Long post: Information, and how to asses it

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Purple is the color of Royalty
Jan 30, 2004
Columbus, ohio
Long post: Information, and how to assess it

I have been considering writing this for quite some time, and finally got around to it.
There seems to be a lot of people who are mis-led, and are very hard on LFS employees. While I won't defend anyone who feeds rumors, or theories as facts, it isn't difficult in the modern age of communication to decide what is and isn't true. I spend most of my time at work, solving problems that other folks can't. the primary key to solving any problem is to seperate truth from myth, and actually understand what the problem is. This applies to the aquarium hobby quite well (and to the rest of the word also)
These are my rules, they may help others as well.
understand what the question really is. set aside details that aen't related for the time being and focus on the true question.
when reading listening, and thinking about the question, catagorize the answers. Good answers have sceintific information to support them, experiences, theories, and thoughts or reasoning are secondary until proven.
Hearsay is just that and nothing more.
never discount something you are told even if it sounds preposterous, if scientist did this, sceintific progression would stop completely. But check things out. there is always science behind factual information.
when testing science or evaluating science, look for controlled variables. the more variables that exist the less accurate the findings.
Don't argue unless you know the facts without a doubt, And even then don't argue in an offensive manner. Most people will immediatly write you off as an idiot if you argue too much. averyone posseses some knowledge that may be useful to you even if you have to sort through a lot to find it.
Never rely on one source only. Check out everything even if you trust the source completely. A perfect Example is our freind RTR. I can and sometimes do take Almost anything he says as gospel in the aquarium world, He has Earned my respect and the Respect of many others because of his knowledge experience and willingness to share and help others. however I still cross check information, and experiment with ideas. This is the way science works. new ideas theories and repeated testing allow for new discoveries. When testing my own ideas or someone else, once again I look for variables, and if there are too many, I don't rely heavily on the results of the experiment. Folks like RTR understand this, and encourage it. It is precisely how they came to be experts.

Many of us, and many newbies have a trusted freind, or LFS employee that leads us to disaster in one way or another. never assume that anyone is an expert. and with this in mind never get angry at people for telling you what they beleive is true. LFS's survive on product sales, many of the employees know little or nothing beyond what a label says. Many do not even own tanks, and of those who do many are still not aware of what really goes on inside a tank. Don't get mad, just take their advice with a grain of salt, or maybe a teaspoon of Aquarium salt (it has to be good for something). Rememeber that they are doing the best they know how to help you. I stand in LFS's every now and then and listen to the employees working with newbies. It scares me, but plain and simple, the only way I will ever change it is to buy my own LFS.
I could site examples all day about how things can be mis-interpreted, there are many. I won't bore everyone with story after story, but suffice it to say that there is far more incorrect information than correct information so check it out, and look for science behind everything. You do not need to be a scientist to recognize good science.

Lastly never assume that just because someone has fish that have survived for years they are doing things right. I know a man who successfully keeps fish and has for a long time. furthermore he successfully breeds mollies as well. His nitrate levels stay above 80 all the time, he has no KH and very acid water and overstocked tanks he uses the same tap water that I do, he just uses way less of it. furthermore he adds salt in large quantities. He doesn't add new fish often but when he does some of them actually survive the introduction. His fish do survive, but IMO and IME these fish could be far healthier and happier than they are. and would most definately live longer. I never knew that the life span of fish could exceede 10 years on many breeds. He still doesn't know that, and may never. I know that at some point He will start asking me questions and when he does I will help him. If I yell at him that door will never open.

In summary, I would just say check it out, check it out, check it out!!!! The truth is always lurking somewhere nearby. An don't fault people for ignorance we all suffer from it at some level or another.
Not sure why I felt compelled to write this, but I hope it helps someone in some way.
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AC Members
May 4, 2002
North Ga, USA
Real Name
amen, very well stated

Neo Sithlord

Nerf Herder
Mar 20, 2004
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
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Honestly I think this is worthy of sticky statis! Just clean up the typo's and such (I mean that in the nicest way Dave). Knowing how to approach a problem I think alot of folks could actually learn something. I've always beleaved that keeping an open mind is truely the key to learning but at the same time feeding new information into the mix is vital. Nothing is absolute as is often proven. I give LFS employees a little give and take myself. I won't get all up in arms over weather or not what they are saying is correct or not based on my opinion of what is right or wrong. If I'm not sure of something I take what they say and double check it the best I can. I do correct them sometimes though but only when I think I have something to go on. Case in point the LFS I've bought all of my fish from. I've often heard the employees trying to talk people out of certain combos of fish or bad setups
(i.e. tropicals in an unheated tank). The thing is they KNOW via their training that certain fish can't live together, you CAN over stock a tank, you need to feed them certain things ect. They just don't know why. That's where I step in when I'm there :) . Granted there have been times when I've been dead set in what I think is fact only to go home and look up as much info as I can and find out I was wrong and they were right.
-Neo Sithlord


Purple is the color of Royalty
Jan 30, 2004
Columbus, ohio
Just clean up the typo's and such (I mean that in the nicest way Dave)
Typo's, what typo's ??????????????? :laugh: :laugh:

Not sure about the sticky status idea, but I do appreciate the reinforcement from you guys.


Dec 9, 2003
Halifax, NS
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This absolutely should be a sticky.

You explain very well how to process information, asses problems and ask questions.

The last is so important in a forum. There are so many times when I read a post am either overwhelmed by questions, superfluous detail, or am just plain unsure of what the question is. It's not the poster's fault per se, you can tell that they're trying very hard to provide as much as possible and bet as helpful to those who would help them.

I think that my favourite part of it is the pervasive sentiment to not get angry at people over their ignorance. Ignorance is not a bad thing, it just is, no one enters a new hobby knowing everything and even after several years in the hobby, you can always discover something new, or dicover something you don't know. Our goal as members of this forum is to help others shed their ignorance as well as our own. I think that there are very few people here who know everything there is to know about aquaria.


Senior N00b
Feb 5, 2004
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I've got a question about this. I was at a LFS the other day and an employee was dumping small amounts of rock salt into all the aquariums.

At first I thought, "What the heck is he doing that for?" But then I thought, "Well it's 'rock' salt so the fish probably won't eat it as easy as grain salt."

But then I thought, "Why are they treating a problem that doesn't exist?"

And then, "Well, it's an LFS. So many fish, disease should be expected."

Then, "But that makes acclimatizing the fish more important, cause they are in slightly brackish conditions here."

Pretty much I started seesawing so much I didn't know what to think.

Can anyone clear it up for me what the pros and cons of the LFS doing that is??

I'm not sure what to think if I really starting analyzing it.