Welcome to my Calgary Aquarium Resource page. This is a collection of stores and on-line resources that I have found to be handy in setting up and populating my aquariums. My interest is smaller freshwater community fish, so that is the focus that this page has, although you my still find many of the resources helpful if you are into Cichlids or Saltwater fish. Keep in mind that much the information presented here is my opinion and your milage may vary.
Table of Contents
- Local Home-based Vendors
- Local Breeders
- Private Sales
- Local Pet Stores
- Pet Store Chains
- On Line Vendors
- Local Aquarium Clubs
- Local Social Media Groups
- Brent’s Favourite YouTube Channels
Local Home-based Vendors
My preferred source for fish and plants is local home-based vendors. Their prices are usually better than the pet stores, the fish are often healthier and can be bigger than the pet store fish. They also seem to have better and longer quarantine procedures. I would still recommend that you set up your own quarantine tank and keep your fish in that for at least a couple of weeks before adding them to your main tank, but I also realize that isn’t practical for everyone. I feel it is less risky to add fish from these local vendors directly to your tank than it is adding fish from pet stores. They also often have fish that you can’t find elsewhere.
The disadvantage with the home vendors is you don’t have an opportunity to browse what they have, other than looking on their websites or watching videos they post on social media.
Their selection is also more limited, but if there is a particular fish or plant you are looking for, reach out to them and they can often bring them in on their next order.
The first local vendor is actually in Okotoks, but he is on the side closest to Calgary. He does do shipping, or you can do curbside pick up. The owner, Vince Osadchuck, is active on several Calgary Facebook groups (see below) and often posts videos of the fish and plants he currently has in stock. I’ve purchased many fish from here and they have always been high quality.
The second local vendor on my list is Common Sense Aquatics, located in south Calgary. The owner is Curtis Jerrom and as far as I know, he isn’t active on social media. There is a form on the bottom of the main page for asking questions and placing orders, as well as a downloadable pdf list of the fish, plants and other items he currently has available. It is updated frequently, and you can sign up to have it emailed to you when it is updated. He will arrange a convenient place to meet for you to pick up your order and is always willing to answer questions and look into any special items you might be interested in. Again, I’ve purchased many fish here and have been very happy with them.
If you are looking for shrimp, Hung Lee, owner of SKA Shrimps and Nature Aquariums is the person to talk to. He also has a good variety of nano fish, snails, plants, and other supplies to help get you set up with a shrimp tank or a nano tank. He primarily works through Facebook and possibly other social media, or can be reached at email@example.com.
Calgary Aquatic Plants is a Kijiji based business. The owner Keith was very helpful when I first decided I wanted to do an aquarium with live plants, and again when I was running into problems getting a moss wall set up in my tank. He is in southwest Calgary in the community of Evergreen and does pick up only. In addition to plants, he has a selection of tools, substrate and other items as well, and is always willing to give advice and discuss any issues you might be having with your tank.
In addition to local vendors, there are also local breeders, and there can be an overlap between these categories, but the breeders tend to specialize in a few species, and as implied by the title, breed most of the fish themselves. I haven’t purchased any fish from them yet but they were all recommended in the Calgary Aquarium and Fish Discussions Facebook group.
A local fish breeder/seller located in Airdrie, Alberta serving Calgary and the surrounding areas.
He carries a variety of Tropical Freshwater fish. Such as German Discus, Angelfish, Zebra Plecos (L046), and Bristle Nose Plecos. All stock is either bred and raised by him or by other local breeders that share the same high standards as he does.
Owner: Brad Hearn
Your friendly neighborhood local fish breeder delivering to Airdrie, Calgary and surrounding areas.
Owner: Fox Lishka
They breed and supply angels, plecos and such to a few stores as well as home-based businesses.
Owner: John-Kris Bennett
Local Fish Guy/LFG Aquatics is a local small business that produces high quality tropical fish
Owner: Corey McKeigan
Another option for buying, or even sometimes getting free fish or aquariums, is to get them from individuals that might be taking down an aquarium, changing the type of fish they want to keep, or have fish that are breeding.
As always when buying from individuals, it is buyer beware, and be sure to follow best practices for sales like this. I would also highly recommend having a quarantine tank available for any fish that you purchase this way.
Kijiji is always an interesting place to find things, and fish, aquariums, and other supplies are no exception. There is always an interesting selection, ranging from free to way overpriced.
