Petco Fish Return Policy

Petco, one of the leading pet specialty retailers in the US, is renowned for its wide variety of pet products, including a diverse range of freshwater fish. But what happens if your newly purchased fish doesn’t adapt well to its new home, or if there’s another reason for wanting to return it?

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1. Basic Return Guidelines

Duration: Petco offers a 30-day return policy for freshwater fish. This means customers have a month from the purchase date to decide if they wish to keep their aquatic friend or return it.

Receipt Requirement: Having the original receipt can expedite the return process. However, if you’re a member of the Vital Care Core Rewards (previously known as the Pals Rewards), your purchase might be traceable without a physical receipt.

2. Condition of the Fish

Whether alive or deceased, fish can be returned within the 30-day period. But if you’re returning a fish because of health issues or mortality, it’s crucial to follow specific guidelines.

3. Water Sample Requirement

Upon returning a fish, especially if it’s due to health concerns, customers are typically asked to provide a sample of the tank water. This water sample helps the store ascertain if there were any water quality issues that may have impacted the fish’s health.

4. Exceptions and Limitations

Saltwater vs. Freshwater: While freshwater fish enjoy a 30-day guarantee, it’s important to note that as of now, saltwater fish might not have the same coverage. Always double-check with your local store or their official website for up-to-date policies.

Special Creatures: For those wondering about smaller aquatic creatures like shrimp, the same return policy might apply. However, always verify with store personnel before making assumptions.

5. Refusing Refunds

On rare occasions, if there’s a pattern of frequent returns from a particular customer, the store might restrict future fish sales to that individual. This measure is taken to ensure the well-being of the fish and prevent potential misuse of the return policy.

6. Additional Return Insights

Packaging: While there’s no strict packaging requirement for returning fish, it’s ideal to transport them in a safe manner, usually in a water-filled bag.

Beyond 30 Days: If you have a genuine concern or issue beyond the 30-day window, it’s worth reaching out to the store. While the official policy is 30 days, some store managers might make exceptions based on individual circumstances.

7. A Word of Caution

It’s always advisable to fully research and understand the needs and requirements of any fish before purchasing. This not only ensures a more successful and stress-free transition for the fish but also reduces the likelihood of needing a return.


Petco’s 30-day return policy for freshwater fish reflects the company’s commitment to customer satisfaction and the well-being of aquatic life. By understanding and respecting this policy, fish enthusiasts can make more informed purchasing decisions, ensuring a happier and healthier environment for their aquatic companions.

FAQs: Petco Freshwater Fish Return Policy

Q: Do I need the original packaging to return a fish to Petco?

A: No, the original packaging isn’t mandatory for fish returns. However, ensure you transport the fish in a safe, water-filled container or bag to ensure its well-being during the return.

Q: What’s the procedure for returning a deceased fish?

A: If your fish unfortunately doesn’t survive, you can still return it within the 30-day policy window. Accompany the deceased fish with a sample of your tank water. The water sample helps the store assess potential issues that could have contributed to the fish’s demise.

Q: Can I return fish food or aquarium accessories along with the fish?

A: Fish food and accessories have separate return policies. While the fish comes under the 30-day return window, other items might have different return conditions. Always refer to the store’s general return policy for non-living items.

Q: Are there any fish species excluded from the return policy?

A: The 30-day return policy typically covers all freshwater fish sold by Petco. However, specific or rare breeds might have unique return conditions. It’s best to consult with the store at the time of purchase.

Q: Does the 30-day return policy apply to other aquatic creatures like turtles or amphibians?

A: Turtles, amphibians, and other aquatic creatures may come under different return policies. Always verify specifics at your local Petco or through their customer service.

Q: If I lose my receipt, how can Petco track my purchase?

A: If you’re a member of the Vital Care Core Rewards program, Petco may trace your purchase using your membership details. This digital trace can often replace the need for a physical receipt.

Q: Why does Petco require a water sample during fish returns?

A: The water sample is essential for Petco to understand any potential water quality issues. By assessing the water conditions, they can determine whether factors like pH, hardness, or contaminants might have affected the fish’s health.

Q: What happens to fish that are returned to Petco?

A: Returned fish are typically assessed for health and well-being. Depending on their condition, they might be quarantined, treated if needed, and later reintroduced for sale. Petco aims to ensure the welfare of all their animals, so returned fish receive proper care.

Q: Can I exchange the fish instead of a refund?

A: Yes, based on the condition and reason for the return, you can opt for an exchange instead of a refund. Consult with the store personnel for available options and recommendations.

Q: Does the return policy differ across Petco branches?

A: While Petco maintains a standardized return policy across its branches, individual store managers might exercise discretion in unique circumstances. It’s advisable to clarify specifics with your local store.

Q: Are saltwater fish covered under the same 30-day return policy as freshwater fish?

A: While freshwater fish have a 30-day return policy, the return conditions for saltwater fish might differ due to their unique requirements and sensitivity. It’s always advisable to consult your local Petco for specific details on saltwater fish returns.

Q: If I’ve returned fish multiple times, can Petco decline a subsequent return or purchase?

A: If there’s a pattern of frequent fish returns from a single customer, Petco might look into the reasons for such returns. The store’s primary concern is animal welfare, so they may request additional information or refuse sales to ensure the well-being of their aquatic life.

Q: What if I’ve identified a health issue in the fish shortly after the purchase?

A: If you notice health concerns immediately after your purchase, it’s crucial to inform Petco promptly. They will advise you on whether to return the fish or provide care instructions. Their primary goal is to ensure the health and well-being of the fish.

Q: How do water quality issues impact the return process?

A: If the provided water sample indicates quality concerns, Petco might advise on corrective measures. Chronic water quality issues may affect your ability to return or exchange fish in the future until the problem is addressed.

Q: Are invertebrates, like shrimp, covered under the same return policy?

A: Shrimp and other invertebrates might have their own set of return conditions. Their care requirements can differ from those of fish, so it’s best to verify the specifics at the time of purchase.

Q: Is there a limit to how many fish I can return at one time?

A: While there isn’t a set limit, returning a large number of fish might raise concerns about their care and habitat. It’s always best to communicate any large-scale concerns directly with the store to ensure appropriate action and advice.

Q: Do I need to quarantine a fish before returning it?

A: If you suspect the fish has a contagious disease or condition, it’s considerate to inform the store beforehand. While you don’t need to quarantine the fish specifically for a return, transparency helps Petco ensure the health of their overall stock.

Q: Can I return fish accessories, like tanks or heaters, under the same policy?

A: Equipment and accessories typically have different return conditions than live animals. It’s best to refer to the general return policy or inquire at the store when purchasing.

Q: What are the common reasons fish might be denied a return at Petco?

A: Returns might be declined if they fall outside the 30-day window, lack necessary documentation like a receipt, or if there are repeated returns without evident justification. Always work closely with store personnel to understand any return concerns.

Q: How does Petco ensure that returned fish don’t negatively impact their existing stock?

A: Petco has protocols in place for assessing and quarantining returned fish. These measures help protect the existing stock from potential diseases and ensure that returned fish are treated and cared for appropriately.

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