just a thought.....
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..:lol:
Then it's a good thing this forum is here to teach us. ;-)
I agree with you whole heartedly and I help when I can. Sometimes helping or hurting my lfs but don't tell him he may get mad =) lol anyway I would very much like to share my story of fish rescue.
I was at a Petco and over heard an older women asking if she could put 2 betta together in a tank because she felt the one was lonely. I had a look of shock and started to shake my head NO! The salesmen younger than I noticed and said he (pointing to me) is saying no. Then proceeds to ask me why. I explain to them that betta are quite happy living on their own and they will kill eachother when put in a tank together.
Another story lol im so talky tonight. I was at my lfs when a women and her daughter came in to get their fish. They had a planted tank and lots of room 150gal. They wanted to get all of these fish but the daughter wanted a bala shark. Not a school just 1. I knew this would not be a good enviroment for the active schooler that it isand suggested that if they could afford it to get 4 or 5 and it would be much happier. They decied to go without and only left with a dragon goby and a few mollies. Idk anything about those so I didn't say anything, but they said they would be back next week for a school of bala sharks.
I felt good after saving at least a few fish. Anyway these are my stories of fish rescue. We should totally start a thread of just these stories. If their isn't already.
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Sadly, your observations hold true on this side of the pond, too. It's rare that the large chain retailers will have a knowledgeable person working the fish section, and even at local fish stores, while the guy who runs it may be knowledgeable about some aspects of fishkeeping (saltwater, cichlids, ect), they are rarely knowledgeable about every aspect. It seems like we are fighting an uphill battle with getting people to realize that fish are living animals not decorations. Bettas and goldfish (two of my favorite fish) seem to have the worst of the lot.
All we can do is spread the word about proper fishkeeping. At least in the UK there are movements to ban living animals (like goldfish) as prizes at fairs. How can we stop gold fish being given away as prizes? | Blog | Practical Fishkeeping Great article in a great magazine.
You might not feel confident enough now, but in a year or so (with some larger tanks ;-) and a lot of experience) when you see an ill-informed person about to make a first buy, step in and talk to them. Most people are pretty receptive to information. It's one of the only ways we can personally make things better for the hobby and the fish.
If anyone has stories like mine they should share them. Maybe it will help people have the confidence to speak up knowing that they aren't the only ones doing it. And besides I like reading the stories lol
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See this is something that I have had in mind as I contemplate wanting to work at a fish store. I'd like to be able to work at a place where I can directly help people avoid making common mistakes and be a voice that will try to give people better advice.
That said it is sad...very sad how the dice rolls when it comes to fish shops and the people running it. Although on a happier note when I went and got my African Butterfly Fish the cranky old lady at least asked me about my water level and pointed out the fact that these fish jump. Of course I had already done my research so I knew my 75 gallon would suit this fish. Still though, that made me happy she actually asked.
Also the Retail store that sells fish that I put in an application for requires people to bring a water sample when they return a dead fresh water fish. I like that...it means that if you bring back bad water that shows you didn't cycle your tank chances are you are not going to get a refund.
Opps! Sanguine! Watch your language! Don't want you and your beautiful bichirs to get a ban!!
I've helped a lot of people with betta and goldfish questions. Simple things like min tank size and temp for bettas. Mostly people see me wearing fish shirts and ask me questions (I guess because I wear a shirt with a fish on it means I know something about them 0.o). When people doubt what I say, all I have to tell them is "I studied fish in college." What makes me laugh inside is that very little of my fisheries science education can be applied to our hobby. Oh well. It still makes people listen. And that is one more fish saved.
My LFS has this policy as well
Clearly though, they have led me astray for the past 8 years :(
Also to FishNoodle....don't get too down on them. People do make mistakes. Even experts. They may simply not have been thinking too clearly at the time when they told you what they did. Then again sometimes you just run into newbies on the floor who don't know know their stuff yet.
Just an add on really, this thread wasn't meant to be any kind of personal attack, or criticism on any of the members of this forum, cause everyone here is great and super helpful!
Merely an observation on how easy it is to avoid silly mistakes and causing suffering to fish with just a little bit of patience, and some research... Rather than listening to the dude at the local pet store.
Hope no offence was caused to anyone xx
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