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Shahbazin

How Do You Approach Discussing Fish Care With Others?

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Sort of a spin off of a discussion elsewhere... what are your experiences/methods of discussing fish care with friends/relatives/others? Granted that howling, "You're doing it ALL wroooonng!" never gets one anywhere  :rolleyes:

 

I offer advice, show them my fish, & try to be supportive with friends/family. With others, I may mention "current studies show..." or "wow, did you know...?" 

 

Personal example of dealing with this conundrum... I have a friend who has some goldfish where they're not getting the sort of care I'd give them (5 young commons from the feeder tank in a 10 gal. with a few mosquito fish), but they get cleaned regularly, don't show any health issues (no clamped fins, ammonia burns, etc), & she does have some long-term ideas about putting them in a pond when she builds one eventually. I've made some suggestions, some of which she's implemented, & she's seen my fish set-up. Beyond that, I feel all one can do is be there to give advice when it's solicited. And anyhow, there's all different ideas as to what constitutes "proper care," so one has to thread the way between the ideal & the realistic, while juggling biology & ethics.

 

A lot of my other friends (who mostly have kids the same age as mine & are in the range of where games promoting free prize goldfish are frequently seen), have heard an earful about Proper Goldfish Care & Housing from me, are aghast at the care/space recommended, & are now likely to flee from baggies containing goldfish...  :yikes  :goldfish:

 

How about you? Any stories of dealing with other people? Results, thoughts on the issue? 

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Last summer when I helped at one of my local pet stores this couple wanted some fish for a small hex tank and I tried to persuade them away from ryukins to a few white clouds which isn't exactly good either but it's all I could do and then they say they will keep looking so I leave them to it. I came back a few minutes later and see them getting some ryukins from a colleague and never has my blood boiled like that and you know what I told them they would die quickly if kept in that tank well I'm sorry goldfish but I hope you did die as it is less pain and misery for the goldfish and the people know the truth :(.

I have tried approaching my friends about fish care and they are like they're just goldfish so there's no point me trying :(

Edited by goldfishfanforever

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I have a very simple approach:  "Do you want to see my ponds and my fishies?"   They always say yes, and as I show them off, I explain what I do and why I do it.  All "I" and no "you'.  Then they beg me to tell them what they should do.

Edited by shakaho

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I show them how I keep my fish and explain why. I don't tell them what they are doing wrong or how their fish will die or anything. Otherwise I just give honest advice when it's asked for

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Some people have seen my fish and STILL don't believe that they need so much space and care. I've had the "Your tank looked better when it had lots of fish!" (when I had my fry together growing), and also the "Your tank looks too bare! Add some fish for goodness sake!".

 

In some cases I've had family members that've ignored me and come to me with sick fish, and then I don't continue to be so kind. I just tell them they should've listened to me about stocking levels etc.

 

If it's someone new to fish I try to say "your fish are getting big... they make that tank look tiny" and sometimes that makes them think, even if I'm exaggerating.

 

I had a friend tell me that they thought they only lived 3 months and stayed tiny, yesterday. I showed them Bruce the oranda...

Edited by hannah

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I have a very simple approach:  "Do you want to see my ponds and my fishies?"   They always say yes, and as I show them off, I explain what I do and why I do it.  All "I" and no "you'.  Then they beg me to tell them what they should do.

:bingo:

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When it comes to meat rabbits, chickens, and goats, which I also keep, I say nothing.  Either people care about it, or they don't.  Regarding goldfish, I haven't had occasion to do so.  No one else I know currently keeps any fish.

 

Assuming someone was interested, and I perhaps could make a difference, I'd probably start with the history of goldfish keeping.   The Chinese made it work for (a thousand years, or something?) before electricity and test kits.  The Japanese adopted the hobby around the fifteen hundreds(?).  I'd talk about the artwork depicting the little bowls which were apparently carried around as fashion accessories, and temporary display, the big broad earthen bowls which were the "ponds."  Also the early emph. on water the colour of green tea, and the frequent changing of water...

 

I'd probably go into aquaponics after that - high stocking rates for the tank itself, but the much larger volume the system itself is constantly recirculating, nitrogen uptake by the plants, etc.

 

These examples might help a person get focused on the principles of fish keeping, rather than seeing good care as a dogmatic set of rules.

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It depends. If it is a person on the internet who is being a stubborn, belligerent idiot then I will give them a galactic lambasting. This galactic lambasting includes links to articles proving them wrong along with screenshots containing the info that proves them wrong so that everyone else who looks at it sees the proof. In person I am much nicer.

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There is more at stake on line; comments specifically aimed at one person, are viewed by a potentially huge audience with an interest in the topic.  One-on-one conversations are just that, ending there.  

