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Old 02-04-2012, 09:21 PM   #161
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Except...

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Originally Posted by cmor1701d View Post
Many LFS run copper through their FO tanks. That may help, but if the fish comes in on Thursday and is sold on Saturday, there's not enough time for copper to do anything.

QT before DT is the best way. I went a couple of years before getting Ich in my 125. I had take most of the rock out to get all the fish. What a pain. Then twice daily pwc's in QT due to overcrowding and an uncycled tank ( I now keep a filter in the sump that I can transfer to QT whenever the need arises). Oh, and daily vacuuming of the bare bottom to siphon out any protomonts or tomonts, along with detritus. Yes a lot of work, but for me it was worth it. Hope I didn't just jinx myself.

@Greg, I think we agree more than we disagree. I just don't want to leave folks with an impression that you don't need a combination QT/Hypo(for Ich)/good husbandry as parts of a long term successful tank.
... A lot of the wholesalers who the LFS get their fish from also run copper so how long the store had the fish isn't really the issue. What is is the fact that when you take a fish that has just arrived at a wholesale house and acclimated, then taken to a store and reacclimated, then purchased by the customer who also acclimates the fish to yet a third body of water in a short period of time, it CAN stress the fish to the degree that the fishes immune system can be compromised leaving it open to infections and infestations. That's why it's best to QT all fish when first purchased. Also, fish do carry some internal diseases so you want to be able to medicate a specific fish for a specific disease if necessary. Not using a quarantine tank is just a crap shoot. Some get lucky, some do not.

Ich, while a disease, is really more of a sign that something's not right. It's the least evil of all the diseases in my opinion. You want to quarantine for a lot more reasons than just ich. I know that there are differing views on setting up a quarantine tank but in reality, you want to start with a clean system and that's done by setting up a new system everytime you use it. The best QT is a bare tank with an airstone for about the first week. You want to medicate and not have any substrate to absorb the meds or displace the water. Biological at this stage is really not necessary as you either won't be feeding or will be feeding sparingly. Once the fish has gone through the medicating stage, then it can go into a "holding" tank to make sure that it hasn't suffered any ill effects from the meds and that it is eating, getting stronger and acting healthy. This holding tank should be set up as a regular tank and should be biologically sound. The longer the fish is in this system the better as you will get to know the fishes needs over a longer period of time. (I've had people skip this stage only to have the fish break down from diseases they just were medicated for. They forgot about temp. change or water variables and stressed the fish out during the move starting the whole cycle all over again.)Then it can go into the display tank.

My last wholesale house had a marine biologist on staff and all he did was make the fish we got in the best they could possibly be. We only displayed the fish for sale after they had gone through the medicating stage. Our quarantine section was close to 1500 gals of water. That's how important quarantining really is. I'm sure a lot of stores out there do something similar.

I know it's a bit more work to do this this way but the bottom line is to save as many fish as possible isn't it? The average person should only need a bare 10 or 20 gal tank and maybe a slightly larger tank for holding unless they are buying large and xlarge fish.

Fish keeping, when done properly, can be very rewarding. It can also be extremely frustrating when done improperly. A little extra work on the front end will make for a much more enjoyable back end. My work rewarded me by having my fish long enough to watch them grow from Juv. to adulthood and thrive for many years.

Just my opinion...
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Old 02-04-2012, 09:26 PM   #162
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Maybe...

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That is indeed fortunate. I use to have problems with it 20 years ago, but modern water handling systems have made the tanks so much more stable, there is less likelihood of issues with it. I don't quarantine either, not that it isn't a good idea, I have found that people don't maintain their QT systems as well as their display tanks and that adds stress to the new fish that it doesn't need. A good LFS is the best QT system there is.

It's why Internet buying of fish and corals has been abandoned, for the most part, by me. I want to see the fish I am buying...is he fat? Is he eating? Is he freaked out? Does he have missing scales? Does he have ICH? If any of these are not positive, I wait for another fish.
.. if more people like you started going to their LFS, the LFS will get better at providing what the customer needs. It has to start somewhere
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:24 PM   #163
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Andy, the problem at the consumer stage is we have no idea where the fish come from or how they were kept before they get to the lfs.