This is an interesting one, it gets its name from Facebooks policy that you cannot sell animals on Facebook. So, people will sell “Bags of Water” in certain flavors, such as “A Neon Tetra flavored bag of water”. You usually need to send the person a message to find out the price and other details, although some people will post a number of “doll hairs” required to obtain the bag of water.
This one is straight forward, it’s a group for selling Aquariums and Aquarium supplies. I’ve found a few good deals on here. If you are looking for an Aquarium, it’s a good place to start.
Local Pet Stores
Calgary has several local pet stores. I’ve listed the ones that I have personally purchased fish or other items from, but there could be several others that I have missed, particularly those that specialize in Saltwater fish. Each store I have listed has fish that the other stores don’t have, so it’s worth visiting them all if you have the time. It’s also worth comparing prices on similar fish across multiple locations as they often can be quite different.
Pisces Pet Emporium is the granddaddy of Local Fish Stores in Calgary. It’s located just off Deerfoot and McKnight. It has one of the largest selections of fish in town and an amazing array of supplies for any sort of aquarium you might want to set up. There is one employee, Norm, who is amazing to watch catch fish and can offer up advice on all sorts of topics. I’m not sure if he’s been there since they opened, but it must be close. Most of the staff in the fish department are quite knowledgeable.
Because they are so popular and sell so many fish, their fish can sometimes be quite small and occasionally not in the best health. But usually, they are fine and they do have a 15 day replacement policy on their fish, just be sure to bring in a water sample for testing when you bring the fish back.
Fin Gallery is located near downtown Calgary, in a small basement location, but they manage to pack a lot of fish into their limited space, and often get in interesting specimens that I don’t see elsewhere. They opened at the end of 2018 so are one of the newest fish stores in Calgary, but they have made a good name for themselves in the community.
They frequently update their Facebook page with the new fish that they have received, as well as any sales or specials that they have going on.
It seems like an area where parking could be a challenge, but I’ve always been able to find a spot reasonably close, although it is almost all pay parking.
The majority of the fish I’ve bought here have been healthy, they don’t have a stated return policy but you are always welcome to give them a call if you have problems. Their view is that they would like to work with their clients on a case-by-case basis so they can achieve success. Simply replacing fish into a poor situation doesn’t propagate the hobby and they strive to assist and educate by building strong relationships with their clients.
Franco’s is in northeast Calgary on 32nd Ave and 19th St, not too far from Pisces. It’s another small shop, with two long aisles of fish tanks and a small area of supplies at the back. I’m always impressed that Linda greets me by name when I go in, even if it’s been several months since I’ve been there. Some people have said that they find the prices here to be much higher than other locations. I don’t agree. That may be true for some species of fish, but I’ve also seen fish here that are cheaper than the same fish at Pisces.
I don’t think they have a stated return policy, but, as always, if you run into problems give them a call or drop in and talk to them and see what you can work out.
Gold Aquariums is a little odd in that they have virtually no Internet or Social Media presence, or at least none that have been updated in recent years, and their website seems to have vanished. They have been around for at least ten years and are well known in the community.
They are in southeast Calgary on 17th Ave and 47th St. in a strip mall. It’s another long, narrow store but packed with all kinds of fish.
I don’t get there very often, it’s a little inconvenient to get to from where I live and they don’t have a lot of the community fish that I prefer, but if you like cichlids, this is the store for you. They have an amazing selection and a reputation for being the best place in Calgary to get them.
Pet Store Chains
Pet Store Chain stores sometimes get a bad rap, but I bet more people get started in the hobby because of them than anywhere else. I’ve picked up quite a few fish from them, and they are often a convenient place to get supplies, especially if you don’t live near one of the Local Fish Stores and you are suddenly in need of some airline tubing or a part for your filter.
Both of the chains I mention below have similar characteristics, which comes down to a lack of consistency. What I mean by that is there can be quite a difference in the knowledge and skill level of the employees that are working in the fish area. Some are good at answering questions and catching fish and others seem to have been dragged in from another department to cover and know very little and can barely catch a fish to save their lives.
There can also be a lack of consistency in how many types of fish are carried and the health of the fish between different locations.
If you are going to buy fish from one of these chains, I would suggest going in a few times, get to know who works in the department regularly, or manages it. That will also give you an opportunity to observe the tanks over time and get a feel for how well maintained they are and the general health of their fish. Even more so than for other sources of fish, a quarantine tank is highly recommended.
Having said all of that, some of the longest-lived fish in my tank have come from the big chain stores.
Petland has ten locations in and around Calgary. I find the prices a little higher, but they do have a membership program that gives you a discount, and I believe they still have one day a week (Tuesdays?) where there is a discount on fish. Check in with your local store for details on that.
