC) Review : A Cautionary Tale

This past week, I decided to check out the store on Young Road. During my first two visits, I did not buy but had a look around as to what was available and also spoke with the owner. On my third visit, the owner was pleasant enough prior to my purchase of two fishes. However, the next day, the tide turned when there was an "after-sale" problem.

In less than 24 hours, one fish was floating upside down in the tank. It was still moving its gills, but it was clear it would soon die. The second fish is doing well and as expected. No problems at all. I know my aquarium water conditions and my method of introducing new fishes are proper and correct because the other 15 occupants of my tank are all alive and thriving. A 100% success rate . . . until yesterday, that is.

I phoned the owner to tell him of this situation and he told me the one fish will likely die. (The fish did, indeed, die within an hour of this phone call.) No surprise there. What did surprise me, however, was Brian's couldn't-care-less attitude. He explained none of his stock come with guarantees because he has "no control over what happens to them after they leave his store." He added the fish he has currently in the store are still alive, so he would not take any responsibility for the loss of the one(s) I bought from him. I said I wish I had been aware of this before I made the purchase. His reply : "You - meaning me - didn't ask."

I told him I thought that was a rather hard position to take and he said it is the only one that he can take. I mentioned several other aquarium stores offer guarantees of one sort or another. He said he offers none . . . and then hung up on me.

Frankly, I was shocked at this kind of response from a retailer who would (or should) value building a base of repeat customers. Instead, what he operates is a "pay your money, take your chances" business. Lesson learned. I can only say I am glad that I had bought just two fishes for $10 and had not spent considerably more money.

Naturally, I will not be returning to his shop. There are plenty of other avenues in which to buy a similar variety of freshwater aquarium fishes . . . with reputable retailers who stand behind the pets they supply and foster a trust to have customers return for further purchases.

As added information: His prices generally run higher than other retailers. I am not sure why that is since, in my opinion, it appears as though not a lot of time or extra expense are incurred. A minimal amount of effort has gone into the presentation of the store and several of the tanks are in need of maintenance in regard to getting some control over aquarium algae. Finally, I thought his method of netting the fish and dumping them in the bag was a "little rough", but I took it for granted at the time that he knew what he was doing. In hindsight, all these indicators should have been a warning sign to me of what was to come. Consequently, I feel the dead fish was due to either weak/inferior stock or improper handling at the store. My other 15 fish have been bought locally from Oly's, Pet Culture, and PetSmart - without a single illness, injury or casualty among them in four months. My first dead fish was the one purchased two days ago at the Shallow Water store.

Of course, everyone is free to support whatever fish supplier he/she wishes. Just be aware that buying fish at Shallow Water Tropical Fish in Chilliwack is a gamble and that any subsequent loss, in fact, will be the buyer's. At least, this has been my experience.
 

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Unfortunately I've heard similar stories about this store...
 

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Your not alone there same thing happened to me. I have a post on here and Facebook just after he opened fish didn't make it 2 hrs is wife called me a liar to my face when I returned it
They been rude to many people I know and same stories from many. It's to bad really I would have spent thousands there!
 

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It really stinks because I would love a local shop that I could buy from even if the prices where a bit higher I could execpt it. But I also had a bad experience with a koi fish and find his tanks to be dirty and not maintained and would not recommend anyone shopping there. Also I find the prices to be on the really high end
 

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I've been in there a few times but yet to buy anything and probably won't based on what others have said about the place. Not sure what it is but it's not a place I feel comfortable shopping in, maybe the fact that your every move is watched as soon as you walk in. I like to go into a store and spend time looking at the fish on my own without the guy breathing down your neck at each tank. He seems to have a lot of enthusiasm about his fish but I don't want to hear about every fish he has raised, bred and sold over the years, let me observe your tanks at my own pace and if I need help I'll call you over. I'd rather make the drive into Abbotsford or further to spend my fish allowance than shop at Shallow Water. On the plus side I see that Mr Pets is moving into the revolving pet store next to Superstore, I don't know what they're like but they can't be any worse than the last one there.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
RE: "He seems to have a lot of enthusiasm about his fish . . . "

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Interesting. That also seemed so to me BEFORE I bought the fishes. But - it appears - once the SALE is done, he is done with you.

With all his enthusiasm, I did find it a bit odd that a couple of fishes I inquired about he could not identify as either male or female. I realize it is not always easy to tell the genders apart. I didn't think this was such a big deal at the time, but that certainly would be an issue if one were planning to purchase the fish to breed. :)

Thanks for your input, Folks. Glad to know that mine wasn't an isolated experience.

P.S. I am still shaking my head that he was prepared to lose a (potential) repeat customer over a $3-fish for which he probably paid little more than a buck!
 

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It really stinks because I would love a local shop that I could buy from even if the prices where a bit higher I could execpt it. But I also had a bad experience with a koi fish and find his tanks to be dirty and not maintained and would not recommend anyone shopping there. Also I find the prices to be on the really high end
I agree it stinks we have to drive out of town to find fish I was sooo excited before shop opened then bought couple cheap fish maybe 10 bucks and next morning dead I take back next morning she says my fault I didn't take home right away and or acclimate properly I told her I have many years experience and this just doesn't happen she (the owner) calls me a liar to my face! She lost probably one of there best potential customers over 10 bucks �� I would have spent thousands there. If all went well! Same thing with my son he was in checking them out after they opened looking at fish the man owner said to him why are you in here? My nephew as well they gave him attitude when he asked some questions. It's a shame really would be nice to have a friendly local fish store to support. Someone like FISH ADDICTS in Chillwack would be awesome. ��
 

