Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Lupin 01-20-2008 10:34 PM

Fish Rescue-Advantages and Disadvantages
I'm leaving this topic open for discussions, comments and suggestions. Please feel free to post your opinions but do not make any comments that are out of line or against the TOS.

I'm quoting below Bettababy's post which made an excellent point when rescuing a fish or any other aquatic creatures from your pet stores.


Originally Posted by bettababy
In the future, for anyone reading this post, I want to make it known that when you purchase a sick fish or any fish from unhealthy conditions, you are not really rescuing anything. What you are doing, in fact, is promoting the conditions in which you found it. You wonder how? A store spends money on fish to sell to the customers for a profit. They mark prices up 3 - 4 times the wholesale cost. The fish you pay $1 for likely cost them a quarter or less. The stores often provide bare minimum conditions to keep the fish until they are sold because everything they do for and give to the fish is something else they have to pay for, which brings their profit margin down. When they keep fish poorly, 1 of 2 things will happen. They will get stuck with a lot of fish that will die, costing them a lot of money, or people will come in and buy the fish as is, which gives them no reason to change their practices.
Anyone who really wants to rescue the fish, there are things you can do to make a huge difference, while saving your money and many more than the 1 fish you may or may not be able to provide for your yourself. Complain! I don't know how many times I have said this... but complaining... making some noise, is one of the best ways to approach it. Tell these stores that you, a paying customer, will not give them your business until they raise their standards to a humane level. Complain to employees, but more so complain to management. Ask to speak to an owner, either in person, via phone or email... doesn't matter. Let these peopel know that we demand healthy and well cared for animals for sale, or we will take our business elsewhere. Then, the next best thing to do is walk away. Don't spend your money, don't contribute to the problem. These stores have to make money or they don't exist. If they start losing money they have to either quit selling that thing or fix the problem with why it doesn't sell.
So the next time someone is tempted to rescue a sick fish, please remember this: you can save one and contribute to the death of how many others? or you can sacrafice one for the sake of how many in the future?

Falina 01-20-2008 10:47 PM

An excellent sticky and great advice from Dawn. i would like to add one thing however...

In my experience with a store in Glasgow (and Kate has had issues with the same store) talking to management did absolutely nothing. Of course this is always the first step and you should speak to management before taking it further. What Kate did a while back was contact the environmental health about the store and they received a visit. Speaking only from what Kate has told me for this part: the store received a visit and cleaned up their act for a period of time. Unfortunately it wasn't long before they were back to their old tricks again. All this happened before i had visited the store. On visiting the store i found the conditins terrible and like i said talking to the owners did nothing so i too made a complaint. Nothing came of it so I complained again and was told via email that the store would be looked into. Now that store has a record for having visits, any other visits will be treated more seriously.

so basically I just wanted to add that if you find you are getting nowhere complaining to the managers, you can always take it a step further and complain to environmental health, or whatever the equivalent in your area is.

But the main thing is not to give them your custom. It's a sort of cruel to be kind scenario where you have to be "cruel" to the particular fish you are thinking of saving, in order to be kind to a whole batch of other fish.

scottysgirl 01-21-2008 02:35 AM

Interesting ethical topic. I agree: complain, complain complain...don't give them your business, but at the same time...I went to a LFS (which I no longer give my business to) and saw a half dead albino oscar. I made them give to me, took him home, nursed him up. He is now a happy two year old in his 55 gallon tank, and I love him and am thankful I have him every day. Also, lets face it, these stores are always going to be around, because too many people are just looking for the cheapest fish around. There are also a lot of people who don't care what conditions the fish lives in, THESE are the people who are perpetuating the cruel treatment. Also, I guess I kind of think of it like the animal shelter, or rescuing animals off the street. Will not adopting the animals, allowing them all to die, get people to spay/neuter their pets? No....
Anyway, just food for thought. I have been mulling over this same issue lately actually.

Falina 01-21-2008 02:55 AM

When you said you made them give him to you, do you mean for free? If so then I guess this would be the one exception where you may well be rescuing the fish since the lfs isn't actually making anything from the "sale". The only problem here is that if you have other fish in the tank, you risk their health, if not though, I see nothing wrong with this at all. :)

scottysgirl 01-21-2008 11:55 AM

Yes, they gave him to me for free. He was in really bad shape, he looked like he was going to be dead in a matter of minutes. I kept him by himself, always actually, he has never had a tankmate.

Falina 01-23-2008 03:32 AM


Originally Posted by scottysgirl
Yes, they gave him to me for free. He was in really bad shape, he looked like he was going to be dead in a matter of minutes. I kept him by himself, always actually, he has never had a tankmate.

Sounds like you've done well for him. Good for you. :)

Holly 01-28-2008 10:04 PM

I agree. Normally I'll check out the store, ask some questions that I know the answers and see what everything looks like. If compaining goes nowhere there's nothing I can do except not go there and let everyone else I know about what's going on so they don't go either. That's one thing I love about this web site, I've asked about good lfs to go to in NJ and I've gotten great responces. Word of mouth is the best way to make or break a business.

cedricb 02-16-2008 11:42 PM

I have seen sick fish all the time in PETCO. most of the time ich and rot tail deseases. really more than in petsmart. But even if you go to a specialysed shop you have always fishes that have ich or because they are more prompt to get it (more stressful fishes) or because at some point the store can have a problems to handle their water parameters. At the same time, at some point they are also dependent on what their dealers give them.

If you ask me PETCO should be forbideb to sell salt water fish. For the price they cost I can't understand why they didn't think about stoping selling them by themselfs because most of the time they are or dead in the aquarium or having ich though in the way to die.

But at the end what shall we do. If a fish seems nice and healthy, we buy it. In that case I think that the best thing to do is to buy fishes breed in captivity instead of the ones wild caught. In that case at least you are sure that it doesn't put the species in danger.

even if the health commity comes and visits the store they would be blamed and nothing more. Is it worth. I'm not sure.

miniflea84 11-13-2008 01:36 PM

I've only been to my local petco a couple of times, but I agree with you about them not selling marine fish. The last time I was there, there was a tank with two black clownfish and one of them was swimming at a significant list and one of its eyes was way way way bulged out. Yikes.

Oldman47 11-16-2008 12:18 PM

A local branch of a big chain store used to do business near me. I saw some poor fish conditions in that store and did complain to no avail. At most times, there were signs on their tanks saying the fish were "under observation" and not for sale. About a year ago, that particular store closed. I must say I don't miss them and am glad that I never contributed to them staying open even one extra day. When they closed their doors, they sold off equipment for close to wholesale prices and I did help them clean off the shelves of equipment.
The opposite kind of store also exists. I drive an hour just to shop there and the fish are always in good condition. The owner is also a hobbyist and works with the local fish club and other customers to stock interesting fish that are well cared for. The store is always humming with activity and I am sure his business model is working better than that chain store that no longer has a branch here.

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