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Old 05-04-2014, 05:54 AM   #1
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Help convincing stepmom!

My parents aren't stupid, they just don't understand fish or me.

I was at the fish store stocking my 40 gallon. I was going to get 16-20 fish.
My stepmom said I could have 4 fish. 4????
No way. Not after all the work I had put into it. She said she had to pick out 2. So I got to choose 2.
2???
I was basically about to cry.
I tried to explain to her that fish needed to live in groups. But she wouldn't listen
The petstore person tried to talk some sense into her,
. So we left with 6 guppies, and 2 mollies . And she won't even let me breed them.
She wouldn't even let me get a shrimp

This was not enough fish for my tank. I asked her if I could come back next week and she said NO.

I want my dad to bring me there and let me pick out some fish, but I'm worried she will get mad.

How can I convince my stepmom to let me get the fish I want.
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Old 05-04-2014, 06:01 AM   #2
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You really need to find her reason behind saying no. Maybe show her that you are more than capable of caring for them.
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Old 05-04-2014, 06:59 AM   #3
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Then ask her why she says NO.
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:09 AM   #4
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Tie her to a chair put her in a cupboard get your dad to take you to the lfs put your fish in the tank what she going to do once they are in the tank ...... Just a suggestion

Or just explain it show her some posts I'm sure there's loads or info that could change her mind
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:12 AM   #5
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STUPID parents

16-20 fish in a 40 gallon is a bit much I think. We have a 25 gallon with 7 and I think that is a good balance. Sure some fish need to live in groups, but not all do. Also not all fish are compatible with one another. Would you be comfortable living with 20 people in a 400 sq foot house that you cannot leave ever and someone drops food on your head and everyone poops on the floor ? That is how your 20 fish would feel in. 40 gallon tank. If you want 20 fish get a 80 gallon tank at least. In your case I would stick with no more than 10 fish, maybe 1 or two kinds that are compatible with each other - like get one kind of mid-top dwellers and some small cat fish.

On another note, when my four year old demands a cookie before dinner he too thinks that I understand neither cookies nor him When I don't let him watch bat man he thinks I understand neither batman nor him as well.

On a yet another note, I am a child of divorced parents myself and I know that it is tough to bond with step parents. However, fighting with your stepmom doesn't help your cause. So like others said you have to talk to her and find out why she said no.


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Old 05-04-2014, 09:37 AM   #6
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16-20 fish in a 40 gallon is a bit much I think. We have a 25 gallon with 7 and I think that is a good balance. Sure some fish need to live in groups, but not all do. Also not all fish are compatible with one another. Would you be comfortable living with 20 people in a 400 sq foot house that you cannot leave ever and someone drops food on your head and everyone poops on the floor ? That is how your 20 fish would feel in. 40 gallon tank. If you want 20 fish get a 80 gallon tank at least. In your case I would stick with no more than 10 fish, maybe 1 or two kinds that are compatible with each other - like get one kind of mid-top dwellers and some small cat fish.

On a yet another note, I am a child of divorced parents myself and I know that it is tough to bond with step parents. However, fighting with your stepmom doesn't help your cause. So like others said you have to talk to her and find out why she said no.


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You also wouldn't want to keep someone with autophobia (fear of being alone) shut in a room all by themselves. This is exactly what many many different species of fish have. Imho, as long as you are stocking smartly then you can have quite a few fish in a tank.

My 10g for example - I have a total of 13 fish in my planted 10 gal. 6 cory cats taking up the bottom, 6 cardinal tetras taking up the mid level of the tank, and 1 betta that swims all over. You compare them to a bunch of people being locked together in a small house but these fish all completely avoid each other in a tank as small as a 10g. That's basically giving each individual fish breed their own floor of a house all to themselves.

