Another petition for better point of sale advice, labelling.

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Postby ddk » Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:02 pm

I agree, forums are a fantastic way of gaining information and learning from folk, some of which have have been keeping fish for decades, but books and specialist magazines have been around for yonks, and very often forums are populated by beginners and newbys all trying to give advice because they've been lucky and managed to keep an aquarium going for a year!
I started my "apprenticeship" for the hobby from joining the local library back in the early 70's and spending hours pouring over dusty old pages written by the likes of Herbert. R. Axelrod and his cohorts. I even got to know Graham Cox of Waterlife research industries (he invented the undergravel filter, Myxazin, Sterazin etc, sorry I'm not intentionally pushing these products just stating a fact) in fact, I even got a Saturday job at his fish house in Longford, Middlesex, when I first left school just so I could learn even more. I then went on to help build up the second shop in the now famous chain of Maidenhead Aquatics (the boss was even my best man at my wedding, but that's another story.) that was over 25 odd years ago. So I feel I'm qualified enough to state these facts.
I realise we all learn by our mistakes, this is why I said find a "Good" dealer and stick with them, even if they haven't got what you want at the time, be patient, and you will avoid disappointment of your tank going bad because you bought something from somewhere else just because it looked pretty and you've let your heart rule your head. Most dealers will be happy to order something for you from their suppliers if you provide a deposit to cover shipping costs, quarantine and medication etc, etc.
I know it's frustrating if a tank isn't labelled with the species and water conditions etc, etc, but as I said previously, do your home work first and you will know what to buy or not.
Another tip, Most dealers will have large reservoir tanks at the back of the show room, just take a look in these to see what that cute little 4cm long knife fish will look like in 3 years time or that dear little 1.5 inch long Oscar will grow into.
By the way "you tube" isn't bad as a source of information either!
Sorry to ramble on and on.
Your turn!! :D
I started out with nothing and still got most of it left!
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Postby TheCaptain » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:52 am

Morning DDK,

I know a portion of your first post was aimed at me - and I wasn't going to put up a reply... but...

I actually agree with most of what you're saying. People need to do their research before buying. People need to take advice - from what ever source, be it books, forums, magazines etc etc.

In my case, I was adequately versed on the more common varieties of fish, but had decided I wanted to move onto something different (cichlids). I'd been to the shop, I'd come away, I'd looked at the breed that had caught my attention, I went back and asked for some. I paid for them, in their plasic bag that was covered in the brown paper bag to avoid stressing them... from the top of the bag - I saw small, black and blue fish... that looked pretty much like convicts. As you'll know, young frontossa start out looking "normal" fish shape before two of the females develop into males and grow their head bulge - so when young, to an inexperienced (although researched) eye they look similar.

I think, more importantly, people need clear and accurate information at point of sale because it allows them to confirm that they're right. As an example, Pets at Home have a tank full of "Blue Acara". This is an area that will immediately trigger "uhoh" in a lot of peoples mind around me - because I was desperate to keep a Blue Acara, and made a number of (reasonable) mistakes when trying to get a small one. In their tank, I spotted about 4 different types of fish.

I think people need to take more responsibility. I made a mistake - my bad - I need to fix it. Either, return the fish as soon as possible, try and rehome it privately, or do it yourself. I've set up new tanks to cope with my mistakes, and to be honest - I'm glad I made those mistakes because it educated me, and introduced me to some fish I'd never have kept (like the Salvin Tri-colour cichlid Charles that destroyed my first attempt at a "semi-peaceful" cichlid tank...

With regard to books however - part of their problem is that they've been around for yonks. Science changes, proves new theories, proves old ones inaccurate. The key princples might remain the same, but key facts may change. Technology changes, meaning techniques change. People write the internet off too easily. Research papers, magazines - even published authors - have their own websites that you can use. A lot of people on here have read many many books, and pass on that informaton. I hate reading, loath it... but then there are personal circumstances around that - if I can ask someone and get their advice, I'll take that over reading a book.
Forums are great for that. More than that, a good forum is a strong community. As with any community, you have people with experience effectively teaching people with little experience, and sharing their experience to benefit the larger community.
Most new people will offer advice on things they've asked about themselves, or from their experiences... if someone has a different opinion, they'll add it. If someone is just plain wrong, one of the more experienced members will explain why they're wrong, and what their opinion of the correct approach to an issue is.
That said, yes - books and published works should be a source of information if that suits your learning style. But they shouldn't be your only source of information.

You've got a lot of experience in keeping fish - how much of what you did at Maidenhead, or what you do with your own fish is exactly what a book tells you to do, and how much of it is based on what the book said but with some personal tweaks?

