How do the fish stores do it?
I've always wondered how the fish stores and various pet stores maintain their tanks. In a Petsmart or Petco, all you see are powerheads or return pumps. Never anything to suck up the water. Does it all collect somewhere or what? I once saw a button which I think was meant to turn off all suction before feeding in a Petco when they lifted the bar to open the tank. How is it possible that their water is so perfectly clear?
And then there's the stocking. These stores have at least 10 fancy goldfish swimming around in a tank looking smaller than a 10g and they look somewhat content! Sure the ones I have seen were tiny, but still! And then the stores somehow manage to have multiple aggressive fish living peacefully in one tank. I took home 3 cichlids that seemed nice and as soon as I got home, I had already found a dominant one and lost a fish the next day! I also see 2 crayfish in one small tank, with a large number of koi with them, and no casualties!
They usually have one huge filter connected in a back room to all the tanks. But they also do maintenance like a lot of people, with the vacuum, I've seen them cleaning with them, vacuum, the manual ones into a bucket, and a hose connected to a sink running water back in.
As for aggressive fish living together? It's usually cramped and sucky in petco tanks, they are either too ugh to want to fight, water too hot or cold for them, sickly, or they've just given up because they're so cramped, a lot of more aggressive fish wont fight when over-cramped, this does NOT mean it's healthy or good for them so do it too...Cheap way to keep them, many are usually so stressed they die after a night or two in a new tank, especially if one picks at them.
Same with the goldfish, if there's not a huge deal of room to swim, why would they try? You take those fish home, put them in a proper tank and yeah, the cichlid comes out in them. It's how they're -supposed- to be, and if things aren't proper in the group, one will make it proper for you.
The petco stores usually have a pump that will accommodate 3-4 tanks. IF you have noticed the doors on the lower level, there is water in that holding area which is part of the filtration process. The theory behind so many Cichlids in a tank is the more there are the less the aggression will be. The lfs sale fish pretty often, so it is not like they have to keep them in the smaller tanks for a long time.
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