Does anybody else feel like this hobby is a double-edged sword?
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:20 PM   #1
ktownhero
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Does anybody else feel like this hobby is a double-edged sword?


I've been keeping aquariums for a long time, and I've never been able to shake the feelings of duality I get from partaking in it. I know that all of my aquariums are well taken care of and havens for fish and other forms of life, as I know most people that care enough to be on forums like this keep their tanks the same way. But how many more people are there out there that fall short, sometimes greatly short, of that?

For every great LFS out there, there are dozens of chain stores with poor quality plants and animals riddled with sicknesses of all types. They are often sold to people with no proper knowledge of their care, many of which end up in grossly substandard living conditions or worse. What's even weirder to me is that none of the big stores even tend to sell what we all here know to be the best quality filters, powerheads, lights, foods, supplements, etc. So laymen really are set up for failure, and the fish are set up for worse than that.

I'm not trying to be a downer, it's just something I've never been able to cope well with. I love this hobby but it's just so depressing knowing how much abuse (intentional or unintentional) exists. I suppose that's with anything though.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:39 PM   #2
Reeyia
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Know exactly what you're talking about - I feel the same way and not just about aquatics but other animals as well
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:42 PM   #3
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I agree. The same could be said for keeping other animals, child-rearing to a certain extent too. The fact is most people don't know nearly enough about the needs of the creatures they keep, humans included.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Reeyia View Post
Know exactly what you're talking about - I feel the same way and not just about aquatics but other animals as well
All pet keeping is really a double sword if we stop and think about it. There are loving, caring homes and not so great homes.
It's all part living in this world.
Do the best you can and try to help others do their best, that's the way I look at it.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:51 PM   #5
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Sad but true and even some of the stores are ignorant and think they can just fill some tanks with tap water throw in some fish and sell them off for a profit. A good example is something I will never forget, we have a walmart near us in Prince Frederick, MD. that did just that, with no one attending the 24 or 30 tanks, all of the fish were dead and there was a 5 year old boy standing there with his hand in the water asking his mother who was paying no attention as she shopped the pet supplies "mom can we get some fish". I remember thinking no but you might want to wash your hands, and what a pitiful memory for that young man.
On the other end one of our better LFS in western Baltimore is very good and quaranteen their fish and animals for 30 days before they will sell. This not only helps you bring home good stock but insures that the stock in not deceased and will not kill off your tanks at home, they also sell everthing from giant tanks, top quality lighting, and any supplies you would need. So it does go both ways but I would agree that half of the fish that leave the store are in the hands of a person who will no doubt be back for new stock over and over and may never figure out how to keep their pets healthy, but that's why we are here and we can only hope that they do enough research to find a forum to guide them.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:53 PM   #6
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I agree. Pet keeping in general is a bad thing. Too many treat animals as objects instead of living breathing life forms.

All too often animals are sold at pet stores to uneducated folks who simply purchased the animals thinking it was cool looking.
Just look at how most pet stores treat their animals...generally dirty enclosures, sick animals, overcrowded, algae and cyanobacteria, dead fish, etc.

All my non-fish pets came from rescue organizations. I suggest everyone else do the same.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:05 PM   #7
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Nothing disgusts me more then the tattooed mollies.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:28 PM   #8
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I agree with you 100%. Walk into the fish section of any chain pet store and you'll find people who are buying a 10 gallon and six goldfish. The saltwater aspect of the hobby is a little better; most people know what they're doing in saltwater.

But in pet stores, people buy 10 gallon tanks, gravel and a light (it's sad that many don't even buy filters) and are reassured by their all-knowing fish salesman that their goldfish/beta/tetras/etc can thrive in a world of fresh tap water and little castles.

On the other side of the hobby is us, the people who measure TDS and pH and gH and kH and temperature and ammonia and nitrites and nitrates to make sure our animals aren't suffering in any way. It's pretty much the same with any animal, there are (for lack of a better term) ignorant people who don't know what they should be doing and don't care enough to find out. If you so much as google "how to keep goldfish" you'll discover they need BIG tanks, and most are better in ponds.

