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  #251  
Old 01/07/2008, 03:09 AM
b16drag b16drag is offline
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Looks like this is on my list of stores to hit up when I make my trip down there in the coming weeks.
  #252  
Old 01/07/2008, 04:05 AM
tacocat tacocat is offline
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Ken,

You forgot Ali's rimless tank section:





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  #253  
Old 01/07/2008, 04:14 AM
melev melev is offline
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Oooh. Very nice. That's that new PlastiFire material, right?
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  #254  
Old 01/08/2008, 07:32 AM
64Ivy 64Ivy is offline
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I'm in LA on business this week; will probably get down there this Friday. As many of you know, I almost ALWAYS have a camera with me so I'll see what I can do.
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  #255  
Old 01/08/2008, 08:28 AM
melev melev is offline
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Sweeeeeeet.
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  #256  
Old 01/08/2008, 08:33 AM
Konadog Konadog is offline
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Maybe you can get a better picture of the skimmer in action
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  #257  
Old 01/08/2008, 10:27 AM
JOSE CASAS JOSE CASAS is offline
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Skimmer was really acting up last time i was there.lol
  #258  
Old 01/08/2008, 10:42 AM
roxy25 roxy25 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by 64Ivy
I'm in LA on business this week; will probably get down there this Friday. As many of you know, I almost ALWAYS have a camera with me so I'll see what I can do.
Having a camera is not the problem LMAO
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  #259  
Old 01/08/2008, 10:50 AM
ROBZ ROBZ is offline
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yea i think Ali doesn't like Paparazzi LOL
  #260  
Old 01/08/2008, 10:53 AM
MrSandman MrSandman is offline
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I'll chime in here as well. I was at Ali's store a couple weeks ago to pick up my tank he ordered for me and its a shame i don't live closer, or i'd be hanging out there in my spare time. The store is really nice, and the livestock was much better than any LFS in my neighborhood. You guys should check it out. Especially you Marc.
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  #261  
Old 01/08/2008, 01:31 PM
Putawaywet Putawaywet is offline
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I know so many of you (expecially you Marc) who haven't had a chance to visit or see pics yet are probably trying to visualize some kind of mental picture of what all this hype is about. Well, here are just some random thoughts about Ali and his place that have stuck in my mind from the two times I have stopped in.

The store is not huge, quite modest actually, located in a relatively large shopping center that, if not for home Depot across the street, might take you a couple tries to actually find.

Obviously, being a new store everything is clean and tidy, but it's also well thought out. A very simple layout that allows you to survey everything quickly. It took me literally 2 minutes to get the lay of the land, leaving me the remainder of my hour or so to make my selections, study things more closely, and chat with Ali.

Tanks and equipment are all pretty upscale. Several rimless or perimeter braced tanks are set up with hanging pendants from the likes of Geissmann and Sifiligoi. Even his holding tanks have a nice design with smaller holding cubes up above larger tanks that terminate with large shallow perimeter braced look-downs for corals and clams down at the end of the row.

His dry goods inventory is a bit limited, but what he does have on the shelf is totally geared for reefers. From what I saw he selected only products that have a good track record and actually work as advertised. He had a couple nice ATI BubbleMasters sitting on the shelf and a really nice custom sump that caught my eye with it's white acrylic baffles.

No ten gallon tanks packed with damsels and such in this store. Just nice quality specimens displayed in singles or small groups. Besides a Purple tang and a Ventini puffer I also picked up a couple beautiful wrasses: a Solar and a Lubbuck that are both doing great in my tank.

He also has a nice selection of corals and clams. I scored a trio of ultra-Maximas at a great price. I especially liked that he had more than just one of the same coral, and that they were all grouped together so you could compare and pick which one you liked best.

And the atomsphere... well, that is probably the best part of the whole store. Way more low key and laid back than any store I've been in before. Ali greets you like he's known you for years with conversation more like two guys chatting it up at a club meeting. I could totally see myself stopping in for a quick visit only to bump into another local reefer or two and before I know it we've all lost track of time and are ordering out for pizza.

It's also the kind of place that you find yourself spending just a bit more money then you originally planned. Yet strangely, you somehow don't really mind all that much.

Cons: Nothing major really, although I wish he was a little bigger as I could only imgaine what he could work in with a few hundred extra sqare feet.

Not really a complaint but I also wish he had just a few more fish. I'm not sure if the selection at the wholesaler was limited that week, or if that's all he had left on the day I was there. Either way what he had was nice and I'd still rather see a smaller number of healthy fish passing thru than I would a huge selection of large fish that are of questionable health.

He's currently not set up to sell premade water or NSW, although I got the impression he's working on that. Not a big problem in the grand scheme of things as I have a place local to me. But it would still be nice to get it all in one stop instead of having to stop somewhere else on the way home.

He also needs to expand his dry goods section. I know space is tight but maybe some additional racks or shelves so he can increase his inventory a bit. I'm the type who is always stocking up on the little things when I hit a store and sometimes I'm not even sure what it is that I need until I see it on the shelf. Impulse buys always bump up the bottom line and I always seem to be tossing extra stuff on the counter when it's time to pay.

Overall I'd say he's off to a great start and I look forward to seeing what else he has in the works. It certainly doesn't hurt that he's only a few minutes from my work so no doubt I'll be hitting him up again real soon.

Brett
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Last edited by Putawaywet; 01/08/2008 at 01:55 PM.
  #262  
Old 01/08/2008, 01:46 PM
MrSandman MrSandman is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Putawaywet
I...and a really nice custom sump that caught my eye with it's white acrylic baffles.

