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View Full Version : Ever feel really sad after visiting fish store?


Dash
03-15-2017, 02:24 AM
Hope I'm not out of line here but I'm so bummed, have to get this off my chest. I was in the neighbourhood so thought I'd check out a certain fish place in [***]. It was pretty grubby & I was about to leave when I saw rows of tanks holding SW fish. Man. They had a few good-sized porcupine puffers (5-6") priced at $99.
2-3 looked so bad I thought they were dead, all pale & crumpled up in a corner barely moving. They have eyelids & these were drooped down - their expressions were so pathetic:( Quite haunting. I'm not the sentimental type but jeez, I was quite bummed. They had a fair variety of livestock, but seeing the black jellyfish puffing around in the dirty little tank made me question if we are bad for taking these creatures out of the ocean.
Sorry for being a downer:(

dino
03-15-2017, 03:01 AM
i also have this Delema often. No matter how well we treat our creatures so many die in shipping and in stores and from improper care. I guess I justify it by picking carefully and giving the best care possible

Coasting
03-15-2017, 03:07 AM
[********] is a disgusting horrible place with horrible morals.
Don't be afraid to name them and warn people.

I've been twice. Will never go again. Said I wouldn't go again after the first time but went to the detail shop next door so popped in quickly to see if things had improved. And they didn't.

Between the owner trying to convince me that severely ick infested fish were totally safe to add to my tank, (this was after I phone and was told the fish had like 1 spot and were healthy), watching a fish get eaten alive with a staff member right beside me refusing to move the fish as he's kind of chuckling. Listening to the owner give dangerous bad advice about livestock to a new hobbyist 1 row down from me. Seeing obviously dead for days fish in the tanks. A poor sailfin tang that was blasted against the egg crate by a power head having its skin stripped off.

There are good stores, and healthy captive bred fish. The best we can do is give our business to the retailers that care.

Moogled
03-15-2017, 03:59 AM
Like Coasting says, vote with your dollar and spread the word.

Hopefully any fish store that isn't worth its salt will eventually close down.

Dash
03-15-2017, 04:43 AM
Thanks for being a sounding board. Like I said, I'm not squeamish/sappy but I felt crappy seeing those poor sad fish eyes. Those animals were so disposable.

Jakegr
03-15-2017, 05:50 AM
There is a big welfare problem in our hobby that many do not like to acknowledge. There is significant mortality and pain/suffering due to the way the industry works with collection, shipping, at fish stores and finally at home (with inexperienced fish owners). I feel for you, seeing fish in that state isn't easy.

Potatohead
03-15-2017, 06:05 AM
[*********] is a disgusting horrible place with horrible morals.
Don't be afraid to name them and warn people.

I've been twice. Will never go again. Said I wouldn't go again after the first time but went to the detail shop next door so popped in quickly to see if things had improved. And they didn't.

Between the owner trying to convince me that severely ick infested fish were totally safe to add to my tank, (this was after I phone and was told the fish had like 1 spot and were healthy), watching a fish get eaten alive with a staff member right beside me refusing to move the fish as he's kind of chuckling. Listening to the owner give dangerous bad advice about livestock to a new hobbyist 1 row down from me. Seeing obviously dead for days fish in the tanks. A poor sailfin tang that was blasted against the egg crate by a power head having its skin stripped off.

There are good stores, and healthy captive bred fish. The best we can do is give our business to the retailers that care.

I'm not going to go quite this far but last time I was in there a customer mentioned he was waiting for his tank to cycle and he was doing a fishless cycle, the owner of the store then went on to say that fishless cycle is boring and a waste of time and he would never cycle a tank that way. I was pretty blown away at what I was hearing. Kind of sucks too because the place is five minutes away.

As to the OP's question, yes I feel the hobby is really quite selfish. I don't know how many people agree with me but I would have no problem paying a lot more for fish (2-3 times even) if it meant less were caught and less died or got sick in transport or in stores. At the end of the day with less fish losses it would likely come out about even anyway and the ocean would have more fish. Up until my latest acquisition which is looking good I have lost my last four, FOUR in a row purchased fish in quarantine. I have been keeping fish a long time and that is bad.