Betas too, the little pickle jars pet stores sell targetting ignorant newbs to fishkeeping should be banned under animal cruelty laws.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:44 PM   #9
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It is sad, but true. Pictures like this from leading manufacturers also do not help, showing impossible stocking levels.



I also try not to support the big chains in their fish selling since so little of their profit comes from livestock that they will never put the money toward proper education and upkeep.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Senior Shrimpo View Post
Betas too, the little pickle jars pet stores sell targetting ignorant newbs to fishkeeping should be banned under animal cruelty laws.
Yeah, there's nothing more saddening than seeing stacks and stacks of those little tiny jars each with a beta in them. And what's even worse than that, to me, is when you see a couple jars of betas sitting in some odd place like on an empty shelf or on the floor where people put them down randomly -- it's just the complete objectifying of the animal that gets me. Like, seriously, is it THAT hard to just put it back where it goes and show the poor animal at least that much respect for its life?

Somebody mentioned tattoo'd mollies, I saw some bright orange, pink, and green tetras today that were clearly injected with color. So sad.

On the bright side, it reminds me of why I shouldn't make a big deal about paying a little extra to go to a reputable LFS. I have a phenomenal local LFS that quarantines their stock, and provides high quality care for both their plants and animals. I was questioning their prices, but no more. I'll gladly pay the premium. Not only for the moral issue, but also so I don't end up contaminating my tank. You should have seen the horrible condition of some of the plants I saw today. Putting one of them in your tank was a guaranteed algae bomb. [face_puke]
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:04 AM   #11
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The saltwater aspect of the hobby is a little better; most people know what they're doing in saltwater..
I'm getting worried that that is slowly not remaining true. Traditionally that was true mostly because saltwater didn't have a lot of mainstream exposure. In past years, you pretty much had to go to online forums and develop a relationship with a LFS or online dealer to set up a saltwater tank. Now the big chain stores, more and more, are putting saltwater fish in their stock. I've seen walls of saltwater fish at the chain stores, just like you find the freshwater. None of the tanks have any live rock, the corals look absolutely pathetic, I've seen yellow tangs in 10g displays. Ugh.

Sometimes you really gotta watch what you wish for in this world. On one hand you want things to become popular so that it becomes more mainstream, cheaper, and more readily available. On the other hand, that usually attracts a lot of people that just straight-up don't have any respect for the creatures they buy or sell.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:13 AM   #12
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This kind of thing happens in every hobby and many professions.

How many people blow untold oodles of money on whack job medical "professionals" who sell their patients snake oil? I've seen very good doctors, and lousy doctors. Good pharmacists, lousy pharmacists. Bad dentists, and worse dentists (apologies to any dentist on here lol). It's hard to tell the difference until you've had one very good doctor to compare the rest against.


Being a cabinet maker, I see it happen in woodworking. Lousy and unnecessary tools sold for stupid prices that only make life harder.


And dabbling in electronics and LEDs, it's even worse there. It's way too easy for some companies (who sell LEDs to the reefing and plant world) to pull the wool over people's eyes by twisting data.



Education is part of the key to this. If you get your education ONLY from the place that sells you stuff (whether it's the pharmacist, the woodworking retailer, or the LFS)... you're going to get screwed royally at some point.

Get your info from elsewhere and compare it to what you're told by the retailer, and judge for yourself. I have a few very, very good LFS's in my area, so I visit them. The rest can go flush themselves.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:14 AM   #13
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I know a couple of school teachers who are members of our local aquatic plant club. They have aquariums in their classrooms and teaching their students the fundamentals of aquarium plant and fish keeping. Isn't that great? These elementary school kids will be successfull in this hobby if they so choose.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Crispino Ramos View Post
I know a couple of school teachers who are members of our local aquatic plant club. They have aquariums in their classrooms and teaching their students the fundamentals of aquarium plant and fish keeping. Isn't that great? These elementary school kids will be successfull in this hobby if they so choose.
Kudos to them!

IMO the best thing any of us can do is to be a part of the solution rather than part of the problem. I know that's a big reason I enjoy forums like this.
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:09 AM   #15
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*delete*

^ It's better for everyone that I deleted what I previously typed. I get unreasonably upset about this topic so I'll just say this. I agree OP, the sword is double edged. It's also so very sharp you almost can't feel it cutting you at first.
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