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Old 05-28-2015, 11:34 PM   #71
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ok long post...i just got back from the first day at the part time job. after teaching all day and then a 5 hour shift at the don't worry, i won't-name-it pet store, i am pretty beat. all they had me do today was computer-based training, much of which involved work in other departments...how to handle chinchillas, snakes, etc. in fact, not one of the training so far involved aquatics.

the manager i was working with was super nice, but admittedly was not comfortable with the aquatics. i am hoping to help educate her about some of the various aspects, while learning more, myself....i think if i teach her that it should trickle down to the other staff when i am not there. here's hoping. she was actually very open about some fish sales she had denied. i didnt even bring it up with her....including a person planning a wedding that wanted to have a betta in a bowl at each table of their reception.

i found out that they are not allowed to post signs saying that theyre not selling from sick tanks, but that they advise the customer against it. i can live with that.

i was told that they were treating the ich with salt baths. the fish showing the ich are platys. i told her a little bit about the 3 stages of ich and how they ought to be going about things differently, to kill the free swimming ich.

i did mention the uv sterilizer and was told that they actually have one, although they do not always use it. i will need to get a look at it and will have to research it as i have never used them. any advice on this would be fantastic. there are certainly going to be many questions i will need to ask.

they said that the fish showing ich were brought to the store from a customer. while they have a quarantine tank, the sick fish were not placed in it, as it is currently housing a large group of aggressive cichlids.

i dont think i will have a chance to do any work in the fish department until sunday, as there is a very large amount of computer-based training, all of which so far is 100% common sense stuff and mind-numbing. i still have about 5 more hours of it.

still, the coworkers all seem very nice. i still have to meet one more manager, who i am told knows about fish keeping.

i appreciate all the advice and constructive criticism. i know that when i first posted, i talking like i could show up and change everything right away....i think i had a couple cold ones when i first posted that, and do understand that i need to take it slowly. thanks again for the comments and please keep them coming. i definitely have some gaps in my knowledge base and will likely need to ask questions here and there.
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:39 PM   #72
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It's nice to hear the store is taking steps to help the fish. As hobbiest I think we only see the bad in the big box stores, and not the good. Just me .02 cents

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Old 05-29-2015, 12:05 AM   #73
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Glad to hear things worked as they did. I don;t know too many people that can walk into a new job and hit the ground running on day one so just do the computer work then dazzle them with your brilliance .
A quick lesson on UVs: The key is to match the flow rate with the capacity of the bulb(s). In order for things to be killed by the UV light, it needs to be exposed to the light for a certain amount of time. Make sure they know the flow rate capacity of the UV then match it to the pump's output. In this case, overkill ( more time over the light) is a good thing while quick flow is bad. Unless there are new types of UV bulbs, you will need to change them at least yearly to get the maximum effectiveness out of them.

QT tanks: There should be more than one. Use this situation to show why that's important. While it's not always possible to do, it's always bad for business for people to see sick fish in a sale's tank.

Chinchillas: They are fast little buggers. lol When I was in Brasil, I watched a store's employee take one out of a pen to show to a customer and that was the last they saw of it. LOL By the time we left the country ( 2 weeks later, they still hadn't found it. )

Snakes: I used to breed some of them too. Watch out for them biting you. While the ones you will be selling are not venomous, the bite can be painful and their mouths are very dirty so use a lot of antiseptic if you should get bit.

Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:33 AM   #74
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much appreciated; thank you. i will very likely pm you some questions as they arise. that's some good info about the uv sterilizer and it was out of my wheel house, so very valuable.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:29 PM   #75
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takeaway from the second day on the job: all this computer-based training hurts my head. literally. 10 hours of it in two days. my eyes and head hurt.

there are a lot of things that are very frustrating to me, in regards to the training. the only cycling method mentioned was fish-in, with heavy emphasis on bottled bacteria to kick start the cycle, and the use of hardy fish. their idea of acceptable levels of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate while cycling with fish differ greatly from my own, and i found myself answering questions on the computer in ways that i didnt agree with, just to be able to proceed.

as it turns out, their uv sterilizer is used solely with their salt water tanks. they are treating the ich tanks with salt, and use salt in all of their freshwater tanks as a means of prevention. i am not sure how much salt they are adding, but the ich problem appears to be getting worse at this point and i am not exactly sure of how they are currently treating. it seems that i am hearing something different from each manager.