So few lfs seem to actually care making it a chicken and egg thing. I had an lfs I trusted and every fish I bought from them is still alive in my tank today (8 years). I could go there, pick out a fish and they would hold it for a week or two while I saw it eat and remain healthy. That was before I QT'd everything and just added their livestock directly to my DT. That store closed.

Three other lfs have not given me that type of experience and in some cases I felt the livestock may have been cyanide caught.

The only lfs I trust is about an hour 20 ride for me.

I believe in supporting the good lfs, but I doubt that supporting the bad ones will make them improve.
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:16 AM   #164
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The LFS's I owned all survived only partially on fish, but mostly on supplies and equipment. The Internet has dried up this part of the margins needed to run a good LFS. You can't seem to have both thriving local stores and dirt cheap Internet sales. In major markets, there is enough maintenance and new setups to make a go of it. But in small towns it is a rough go.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:13 AM   #165
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I feel all your pains

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Originally Posted by cmor1701d View Post
Andy, the problem at the consumer stage is we have no idea where the fish come from or how they were kept before they get to the lfs.

So few lfs seem to actually care making it a chicken and egg thing. I had an lfs I trusted and every fish I bought from them is still alive in my tank today (8 years). I could go there, pick out a fish and they would hold it for a week or two while I saw it eat and remain healthy. That was before I QT'd everything and just added their livestock directly to my DT. That store closed.

Three other lfs have not given me that type of experience and in some cases I felt the livestock may have been cyanide caught.

The only lfs I trust is about an hour 20 ride for me.

I believe in supporting the good lfs, but I doubt that supporting the bad ones will make them improve.
I totally understand the problem from both sides. I have been involved in the fish biz from just about every perspective. Collector, importer, exporter, wholesale, retail and breeder. I have also been (and still am) a hobbyist to boot. Here's what I know to be true:
Not all fish are collected properly. Some areas are better at netting than others. Those areas usually charge more for their fish because there is more labor in collecting the fish. Not all chemically caught fish die from the chemical. I've had chemically caught fish survive many years in my home tanks. Yes, you take a gamble when you buy fish. Your fav pet store took the gamble by holding your fish for such a long time. From a business perspective, that philosophy probably cost them their business.

We used to have a condition called MFD. It stands for Mysterious Fish Death. No matter how good I was, sometimes I just couldn't figure out why a particular fish died. I was told early on that sometimes fish die for no apparent reason even after taking the best possible care of them as we could. There are a myriad of diseases that the average hobbyist doesn't realize the fish might have. Some are contagous and some are not. Truth is, not every dog or cat that is born or bird that is caught or rodent that is raised or fish that's collected or farmed for the pet industry is healthy. The store owner just does his/her best to bring you the best possible pets. But things happen! What I have suggested you do in my previous post just brings the odds a bit more in your favor of keeping what you do buy longer. There are no guarantees as we are dealing with a live animal and not all living things respond the same way. For example, I once was at the local wholesalers and saw an entire tank of Achilles Tangs go into shock and die when someone put a net into the tank to catch one. Who could have predicted that? I've netted hundreds of Achilles since then without ever having it happen again. You might think this is a fish story but I saw this happen with my own eyes so I know it's true. Who is to blame for this? The collector, shipper, wholesaler or the unfortunate store owner who used the net? It couldn't be the fish's fault because they all looked healthy to me and I was going to grab some when the other guy was done. Or is it???? MFD perhaps? Like I said, things happen.
We used to have a saying that went " A filter is a filter but a fish isn't a fish" meaning that while you could get the same merchadise for a cheaper price over the internet, you couldn't compare my livestock to cheaper livestock available on the internet. I made my customers understand that I was there to help them keep their pets alive but if they were not going to support me by buying my products, I wouldn't be open anymore to help them. The wiser customers understood and paid the few extra pennies I had to charge. And honestly, they were treated a bit better than the ones who didn't. That's just business. Everybody tho, had the option of being that customer I took better care of. How much they spent wasn't the issue. What they bought was.
As for making a bad store into a good one, it can be done. Tell the owner " If you carried the products I need, I would be in here more often." "If your fish were in better shape, I would buy more of them." A smart business man would change to meet his customers demands. The ones that won't, won't be around long enough to concern yourself with. I've seen a lot of good hobbyists run terrible businesses and good businessmen have terrible pet stores. The ones that can combine the two are the better stores and deserve your support. That's all I was saying.

