Aquarists usually buy fish from pet stores or from each other.
Pet stores are a source of acquisition not only of fish, but also of equipment, design elements, medicines, books and other necessary items. Shops are very different – some offer mainly fish, others – equipment, and in the third you can equally find both.
They differ from each other as the quality of goods and services.
Maybe there is an excellent aquarium salon very close to your house, and the same aquarist you first heard about this hobby highly recommended to you. However, most likely you will have to independently evaluate local suppliers of fish.
Visit as many shops as possible, and you can not only compare and compare them, but also see a much wider selection of fish and equipment for the aquarium.
Having come to the pet store, you need to pay attention to the following points:
• Clean and tidy shop.
• Clean aquariums. They should not be large accumulations of detritus (the product of tissue decay. – Note. Trans.), As well as dead or dying fish.
Algae should not cover the sight glass (front) so that it was impossible to see the fish (algae on other glasses are quite acceptable).
• Fish health (see chapter 18). If the fish in the aquarium are clearly infected with a disease, you should put a “Not for sale” sign on such an aquarium.
• Design of aquariums (see chapter II). In some stores, all aquariums are not completely equipped to make it easier to catch fish. However, empty aquariums are depressing to the fish, especially if the light from the aquarium below shines through the glass bottom and the fish are exposed to bright light from below and above.
There is no excuse for workers if the aquariums in the store do not have a background (decorated back wall). True, since store aquariums are constantly being invaded and from there you need to get fish, it is unreasonable to expect all aquariums to be fully decorated.
The store deserves the highest mark, providing in each aquarium a sufficient number of shelters for fish, for example, in the form of caves or plants, even plastic ones.
At each aquarium should be clearly written, what fish it contains and what is their price. Common names for fish are valid only if they are really used by everyone (see Chapter 2), otherwise the scientific name must be given, and it must be spelled correctly. If there are no inscriptions on the aquariums at all, or the inscriptions have been half erased, or the names of the fish contained in this aquarium many months ago are indicated on them, all this indicates that the store is not in favor.
The same applies to aquariums with inscriptions like “different tetras” or “different tsikhlovye”. In some stores, they not only clearly designate the names and prices of fish, but also provide brief information about their size, when they have reached full development, about their conditions of maintenance, and even whether they are suitable for general aquariums and for aquarists who are new to it.
These stores can be classified as top notch.
• The ratio of store personnel to customers and their qualifications. Are staff willing to offer you advice and information? Are these tips and information correct?
Going to the store, it is worthwhile to prepare in advance a few test questions, based on the literature that you have already read on this topic (also see below). Observe how store employees serve other shoppers. How they catch fish from aquariums – chasing them quickly and efficiently or for a long time throughout the aquarium; are they packing fish, etc.
• On some aquariums there may be a “K” or “Quarantine” mark, or “Not for sale”. This indicates that in this store, fish that have recently come from wholesalers are quarantined in case they are infected with any diseases. Some stores even have a special quarantine aquarium located outside the sales area.
Therefore, if you do not find in the store of the aquarium with the inscription “Quarantine”, you should ask the sellers how this store is in quarantine. If it turns out that they do not quarantine the fish at all, or if you see that they unpack the newly received fish and immediately put them up for sale, this indicates an irresponsible attitude to the buyers. The same applies to those stores where sellers in all aquariums catch fish with the same net (except for the case when they are pre-moistened with a disinfectant before diving into a regular aquarium, and then rinsed with fresh water).
Those stores, where for each aquarium use a separate net, which either hangs nearby or is located inside the aquarium, deserve the greatest recognition.
In the best stores there is always a sufficient choice of reference books so that the sellers themselves can learn more about the fish they sell and satisfy the curiosity of the buyers. Of course, you can not demand from the seller that he knew absolutely everything about all types of fish entering the store.
If the store sells such books, this is an additional plus in his favor.
Here are a few questions you can ask in the store, and you should look for the right answers in advance.
Ask what the size of the fish will be when it becomes an adult, if you also know in advance that this fish is too large for a common aquarium. For example, Astronotus ocellatus astronotus, which is about 30 cm long, or Hypostomus plecostomus plexostomus – 30–40 cm, or Schwanenfeld’s barbus Barbus schwanenfeldi – about 40 cm.
Ask if this or that fish is suitable for keeping in the general aquarium (while you know for sure that it is not suitable). Astronotus is also an excellent choice for this issue – this fish is aggressive, destructive and eats smaller fish.
Ask another such question. Suppose you buy an aquarium and equipment here, on the spot, then how much time must elapse between installing the aquarium and launching fish into it?
The answer is: at least three to four weeks.
If you get the right answers, this is a good indicator. This means that store employees are interested in helping you handle the fish as expected, and not just want to quickly sell their goods.
A good seller can be your reliable friend. He can order some unusual fish for you, buy young stock from you, sell you the necessary equipment during off-hours in case of urgent need and provide you with other assistance besides his duties.
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