DKoKoMan
03-15-2017, 06:27 AM
I think there is good in bad in every store. What you described is terrible and I would strongly recommend not supporting these habits. For every one responsible LFS there are the few that don't make the cut. I too would have a hard time seeing the fish in a sad / depressed state and instantly boycott the store. It's important not to continue to spend money in these stores until the doors are close (eviction notice posted) or their unruly habits are changes...MHO.

Dash
03-15-2017, 07:32 AM
It wasn't my intent to disparage this hobby in any way. I've had my SW tank for just a year but I've jumped into this addiction whole-heartedly - it's been a real blast. There is a difference I think in losing livestock despite striving to provide a good home for them, and this way of conducting business in such a neglectful way.
Anyway, I just felt I had to raise awareness of the conditions I saw.

Coral Hoarder
03-15-2017, 08:37 AM
My opinion is that if we are taking animals out of the wild we need to do our absolute best to keep them happy and thriving. anything other then that is disgusting and Thoes people do not deserve to own animals like fish and corals.

Myka
03-15-2017, 02:20 PM
Posts edited to remove names.

Please don't use names. We can't afford libel lawyers here. ;)

Moogled
03-15-2017, 05:10 PM
Thanks for being a sounding board. Like I said, I'm not squeamish/sappy but I felt crappy seeing those poor sad fish eyes. Those animals were so disposable.

For sure. I think many of us in the hobby are reactive to sub-par husbandry and poor conditions. These animals have been through a lot before they even reach our tanks.

I don't think it has anything to do with being sappy. I think we're just being compassionate hobbyists :)

I get bummed out when a hermit or snail dies. They're dime a dozen but in my eyes that doesn't mean they're disposable. My lil hermits are some of the cutest animals in my tank when they scale rocks or climb my gorgonians.

Potatohead
03-15-2017, 05:44 PM
For sure. I think many of us in the hobby are reactive to sub-par husbandry and poor conditions. These animals have been through a lot before they even reach our tanks.

I don't think it has anything to do with being sappy. I think we're just being compassionate hobbyists :)

I get bummed out when a hermit or snail dies. They're dime a dozen but in my eyes that doesn't mean they're disposable. My lil hermits are some of the cutest animals in my tank when they scale rocks or climb my gorgonians.

A life is a life man, I don't think any of it should be wasted for no good reason.

Coasting
03-15-2017, 07:35 PM
Hmm thats never been a rule here before. Infact people comment about negative and positive stuff they see in stores all the time on here. [***] isnt a vendor either and nobody posted a link.

Remember guys you can leave google reviews as well.
Other folks in the hobby deserve to know and be aware of whats happening so hopefully they dont fall for bad advice or intentionally sold sick fish. At least allow them to put their guard up if they still decide to go there.
Doubtful the SPCA would do anything about fish....

TimT
03-15-2017, 07:36 PM
As someone who's been in the industry for a long time there are a few things that need to be said in this thread.

There are good shipments and bad shipments and the fish/corals coming out of them should not be reflective on a store. If a fish shipment gets cold in transit the fish will typically breakdown with ick. This is normal.

There are stores that have separate quarantine systems for newly arrived fish. Their fish are more money. It all boils down to speak with your money but don't expect to get a Mercedes for a Hyundai price. No slight on Hyundai. Ever go to the big American fish stores with the marine biologists on staff, how nice and clean etc. Look at their prices and consider they're in USD which is almost 38% exchange and their costs of supply are cheaper.

18 years ago I was importing Certified Cyanide Free fish. The stores wouldn't buy them because their customers wouldn't pay the higher prices. Even though there was lots of talk about people being willing to pay for Certified Cyanide Free fish.

There's a saying "When you point a finger there are four more fingers pointing back at you". How many people have UV sterilizers on their systems? How many people have Chillers on their systems? How many people have back up generators for their systems? How many people have safety redundancy on their tanks heaters. It saddens me when I hear these stories of people losing their tanks due to easily preventable causes with a little money spent.

