I was in Los Angeles this weekend for a short holiday visit. On the way out of town, I decided to hit a couple local pet shops. I was mainly looking for interesting guppies that were unique, inexpensive and probably imported from Asia. I didn’t actually find much.
Inserted my Visa card, and walked over to the store. It was closed! Walked back to the parking machine and started punching buttons. Nothing happened. I asked a Spanish speaking stranger walking by how it stops running a tab on your credit card. (I don’t speak Spanish by the way.) It seems that you drive away and a laser in the machine will shut it off. Well, I never confirmed any of that. I wondered all day long if my card ever stopped being charged. I later checked my bank statement and had a $2 charge for the 30 second walk to the front door and back.
I left for the next store.
Toyko Aquarium. Not the safest part of town. But if you want to see some interesting fish, you have to take some risks. There was one tank of feeder guppies with a note that you aren’t allowed to pick out the fish. Understandable since there were a couple hundred fish in the tank. There was one tank of regular guppies, but nothing worth reporting. There were a lot of other interesting fish besides guppies here. Including some huge plecostomuses. (Is that a real word?) They had some unique and interesting fish supplies, like filters, sectioned betta tanks, ornaments, etc.
I headed over to store number 3, Tong’s Tropical Fish. I talked to a friendly store manager about importing guppies. He said their guppies are imported from Singapore. They had a tank or two of guppies. I “almost” bought one half black male guppy (pointed out with a green arrow in the photo). It had an interesting two-tone caudal that was larger than the other fish, and a huge body. But then changed my mind because I would need a couple more fish tanks to maintain that line if I had a successful cross. The bodies on some of those guppies are so large I speculated that they must have been fed hormones before being imported. Most had small caudal tails so they wouldn’t be a great fish to start with for IFGA show guppies. But I almost considered buying some for the body size. This store had a good selection of unique aquariums of sizes you rarely see in pet shops.
Pet Shop Number 4, Liberty Aquarium, was located right in the middle of Chinatown. I grabbed lunch for $4 (which included a drink). Later the same day, I ate at another Asian restaurant (outside of L.A.) and the total was $13, drink not even included. That’s why I love Chinatown, everything is cheap. They had one tank of interesting and colorful guppy males, and one tank of females. I did a quick iPhone video (below). The shop is really small. It’s more of a walk-in closet. Only one person can walk down an aisle at a time. As you can hear from the video, it was also a bird shop.
I had worked my way through the central part of L.A. and figured I should head towards Palm Springs, my next destination. As I was driving east on the 10 Freeway, I saw a PetCo sign and decided to hit one more pet shop. Not a LPS, but there’s no PetCo where I live in Arizona (it’s PetSmart territory here). And I needed to buy a 5 gallon tank as the final piece in my fish room expansion, which they had in stock. The only way I can buy a 5 gallon tank in my local town (Lake Havasu) is to find one at a thrift shop, or buy a pricey 5 gallon tank “kit” that includes all the stuff I don’t want. The PetCo locations I’ve been to in the past usually have a tank of “scissor tail” double sword male guppies. I snapped a quick photo:
Too bad they have short dorsal fins.
I also saw this “self cleaning” fish tank. Plants go in the top, fish in the bottom. And supposedly the plants and fish work together to create a mutually beneficial tank environment. Seemed like a good idea. But in practice, something would probably go wrong like an overgrowth of algae.
On my next trip to Los Angeles, I’ll try to do the same “pet shop crawl,” but maybe on the west side of town instead.