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Doctors Foster and Smith is a dream site for fish enthusiasts, and deserving of our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award. The breadth of their aquarium supplies takes a backseat to no one. Because it is run by two doctors, you know there is extra special attention paid to the quality and quantity of support for the health of your fish and the quality of their watery environment. This aspect might be the tipping point for some customers to bookmark this site for all their aquarium needs. For their outstanding customer service, product availability and ease of access, Doctors Fosters and Smith is among the best of the best.

Standout Features

  • A banner that showcases associated sites
  • LiveAquaria, one of four sister sites, providing an astounding assortment of aquatic species
  • Large number of products to maintain the health of your fish and aquarium
  • Extensive customer support, featuring their own television show along with instructional videos
  • Wide array of shopper-friendly features
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Inventory Selection
Compare
10/10
Doctors Foster and Smith
That Fish Place
PETCO
PetStore.com
Big Al's
Aquarium Guys
Marine Depot
Fish Tanks Direct
PetSmart
fish.com
10
10
9.5
9.5
8.8
8.8
8.8
8.3
7.5
8.3

Doctors Foster and Smith has a selection of aquatic life through their LiveAquaria site that is second to none. So vast is their selection of aquatic life, they had to build this sister site from their home page. With nearly 500 species of freshwater fish and over 500 species of saltwater fish, you may not need to go anywhere else for your supply of fish. Along with the freshwater, saltwater and brackish fish, this site offers abundant freshwater and saltwater invertebrates, plants, rocks and corals. We were also impressed with the support documentation provided with all these selections. Whether you want blue knight lobsters, sea stars, or anubias nana, you’ve found a place to purchase aquatic life that will give you hours of joy and delight friends and family. Simply amazing!

But the wonders of this site don’t end here. The array of products goes on and on. With the site owners being doctors, it is no wonder that the product offerings for medicinal and health care are strong and varied. Also, the array of products for aquarium care is just as strong. Whether you need controllers, monitors, thermometers, hydrometers, or refractometers, multiple choices can be found here. And it’s the same situation with aquarium décor. Colored aquarium lights, driftwood and even cattle skull decorations can be had for your tank. If you’re unclear what should be in your tank and want to make informed decisions, you can check out the articles on aquarium décor on that product category page. Like most things with the good doctors, their aim seems as much product diversity as aquarium enthusiast education. You can spend hours on this site just researching what will make your tank the envy of all your friends.

Wow! Double wow!! The amount of customer support material at Doctors Foster and Smith is mind-blowing. We spent over an hour looking at television show downloads from the doctors’ own television show, Faithful Friends®. Then we viewed some of the 23 instructional videos made to help you ensure your fish stay healthy and a stable aquarium environment is maintained. In addition, there are links to a library of articles covering every aspect of what needs to be done to ensure your aquarium works at peak efficiency and your fish thrive. The customer support continues with a blog, a Facebook page and twitter capabilities. Add to that the phone and email support, and you’ll feel like you’re in a university setting for aquarium care. Though other sites have some fine customer support features, no other site comes close to the number of options available here. It truly shows the depth of care and dedication that the doctors and their staff have for our aquatic friends.

Ease of Use
Compare
10/10
Doctors Foster and Smith
That Fish Place
PETCO
PetStore.com
Big Al's
Aquarium Guys
Marine Depot
Fish Tanks Direct
PetSmart
fish.com
10
10
9.5
9.5
10
9.5
8.3
9.5
8.8
7

It’s an ironic situation. Doctors Foster and Smith offers so much customer support and such a wide array of products, that the site’s home page feels cluttered. But updates to the site showcase the other sites, offering the user access to the products and online supplies they desire. The incredible LiveAquaria site, which was formerly not as easy to find, catches our attention along with the pet education and aquatics sites. Now, the customer has the ability to save time and find the products, live aquarium stock, and information they need in a flash. The ability to tunnel down through the products offered remains top of the class. It is clear your experience on the site should be positive.

