It seems the more I learn about fish keeping, the more alarmed I become.
It beggars belief that pet stores, and fish suppliers in general (and yes this is a sweeping, stereotypical statement, although I know there some good ones out there!) sell fish to anyone... regardless of experience, knowledge, suitable equipment etc..
I am not a bleeding heart liberal, but I am all about animal welfare. And it seems that the fish are the ones to suffer during budding aquarists learning curves. examples...
A week or so ago I was in a local pet smart type chain pet store and was just checking out the fish when I over hear some couple oohing and ahhhing at a special offer on some cichlids, 2 for £5.95 or something? and one says to another oh thats good, we could get a red one and a yellow one... they were in separate tanks.
now, this might be ok, but when there is no thought process that goes into acquiring fish other than oh that red one will go nice with that yellow one, this is slightly distressing. having read profile after profile about fish species you start to get the gist that not all fish will do well with all other fish, despite how pretty their colour. let alone water parameters, temp, ph, blah blah blah the list goes on.
I read a lot of posts on here where people already have large tanks, full of varying degrees of incompatible fish that are asking questions about water testing, and the nitrogen cycle, and help all my fish are dead etc... and lots of these posts mention poor advice given by these local pet stores... oh no need to test the water, bring it here we'll tell you its fine, so you buy more fish to kill... very sad, and expensive. but mainly sad, as its the fish that suffer.
I am fairly new to this hobby and am totally hooked, I love my fish, and yet my heart sinks at the thought of all inpatient, uninformed and inexperienced fish keepers, and all the disinterested, unhelpful and money grabbing suppliers...
I don't have any answers, and I am not perfect, a mistake is only just around any corner...
I don't want to sound too depressing about it all, thats not my intention, its more of an observation that the more I learn about the hobby, the more obvious peoples mistakes become (including my own). And I guess my dream would be that we could all be fishy experts, and all our fish could live healthy and fulfilled lives in nirvana like aquariums.
Both of these things aren't very likely so I best keep dreaming.... of a bigger tank, and then another even bigger one... you know how it goes..