Read This Post Before Getting Fish

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Crazy Cat Lady

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Sep 6, 2015
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Its great to know I'm not the only person who doesn't see fish as "disposable" they're living animals and it agrovates me when people say crap like "its just a fish" or "it can't talk, it doesn't matter" and then there's the old "it can't reason so its life's not important", why doesn't anyone say "it can suffer, therefore it's life matters"?

Education, it works wonders if you let it. :)
 
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Moby2BettaBuddy

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OK, I must preface this post so everyone will know where I am coming from.
I just read a post from a member inquiring about stocking his 58g tank. He is thinking about getting a Ghostfish, but the species of fish really doesn't matter. He is being told that his Ghostfish can get up to 20 inches in length, but he has fell in love with them and he THINKS the LFS will take them back when they get too big.

My hope is to get this Thread posted as a sticky so that it remains at the top of the Newbie Forum as to educate prospective fish buyers BEFORE they purchase fish.

I will try to keep this short because the longer I type and the more I get worked up about it, the angrier and more indignant I get, so please bare with me.

Whether or not you are new to the fishkeeping hobby (and I use this term loosely) what I am about to post is of the utmost importance if you care about what you are doing.

TOO ALL FISHKEEPERS: (Prospective or Current owners)

Please do not consider your fish merely a disposable item. Fish are animals. They are not simply an impulse buy that you can or should be able to return if they do not suit you.

No rational person would buy a Great Dane puppy to house inside their apt, nor would any rational person buy a DiamondBack RattleSnake and house it in their car. But all too often, fish keepers do exactly this. They buy fish that they are simply not suited to properly house. They buy fish because they look pretty or cool and do not take even one second of their day to research this entirely unknown (to them) animal and make an informed decision as to whether or not they have the ability to house such an animal.

Fish are far too often thought of as disposable in the respect that fishkeepers think they can rely on someone else to house their poor purchase.
They buy a 1 inch Oscar and house it in a 10g tank and KNOW darn good and well that they will have to take it back to the fish store in a couple months because it will outgrow their tank. They buy a fish based on its appeal to them and do not take into account its needs, temperment, living requirements, etc.

Perhaps it is because they are uninformed. Perhaps it is because fish are realtively inexpensive. The same person who would buy an Oscar for a 20g tank would never even think of buying a Cydesdale horse and putting it in their garage. Maybe its because the horse would smell, make noise or be such a physical nuisance. Or maybe its just because the average person KNOWS better than to put such a large animal in such poor housing conditions.

We have animal control. A legal type organization that investigates animal abuses and enforces animal regulations and laws. But rarely does this authority extend to the fishkeeping community.

When someone goes to the animal adoption agency, they typically sign a form giving the agency or their subsidary (local animal control) authority to investigate the housing conditions of the animal being adopted.
A sane and rational personal would not buy 25 cats and keep them indoors. But yet fishkeepers frequently overstock and overcrowd aquariums to the same degree and put their animals in the same danger as the person who bought the 25 cats.
A sane and rational person would not buy a puppy and house it in a 5 foot by 5 foot room with a rattlesnake. But yet this happens all to often in the fishkeeping world when people buy fish that are unable to be kept with other breeds of incompatable fish.

I guess what I am trying to say is please research each and every fish you plan to purchase. You are on a forum like AC because you are looking for information. It is the goal of the creators and moderators of this forum to provide people with information on how to properly care for and maintain a wide range of aquatic life. YOU came here for a reason. That reason was to get information. YOU have taken a step in the right direction.
Make an informed decision BEFORE you buy that next fish or BEFORE you plan your new aquarium. Treat the fish buying process just as you would any other animal purchase. Inform yourself as to what they fish needs...what the fish wants...what the fish MUST have in order to live a healthy and happy existance. Make sure you have the ability to house this animal in such a way that it will be happy now and in the future.
 

