Saltwater fish stores are each unique in their own way. Some stores have better selection of corals while others make their focus saltwater fish. So, depending on what kind of tank you have, reef aquarium or salwater fish only, one will find a better selection, relatively speaking, at different stores. In general, one should look for a store with knowledgable staff, a quality filtrations system and good prices.
The West Side has had tremendous growth for saltwater fish stores in Los Angeles. Until this point most of the salwater fish stores were found in the San Fernando Valley and South LAX in Gardena and Orange County, California. The West Side of Los Angeles has recently received many more stores and for this reason the population of reef aquariums is increasing. Saltwater fish stores in Los Angeles should always have the best selection in the country because most of the saltwater fish and corals imported in the United States come through importers located at the Los Angeles Airport. These importers supply about 80% of the saltwater fish in the United States and are usually the sole suppliers of saltwater fish stores in Los Angeles. Unlike saltwater fish stores in other partes of the United States, saltwater fish stores in Los Angeles have the ability to cherry pick out the best saltwater fish from the stock of the countries largest importers.
While large importers exist at the Los Angeles Airport, there are also plenty of smaller importers in the West Los Angeles area. Some of the smaller saltwater fish importers will have better stock than the larger saltwater fish importers because they will have a niche market. Beware, some live corals and fish will go for a pretty penny but it is also the case that these fish and corals will live for a long time. Many corals can be fragged and grown out in nice reef tank. After the frags are made it is usually possible to trade them among friends to recover cost or trade them back to the saltwater fish store. There are many saltwater fish stores in Los Angeles that gladly trade quality coral for quality coral.