i am working an 8 hour shift there on sunday and was told that half will be on the computer and half will be actually working on maintenance. so i should learn a lot more about their procedures then.

one final take away is the absurdity of some of the tank kits they are selling. i wont mention the very popular brand, but their suggestions for their 5 gallon kit are: danios, tiger barbs, bettas, and neons. not all together, but all are alleged to be suitable for the 5 gallon.

i am beginning to have some doubts about this job, but am going to give it some time to see how it goes. honestly, if i am pressured to give what i think is terrible advice, i will probably just walk away and look for something else. i am lucky in that i do not need this job.
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Old 05-30-2015, 01:05 AM   #76
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Back when I first started keeping fish, the only way to cycle was fish in and we didn't always lose fish during the cycling process. You see, ammonia in a lower PH water ( which turns it into ammonium NH4) is not toxic to the fish and higher levels of ammonium, many fish can tolerate. It's the toxicity of ammonia that fish die from not just it's presence. The same goes with nitrite although there is no other converted form of nitrite , to my knowledge, that is less toxic although Seachem's PRIME states it detoxifies nitrites but I am not sure as to what the non toxic chemical form of nitrite is. Nitrate levels can also be argued as subjective. Some fish can tolerate more of it than others. Plants can also make the necessary amount of nitrates needed in the tank to differ as well.

The UV works on the same principles in both saltwater and fresh but they will need to use separate ones for each section.

Hope this helps
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Old 05-30-2015, 01:14 AM   #77
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I must admit I do think that some of the responsibility comes back to the shopper. If i go into a fish shop, didn't do any research, didn't do any online research, didn't ask any questions, didn't read any stickers on fish on the tanks, didn't visit a few shops - well, good luck buying a used car. I totally get what you are saying, just you know - I think a job should be fun as well. Speaking of which, did you have to watch finding nemo?? 😁
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Old 05-31-2015, 11:14 AM   #78
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I wish you the best of luck. Good big chain stores do exist- in my area BOTH of the big chain fish stores have great quality, knowledgeable staff and decent enough selection, as well as lots of good information displayed for customers to see like "Goldfish can reach 8-10 inches in length and require 3 gallons of water per inch of fish!" being painted in bright colors over the goldfish tanks.
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Old 05-31-2015, 06:54 PM   #79
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i just got home from my 3rd day on the job. i am happy to say that i did not have to do any computer training today, nor watch finding nemo. however, it is amazing how many times you will hear a child say "Nemo!!" throughout the day, as they walk through the saltwater section.

i was able to spend a couple hours today with a manager that seems to know a good deal about fish, doing some tank maintenance, and assisting with a couple of sales. i mostly observed for the sales, and listened to his advice. overall, he seemed to have good knowledge, although there were a couple of things that perked my ears up:

they never mention anything but fish in cycles...and suggest people only doing water changes weekly or biweekly throughout the cycling process. i did talk about this with the manager, and told him how that in my experiences with cycling with fish, that i prefer large/frequent water changes and am not worried about it taking longer. we did not really end up agreeing on that point, but my overall impression of him was positive.

the ich tank appears to be improving and they have been treating with salt. they only do about 25% water changes per week. i am planning to bump that up to 50%, as it will likely be me doing them myself. i am actually relieved that the ich was introduced from a returned fish, rather than being due to the conditions at the store.

the bettas are obviously being neglected, and i will have to stress keeping up with them. some of the betta cups actually had brown algae in them.

as for the store's stock of fish, i am going to have to do some research, as many of the species i have no experience with. i plan to get a stock list and do some research on the fish im not familiar with. they have a tank of bucktooth tetras, and are unable to house any other fish with them. after researching them a bit today, i am not sure there are any compatible tankmates for them. anyone with experience with them, please do offer suggestions. they seem like true terrors.
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Old 05-31-2015, 10:17 PM   #80
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Just remember, not everyone is going to have your same interest in the same fish you like. You need a variety of fish for a variety of people.
Exodons: lol Here's an article that might help you with them. One Tough Tetra: Exodon paradoxus (Full Article) | Details | Articles | TFH Magazine®

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