When you are operating a “Fish Rescue” it is inevitable that you will run into customers that are not enjoying the hobby due to the stress of losing fish and having to “flush” their money down the toilet! Most of the time customers of mine that were having tank issues were making one of the following 5 mistakes.
1. Incorrect pH
I cannot tell you how many times customers came into me saying that they don’t know why they can’t keep fish alive. I generally start by asking what type of fish they are trying to keep, followed by asking what their aquariums pH reading is. “pH? I’ve tested Ammonia but not pH..” So I have them bring a water sample and find they are trying to keep tetras in a pH of 8.2, or African Cichlids in a pH of 6.4.
Please make sure you know what the pH is of the water you will be using BEFORE you decide what fish to get.
2. Lack of Oxygen
This may seem like a silly thing, but putting a cheap airstone in your aquarium can make a huge difference for your fish.
3. Wrong Temperature
This one seems simple enough but when people get their first aquariums from some large chain pet store they are not given good advice and often get fish that require higher temperatures but don’t spend the money for a heater. Heaters really don’t cost that much and they should be considered a necessary purchase unless buying goldfish or other fish that require cooler temperatures.
I have had a number of deformed fish brought in and the deformities were due to the water temperature.
4. Incompatible Tank mates
Another very frequent situation. Beginners often pick their fish by how they look and will unknowingly pick out fish that will kill one another. It is sad that the sales people do not question them or try to educate them on the behaviors and compatibility of different fish.
5. Buying unhealthy fish
How many times has someone had a tank that is finally running well then they add a new fish that they just bought without quarantine time only to find that the fish has ich or some kind of disease that an educated eye would have caught? More than I care to count.
Do you see the theme here? it is all about education. If you are new to the aquarium hobby, please don’t rush into it. Check the pH of the water in your home, go look at fish to find out which ones you like, then get on the internet and read about them to see if they are compatible with each other and with the conditions you can provide them. Then make sure you buy your fish from a reputable aquarium shop. Just doing these few things will save you money and will save the lives of the fish.
If you work in an aquarium shop or pet store, please make sure you understand at least the basic differences and requirements of the fish. Educate yourself, and then educate your customers. You will both benefit and enjoy the hobby much more!