PetSmart has eight locations in Calgary, and one in Airdrie and another in Okotoks. Their prices tend to be lower than at Petland, but can vary from species to species, so it never hurts to check at both places if you have the time. For a while you could get API Super ICK Cure at some of the locations when no one else had it. I don’t know if any of the locations still have it or not. I’ll talk a little about medications for fish further down on the page.
On Line Vendors
Another option, especially for supplies, is to buy on-line. There are several Canadian sellers that ship fish, but I don’t have any experience with them, and it’s not something a beginner is likely to do, so I won’t cover them here and I will just mention a couple places that have supplies, including medications.
In late 2018, Health Canada banned the sale of medications for tropical fish and other pets without out a prescription from a Vet. After being out of the hobby for many years, this came as a shock to me the first time I had to treat some fish for Ich and found out I couldn’t buy treatments for it at the store.
Like many other things, Aquarium supplies of all sorts can be purchased from Amazon. It can be handy to have them delivered right to your door, especially if there is a pandemic going on. There are some things I have ordered from there that I just couldn’t find anywhere else. I do have an affiliate account there, so if you do use the link above, I’ll get a small credit with them.
This Burnaby BC store gets mentioned because they now carry Aquarium Co-op products, which I’ve been interested in trying for a long time but they don’t ship to Canada. I’ve placed two orders with them and they arrived quickly and in good shape.
Angels Plus is an on-line store out of the US that I’m including specifically for some of the Flake Foods that they offer and will attempt to ship to Canada. I had success in ordering from them, and I will say that I didn’t really think about how big an eight ounce of bag of flakes actually is. Here are a few links to specific pages on their site, just be sure to read the note on some of the pages about shipping to Canada:
If you have a couple of sick fish and think one of these products would help, drop me a note, as I mentioned 8 oz bags are very large.
Ken’s Fish and Pets is included for similar reasons as Angels Plus, a specific product offering:
I also have a large bag of the flakes from here.
Local Aquarium Clubs
There is only one local club that I know of. I’ve been to one of their meetings and am planning to go to more in the future.
CAS was founded in 1951. They are a registered non-profit organization.
- To study aquatic life
- To encourage the hobby of fish keeping
- To share information on subjects related to the hobby
- To publish books, papers, and periodicals related to the hobby
- To provide recreation for members and promote opportunity for social activity
Local Social Media Groups
There are several Calgary specific Social Media Groups where you can discuss your fish and aquariums, ask for advice, or show off your pets. I’ve just listed Facebook groups for now because that is what I use, but if I find out about other ones, I will add them as well.
This is one of the most active Facebook groups in the Calgary area and is the one that I spend the most time on. Lots of local breeders and experts hang out here and it’s a great place to get advice.
This group is for all aquarium keepers in the greater Calgary area to buy, sell, auction, trade or discuss anything related to all fish and even semi-aquatic creature keeping. (Terrariums, paludariums, and vivariums welcome as well).
A small Calgary Facebook group with a focus on Planted Aquariums.
Brent’s Favourite YouTube Channels
There are hundreds if not thousands of YouTube Channels devoted Aquariums and Tropical Fish. I’m just going to list a few of the ones that I personally enjoy and find to be informative.
One of the most informative channels available, they have videos on just about every topic relating to aquariums and tropical fish that you can think of. It’s also worth checking out their website which has a great collection of informative articles. Cory McElroy founded Aquarium Co-Op in June 2012 had has developed it into a thriving business, including creating their own line of products. Unfortunately, they don’t ship to Canada directly, but there is now at least one Canadian distributor (see above) and may be more in the future.
Aquarium Co-Op has so much material that they needed a second channel to help handle it all.
Irene offers practical tips for busy fish keepers. Her focus is on smaller aquariums and fish and is a great resource for beginners as well as those with more experience. I like her presentation style and sense of humor. I chose several of the fish that I keep based on seeing them in her videos.
John and Lisa Hudson run this channel and it’s fun to watch their interactions, as well as being a very informative channel. They started KGTropicals in 2011. It was originally an African Cichlid breeding and retail company but has evolved over the years and it’s nice to be able to share in some of the experiences and learning they have accumulated along their journey.
This channel isn’t strictly an aquarium or tropical fish channel, but he often incorporates both into his designs. He creates really interesting projects and has a lot of ideas that could be used in your aquariums and may inspire you to try something a little different than a standard aquascape.