So getting back to Mandarins, are they easy or hard to keep. The answer is yes, and no, sometimes, and not always. This I know to be true.

Sorry for the long post.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:54 AM   #166
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I agree

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Originally Posted by Gregcoyote View Post
The LFS's I owned all survived only partially on fish, but mostly on supplies and equipment. The Internet has dried up this part of the margins needed to run a good LFS. You can't seem to have both thriving local stores and dirt cheap Internet sales. In major markets, there is enough maintenance and new setups to make a go of it. But in small towns it is a rough go.
If you read my previous post, I address this very issue. Customer service is what keeps the local store alive. If there are no customers to service, there is no need for the store. If the customers want a store, they have to support it. They can't have it all, good quality and cheap prices don't go hand in hand anymore.
Why would you, the store owner, stay open the extra 10 or 15 minutes to help a customer with a problem they had with an item they bought at another store or over the internet? If all they do is buy the items in your store that you make little or no money on, what's your incentive? You could be a nice guy and do it (as I would do the first time) but I would also tell them to ask the place where they bought the item to help them the next time. When they would say they bought it over the internet, I would explain that that's why the item was so cheap. There's no customer support. I'd follow with "I would be more than happy to help you with any item you purchased from my store." There is a fine line between customer service and customer abuse. I wouldn't let a customer abuse my time just as they wouldn't want me to abuse their wallets. When things are fair, everybody wins.

For all those looking for a quality pet store, the bottom line is this: A good pet store is expensive to open and run. A top quality pet store is even more expensive to open and run. The personel in a top quality store has more experience therefore demanding a higher salary therefore forcing the owner to charge a bit more so they have the money to keep the better personel and better quality merchandise which is what made them a top quality store in the first place. If you want cheap merchandise, go buy at the big box store or unknown internet seller and take your chances. If you want more experience, you need to go to the store that is doing what you want to do. You usually get what you pay for in the pet trade.

There is a delicate balance between customer and store. Both have a responsibility to make each other happy.

That's my 2 cents.
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:16 AM   #167
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So funny how this got so far from mandarins but at the same time staying so relevant. Even if opening a LFS is not the way to make money off this hobby, their are still other ways...as I am making a business plan now to pay for my hobby & even more in time with growth.
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Old 02-06-2012, 02:53 PM   #168
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lol it went to this because someone had their mandarin die from ich
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:39 PM   #169
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All these things are very true. Support your local LFS and let them know if they are screwing up and how to fix it. Feedback is invaluable to a smart business owner.

As everyone else, I only speak from my experience. In my fish world, I have chosen to reduce my chances of casualty be keeping species that I enjoy and that are known for their ability to thrive in captivity. Why do anything other than that unless you are a researcher? I read posts from very new hobbiests that are going to leave the hobby because of a coral or fish dying that had zero chance of success in their new tank. Mandarins lead this list IMO.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:59 PM   #170
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But does your lfs give you a no questioned asked 14 day guarantee on there live stick like live aquaria and some other online retailers do ?? I know mine don't !! Mine has a sign that says do to the nature of fish there are no guarantee on live stock !! So I only buy my frozen food and maybe some hermits and snails I use online for my fish and corals and never lost a cent and have a tank full of beautiful creatures !! And equipment a lfs can not even compete I had a fluval g3 running for 2 months on my tank decided I wanted a bigger one and dr fosters returned it for the g6 and did not even charge me return shipping do you think a lfs would do that ??? Not and about $125 less to boot with no tax ... Said but the Internet put a lot of small business out !!
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