I wonder who's sump that is? Hmmm... Can't wait to see it myself!
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  #263  
Old 01/08/2008, 01:52 PM
Putawaywet Putawaywet is offline
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Yep, I would have been quite happy with something like that under my tank if it wasn't for that big Darth Vader looking black one that I put there instead.

Congrats on a heck of a nice sump!

Brett
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  #264  
Old 01/08/2008, 03:29 PM
Fmellish Fmellish is offline
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I stopped by this weekend with the wife and kids.

My first impression was wow, this place is small and where are the drygoods and freshwater tanks?

I was looking to buy a tank and maybe some guppies, and was expecting the standard LFS where the front half of the store is littered with empty tanks for sale, but you can barely squeeze by.

Not the case here. it's a well laid out open place with tanks for livestock and some nice tanks for showcasing. He does carry lots of argonite sand and he has one bookcase for pumps and stuff, so its not entirely fair to say he doesn't carry any drygoods.

As I looked over the livestock, the size of the place became less and less relevant because the livestock he had was all very nicely selected.

I would certainly recommend it if you are looking for corals. He was still planning on adding more fish only tanks. The fish selection while modest was high quality containing both beautiful and uncommon fish.

I was impressed with the quality of his tanks. I don't know if I had ever seen starphire before that day. His glass tanks are really elegant. Imagine a 5 sided cube, no top of any kind, and no bracing from what I remember. Hanging pendants highlight the simplicity of the tanks.

He had this one tank that I WANT, but I know I couldn't afford it. Its on the left wall, totally open top, one 250w pendant. On a white wooden stand, nice big sump underneath with nothing in it but a return pump. It cemented in my mind that it is possible to have a salt water tank that looks beautiful and doesn't require 4 pumps, 3 lights, and $300 a month to operate.

I should have taken a pic, I had a camera-phone on me. Darn.

Its a nice classy place. There's even carpet in the entry and a couch if I remember correctly. I'm not sure what his prices will be like when he starts pricing things out, (nothing was marked when I was there).

I would rate his stuff A+, but he doesn't have a lot, its not a huge place.

And the store owner was a very nice guy.

If I had any money, I would glady go see him right now and order one of those starphire tanks.

Too bad in a home environment the hanging pendant design blinds your family. Its a design that looks very elegant in a fish store or gallery, but at home, what can you do? Adding a canopy takes away all the beauty of the design. But my kids can't get near a tank like that, when they look up all they see is the halide bulb burning their rods and cones

Josh
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  #265  
Old 01/08/2008, 05:27 PM
melev melev is offline
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Awesome posts today! I'm flying out to attend the Marine Aquarium Expo in April, and I hope to see Ali's store in person then. I will take pictures, and they will be shared. Ali can always try to find me in Texas (it's a big state - I ain't worried).

We have a brand new store here that sounds similar to this one, in that it isn't large but it is well set up and nice to browse through. It too is very young, so there is more to come. Here are just a couple of pictures from that store on their opening day:





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  #266  
Old 01/08/2008, 07:56 PM
Konadog Konadog is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by melev
I'm flying out to attend the Marine Aquarium Expo in April, and .......
Thanks for the warning Marc, I'll alert homeland security

MrSandman, if that was yours, very nice!
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  #267  
Old 01/08/2008, 09:58 PM
melev melev is offline
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Originally posted by Konadog
Thanks for the warning Marc, I'll alert homeland security
Ahem - why do you think they have Level Orange? They keep tabs on me all the time.
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  #268  
Old 01/08/2008, 10:07 PM
Konadog Konadog is offline
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Well, when your in town I'll buy you a drink before they take you away


Nice inwall tank at the LFS you have there
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  #269  
Old 01/08/2008, 10:21 PM
melev melev is offline
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That's a 540g reef that was in the co-owner's home. It looks much better in the store. The guy in front of the tank is the other owner.
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  #270  
Old 01/08/2008, 11:43 PM
five.five-six five.five-six is offline
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hey Ali, thanks again for that super cool pico sized lawnmower blenny, just love that guy
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  #271  
Old 01/09/2008, 01:57 AM
ReefMeister2 ReefMeister2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by melev
Awesome posts today! I'm flying out to attend the Marine Aquarium Expo in April, and I hope to see Ali's store in person then. I will take pictures, and they will be shared. Ali can always try to find me in Texas (it's a big state - I ain't worried).


In my opinion, Marc is one of the best teachers in our entire hobby given his outstanding dedication and effort to share his knowledge through his multiple websites, forums, and especially here on ReefCentral. Just think of the amount of time this guy spends helping people? think about it.

Remember, even the smartest people in the entire world are effectively useless to us unless they contribute to the common body of knowledge. Sharing is key!

Last edited by mhurley; 01/09/2008 at 07:01 PM.
  #272  
Old 01/09/2008, 02:20 AM
melev melev is offline
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Great, now I have to really step up my game for April. You are supposed to downplay my role so that I can blow them away, not the opposite.
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  #273  
Old 01/09/2008, 06:26 PM
GreshamH GreshamH is offline
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I've sat thru Marcs workshops, I didn't learn a thing. Hopefully this one will be different
You mean like that

Joking of course and yes, I did get the message from the office
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  #274  
Old 01/09/2008, 06:28 PM
melev melev is offline
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Call me. I need to know where to ship you that very special package this xmas.
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  #275  
Old 01/11/2008, 11:34 AM
wishntoboutside wishntoboutside is offline
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ali,
thanks for the help

melev.. not to get off track but i think one may enjoy reefapolza instead. lets just say better vibes within the reefing community. although i think expo should be nice for the socal communtiy as another event.=).

i gotto to take a picture of two!!!
 

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