The good doctors offer the familiar option that many online pet sites offer. That is, the ability to segment to just the pet supplies you need per your particular pet. In this case, it’s fish (aquarium) products and supplies. The menu and submenu’s on the left side are smartly organized. When a product area is selected, you are presented with the products and price along with the ability to narrow your search by brand, special categories (internet-only, sale, or eco-friendly) and price. The results can also be sorted. In addition, pertinent articles are displayed, so that if you need to refresh your knowledge about aeration, for example, you have the information you need.

Site-wise, you can search for articles, products, or by keyword, but missing was a side-by-side comparison feature, a minor issue. Finding items on sale is easier than ever using your ability to narrow your results. In addition to that, selected sale items are readily identified when a product area is displayed saving the savvy shopper time. Customers can be alerted to sales and the ability to get seasonal items on sale has been enhanced.

In addition to online aquarium supplies, the good doctors offer an assortment of products for those animal lovers whose enjoyment of the animal kingdom includes cats, dogs, birds and other animals. The doctors offer the customer sites to allow a one stop shopping experience for all the animals they love. Truly a remarkable online buying experience can be had here.

Payment Options
Compare
8.3/10
Doctors Foster and Smith
That Fish Place
PETCO
PetStore.com
Big Al's
Aquarium Guys
Marine Depot
Fish Tanks Direct
PetSmart
fish.com
8.3
7.5
10
10
7
7
9.5
7
10
7

Doctors Foster and Smith accepts major credit cards, PayPal and the Bill Me Later option. Gift cards and e-gift certificates are redeemable. Orders are tracked by this online store from an order number or via tracking numbers. All orders are backed by a 100% guarantee. The security of one’s information seems adequate, including the use of SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption. Order tracking is easy and a plethora of shipping options are available depending upon your need and location. The good doctors want your online experience to be as painless as possible, and they achieve that with as many options as can be expected in a top-flight site and award winner.

Customer Support
Compare
10/10
Doctors Foster and Smith
That Fish Place
PETCO
PetStore.com
Big Al's
Aquarium Guys
Marine Depot
Fish Tanks Direct
PetSmart
fish.com
10
9.5
9.5
7.5
8.8
8.8
8.8
8.3
10
8.8

The customer service help desk for this company is available from 6 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. The staff to support your phone, email, mail or walk-in questions is second to none. You can see the biographies of all the helpful people at this company and know that your questions will be answered and needs fulfilled by qualified individuals. And now, the site offers live chat from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. CST on weekdays to answer your questions. In addition to the aforementioned support materials, a library of books is available for your education. No online aquarium supplies site had a better array of customer support options than the good doctors. This support is bolstered by a BizRate score of 9.1.

 

Security
Compare
10/10
Doctors Foster and Smith
That Fish Place
PETCO
PetStore.com
Big Al's
Aquarium Guys
Marine Depot
Fish Tanks Direct
PetSmart
fish.com
10
10
10
9.5
9.5
10
10
10
10
10

The website is tested and certified daily to pass the “McAfee Secure” Security Scan. To help address concerns about possible hacker access to your confidential data, and the safety of visiting this site, the "live" McAfee Secure mark appears only when this site passes the daily McAfee Secure tests.

 

Doctors Foster and Smith Summary:
9.8/10

This site offers everything an aquarium enthusiast could possibly want and more, including outstanding customer service and support, a huge selection of both freshwater and saltwater aquatic livestock, and a large assortment of products. The competition in top awards for online aquarium supplies sites is extremely tight. The separation between our top two stores remains as thin as a guppy’s scale, and both are well worthy of your consideration the next time you decide to purchase a new piece of equipment for your aquarium or a new fish to swim in it. Doctors Foster and Smith has raised the bar in 2010 and we’re glad we went back for a second look for the sake of our readers.

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Doctors Foster and Smith

Top Ten Reviews no longer updates this category and keeps it here for archiving purposes only. It was last updated in May 2013.
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