PetSmart Vs. Petco – Which Place Is Better To Buy Fish?


Not all fishkeepers have a mom-and-pop fish or pet store in their area, but they may have a Petco and/or PetSmart. Many don’t like big chain stores. But, sometimes that is the only place some fishkeepers can buy fish from other than online stores. But which pet store is better? Well, unfortunately all I can do is compare my two local stores.

Variety of Fish

For my store, Petco is the definite winner here. Not only do they sell a variety of freshwater fish, but they also sell a saltwater fish too! When it came to freshwater fish, they had Rainbow Sharks, Black Kuhli Loaches, Mollies, and Silver Dollars! And there were many more different species of fish as well.

My PetSmart had about the average fish you would find in just about any pet store, and they didn’t have any saltwater fish. They (obviously) had bettas, goldfish, as well as cories, dwarf gouramis and other popular fish. So, again, I would have to say that my local Petco had more variety of fish than my PetSmart.

Health of The Fish

Now, this is probably is the most important factor in finding out which pet store would be considered “better” than the other. I would have to say it was very close, but I would have to say my PetSmart had the healthier fish than my Petco. This may shock a few of you as I heard some of you guys saying how unhealthy the fish is in your PetSmart, but I would have to say my PetSmart had fairly healthy fish. Most of the fish seemed pretty colorful and active.

Now, Petco didn’t have unhealthy fish either, but their tanks had a good bit of algae in it which doesn’t always affect the fish, but it may mean that the water was dirty, which can. Again, it was close as Petco still had fairly healthy fish as well, but I do think my PetSmart had just slightly healthier fish than my Petco.

Health & Variety Of The Bettas

Now, I could have grouped the bettas with the other fish, but I think they deserve their own section just as they are so common and and a very popular fish. I would have to say it was a tie, but I can’t really say much as Petco didn’t have hardly any bettas during the time I was there.

PetSmart usually has more bettas, but not all of them looked the absolute best. One of the bettas at Petco didn’t even move, which means it probably wasn’t alive. But, I say it is a tie, but again, Petco didn’t have a lot of bettas for me to fairly say which pet store had the healthiest bettas.

Variety & Health of Their Aquarium Plants

Although they aren’t fish, I believe that aquarium plants play a big role when it comes to an aquarium. So, I am comparing the variety and the health of their aquarium plants. My Petsmart had the best variety of plants. They had tall plants, short plants, semi-aquatic plants, fully aquatic plants and very small plants like dwarf hairgrass. So, Petsmart had the most variety of aquarium plants.

My Petco just didn’t have a lot of plants. In fact, they only had about 5-7 different kinds of plants, while my Petsmart had more like 10 or 12! So again, I have to say my Petsmart had the best variety of plants. When it came to the health of the plants, I had to say Petco had slightly healthier plants, but it was pretty close.


Ok, so this is also pretty important when you are buying fish and aquarium plants. You don’t want to buy a few plants and a fish or two and have your wallet explode in a million pieces, do you? It was kind of close, but my PetSmart had slightly cheaper items (at least when it came to plants).


I will add photos and more pictures as time as on, but I believe this should help give you an idea of which pet store is “better.” Unfortunately, your Petco or PetSmart may be totally different than mine and you may have a completely different experience that I had, but I hope you that you enjoyed this read!

Check Out These Articles:

Choose your Reaction!
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.