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What Makes a Store Good/Bad?

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  1. How do you tell a bad store from a good one??
    by njy-at-comp.lancs.ac.uk (Mr N J Yeadon) (Tue, 8 Nov 1994)

How do you tell a bad store from a good one??

by njy-at-comp.lancs.ac.uk (Mr N J Yeadon)
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria

I've been having a lot of deaths with no apparent symptoms, but my PH
and nitrites are normal. I asked my mate (an expert, compared to my 6
month noviceship) to help me restock my 15G tank. He couldn't see why
my fish were dying UNTIL he went to the store(s) where I bought my
fish: what I thought was quite a good shop he advised me never to get
any fish from there again.

The question is what do people look for in assessing a new shop they go into?

Here's what he/us thinks, to get things rolling:

Bad things:

Dead fish (yep the store I went to had a dead guppy in a tank that
looked like it had been there a while)

Any sick fish (unless the're posted as being 'not for sale - under treatment')

Overcrowding.

Poor state of filters.

Bad mix of fish (I saw one tank full of tiger barbs and a very beaten
looking Angel)

Poor range of fish.

Many tanks running off one filter.

Algae problems (??)


*Good Points*

Healthy fish (babies in species tanks??)

Marine Fish (if the owner can keep marines then he must be good)

Fish only (or even tropical only) stores, i.e. not general pet store

Good range of different fish, big tank, speration into species.

Helpful (good) staff  (?)


Any others things??????

Cheers Nick

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Nicholas Yeadon		| Sorry, couldn't be  | Tel:   0524 65201 x4539
MPG Research Group	| bothered with a     |	Fax:   0524 593608
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Lancaster University	| pretty picture....  |	       csb008-at-cent1.lancs.ac.uk	
Lancaster,LA1 4YR	|                     |	       nyeadon-at-nyx.cs.du.edu
UK  			|                     |
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From: millerto-at-ava.bcc.orst.edu (Tom Miller)
Newsgroups: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria
Subject: Re: How do you tell a bad store from a good one??
Date: 10 Nov 1994 02:52:39 GMT
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In article <CyyAop.24u-at-comp.lancs.ac.uk>,
Mr N J Yeadon <njy-at-comp.lancs.ac.uk> wrote:
>I've been having a lot of deaths with no apparent symptoms, but my PH

Whenever someone says something like that phrase, I get a nervous twitch. I
suspect that there are symptoms, but they are not being reconized as symptoms.

>The question is what do people look for in assessing a new shop they go into?

I'm going to peer into my crystal ball and assume that what you are interested
in is assessing the FISH section of a shop. Not the shop in general. 

>Bad things:
>
>Dead fish (yep the store I went to had a dead guppy in a tank that
>looked like it had been there a while)

I think the fact that the guppy had been there for a while is more significant
than just being dead. When you consider how many fish are in a store, you can
expect to see one or two dead fish from time to time. If you always see dead
fish or if you want to buy fish in the same tank, then a tiny red flag should
pop up.

>Any sick fish (unless the're posted as being 'not for sale - under treatment')

They get half a brownie point for reconizing a disease. Again, one tank that
is sick is not life threatening (to you). If 29 of the 30 tanks is under
treatmeant...don't buy anything from that healthy tank.

>Overcrowding.

Fish can be sold very quickly in a store so it is difficult to judge
overcrowding.

>Bad mix of fish (I saw one tank full of tiger barbs and a very beaten
>looking Angel)

Not only is this bad for the fish in the store, but you can forget about
asking them fish compatibility questions.

>Poor range of fish.

I would have to disagree here. If the store only has three fish and those are
the only three fish I want...I'm happy. I've never been sold on the huge
selection hype. 

>Many tanks running off one filter.

It's not what they have, it's how they use it. I don't care if they replace
water by sucking it out of the tanks with plastic straws and fill the tanks
with squirt bottles. As long as they can maintain good water quality.

>Algae problems (??)

Algae is probably not a problem in itself, but it may signal neglect on the
part of the employees. If you can't see the fish, however, find a new store. 


>*Good Points*

>Healthy fish (babies in species tanks??)

This should be the number one critieron for fish store selection. If the fish
are not healthy, they is no point in buying them.

Expecting to see babies in anything other than livebearers and some cichlids
tanks would be a bit much. 

>Marine Fish (if the owner can keep marines then he must be good)

Not true. Now-a-days mere mortals can keep marines. Being familiar with marine
fish would not help with fresh water diseases or fish compatibility. 

>Fish only (or even tropical only) stores, i.e. not general pet store

No. A fish only store MIGHT have a larger selection. But there is no reason
to believe that the health of the fish or the knowledge of the employees would
be better.

>Good range of different fish, big tank, speration into species.

If you are big on selection, that should be the second criterion.

Seperation of species is up to you. I know people who prefer tanks with
mixed species. Part of the reason is that they can tell first hand if the
different species will get along with each other. They can then buy a few of
each species from the same tank knowing that they will get along together in
the new tank. It also helps to get a feel for how a fish will act with other
species.