This site is not for bashing stores as all stores have their own issues... it's for helping people have the most fun in the hobby.

dino
03-15-2017, 09:26 PM
Well said Tim is your personal tank set up yet? It's also a really hard industry to make a go at.

Animal-Chin
03-15-2017, 09:36 PM
This is why its our job to take responsibility for our purchases. I've had issues with livestock from every local store. Velvet, acro flatworms, you name it I've purchased it and brought it home. There are issues with every local store in the area. I've seen entire shipments of really nice sps turn totally brown in one store due to poor lighting and I've seen another store trying to sell totally dead sps. I've seen large tanks with 50 baby hippo tangs die off in days because of the disease they brought in. I've seen $600 6 inch cross hatch triggerfish in a 20 gallon tank lying on the bottom. I've seen zoa colonies with more aptasia than zoa's on them.

There is a lot of bad merch in our local stores, if you find one crosses the line say something or stop shopping there. Most importantly be careful when your buying. If you REALLY REALLY want a Naso Tang and the store only has one skinny rough looking one, don't buy it, wait for a healthy shipment to come in. I feel bad for first time shoppers, its easy to make mistakes. My first coral was covered in green briopsis algae that at the time I thought was a bonus cause you get a coral with a plant for the same price...lol

Side note, the very first reef tank I bought was a biocube from a local store and while I was buying it they asked if I had researched before I came in. I said I saw some stuff online and they asked if I ever went to Can Reef. I said now and they said good because you can't believe anything you read on can reef, the people here are horrible...lol That LFS is now out of business but man did they hate Can Reef.

Dearth
03-15-2017, 09:58 PM
This is why I deal with reputable LFS only if you shop local for convenience at a place where you know fish, coral and inverts are in bad shape then deal with it confront the manager sales staff. Sometimes it's as simple as education sometimes the staff don't care and are just taking your money.

Yes I've sympathy bought before just because I felt sorry for the fish but sick and starving fish are a good way to infect/kill your tank.

If you shop for convenience why not save up and go to a reputable LFS where you know the livestock is well cared for. Using excuses like the inconvenience of shipping or the inconvenience driving up to 4 hrs away for livestock doesn't wash with me. I live in the north it is no more difficult for me to order than someone who lives in a major centre with a store 20 minutes away. It's inevitable if you stay in the hobby long enough you will get a bad order it happens.

Basically don't sympathy buy or feel like your saving xx livestock from so and so store because you end up paying the price. As I said confront the staff/manager sometimes it's as simple as education other times all they want is your money.

Myka
03-15-2017, 10:09 PM
As someone who's been in the industry for a long time there are a few things that need to be said in this thread.

There are good shipments and bad shipments and the fish/corals coming out of them should not be reflective on a store. If a fish shipment gets cold in transit the fish will typically breakdown with ick. This is normal.

There are stores that have separate quarantine systems for newly arrived fish. Their fish are more money. It all boils down to speak with your money but don't expect to get a Mercedes for a Hyundai price. No slight on Hyundai. Ever go to the big American fish stores with the marine biologists on staff, how nice and clean etc. Look at their prices and consider they're in USD which is almost 38% exchange and their costs of supply are cheaper.

18 years ago I was importing Certified Cyanide Free fish. The stores wouldn't buy them because their customers wouldn't pay the higher prices. Even though there was lots of talk about people being willing to pay for Certified Cyanide Free fish.

There's a saying "When you point a finger there are four more fingers pointing back at you". How many people have UV sterilizers on their systems? How many people have Chillers on their systems? How many people have back up generators for their systems? How many people have safety redundancy on their tanks heaters. It saddens me when I hear these stories of people losing their tanks due to easily preventable causes with a little money spent.

This site is not for bashing stores as all stores have their own issues... it's for helping people have the most fun in the hobby.

Well said Tim. Consumers rarely understand this. Consumers want the cheapest livestock around, and then whine and complain when the cheapest livestock is also in the poorest condition. Or even when a good business gets screwed on a poor shipment because it got too hot or too cold or was packaged poorly. People forget that most of these shipments are coming from third world countries, they are shipped in cheap, thin sytrofoam boxes that are often broken upon arrival, they are in transit usually for 24-48 hours, and they are shipped without heat packs because the country they leave is 30C! If you stop and think about it for a minute or two, it's not surprising that animals may arrive stressed!

