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Why Are Albany Aquarium's Fish Healthier?

We start with the best sources

During our 36 years in business, we've cultivated relationships with some of the best tropical fish breeders, hatcheries, and exporters all over the world. Each time we receive a shipment from a supplier, it is given a letter grade to make sure that over time we are ordering from the best suppliers possible.

We Separately Quarantine all our New Fish Arrivals

Fish are shipped into stores from all over the world in all kinds of conditions. Many times they arrive stressed out from their travels and in bad shape. Albany Aquarium is the only store in the Bay Area that separately quarantines all of our new fish arrivals. We get them acclimated to their new home, feed them the best foods, and give them some much needed time to recover before we ever make them available for purchase. Only when we are sure that they are strong and healthy do we send them out onto our main floor for our customers to purchase.

We Maintain our In Store Tanks

When we are not helping customers we are doing in store tank maintenance, checking pH, doing water changes and nursing new arrivals back to health in our quarantine room. We work hard to make sure that the fish that are not sold right away, stay healthy and happy until we can find them a suitable home in one of our customer's aquariums.

Why should I care about quarantined fish?

One of the biggest factors contributing to an enjoyable experience with your aquarium is whether or not you start with healthy fish. Because we go through the trouble and expense of separately quarantining all of our new fish arrivals, you can rest assured that the fish you purchase from Albany Aquarium are healthy and ready to thrive in your properly setup tank.

When you purchase sick fish, you buy a whole load of problems. Often the fish die soon after you introduce them into your tank and worse yet they can introduce disease to the healthy fish that are already in your aquarium. Many of our customers first came to us after having an experience of purchasing a sick fish from another store and having their entire tank compromised because of it. They really understand the value that we provide by quarantining our fish and making sure that the fish we sell are as healthy as possible.

Why should I put live plants in my aquarium?

We've found that including live plants in your aquarium has so many benefits. It can establish the eco-system of your tank more completely and allow much more room for error when it comes to tank maintenance. Large amounts of rapidly growing plants process excess fish waste and provide an oxygen-rich, natural environment for your fish to thrive.

Also, live plants add a whole dimension to keeping an aquarium that you don't get with just fish. You can create amazing, living underwater landscapes that can be an avenue of creative expression and a source of pride.

Imagine combining all the best parts of pet ownership, gardening, landscaping and bonsai in a single activity.

The last time I tried to start an aquarium, all my fish died, what happened?

Although we believe anyone can succeed at keeping an aquarium, to maximize your chances of success you need to know a few basic things. If in the past you had problems with fish dying while starting an aquarium, the most likely cause is something called New Tank Syndrome.

When you start an aquarium you are really building a mini eco-system. One of the most critical parts of this eco-system is a colony of bacteria that live in your filter and your gravel bed. The colony of bacteria helps break down fish waste in stages from ammonia to nitrite and then finally to nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite are toxic to fish while low levels are nitrate are ok.

New Tank Syndrome happens when you add too many fish before the bacteria colony in your new tank has had time to develop. These fish produce a large amount of waste in the form of ammonia and because there is an insufficient amount of bacteria to process the toxic ammonia, fish can die from ammonia toxicity.

To avoid New Tank Syndrome you make sure to do the following:

  • Add fish slowly, starting with just a few healthy fish from a species that is known for being tolerant of ammonia.

  • Seed your tank with bacteria either by adding some gravel or taking a squeezing the filter sponge from an already established, healthy aquarium or by purchasing a bacteria culture product like Tetra Safe Start.

  • Start your tank with a large amounts of fast growing plants.

Why don't you sell goldfish bowls?

We choose to promote options for keeping goldfish that are more sustainable and humane than a goldfish bowl. Most goldfish especially the ones that are sold inexpensively can grow quite large and produce a lot of waste. The limited volume and surface area of most goldfish bowls make for a miserable environment for the fish.

Whether you are thinking about a goldfish bowl for budget, space or aesthetic reasons, we have solutions that will meet those needs and also be a much happier home for your goldfish.

Why don't you sell anything on your website?

Albany Aquarium is first and foremost a retail store. Although we have a website, we are not a web store. We work very hard to deliver a highly impactful in-store customer experience that a website cannot deliver. Our employees go through an extensive training process and are constantly learning not only information that can help customers but also skills like listening and asking questions that make sure we serve our customers in the best way possible.

Although we are proud of our website, if you haven't been in our store, you haven't experienced Albany Aquarium.

Do you do mail order?

We can accomodate requests for mail orders. Most commonly this is done for rare aquatic plants that are difficult to find. Contact us at with your request and we will do our best to accomodate.

I found Product X cheaper online than at your store. Why is that?

First of all we encourage our customers to point this out whenever they notice a significant price difference between us and another business (be it a store or a website). We are open to investigating if we can find a more inexpensive source for a product and pass that savings on to our customers.

That being said, most websites that sell aquarium supplies do not have the overhead that a retail store has. We maintain a retail space where you can come and look at what you are buying. We pay and train employees to help you find the right products and patiently answer your questions. We wade through the thousands of aquarium products available and hand select and stock the highest value choices.

We provide a place where you can actually touch and feel all the various aquarium industry products and our well trained, friendly staff specialize in showing you HOW and WHEN to use various products often providing demonstrations. Additionally we are there to answer follow up questions and to support you after you purchase something to make sure that it really works for you.

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