>Helpful (good) staff  (?)

Helpful is nice, but I'd take knowledgable. If the information is wrong, it
doesn't matter how helpful the staff was. 

A sign of good staff is when you buy fish the first few questions they ask you
are; "What size tank do you have? How many fish do you have? What are they?"
They need to determine if you have room for the new fish and if it is 
compatible with your other fish.  

Excellent staff will also volunteer information on uncommon fish, verify that
the customer knows what they are doing, let the customer pick out individual
fish (ie for livebearers, angels, and others where each fish may look
different), and offer a health guarantee on the fish.

>Any others things??????

A few thoughts on the general condition of the store...it's irrelevant to the
fish. Some people mistakenly believe that if a store is clean, then the fish
and animals are healthy. Not true. Sweeping the floor does not help fish. If a
fish is on the floor, the least of it's concerns is whether there is dirt or
not. If you prefer shopping in a "clean" store, fine. But don't assume that
the fish are healthy. If the tanks are dirty, you may have something to worry
about. On the positive side, the best stores are clean AND the fish are
healthy, and the gerbils are running on their wheels and the birds are
singing. Having a clean store and healthy fish makes good business sense. One
does not cause the other.

Tom
millerto-at-bcc.orst.edu


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From: alisa-at-vkgs.com (Alisa Dean)
Newsgroups: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria
Subject: Re: How do you tell a bad store from a good one??
Date: 10 Nov 1994 20:42:04 GMT
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One of my forms of entertainment is to go explore fish stores.  These
are the things I look for:

Fish that are healthy, bright, lively.  If they are pale, frenetic, torn up,
or just not looking right, move on.  Look for any signs of disease, such as 
ich, rubbing against rocks, shimmying, fungus.  Does the store offer a 
guarantee on livestock?

Ask the store personnel to feed the fish.  The fish should eat 
eagerly.  If the help says something like "they were just fed," 
ask what time is feeding, and come back the next day 
to watch.  If the help refuses, move on.

If marine fish or invertebrates are offered, look for bright colors, 
extended tentacles, etc., appropriate to the animal.  If all the 
inverts are retracted, this is a sign of bad maintenance.  Unfortunately,
with the growing popularity of reef tanks, I've seen fish stores
with inverts thrown carelessly into a salt tank with no regard for
their special needs.  Does the store certify that the fish are not
caught with cyanide?

Compatible fish in the same tank.  This applies not only to personality
but to water conditions.  I've seen countless poor mollies "shimmying"
in a neon tank.  (For new people, mollies like hard water with a little salt
and neons like soft, acidic water.  Putting mollies in soft water will
make them shimmy, which is like swimming in place, and can
kill them over time.)

No dead fish.  Never, ever, buy a fish from a tank that has _any_
dead fish in it.  I understand that fish mortality is a fact of life, but
it's better to wait to see if any more fish in the tank get sick or die than
to potential introduce a disease or parasite into your tank at home.  

A good, diverse supply of reference books and magazines available
for purchase.

Will they test your water for you?

Do they ask you what kind of fish do you currently have?  What size
tank?  Do they offer advice if you are choosing the wrong kind of 
fish?

The store personnel must be knowledgeable and experienced aquarists
themselves.  Ask questions.  If the answers are vague or wrong,
go elsewhere.  Youth is not necessarily an indication of incompetent
help - I've been given grossly wrong answers by personnel of all
age, and great advice from teenaged help.  Check the answers 
yourself.  Just because it was spoken in a confident manner, does
not make it correct.  

Is the help surly, rude, indifferent?  Do they
listen to your questions and try to get enough information to 
answer properly?  Do they provide written instructions for 
new aquarists on how to acclimate fish or set up a new tank?

Always watch them net your fish.  Do they chase it into exhaustion, or 
are they competent in netting?  If the fish is highly stressed at 
the store, you can almost guarantee illness or death once you
get it home.

Are they up on current technology?  Do they offer current and
high quality equipment, medicines, food, livestock?  Do they know
what fish _not_ to give to a beginner?  Do they allow you to order
specific fish?

Have they been in business long?

Do they allow you to put a "hold" on livestock that just arrived?
Do they quarantine new livestock before putting them in the sale 
tanks?  Do they post the arrival dates of the livestock?  Warn
you of any special needs of or dangers from the livestock?

Look for a clean, neat store.  Check the expiration dates on
dry goods, if available.  I have found stores that have 
excellent livestock, but not much dry goods, and vice versa.

Understand that once you find a good aquarium store, you will
probably be paying more per item than an inferior store.  
Is it more important for you to save a few pennies, or potentially
wipe out an entire tank with disease?  Spend your money
in the good stores, and they will stay in business.  Don't put 
your money in bad stores, and eventually, mercifully, they
will go away.

Alisa



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