Vote with your dollar people! :)

Animal-Chin
03-15-2017, 10:28 PM
Don't forget the fact that the fish are starved for days before shipping so they don't poop in the bag. It is amazing that fish survive the trip as well as they do.

First question I always ask the store, how long has this fish been here, second question, is it eating and a lot of times I ask to see it eat. The stores are always more than happy to drop some mysis in the tank. I've walked away from fish that would just swim by the food.

But all that being said, if you own a fish store and you're putting 6 inch triggers in a 20 gallon tank you may want to rethink that...or not...

Potatohead
03-15-2017, 10:39 PM
Well said Tim. Consumers rarely understand this. Consumers want the cheapest livestock around, and then whine and complain when the cheapest livestock is also in the poorest condition. Or even when a good business gets screwed on a poor shipment because it got too hot or too cold or was packaged poorly. People forget that most of these shipments are coming from third world countries, they are shipped in cheap, thin sytrofoam boxes that are often broken upon arrival, they are in transit usually for 24-48 hours, and they are shipped without heat packs because the country they leave is 30C! If you stop and think about it for a minute or two, it's not surprising that animals may arrive stressed!

Vote with your dollar people! :)

I already mentioned I would absolutely do this if it were possible, so where is it possible? I didn't realize it was an option up here. I have brought fish across the border before but it is a major hassle with customs so to find someone in Canada would be great.

TimT
03-15-2017, 10:49 PM
Well said Tim is your personal tank set up yet? It's also a really hard industry to make a go at.

No my personal tank is not set up yet as the power here is quite unstable. Lots of 1 minute power failures which can make the Korallia's run backwards. Until I get a UPS I won't be setting up. It's just going to be a 29gallon Biocube and a UPS will keep it running for days. LoL

You are correct in it being a hard industry to make a go of. Lots of people do stupid things and it costs $1000's in dead animals. I once had Cathay Pacific Airlines screw up a booking and an Aussie acro shipment sat in Hong Kong baking for 16hrs. Needless to say I have a collection of Aussie acro skeletons up to 8" across. Another time Cathay Pacific put a shipment in the cooler overnight(7hrs) because they were too cheap to heat the warehouse overnight. Warehouse was -4c overnight while the cooler was only 4C. Needless to say there was fish fertilizer made using Laboutei Fairy Wrasse, Scotts Fairy wrasse, Yellow and Blue Assessors etc.


I've seen $600 6 inch cross hatch triggerfish in a 20 gallon tank lying on the bottom.

When Crosshatch triggers come in they are very shy and hide for at least a month, sometimes longer. Kinda similar to a Blue Throat Trigger. If the 20 gallon tank is on a central system then there is more than enough life support for the trigger.

Jakegr
03-16-2017, 12:44 AM
Well said Tim. Consumers rarely understand this. Consumers want the cheapest livestock around, and then whine and complain when the cheapest livestock is also in the poorest condition. Or even when a good business gets screwed on a poor shipment because it got too hot or too cold or was packaged poorly. People forget that most of these shipments are coming from third world countries, they are shipped in cheap, thin sytrofoam boxes that are often broken upon arrival, they are in transit usually for 24-48 hours, and they are shipped without heat packs because the country they leave is 30C! If you stop and think about it for a minute or two, it's not surprising that animals may arrive stressed!

Vote with your dollar people! :)

That is definitely the other side of things! Consumers, if given the choice, will always trend towards the less expensive option. Fish stores need to stay in business and attract customers. I don't blame them for doing things to keep costs down.

That being said, I truly believe the entire industry (from supply to store) needs to be reformed. Animal welfare in the aquarium hobby is abysmal due to the supply chain. Similar stories have occurred in other sectors, ranging from puppy mills to the importation of exotic birds. The government needs to get involved and regulate the aquarium hobby in Canada, in my opinion. I doubt it will reform on it's own.