Depending on the type of fish that you want, you could fit quite a few fish into a 40 gallon and even with larger fish breeds there's no reason to limit your fish selection to 10. Go with AqAdvisor - Intelligent Freshwater Tropical Fish Aquarium Stocking Calculator and Aquarium Tank/Filter Advisor for stocking level suggestions. That's also another site you can show your mom

I do agree that getting upset about it is NOT going to help anything. Calmly rationalize your reason behind wanting more fish and then if she says no ask her politely about her reason why.
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Old 05-04-2014, 11:23 AM   #7
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As far as stocking it goes if you have male and female guppies in the tank you will probably have an overstocked tank eventually through them breeding. If you want a lot of fish then as Mebbid says go to look at aquadvisor to get a rough idea on what you can stock with the tank size and filtration capability. If you overstock you will make more work for yourself. If you understock you leave room to expand later and the tank should have less issues while you learn how to care for your fish well.

I know you want more fish now, but maybe wait two or three weeks and prove to her that you are looking after them well. Research what you can stock with auqadvisor and then take the information to her when she knows you are caring for the fish and she may be more open to completely stocking the tank.

If you want to appeal to your dad for help it might just backfire. I'd try explaining to them at the same time once you have a stocking plan and have proven that you are looking after the fish you have. Money might even be a bit of n issue for them at the moment. The main point is to look after the fish you have for long enough to show them this isn't just a passing interest for you. My nephew had a fish tank for two weeks and gave it away when he realized how often the water needed to be changed. Maybe your parents expect you to have a passing interest and are trying to limit the cost until they know for sure that you will care for them
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Old 05-04-2014, 01:20 PM   #8
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STUPID parents

That sounds super frustrating and hugely disappointing if you thought you were going to get a lot of fish on that trip. I'd be really angry too.

Try using aqua advisor's website to plan out a fish population for the tank, that say it's stocked to 100% or less.

And then find out what her concerns were. I was a near stepmom to a teenager who wanted a snake and was the bad guy but what it came down to is I'd have to take care of the snake a lot when it wasn't our custody period. And I had enough on my plate.

I don't recall whether you said the tank was cycled or not? If not that's another reason to not get so many fish.

Have you explained your plan to her about what you will do with the babies if you breed them? Do you also have a plan for who is paying for everything?

Again back to the snake thing, we asked her to do a full plan of how she'd pay for things and a plan for earning the money and she wouldn't do that. We also asked that she show responsibility by doing her chores for a month without being reminded and some other stuff to show the pet wouldn't end up being our problem.

A fish tank is a lot to take care of. Do you have a plan for water testing and water changes?

Maybe go to her and say "I'd like to understand your concern about the fish" and listen really well. Then come up with a plan to show you know those fish are ok in that tank, and how you will take full responsiblity. Feel free to rehearse it here, we can help make sure you didn't miss anything.

There's also a great book, the simple guide to freshwater aquariums, with stocking schemes for 29 and 50 gallon tanks. You could select the quantities in between and maybe if she sees it in a book or on Aqua Advisor she will feel more comfortable.

But mainly it's going to be important to do a lot of listening. You can't change someone's mind till you know where they are coming from. And going around her to your dad is just going to create a whole new set of problems. It's not fair to get him stuck in the middle between you and her.

What fish did you want to get?
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Old 05-04-2014, 01:34 PM   #9
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With age comes wisdom. Even a cycled tank will only take so much of an extra bioload before poisoning itself. Good luck!
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Old 05-04-2014, 01:43 PM   #10
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Being a parent I kind of see where she is coming from ,
she is not being mean
she is thinking a week down the line you will get bored and start to neglecting the tank leaving it up to her to take care of it ,

I also been there done that when I was around 8 or so I can see her perspective

prove to her your going to be responsible taking care of your tank
get her more involved explaining things she may or may not know about fish keeping , show her this site explore the world of fish together
once you show her you are taking charge of the tank not needing to be told , you'll be surprised she'll come around
and the best part is you and her will become even closer

good luck
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