Skip to Content

Does Petsmart Or Petco Take Unwanted Fish?

With the number of people being involved in the fish keeping hobby being at an all time high, we have noticed more and more questions being asked relating to keeping pet fish over the last few months.

We constantly see people asking various fish based questions about Petco and Petsmart and after publishing our article on if Petco or Petsmart are better for fish, we noticed a number of people asking if Petsmart or Petco take unwanted fish.

Officially, all fish sold by Petsmart and Petco need to be sourced via their official supply chains so there is a paper trail to track the fish if there are any issues with it so they will not take unwanted fish.

Unofficially though, there are countless reports from fish keepers who have been able to give their unwanted fish to Petsmart and Petco but it does seem to be down to the staff at your local store as well as the specific type of fish you are trying to get rid of.

For example, if you are trying to give Petsmart or Petco a hot fish that is seeing a surge in popularity causing issues with supply then you seem to have a much higher chance them taking it from you.

The general consensus within the fish keeping community is that you will have a much better chance of a local fish store taking unwanted fish from you than one of the large chain pet stores and some local fish stores may even offer you credit for rare fish that they are unable to source themselves.

Does Petsmart Take Unwanted Fish?

Officially Petsmart will not take unwanted fish from someone outside of their supply chain due to the various contracts in place to secure their dedicated supply chains.

In addition to this, various illnesses can be common within fish so Petsmart will usually want a paper trail to track any issues with their fish.

Due to being outside of their supply chain, it is very unlikley that Petsmart will take any unwanted fish from random people walking in off the street.

Will Petsmart Take Back Live Fish?

Most Petsmart stores will take back live unwanted fish that you have purchased from them within a set number of days, depending on your area, this may range between seven and thirty days.

The majority of areas in North America and Europe have laws around the sale of animals where the customer has the right to return the animal within a set period of time if you decide that the fish is not right for your tank setup.

Some areas actually have two time frames in place, one where you have to be given a full refund when returning an unwanted fish and an second, longer time frame where the store has to take the unwanted fish back but does not have to offer you a refund.

Laws and regulations can change from county to county though so you really do have to look into the local laws in your area to get a better idea of what you can and can do with your local store.

Will Petsmart Exchange Fish?

Many Petsmart stores will happily exchange fish that you have purchased from that specific store within a week or two.

It is normal for some species of fish to be more aggressive than others and many people who are new to the fish keeping hobby may not know this.

A huge number of people accidently add an aggressive fish species to their community tank then ends up causing havok in the tank but in most cases, you should be able to return the offending fish to Petsmart to exchange the fish.

Now, the exact rules around this will depend on your local store with some stores allowing you to exchange the fish for another fish of the same species with the hope that it will have lower aggression levels where as other stores will often allow you to exchange the fish for a different species.

Again, this really does come down to the rules of your local store as well as the local laws and regulations in place in your local area so a quick phone call to your local Petsmart will usually give you all the infomation that you need.

Can I Give My Goldfish To Petsmart?

With goldfish being the most commonly kept type of fish in the world, people asking if they are able to give their unwanted goldfish to Petsmart or Petco is very common.

As we mentioned above though, this really does depending on a number of variables at play based around the local laws and regulations in your area as well as where you purchased your goldfish and how recently the fish was purchased.

In some cases, you may find that Petsmart will take your unwanted goldfish back without issue in one area but flatout refuse to take an unwanted goldfish back in another area even if the fish was purchased from that store.

This is due to the laws and regulations changing so much from country to county, never mind state to state making it a pain to workout exactly what you can and can’t due as there really is little to no consistency.

Can I Sell Fish That I Breed to Petsmart?

Technically, there is a small chance that you may be able to sell any fish that you breed to Petsmart or Petco but you will have to go through their official supply chain.

The approval process will take a long time and it is unlikley that they will deal with a hobbiest breeder due to the small number of fish provided.

In addition to this, most areas that allow breeders to sell animals to pet store chains will require licences and inspections so it really is not worth the hassle for the majortiy of fish keepers who are not industrial breeders.

The vast majority of pet chain stores and some local fish stores go by the logic of if there isn’t a paperwork trail behind the fish they are not able to sell it.

This may just be company policy but in some cases, it may be due to legal reasons due to contracts in place with their supplier or local regulations in your area.

This is why we alway recommend against breeding fish with a goal of selling them for a profit as it is far more difficult than the majority of people new to the fish keeping hobby initially realise.