Moby2BettaBuddy

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Thank you for making this important point. Thanks to the mods who keep it at the top of the posts. I am new to fish pet care, and have to admit that before bringing Moby2 home, I didn't put fish in the same basket with the love and care enjoyed with dogs, cats, rabbits, mice and rats. However, after two weeks I now understand gsk177's post. My little Betta Buddy is just as deserving of quality care as any puppy or kitten. What started as a $20 impulse buy has become a passion for learning to care fir my new little blue buddy.
 
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Moby2BettaBuddy

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I totally agree with you, but some of it isn't all the fishkeepers fault. I've seen newbies go into stores (and I've had this happen to me when I was new) and be talked into buying fish they really don't know anything about. I've heard the people tell the newbie the, "fish only grow as big as their tank" story just so they can sell them the 3 inch oscar for the 10 gallon tank. I've also heard them say, "buy a betta because you don't have to worry about all the water changes" and I've seen people buy them. Part of it is ignorance on the buyers part and part of it is ignorance on the side of the LFS (or just them just wanting to make a sale).
Well said! My local PetCo let me walk out of the store with my new Betta Buddy (US$ 4.95) and a .7 gallon all in one tank (US$ 14.95). No filter, no heater. They did suggest de-chlor, thank goodness. I an now $200 into a good hone for my new buddy and hours of online research.
 

Kannan Fodder

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I work at Petco. Recently a coworker refused to sell a 6 inch fish to a customer who was going to house it in a 10 gallon tank. That coworker is now being investigated because the customer filed a complaint about the denied sale.
 

Tifftastic

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I work at Petco. Recently a coworker refused to sell a 6 inch fish to a customer who was going to house it in a 10 gallon tank. That coworker is now being investigated because the customer filed a complaint about the denied sale.
Things like that are why I quit PetCo. I wasn't allowed to refuse the sale of a ferret to a couple who told me they were flying to NY to live the next day. I knew ferrets were illegal in NY and informed them, they refused to believe me. Manager said I couldn't deny the sale, but guess who got in trouble BY THE SAME MANAGER when they returned the ferret the following day and blamed us for their missed flights.
Also, I was given a warning for refusing to sell a customer 2 Oscars for her 5 gallon guppy tank. Given another because the other fish girl sold someone 5 guppies for a 1/2 gallon bowl against my recommendation. The PetCo I worked at had no love for any of the animals in their store. They would take tanks off the shelf to use as sick tanks and when the animals died put them back on the shelf to sell.

Anyway, just cuz it's not fluffy doesn't mean it can't feel. Fish make extremely complex social bonds, learn from each other, protect each other from predators, feel pain, feel stress and anxiety, can rationalise (studies show that if a fish observes a fish fighting with another they can determine if they are stronger than either one), and can be trained using a reward based method. They are sentient beings protected under animal rights laws in the scientific fields in many countries, yet because they can't be cuddled they are treated as if their lives dont have any value. It's horribly disappointing
 

Kannan Fodder

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My GM and CADM would have refused the same sale, as would have I. There are a few who would have made the sale, but they don't really know fish, and don't know what questions to ask. On the flip side, there are a LOT of customers who know better, but insist on doing things their way because they believe they can somehow control a fish's growth rate, instincts, etc. We ask about tank size and current stock for a reason, but some people consider this an "invasion of privacy" and get all bent out of shape over it. We are SUPPOSED TO ask certain questions to ensure our customers don't end up with dead or eaten fish, and we know that not everyone knows everything about fish, and newbie fishkeepers rarely know what questions to ask before making a purchase.

Also, I can't tell you how many people confess to buying ferrets in Nevada, where they are legal, and taking to them to family in California, where they are illegal. And then there's always the odd person who comes into the store looking for venomous snakes. (This happens at least once a month.)
 

