Aquarium & Tropical Fish Site
Tropical Fish Forums
Aquarium fishkeeping around the world!
 
ChatChat  HelpHelp   Search BoardSearch Board   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups 
 ProfileProfile   Check your private messagesCheck your private messages   Log inLog in   RegisterRegister 
(IAMA) The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
 Forum Index > Aqua Lounge  Reply to topic   Post new topic
Author Message
ZacAdam
Regulars


Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Location: Saint John, NB, Canada

PostPosted: 2013.01.10(Thu)7:44    Post subject: (IAMA) The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Reply with quote

or "My Life as a 'Professional Aquarist'."

I work for an unnamed multi-focus pet-store, one of only two locations in my city (population 90,000 or so) that carries live animals. We're corporate-owned, and our corporation is owned in majority by Hagen. For a little bit of background we have anywhere from 700-1500 specimens from small mammals (rodents and lapinids exclusively), through birds, and right on over into snakes, reptiles, and fish - depending on where we are in our shipping-and-receiving profiles.

I was hired on as a coldblooded specialist - in actuality, a "fish" specialist, though I have to deal with herps and snakes as well. Prior to that I'd been keeping fish off and on basically since my childhood - I started with a pathetic little 2-gallon plastic hex tank and I've been working my way through ever since.

So far as the actual physical keeping of fish goes, we do a lot better than some of the horror-stories that make the Big Box Fish Stores infamous - we're certainly no Petsmart. This is partly because both our general manager and the Cold-Blooded Pets Manager are hobbyists with decades of experience and put animal welfare more-or-less ahead of sales. All of our Fish and Reptile staff either currently or have kept fish and of them all I'm actually the most junior in that regard.

The first thing I learned when I signed on was that I really didn't know as much as I thought I did. I knew all about fishless cycling, but for the most part I was able to look up a care-sheet for anything I wanted to look after, rather than needing mostly-instant recall of fish sizes and rough water parameters. I keep a fish notebook in my pocket now.

I've learned all sorts of things about the hobby I just didn't want to know. For one thing, there are people who will argue every point of care advice you give them. "I don't need a dechlorinator! I drink chlorinated water, and I'm fine!" "I live on a well, so I don't need to test my water conditions!" "Well, you tell me that this goldfish can't go in with my tetras because the water's too warm, but I've had his predecessor for almost a year."

I totally get bad fishkeeping through ignorance, but if someone told you keeping your dog outside in winter was liable to cause it temperature-related injuries, you'd usually be smart enough to bring your dog inside, right?

I don't know how it works elsewhere in the world, but where I live, if you want to be open and doing business as a pet store, you're required to undergo annual inspections by the SPCA. The SPCA wields phenomenal power, including the ability to take animals away, bar you from ever carrying entire species, fine you, or even shut you down for a while or permanently. We're in a 12-round fight with them over standards-of-care, a truly nonsense issue in the case in question spawned by the complaints of a friend of a disgruntled former-employee.

The thing is though, the SPCA inspector usually has no goddamn idea what he's doing once you get him away from the "cute" animals and surround him with exotherms. I've seen inspectors greenlight everything from ID sharks and red-tailed cats being held in 30-ish gallon partitions to the infamous betta cups.

Now, having said that, I have no major problem with the betta cups - they're never here that long, I inspect them and change their water 50% every day, and if there's a sick animal I usually have a few options of larger tanks in which to let them recover.

Which brings me to my last point - if it's not okay for us to self-treat our mammals and birds for the various common nuisance problems like mites and fleas (SPCA requirement - vet visit in all cases, for everything from rats up to African Grey parrots), why should my snakes, reptiles, and fish be "on their own", more or less, for care? We're pretty good at treating things on the fish side - excellent cross-contamination protocols, batch quarantining, and a supply of medication with a staff that knows how to use them properly. It just seems weird that the "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals" has no problem with stunting or self-medicating fish.

I thought it was a price point thing, but you try telling me that a fifty-dollar ropefish is somehow worth less than a $1500 parrot or a $160 hedgehog.

Now, with that rant out of the way... let's consider this thread an AMA.
_________________
http://auditorandagentleman.blogspot.com - now with 100% more fish.
Solving the Problem from the Inside - Proud Pet-Store Fishkeeper
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
ZacAdam
Regulars


Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Location: Saint John, NB, Canada

PostPosted: 2013.02.06(Wed)22:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

To keep this shameless bump from being more than just a bump, let me deliver a final piece of advice - allow no wiggle room. If people tell you a fish is an escape artist, don't have even the smallest gaps in your cover scheme. I thought I had a very tight-fitting hood until I recently lost a $48 ropefish less than a day after I obtained it when it escaped my tank and slithered under the couch.
_________________
http://auditorandagentleman.blogspot.com - now with 100% more fish.
Solving the Problem from the Inside - Proud Pet-Store Fishkeeper
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
 Forum Index > Aqua Lounge All times are GMT - 6 Hours Reply to topic   Post new topic
Jump to:  
  You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2008 phpBB Group

oF <=> oC in <=> cm G <=> L