Poor animal welfare needs to be looked at independently of economics. It is no longer acceptable in today's society. The only reason the aquarium hobby has lagged behind others is that the general public do not perceive fish in the same way they do a puppy, but I think that gap is narrowing. If the industry doesn't improve welfare, I believe it will eventually be shut down.

I'm not blaming stores for this problem! It is a top to bottom issue that requires the entire industry to change it's format (many will think this is unrealistic I suspect). There are many positives, such as employment in developing countries, advancing fish husbandry, boosting local economies, etc. We just need to start looking out for the health and welfare of the animals that are the bottom of it all.

Everyone, please do not rip me to shreds over my opinion :)

Dash
03-16-2017, 02:27 AM
I get that there is the business side of selling fish. I've driven out to every store in our area because I'm crazy about this wonderful new hobby. This is the first time I came away with such negative feelings. These guys were on death's doorstep, kept in tiny tanks. Not just the porcs but there was a dogface that was curled up and barely breathing, didn't react when 2 other fish started nosing at him. So yes, I will vote with my dollar & not shop there.

saltcreep
03-16-2017, 06:23 PM
That is definitely the other side of things! Consumers, if given the choice, will always trend towards the less expensive option. Fish stores need to stay in business and attract customers. I don't blame them for doing things to keep costs down.

Unfortunately this industry has seen a race to the bottom and with no end in sight. There is a huge distinction with keeping costs down and being successful.

That being said, I truly believe the entire industry (from supply to store) needs to be reformed. Animal welfare in the aquarium hobby is abysmal due to the supply chain. Similar stories have occurred in other sectors, ranging from puppy mills to the importation of exotic birds. The government needs to get involved and regulate the aquarium hobby in Canada, in my opinion. I doubt it will reform on it's own.

The government does not have the resources to deal with this issue and it has been proven time and time again that the industry is unable to self regulate. Those that do will get left behind by those who don't. It's a sad fact, but the cold hard truth. There are many examples I can give from my previous time in this sector of the industry. Sadly, I still face similar issues with regulatory non-compliance in other parts of the industry.

Poor animal welfare needs to be looked at independently of economics. It is no longer acceptable in today's society. The only reason the aquarium hobby has lagged behind others is that the general public do not perceive fish in the same way they do a puppy, but I think that gap is narrowing. If the industry doesn't improve welfare, I believe it will eventually be shut down.

I'm not blaming stores for this problem! It is a top to bottom issue that requires the entire industry to change it's format (many will think this is unrealistic I suspect). There are many positives, such as employment in developing countries, advancing fish husbandry, boosting local economies, etc. We just need to start looking out for the health and welfare of the animals that are the bottom of it all.

Everyone, please do not rip me to shreds over my opinion :)

Your opinion is extremely spot on. The only thing I would suggest and have been for years is that the solution is not top to bottom, but rather flipped the other way. This is what was suggested by a previous poster. Vote with your wallet. This is the fastest way to affect change. The stores and supply chains that will not change and operate in a more ethical manner would simply disappear.

I had the same conversation with David Vossler of MAC years and years ago. Appeal to the consumer, educate the consumer and force change at retail level. This would lead to changes all the way up the supply chain as each step would have to adapt or die.

Maybe it's too idealistic, but only now are there signs of coordinated efforts to educate the consumer.

Bblinks
03-17-2017, 09:08 PM
What store are we talking about here?

I love both stores that's accessible to where I live.

Are we talking about the one on *** or ***?

philg3
03-17-2017, 09:25 PM
What store are we talking about here?

I love both stores that's accessible to where I live.

Are we talking about the one on *** or ***?

Neither, i think they're talking about one in ***.

Bblinks
03-17-2017, 09:27 PM
Neither, i think they're talking about one in ***.

Sweet! I like both stores that I have mentioned and will defend their integrities till death...:mrgreen:

Myka
03-24-2017, 05:28 AM
What store are we talking about here?

The first rule about Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club.

DKoKoMan
03-24-2017, 06:20 AM
The first rule about Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club.

Beauty line.