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I agree it stinks we have to drive out of town to find fish I was sooo excited before shop opened then bought couple cheap fish maybe 10 bucks and next morning dead I take back next morning she says my fault I didn't take home right away and or acclimate properly I told her I have many years experience and this just doesn't happen she (the owner) calls me a liar to my face! She lost probably one of there best potential customers over 10 bucks  I would have spent thousands there. If all went well! Same thing with my son he was in checking them out after they opened looking at fish the man owner said to him why are you in here? My nephew as well they gave him attitude when he asked some questions. It's a shame really would be nice to have a friendly local fish store to support. Someone like FISH ADDICTS in Chillwack would be awesome. 
Agree with you Bob, Eric is great and always takes the time with customers I find, doesn't matter how trivial the question he's happy to help. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Shallow Water UPDATE: The second fish died today . . . bought from Shallow Water on the 14th (i.e. 2 weeks ago).

Tally: Two bought / Both died. I realize that only two fishes are involved here . . . BUT that is a 100% failure rate for purchases from Shallow Water while the 15 fishes from other retailers is a 100% success rate.

All I can say is that I am sure glad I did not buy a whole school.
 

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i know the thread is old but reading all the negative comments about this store and how there is no guarantee on the fish and how he should refund. for one hes not a corporate buisness so that one fish that you bought died he should give u a refund and be out the money? like you said all his other fish that were in that tank didnt died so how is that his problem. ive been buying fish from him for over 2 years and ive yet to have a problem. his prices are responable and he will also order fish in for you which living in chilliwack where the selecrion is shit is a awesome perk. As far as attitude goes, if i had someone nagging at me about a 5$ fish that died i would hang the phone up too like he said no refunds.
 

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Well, I breed the odd shrimp and fish. I haven't bred much of anything in the past few years, and even I guarantee my livestock. It's a really bad business model not to, even if you're selling to inexperienced fish keepers. I bought a few fish from there and the quality was not any better than any chain store I've been to in the lower mainland. I wasn't in there long ago, and mostly everything was empty. Not sure how they stay open.
As for the owners, I don't like being eyeballed. I get that every time I go in.
That being said, I think I've met every person here in this thread that has had a negative experience, and there's no reason I wouldn't believe them.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Re: " . . As far as attitude goes, if i had someone nagging at me about a 5$ fish that died i would hang the phone up too like he said no refunds."

Cichlid1990: Please read my Review MORE carefully. He did not mention the NO REFUND policy at the time I purchased the fish. It was only mentioned on the phone when I noticed the fish was struggling (and, later, died). His defense was that "I should have asked" about his return/refund policies. Personally, I feel it is the Seller's responsibility to let the Buyer know what his/her return policies are. OTHER Sellers I have dealt with are completely upfront about such things without me having to ask, so that is the business model from which I am working.
 

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Hey ****, what type of fish, and what exactly did it die from?
I'm just always a skeptic, when people have a tank full of fish to choose from and then theirs die, while there's still a tank full at the fish store. Did they choose a clearly sick fish? Thanks
 

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It can happen if their parameters are way different and they buffer up then ph way lower at home . Ph shock or they just came from a wholesaler who buffers up to ph 8. Then onto store. Then onto new owner . Within a week from Asia to los angelos to Vancouver to chilliwack to new owner .
Anaynow thos is an old thread


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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Re: " . . . Anaynow thos is an old thread."

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True. However, the shop is still operated by the same owners (as far as I know). So the information from my experience in this thread is still relevant UNLESS there has been a change in management or store policies (of which I am not aware).
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Fireweed:

As per my original post in June 2016 . . .

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" . . . Consequently, I feel the dead fish was due to either weak/inferior stock or improper handling at the store . . . "

P.S. The owner/manager selected the fishes from the tanks for me. This is my usual practice with any retailer unless a fish with a unique marking or colour catches my eye. In such cases, I request that the specific fish be scooped out. :0)
 

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Hey ****, what type of fish, and what exactly did it die from?
I'm just always a skeptic, when people have a tank full of fish to choose from and then theirs die, while there's still a tank full at the fish store. Did they choose a clearly sick fish? Thanks
So you're assuming he bought a sick fish just so he could leave a bad review on this forum? It's a conspiracy now :rolleyes:
 

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Unsure how you arrived at that assumption.
I asked what type of fish (some are sensitive and prone to stress diseases or bad water). No answer. What exactly was the cause of death? No answer. and was there any treatments to the sick fish that survive 2 weeks? Any water testing done? None of this seems to have been included. I will assume there is more to the story.
I have a small business and will do anything it takes to keep a client happy. But if there's disrespect in any way- forget it. When 95% of a businesses headaches come from 5% of the client base.... I cull the client.
 

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Well, I breed the odd shrimp and fish. I haven't bred much of anything in the past few years, and even I guarantee my livestock. It's a really bad business model not to, even if you're selling to inexperienced fish keepers. I bought a few fish from there and the quality was not any better than any chain store I've been to in the lower mainland. I wasn't in there long ago, and mostly everything was empty. Not sure how they stay open.
As for the owners, I don't like being eyeballed. I get that every time I go in.
That being said, I think I've met every person here in this thread that has had a negative experience, and there's no reason I wouldn't believe them.
It's easier to guarantee stock including to inexperienced fish keepers when you are a hobbiest and have a "real job" that actually pays the bills. When you have expensive rent for a storefront, expensive electricity bills, insurance, WCB and payroll remittance etc etc, there is no harm in asking the client to at least bring in a sample of water to ensure the client is doing their part.
 
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