My LFS – Southwest Reef Company

As an aquarist I feel a responsibility to support my Local Fish Store (LFS). Albuquerque, NM only has one LFS that has a primary focus on saltwater aquariums. There were more options in Albuquerque at one time but it is tough for LFS’s to compete against large chain stores such as PetCo or PetSmart. There are also a large number of resources available online that sale most of the same equipment you will find at your LFS. These large chain stores and online stores tend to have cheaper prices, however in saving a few dollars you will miss out on the greater benefit that LFS’s provide. LFS’s tend to have better expertise when it comes to dealing with tank issues and they also tend to have healthier fish than you can find in the larger chains. There are exceptions but if you have a LFS that operates with a high degree of integrity then I highly advocate that you support your LFS by making a majority of your purchases there. You will usually find healthier fish and better success in setting up your aquarium if you follow the advice from your LFS.

Southwest Reef Company Front Room

Main Entrance of the Southwest Reef Company

My LFS is the Southwest Reef Company located at 2452 Menaul Blvd, NE, Albuquerque NM (see map at the end of this post). I am fortunate that I have such a great resource locally especially as I have taken on the challenge of setting up my first saltwater reef aquarium. The owner and staff are easy to approach and they have always been patient with my newbie questions which I can only imagine they have answered time and time again. Their prices are reasonable and they always have a wide variety of aquatic life to choose from.

The Southwest Reef Company were kind enough to allow me to visit and take pictures and video for this website. Go by and check them out if you live here or are just coming through for a visit.

Click here to view the image gallery from my visit.

Comments (3)

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  1. larrybritt says:

    Nice article. I agree … supporting your local fish store, as long as they are good, will yield far more return than the small savings you can get by buying on line. I moved from TN to ABQ little over a year ago and found very few options regarding good LFS in the area. Fortunately, Rob and his crew at Southwest Reef have been great. So I have supported his operations while building my new 350 gal acrylic SPS tank.
    I am at the Marine Aquarium Expo (MAX) here in Costa Mesa CA this weekend, first “conference” for me since I started my current 65 gal softy tank 3 years ago. I have learned a lot here and gotten much more from the expo that I imagined. Many good speakers, the major vendors are here and I have been able to talk with the experts from these vendors regarding some of my recent purchases. When I find something of interest, I ask if they will sell it through my LFS – and most are saying yes. I intend to go though Southwest Reef to get most of the stuff unless Rob encourages me to buy direct (sometimes he has since smaller one off orders may not help him either).
    In all, supporting your LFS is key if you want to save money over the long run. One can avoid easily made mistakes, especially if you are learning like me. Even though you may have a great approach, you may also find that there is an even better way to get the same result. Engage with your LSF and think of the small premium you pay for that filter sock as a little consultant fee.
    I also find it beneficial to engage with others outside of your LFS (as I am starting to do…. read books, conferences, clubs, this forum etc), because everybody has opinions and different levels of experience. My confidence builds as I learn more within this hobby that can be somewhat intimidating.
    Cheers!

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