12-15-2006, 01:58 AM
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I may be able to help you to understand some of your questions. The higer cost for the tank raised fishes, as with clownfish in saltwater, is due to the larval state, and the expense of the process of tank raising them. Some species of fish are not as easy to tank raise, and the expense of doing it has to show up somewhere if we want them to be continued as tank raised. In many cases, it's less expensive to go out and catch them wild and ship them in.
As for the fish being chewed up by tankmates, this is simply a careless LFS. They either didn't know enough about any of the fish in the tank, or they ordered something they didn't have proper space to keep until it sold. Unfortunately, this is too common in LFS's, and unless people complain and refuse to buy the damaged fish, they have no reason to change the way they do things. Too many people want to "rescue the poor fish" that are being chewed apart, but this only lets the LFS know that the market for them is good regardless of their condition, so no reason to put more into it than needed for business reasons. It's cheaper for them to keep doing it this way.
Most customers have no idea how much influence they really carry in any store, or there would already be more changes made. For business to function properly, customers need to be happy and keep buying. In the case of the rainbows that was mentioned, think about this: If the store orders 20 rainbows for $2 each, put them into the tank of headstanders and others, and the fish are damaged.. people refuse to buy them and tell them that its because the fish are damaged, what is the store losing in those fish? There is food, time/maintenance where they pay an employee to care for them while they are in the store, and the $2 each that they paid for them. Let's say that 1/2 of those fish die in the store tank either due to damage or old age because they're too damaged to sell, how much money did that store just lose? Now, knowing that people were interested but didn't buy because of the damage, what are the chances that store will set up a better situation for those fish the next time they come in? If, when in better condition, those fish sell... what message does this send to the store? Humanity doesn't even have to play a part this way, and from a business standpoint, taking proper care of them pays better, this becomes a new store policy and everyone wins. Not so hard to fix, really, but customers need to say something instead of just walking away. We can complain all we want here on the boards, but does that fix the problems in the stores, where they are happening?
Sorry if I sound like I'm preaching, but having worked with it for so long, I really think that awareness is the only way its ever going to really change. I feel obligated to enlighten customers to the amount of control they really have in the fish industry. I figure if not me, then who will?