Posted: 2011.02.09(Wed)17:12 Post subject: How many times has this happened to you?
Now, I am by no means ANY sort of expert, and I have made my newbie mistakes in this hobby, but at least I made an attempt to research (if only by asking friends/family members and not taking advantage of things like this site!) before I dove in to this.
Well, I was just at my lfs looking for a few more c. leucomelas to add to my tank, and I noticed a couple picking out a tank, decorations, plants, and all that good stuff. The clerk was all too happy to recommend anything and everything that was expensive, be it needed or not. Apparently even going so far as to say that a salt water tank is just as easy and much more pretty! I couldn't believe my ears!! Clearly they were new to this, and he's recommending salt water?!?! I was tempted to jump in and say something but it was one of those situations where I had my child, was in a rush, and I just didn't get involved. I'm kind of kicking myself about it now. Here this couple was buying their set up AND fish!! Sad thing is, within a week or two, they'll be in there wanting to know what went wrong, and why all their fish died
Joined: 10 Feb 2011 Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posted: 2011.02.16(Wed)1:18 Post subject:
Worse than that I saw an assistant telling a customer that the male guppies in the tank she was looking at were dwarf gouramis because that was what the label said! I hope she was just filling in from the cats and dogs section! I had to step in and explain what they actually were... I think the assistant was actually quite relieved and just listened whilst I did her job for her. After chatting to the lady for a bit we worked out what she was actually looking for was a Betta Splendens, apparently her friend has a red one which she really fancied, they didn't have any anyway.
The assistant had moved on to another customer by this time and was hopelessly chasing black skirt tetra around their tank with one small net, stressing the poor things terribly. I suggested that she try with two nets, she looked so confused that I offered to catch them for her, a minute later the customer had 6 fish safely caught without the endless chasing. The assistant was very grateful, I daren't imagine what sort of advice she offered when I left.
Have to say I don't usually go into this shop, but I happened to be passing and couldn't resist a quick look at the fish and plants in stock...
To us, fish are pets and lives to care for; to the shops, fish are merchandise that come and go. Here in Hong Kong, lush emergent plants are sealed in bags of water, pretending to be aquatic - most end up slowly dying in home tanks. Literally every thing is said to be easy to care for and compatible to any other. We have an exceptionally cold winter this year, outside temperature got as low as 6 degrees C, but the owners still hanged their tropical fish in small plastic bags outside their shops. For some shops, as many as 50% of these fish are dead or dying in the wind. These include ghost knife fish, grown up angels, medium-sized oscars, even grown up discus which could sell 5x more if they were healthy. The crossed out prices on the bags document the deterioration of the fish's health in a single day. They could be feeding happily today but end up chilled to death tomorrow. I bet some of the owners know better how to kill the fish than to keep them.
Also some people really know nothing before they start fish keeping. On the local forums, I often see people complaining they used hundreds of dollars to buy one fish and the fish died after a few days. Come on, look at what you've done, or not done, before complaining about your "purchase"! I feel sorry for all the lives lost due to the ignorance of people. _________________ Diamond Hill, Hong Kong
I'm still fairly new to the hobby myself, and I did make mistakes initially that cost the lives of a few fish, but only about 5. I found this site immediately and have learned so much since then. I try to extend my knowledge to others, but some aren't so quick to take heed to the advice. I learned the hard way that a little research, and PATIENCE beforehand saves a lot of frustration, and fish deaths, in the end! So many people randomly decide one day that they want a tank, so they go buy everything, including fish, and expect everything to be fine!! It blows my mind. Poor fish!
I wonder if those people that were in that store that day have been back yet wondering why all their fish are dead...
I'm sure there are countless examples of this sort of thing happening, and some aquarium/pet stores are definitely better than others, especially when it comes down to giving advice (although that also often comes down to the particular staff member).
What you've got to remember though is that they are all running a business. Their prime purpose of having that fish store in operation is to put food on the table. I'm not saying that they shouldn't at least make an effort in some way to promote responsible fish-keeping, but after seeing the amount of dead fish that they do (either shipments coming with bags full of fish that didn't make it or fish just dying daily in their tanks) and hearing so many stories of customers who wonder what went wrong when all their fish have carked it, the owners and staff of these shops become a little insensitive to the loss of fish. I guess it becomes more of just a cost to the business which they have to take account for.
Most stores (well all the ones I've been to anyway) seem to often give a general idea of how many fish can be kept in a particular tank. Obviously this is always higher than the advice you will get here recommends, but if the customer takes reasonable care (e.g. fortnightly water changes, not over-feeding) the majority of the fish will live for up to a year, some a little a longer. Obviously this doesn't seem like a huge amount of time (as our 'moto' here so clearly states ), but this is all the customer expects really, and is quite happy to 'refill' their tanks with a new kind of fish once this happens. Basically, the large majority of customers in a fish shop have no idea what they want when they walk in, having done absolutely no research, in which case if they manage to keep a fish alive for any longer than a couple of months they are happy.
I agree with everything that has been said. We just recently got a fishtank at my highschool in the science lab, and as far as I can tell they haven't done any sort of cycle on it. The teacher asked us for stocking suggestions, and someone suggested an oscar. I immediately raised my hand and said that I thought the tank was nowhere near big enough (the tank is a 20 tall). The person who had suggested it immediately retorted that they had had an oscar in a 10 gallon for a year and a half and that it died a perfectly natural death from old age. I was not happy. Thankfully the teacher stepped in, and was willing to let me make suggestions. Currently we are not adding any more fish, and the tank is cycling with 3 zebra danios and 3 harlequin rasboras, who were unfortunately already in the tank before I spoke to the teacher.
One of the things that I think is the issue is that the people they have working the fish departments in the chain petstores usually have no idea how to take care of fish.
Some of them do, like a petco near my house that is better than a couple of my LFS.
And also, research is a lot of work, it's much easier just to be told what to do. One of the things I try to do to help with the ignorance people have is go to Yahoo answers. So many people ask questions there in the fish section, and I explain what needs to be done to fix it, and reference them to sites like this where they can get quality advice. _________________ Please, oh Please can someone help me!?
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