Ruthless

Registered Member
Mar 24, 2017
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Our retailer thankfully treat us very well. They suggest only what's doable. Unfortunately I learned the hard way to not do to GBRs. I had a bad habit of cleaning my poor babies to death. I would do 70% water changes with new filters. Now that I've matured and had time to research a lot I'm building up a tank for ram fish. I really like the rams. I wish you all the best of luck with your babies.
 

Roxane

Registered Member
Apr 4, 2017
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OK, I must preface this post so everyone will know where I am coming from.
I just read a post from a member inquiring about stocking his 58g tank. He is thinking about getting a Ghostfish, but the species of fish really doesn't matter. He is being told that his Ghostfish can get up to 20 inches in length, but he has fell in love with them and he THINKS the LFS will take them back when they get too big.

My hope is to get this Thread posted as a sticky so that it remains at the top of the Newbie Forum as to educate prospective fish buyers BEFORE they purchase fish.

I will try to keep this short because the longer I type and the more I get worked up about it, the angrier and more indignant I get, so please bare with me.

Whether or not you are new to the fishkeeping hobby (and I use this term loosely) what I am about to post is of the utmost importance if you care about what you are doing.

TOO ALL FISHKEEPERS: (Prospective or Current owners)

Please do not consider your fish merely a disposable item. Fish are animals. They are not simply an impulse buy that you can or should be able to return if they do not suit you.

No rational person would buy a Great Dane puppy to house inside their apt, nor would any rational person buy a DiamondBack RattleSnake and house it in their car. But all too often, fish keepers do exactly this. They buy fish that they are simply not suited to properly house. They buy fish because they look pretty or cool and do not take even one second of their day to research this entirely unknown (to them) animal and make an informed decision as to whether or not they have the ability to house such an animal.

Fish are far too often thought of as disposable in the respect that fishkeepers think they can rely on someone else to house their poor purchase.
They buy a 1 inch Oscar and house it in a 10g tank and KNOW darn good and well that they will have to take it back to the fish store in a couple months because it will outgrow their tank. They buy a fish based on its appeal to them and do not take into account its needs, temperment, living requirements, etc.

Perhaps it is because they are uninformed. Perhaps it is because fish are realtively inexpensive. The same person who would buy an Oscar for a 20g tank would never even think of buying a Cydesdale horse and putting it in their garage. Maybe its because the horse would smell, make noise or be such a physical nuisance. Or maybe its just because the average person KNOWS better than to put such a large animal in such poor housing conditions.

We have animal control. A legal type organization that investigates animal abuses and enforces animal regulations and laws. But rarely does this authority extend to the fishkeeping community.

When someone goes to the animal adoption agency, they typically sign a form giving the agency or their subsidary (local animal control) authority to investigate the housing conditions of the animal being adopted.
A sane and rational personal would not buy 25 cats and keep them indoors. But yet fishkeepers frequently overstock and overcrowd aquariums to the same degree and put their animals in the same danger as the person who bought the 25 cats.
A sane and rational person would not buy a puppy and house it in a 5 foot by 5 foot room with a rattlesnake. But yet this happens all to often in the fishkeeping world when people buy fish that are unable to be kept with other breeds of incompatable fish.

I guess what I am trying to say is please research each and every fish you plan to purchase. You are on a forum like AC because you are looking for information. It is the goal of the creators and moderators of this forum to provide people with information on how to properly care for and maintain a wide range of aquatic life. YOU came here for a reason. That reason was to get information. YOU have taken a step in the right direction.
Make an informed decision BEFORE you buy that next fish or BEFORE you plan your new aquarium. Treat the fish buying process just as you would any other animal purchase. Inform yourself as to what they fish needs...what the fish wants...what the fish MUST have in order to live a healthy and happy existance. Make sure you have the ability to house this animal in such a way that it will be happy now and in the future.
I completely agree with you, I just recently bought a 23 gallon aquarium, and researched and talked to as many fish experts as I could before I even set it up, right now I am starting off with a small school of easy hardy fish espe rasboras, I don't understand why most people don't realize that each fish you get needs to be researched.
 
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