Specifically about Oscars - my 1.5 inch little Oscar grew into a 15 inch (still growing!) beast. And he's awesome! :-)
Richard "TheCaptain" Combes.

Remember: Piracy is a crime. Do not accept copies of The Captain.
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Postby ddk » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:54 pm

Hi! I'm glad you did reply, this is where forums do come in handy where we can all bounce of each other and learn things that we possibly thought we'd never learn. Cripes, I'm still learning every time I switch on the damn PC!
Fair comment about the 2 species looking very similar, but, this would have been an ideal situation for the shop to have been on their toes and made sure;
1. The tank was labelled up properly (as has been demanded quite rightly)and,
2. The person helping you could have asked are you sure you wanted "x" fish, even if it made them look a bit nosey it could've made you think "mm is it the fish I'm actually after?" and made you ask a few more questions perhaps?
Sometimes, as from experience from when I was working in the "Trade", we would get a quarantined shipment in from say... Africa, and we would have 20-30 boxes of freshwater and marine fish to unpack (usually around midnight!) and there was always something unusual or not ordered turn up so we had to find a home for it, or them, which usually meant emptying out a tank of a species that was almost sold out and acclimatizing the new guys . The inhabitants that were kicked out of their "home" were now put somewhere else in the shop and so consequently got forgotten about when it came to labelling up. Then the next day "say a Saturday for e.g." when the Saturday kids came in to work they would start selling fish from the tank that had the wrong fish in and Bobs yer Uncle! you've been sold something that you perhaps shouldn't have been.
It would be very easy to say that the staff should be better trained and, for the most part, they usually are very knowledgeable, but mistakes do happen 'cos we're only human, this is why I say it's important to do your homework so you at least can be 90% sure of what you're buying. I know books become outdated within a few years and technology is roaring away at a frightening pace, but a fish is a fish, and they have been since year dot. I'm sure there are many happy fish keepers out there still using under-gravel filtration very successfully in quite ignorant bliss of modern practices now available to them.
I think it's great that comparative newcomers are learning about co2 fertilization and water hardness etc, etc, it can only make things better for the inhabitants of the aquarium and if you have a successful aquarium you're less likely to pack it in after a couple of months.
Sorry I seem to be rambling on a bit, now I shall put my coat on a go!. :wink:
I started out with nothing and still got most of it left!
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Postby Gem » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:41 pm


Not everyone looks up everything they buy on the Internet and that includes fish. You tend assume that an lfs would know what they're talking about and be honest at least for the sake of the fish if not repeat custom but don't be fooled my friend! Saying this there are exceptions to every rule.
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Postby Twins4Sonia » Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:33 am

I am absolutely gutted.
It's closed.
I wanted to sign that too!!
The law however believes in precision and it is often difficult to define with precision just what exactly stalking is and when, otherwise lawful behaviour, crosses the line and becomes stalking.
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Postby Carylnz » Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:43 am

Why do people sign these things? They have no legal validity unless properly signed with a sig, not a name typed into a web site surely?
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Postby Twins4Sonia » Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:53 am

I'm sure I looked into this before and that website in question is a 'proper' one, some can be fakes but I am pretty sure that one holds ground.. x
The law however believes in precision and it is often difficult to define with precision just what exactly stalking is and when, otherwise lawful behaviour, crosses the line and becomes stalking.
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Postby geeahkay » Wed May 25, 2011 10:47 pm

Signed - I am pleased to say that my aquatics shop has clear information about suitability and maximum sizes that fish get to on the price labels. Also I would like to think that we would all give good and accurate advice if it is needed regarding any of the fish that we sell!
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Re: Another petition for better point of sale advice, labell

Postby harmzyxr2 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:10 pm

ddk- sorry to have a moan but, not many people have a clue what you actually need to keep a fish in! no seriously i work in an aquatics shop and i have been waiting for the question of does a fish need water! you would not believe what questions you get asked, also not many people that start to keep fish dont have any idea of how big they get and certainly never reseach it hence the reason for the petition

and why would you look at a brochure for a car (that is your first fault- buying a car from a brochure, secondly buying a new car and losing loads of money! lol)
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Re: Another petition for better point of sale advice, labell

Postby justlovindanios » Mon May 12, 2014 10:06 pm

I have been to the lfs today to purchase some rummy nose tetra when a tank of "ruby barbs " caught my eye as this will be a community tank and these are the first fish im putting in after cycling i asked a few questions size diet etc and went home very happy but have looked on the index to find ive actually got pentazona barbs !! lol
juwel rio 125
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