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VIPets

Location: Kentwood, MI, US
Shop Address: 6700 Division
 
Reviewed By: Chuck R.
Date Of Review: September/2005
Overall: Fair
 
Times Visited: More Than Ten Visits
Freshwater Selection: Very Good
Saltwater Selection: Good
Stock Selection: Good
Staff: Fair
Prices: Fair
 
Comments: They have good prices on ghost shrimp and out of 2 other pet shops, this place is the only one that stocks feeder guppies. Staff are not generally knowledgable about fish tanks, especially about cycling fish tanks. They approve of ½ gallon tanks with a filter for animals like frogs or bettas. Bettas often are faded and look very stressed. Staff are generally not knowledgeable about fish requirements, saying things like neon tetras will do just fine in a pH of 8 (no mention of the pH of water they were raised in or acclimating them to the new water). Or plecos are easy to take care of. (Untrue, they are very sensitive to stress and are not good for beginners.)
 
There are always some dead fish in at least 5 freshwater tanks, but then they have at least 50 fw tanks. 10% corpse rate is not too bad since the tanks otherwise look clean. They have around 30 saltwater tanks. Fish appear to have been dead for days due to amount eaten off the skeleton by other fish. Dead ghost shrimp in tanks are sometimes pink. It takes at least 3 days for them to turn pink.
 
Live fish are always eating the dead fish, so fish appear underfed. Crayfish often don't have enough places to hide.
 
They also have snakes, spiders, lizards, turtles, hermit crabs, small mammals, rabbits, mice, gerbils. Mammal cages always appear quite dirty. Hermit crabs look ok as do the reptiles.
 
Summary: though their prices are fair, in general, you can always find dead fish in a handful of tanks. Invertebrates are not guarenteed, but that's not surprising as inverts are very sensitive.
 
Comments:
 
Added By: Chuck Roberts
 
Addendums
 
1. Regarding feeder guppies: I found out later that was a one time thing. They do not regularly carry feeder guppies but they have feeder white cloud mountain minnows.
 
2. Regarding "mammal cages are always dirty". This means they always have (and I mean always) mountains (and I do mean mountains) of feces in the corners of the cages. Although the animals appear healthy, they do not appear mangy with any skin diseases I can see.

 
Name : Chuck R.
Msg : VIPets sometimes has cherry shrimp, and atyid shrimp (filter feeders with "mitten" hands), and amano shrimp. They also often have crayfish and tadpoles.

 
Name: Jamin Rollin
 
Comments: I've been a patron of VI Pets for at least 8 years or longer. For reptiles, it's the best that can be found in West Michigan. That's mostly the staff's focus, even if they've expanded their aquatic rooms in the last few years. It's a huge selection for a independent pet store trying to make it among chains.
 
They have had this live rock display tank for as long as I've been going there that houses a painted gobi that is the largest I've ever seen in a captive tank (almost 5"). It hides most the time, true to form, but if you wait a couple of minutes, still, it will come out to feed. Whoever set that tank up, knew what he was doing.
 
The selection lately though has been a little strained. I think they may be a little in trouble since there's just not a lot of surplus household income to go around. But the last 3 times, I didn't see ANY dead fish, nor signs of sickness, nor any MOUNDS of feces in the mammal cages or reptiles.
 
They do regularily stock non-aquatic species that are not commonly carried in West Michigan pet stores -- sugar gliders, water monitors, emerald tree boas, green tree pythons, just to name a few. I am a novice at fish, so my recommendation may fall flat here, but the staff (although not enough at times) has always bent over backwards for me. It might be they know me, and admittedly I am there every couple weeks for frozen rats for my snakes (something else you can't pick up anywhere else near GR that I know about).

 
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