Petco or PetSmart for Fish (Health of Fish, Types, Price + More)

Petco and PetSmart are some of the largest go-to suppliers of pet fish and pet fish supplies around, which customers can count on for variety.

However, if you’re shopping for pet fish, and are curious about who has a better offering between Petco and PetSmart, then stick around and get enlightened!

Should I Go to Petco or PetSmart for Fish In [currentyear]?

Petco and PetSmart are matched in their pet fish offerings, though customer reviews prefer Petco for the variety and longevity of its fish in [currentyear]. Both Petco and PetSmart offer to match the price of any product you can find cheaper elsewhere, which puts their prices at par. Moreover, the two stores have a remarkable fish return policy.

If you want to know more about which store has better pet fish at better prices, including quality and variety, then keep reading for more facts!

Which Pet Shop Has Greater Variety of Fish Between Petco and PetSmart?

Petco and PetSmart both have a wide variety of pet fish to choose from, and you may get a species at one pet shop that you don’t find at the other.

Also, note that the availability of variety differs from store to store, as you may find a well-stocked Petco in one location and another PetSmart.

However, some reviewers claim that Petco has the better variety overall, and will even take sea fish if donated, as the company also sells seawater.

Some of the fish varieties stocked by both pet shops include the following:


  • Angelfish
  • Barbs
  • Bettas
  • Catfish – Corydoras
  • Catfish – Large
  • Cichlids
  • Danios & Minnows
  • Discus
  • Guppies
  • Glofish
  • Gouramis
  • Goldfish
  • Mollies
  • Platies
  • Plecos
  • Rasboras
  • Sharks
  • Swordtails
  • Tetras


  • Goldfish
  • Betta
  • Minnows
  • Comets
  • Danios
  • Tetra
  • Mollies
  • Cichlids
  • Sharks
  • Guppies
  • Glofish
  • Snails
  • Shrimps
  • Crabs

PetSmart has other aquatic life besides fish, but Petco has a broader selection.

Where Can I Buy Fish Cheaper Between Petco and PetSmart?

Where Can I Buy Fish Cheaper Between Petco and PetSmart?

The difference in the pricing of these two pet shops can be accounted for in contrast to the species’ rarity and other factors.

Besides, both Petco and PetSmart offer price-matching schemes, which means you can always expect one to match the other’s price if they should go lower.

Here is what each store charges for a similar species in its stores. In some cases, the price is given in a range to account for the variations in each species:

Species Petco PetSmart
Goldfish $5.99 – $34.99 $6.99
Danios $7.99 $6.99
Cichlids $4.99 – $29.99 $7.99 – $21.99
Bettas $4.99 – $19.99 $19.99
Guppies $9.99 – $57.99 $3.99
Tetras $3.99 – $45.99 $9.99
Sharks $2.99 – $19.99 $4.99

The fact that Petco has a greater range in pricing is a testament to the greater variety on offer within each species.

Where Will I Get Better Quality Fish Between Petco and PetSmart?

PetSmart and Petco both have systems to maintain the high quality of the products they offer.

However, the quality of their pet fish depends on where they were bred, and the manner and distance they were transported to the store.

The particular store’s fish management systems also play a critical role.

Therefore, it’s common to find excellent fish in the PetSmart in one location, and Petco in another, or even either of these being the worst elsewhere.

It’s advisable to exercise due diligence in your purchase of fish, and not rely on apparent reputation.

Watch out for the tank’s cleanliness, the quality of the water, and the observable conditions of the fish.

Which Pet Shop Has a Better Fish Return Policy Between Petco and PetSmart?

PetSmart guarantees that your fish is healthy and in good condition when you pick it up, or an associate will refund your money or replace it if it’s not the case.

To qualify for a refund, you must take the fish back, dead or alive, within 14 days.

If it is dead, carefully pack it in a plastic bag or box, and carry along a water sample. If alive, do not carry it in tap water, or it may die.

Have a receipt of purchase and some identification. PetSmart associates may look up your purchase, as the records are kept for two months.

Your refund will be made as a credit to your original payment method. Alternatively, you may be offered a replacement instead.

On the other hand, Petco guarantees that the fish will stay alive for at least seven days after it arrives at your home, or you get a refund.

To qualify at Petco, you must return the live fish within 30 days. Petco will not offer you a refund or replacement just because you changed your mind.

Email customer care with your claim and photographic evidence of the dead fish within 30 days if the fish is dead.

Returns and refunds are handled by customer care, not individual Petco outlets.

If you are looking to learn more, you can also read our posts on Petco fish return policy, Petco vs PetSmart, and where does Petco get animals.


If you wish to buy healthy, high-quality pet fish that you will enjoy for a long time, you must take the initiative and exercise some due diligence.

PetSmart and Petco are almost evenly matched in their offerings in this respect that it’s not worthwhile differentiating them based on reputation.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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