I'm assuming most people haven't been to a tropical fish auction. Basically, it's organized by an aquarium society as a fundraiser. Fish hobbyists and enthusiasts who breed fish in their home aquariums can bring their "babies" (or any other fish they no longer wish to keep) to the auction. Other fish fans bid on the auctions. The money collected is split between the host society and the people who brought the items to sell.
In addition to fish, there are a ton of "dry goods" including food, filters, books, and other supplies. For anyone interested in the hobby, finding a local auction is definitely worth your time. I came home from one today and scored lots of goodies including 5 new Angel Fish, plus lots of food and water conditioner. My pets always seem to eat better then I do, and the fish are now set for at least several months.
The benefits to buying fish at auction rather then at a store is that in general, the hobbyists breeding the fish take more care and pride in the health and wellness of the fish then most pet stores would. Most of these people are breeding more for the hobby aspect then for the money. Anyone doing out this out their homes is most likely operating at a loss, so its more about the challenge and fund of breeding then it is about the value of the fish at sale.
Another reason the auctions are fun is because there are a lot of fish you don't normally see at a store. Some are rare, some are tougher to maintain, and some just aren't profitable for the store to carry.
In addition, most of the time at an auction, you can get fish and dry goods for much cheaper then what you'd spend at a store.
I know it might sound a bit nutty to spend a Spring afternoon at a fish auction, but if you enjoy this hobby, it might be worth your time to check one out.
Trackposted to The Pink Flamingo, Webloggin, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, and Big Dog's Weblog, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.