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Friendly local fish store guy


MNG
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OK - My friendly local fish store guy is a bit on the 'unorthodox' side. He has some notions that seem weird to me:

1- Water in my area is  on hard side ( 6 degrees +/-) and acidic - 7.5 +/-. Guy says he doesn't believe ph adjusters. All tropical fish need neutral ph so I need a dedicated water supply. [He doesn't sell them.] He has one for his 50 some odd tanks in the store...

2 - Use only digital thermometers - all others are inaccurate.

3 - Severum are peaceful and good with plants. ( I've kept severum, and they never seemed that way to me...)

4 - Endlers are ugly ( a matter of taste obviously - I like them)

5 - All tropicals need/thrive in neutral ph except cichlids, which are tolerant of everything from 6.5 to 8.5

6 - All fish die from bad conditions and overcrowding.

7 - No hospital tank ('if you get from a reliable breeder, you shouldn't have sick fish. If you do, it means there is something wrong with the whole tank - hospital tank won't fix that...)

8 Fish don't grow dependent on tank size. If  a fish doesn't grow to its full size (he claims a dempsy can get to 18 inches...) and then dies after a good few years, it's because of bad water conditions. ( A big and disputed topic, I realize)

I know that each one of these questions requires a separate discussion, but overall, what do you guys think about such things? Is this guy crazy? Some kind super duper fish guru? An idiot?

I can only say that I have kept fish seriously twice for a number of years, and never used a digital thermometer (they didn't have them) , always used ph adjusters for tap water, and always had a hospital tank.

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Might be a little koo koo.  I’m not even going to bother with most of those.  You’re pointing them out because you probably already know they’re incorrect.

 I don’t use bottled pH adjusters as such, but have used RODI and remineralizers as needed for certain species.  I’ve also used crushed coral in bags in filters to keep calcium up for snails and such.  Most fish are less sensitive to pH than the books would lead us to believe.  They can accommodate as long as there aren’t rapid changes.

I am a *huge* believer in quarantine tanks and therefore rarely have to use them for hospital tanks for treatment after the fish gets sick.  I only rarely have to treat fish while in quarantine with the exception being pea puffers.  I probably should deworm fish more often, but if they’re eating well and nobody in the group is skinny, then I don’t treat with no specific indicators present.

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Many of our fishkeeping orthodoxies are not really that useful. What can be useful is thinking differently or at least asking why a lot of times. I agree with many of his points above and think he should a least get credit for challenging current belief. On the other hand some rules really are true as I have found out the hard way. 🙂

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I don't like chasing water parameters. So agreed on ph adjusters. Bad water conditions probably do cause most fish deaths so agreed there as well. There's also truth to getting healthy fish from reliable breeders. There's actually grains of truth to most everything he said. Agreed on tank size not limiting growth. Do you think you can keep a goldfish in a 2.5 gallon and it won't get big?

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I don’t chase parameter. Fish are more tolerant and adjust better than we think to a wide range if done slowly. I do believe most fish die from poor water quality. Their immune systems are designed to easily carry a bacterial and parasitic load to no ill consequences otherwise all wild fish would die. The poor water stresses their body and immune system allowing what would naturally be ignored to dominate. 
hospital at tanks though are a must for me as shipping stresses the immune system allowing the nasties to thrive no matter what breeder they come from. 
the rest 🙄😳

Each of us has our own things that others would think are crazy. I doubt any of us could inspect any others beliefs and practices without thinking hmmmm?…

but each of us is successful to the degree we feel we are doing right by our beloved fishy family  

 

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On 7/11/2021 at 3:21 AM, Patrick_G said:

. Plus he’s in the position as the “expert” and you are his captive audience. 

Yup- very true. He is the local fish guru and he likes to preach. I questioned some of his ideas and his answers really didn't make much sense - so I just ignore.

Granted, he does know a lot, especially about equipment. But the idea that you need a dedicated water supply just for fish is IMO nuts. (Maybe he wants to sell water from his own setup?)

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On 7/11/2021 at 11:46 AM, Guppysnail said:

" Fish are more tolerant and adjust better than we think to a wide range if done slowly." 

That's what I think too.  Like many other organisms, they adjust to a gradual change.

When I was a kid - many moons ago - I had a bunch of tanks. Didn't know much about anything and I'm sure I broke lots of 'rules' - fish did OK anyhow.

 

 

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I agree with parts of some of those… for instance, the last one. Some fish will have stunted growth based on tank size, but many won’t. Just watch Ohio Fish Rescue on YouTube to see some gigantic fish in (relatively) small tanks! So yeah, fish can definitely keep growing even in a small tank if they’re well cared for.

I feel like this guy has some good thoughts, but he’s overgeneralized them. And then he also has some thoughts that I just don’t agree with at all. 😄

Quote

But the idea that you need a dedicated water supply just for fish is IMO nuts. 

I mean, a lot of people do have a dedicated water supply with an RO filter or something just for their fish. But do you need that? No, not unless you’re keeping something super sensitive.

Edited by Hobbit
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Posted (edited)
On 7/11/2021 at 1:21 PM, Hobbit said:

I mean, a lot of people do have a dedicated water supply with an RO filter or something just for their fish. But do you need that? No, not unless you’re keeping something super sensitive.

 

He has special distillation system that gives him 500 gallons a week. Cost him several $k. Says the tap water here is useless.

That's OK for him - it helps him run the business. For me or  just about any home hobbiest? 🤪

Edited by MNG
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Ok,  I'll play...Obviously my thoughts are equally as personal and biased:

1) "Guy says he doesn't believe ph adjusters"...Ehhhh. That probably works for the selection of fish that he chooses to carry in his store which are likely carefully selected species and largely or if not entirely commercially/captive bred.  I would not want to try his theory on wild caught species like Sulawesi Shrimp that come from a single lake with a natural PH of 8.0-8.5.

2) Any thermometer can be accurate or inaccurate due to variance of design and should be checked for accuracy.  I have a $.99er old school " analog"with "Made in China" across the front that measures dead accurate against a known good digital - I use MIC in my hospital tank as I trust it as accurate.

3) Probably good to talk about species here as out of the thousands of plants out there, Severum's likely find one or more delicious or find it gives some sort of benefit or "happy feeling" when ingested.

4) Throwing stones when literally surrounded by glass houses 🧐...Very few fish store employees are going to make the cover of GQ or Vogue by comparison as well.  

5) I'd point back to my preoccupation with wild caught species with the example of Sulawesi Shrimp here.

6) Tumors & cancer are real things for fish too unfortunately.  Important to remember that most fish in the hobby are "feeder fish" - low on the food chain.  Nature's plan (when not interfered with) is usually for these fish to mature as quickly as possible, breed as quickly as possible, and then become a food source for something on the next link in the food chain.  Dying peacefully of old age is a deep deep corner case in Nature's grand plan.

7) I think this is a "bare tank/single species" store type mindset.   In a planted tank with a complex biome and potentially multiple species (including inverts),  you definitely want to isolate the sick fish and observe/treat them as a unique "patient" apart from the general tank- especially if the potential treatment contains salt or copper that is well documented to harm/kill some species.

8 Genetics pretty much dictate size and growth,  so I initially agree here,  but I need to hop off at the "must die only because of bad water conditions".  In most species the larger an individual grows,  the more likely it will be prone to have a shorter life due to stress on joints, effort required by the heart to pump blood over a larger area, increased physical exertion, etc.

Edited by NanoNano
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Posted (edited)

Agree on the species and the distinction between bred in captivity and wild-caught.

Without any supporting scientific evidence, I believe that a fish born and bred in captivity will be best suited for the environment of its captivity - pretty much regardless of the conditions that species is accustomed to in the wild. ( If someone thinks otherwise, I am happy to hear the evidence.)

He seems to have a reasonable selection of fish - but just the popular stuff. Commonplace tetras, barbs, platys, guppies,  sharks, loaches, cory's, a few a Africans, etc. I gather he gets from one source- when I ask him about a particular fish, he checks 'the list' , which seems to be a list of the stock of his dealer.

His fish do seem to be healthy and good quality, although all very young/small. 

I bought some starter fish from him last week - just some platys, corys and a pleco.

 

Oddly, one of the corys died last night, something I don't recall ever seeing. I've had some tanks in the past that fell into a horrible state - got too busy with work, etc and many fish died -  but the corys seemed invulnerable.  (Retired now and going slowly with this new tank)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MNG
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On 7/11/2021 at 11:30 AM, sudofish said:

 Do you think you can keep a goldfish in a 2.5 gallon and it won't get big?

1 - IMO there is a difference between minimum and maximum size. A fish will reach it's minimum size regardless of tank size. How big will it get? That may be determined by its environment.

2 - I think it depends on what sort of fish - there are countless species, and they don't all necessarily respond uniformly in terms of their growth.

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I generally avoid making a point by referring to authorities, since they can be wrong.

On the other hand, I know Dean, Cory, and many other "internet famous" fish breeders have said that chasing hardness/pH is not necessary in the vast majority of cases, and in fact can be harmful due to lack of water parameter stability. I believe Dean's results breeding a number of Central/South American species speak for themselves.

The water in my area has a GH/KH in range of 6-8 and a pH of 7.8 to 8.0 most of the time, and I never had a problem keeping anything, from Central/South American species to Lake Tanganyika cichlids. In fact, many of my fish tended breed even when I did not necessarily want them to do so. I even had otoclinus juveniles magically appear in one of my tanks.

A discussion below:

 

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On 7/11/2021 at 10:17 AM, Daniel said:

Many of our fishkeeping orthodoxies are not really that useful. What can be useful is thinking differently or at least asking why a lot of times. I agree with many of his points above and think he should a least get credit for challenging current belief. On the other hand some rules really are true as I have found out the hard way. 🙂

This…

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"Use only digital thermometers - all others are inaccurate."

At the hobby level, the only thing that makes a digital thermometer more accurate is the ability to read temps. in 1 degree increments in some cases, down to a tenth of a degree.  Yesterday I lined up 3 Accurite room thermometers, 1 each Taylor and Thermoworks  pocket thermometers, and 1 Accurite alcohol bulb on the desk and waited. 

After 20 minutes:  The 3 Accurite room thermometers could not agree with each other, varying by as much as 4 degrees.  The Taylor was 1 degree lower than the  Thermoworks Dash.  The $40. Dash agreed with the $4.00 alcohol bulb.  Both read 76 degrees.

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On 7/12/2021 at 11:36 AM, Tanked said:

  The $40. Dash agreed with the $4.00 alcohol bulb.  Both read 76 degrees.

 

Yeah well - I just bought a cheapo alcohol thermometer from Amazon.  The digital (don't remember the brand - threw away the package - cost $10) I have seems over the map. Either it's flaky or it's too sensitive, or my heater isn't quite right. I feel more comfortable relying on the tried and true stuff.

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On 7/12/2021 at 5:07 PM, MNG said:

 

Yeah well - I just bought a cheapo alcohol thermometer from Amazon.  The digital (don't remember the brand - threw away the package - cost $10) I have seems over the map. Either it's flaky or it's too sensitive, or my heater isn't quite right. I feel more comfortable relying on the tried and true stuff.

I agree.  For everyday use, the tried and true stuff are more than adequate in the aquarium.  I went digital because my pocket thermometer must do double duty in the aquarium and the kitchen.   

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