 

If I have a care question (aside from the other farm livestock, snakes are my other hobby), I frequently find myself looking at posts from 2012, or even earlier.  Responses to posts trying to justify lame care practices are typically harsh.  The flamed person can go elsewhere, get the same reaction on another board, and maybe eventually get the lesson, or re-home their pet.

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I have a very simple approach:  "Do you want to see my ponds and my fishies?"   They always say yes, and as I show them off, I explain what I do and why I do it.  All "I" and no "you'.  Then they beg me to tell them what they should do.

:thumb:

 

Myself personally, I have learned best by seeing what successful people do and mimicking it. I think a lot of people will do this if they realize that someone else is having a lot of success, and they begin to ask, "what are they doing differently than I am?"

Edited by goldfishgirl82

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I used to get upset with "unenlightened" goldfish keepers--my parent friends whose kids won a goldfish at the school carnival and stuck it in a bowl in their kitchen, or filled a 5 gallon tank with several feeder fish because "they die quickly anyways."

 

But I've since discovered that either people care about their fish and are happy to discuss care and maintenance, or they don't really care and and expect them to die within a few months. You can tell within seconds which type of person they are and whether it's worth a discussion.

 

My experience is that friends admire my tank setup and pretty fish, but they think goldfish keeping is way too much work. It's a pretty solitary hobby for me.

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I tried to explain ammonia to my roommate as gently as I can be. But I ended up just doing everything when he was gone. I also got a much bigger tank for him and I just started that project myself but he jumped in and now they're in a beautiful healthy home. So ya it's not an easy situation but we're the voice for the animals. I found that being sneaky was the best most peaceful solution. ed5e2cfb2fc0ac2d1188845c48cbb180.jpg7a1e56b7a7d5ebb50254f80f3d736146.jpgI can just hear them thanking me.

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That's an 8 year old carnival fish. I haven't had stuffed animals last 8 years from the carnival..

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I've only recently started keeping goldfish but have had other fish (tropical, sub tropic, and dwarf shrimp) for a few years.

 

Before I even got my first tank as an adult (not going to get into the nightmare my mother caused as a child with a 10g..) my niece (husband's side) got a 10g tank kits and maybe 10 neon tetra.  Short version, her parents did nothing to make her take proper care of the tank.  She left the light on 24/7, waaaaaay over fed, and never did a water change.  After several months the tank turned green with algae EVERYWHERE you could not see in.  When you opened the lid the surface was covered in tetra squirming and thrashing for food-easily over 100.. maybe closer to 150 in there.  I think because of how murky the tank was the 3rd.. 4th gens were a brown color, no neon-ness to them besides shape/size (but the originals from the store still had color).

I tried speaking with the parents and the niece about simple things like water changes to get all the poop out.  To the niece (I think she was 12 maybe?) I asked if she ever went into a gross public bathroom that someone did not flush, and you would not want to go near that toilet, and the whole room smelled bad enough you'd probably barf (we've all seen this).  She said yes..I told her her tank is like that except the fish can't leave the bathroom.  Simple water change ever day (or at least every few days) would make it not gross.  She never did any.  =.= tried telling the parents, they didn't care.  I tried showing them simple care guides that the pet stores had, they brushed them off/change the subject.

I talked to the parents about a simple and cheap light timer to deal with the algae so you could actually see into the tank.... no interest from any of them.

I offered to take the tank and the fish to give them proepr care... niece didn't want to give it up, parent's didn't care "they're just fish".. ugh I hate that statement..

Eventually she "got tired of it" and turned off the tank light and stopped feeding the fish... she let them starve and die and rot in this tank next to her bed for months before my next visit.  I was disgusted and asked why the parents didn't call me when she "was done with it" before all the fish died... got the same comment as before about "they're just some stupid fish".. I took the tank, dumped out the liquefied goop that once was fish at their house and took the tank/lid/light/filter/heater home with me( tossed the gravel and decor out).

That became my fish tank.. and several years later I am at 14 >.>'''

 

The same niece talked to me several years later about getting an aquatic turtle (red ear slider).  I told her how big they get and how big a tank she MUST get for it.. because it would not stay small.  I showed her photos of them full grown (not as cute as the babies she wanted to buy).  Thankfully she lost interest since they don't stay cute and tiny and never bought one... In retrospect I probably should have shown her photos of rotting fish/fin rot/fungus infections before she let hers die then she'd have been too freaked out to let that happen right by her bed (again her tank was impossible to see into by the time she let it die).

Edited by AquaAurora

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.... Wow. That story almost makes the fish horror hall of fame!

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My experience is that friends admire my tank setup and pretty fish, but they think goldfish keeping is way too much work. It's a pretty solitary hobby for me.

^ exactly.

I know one family with an aquarium, it's a mixed tropical tank. They love the fish but have a service that comes and maintains it weekly. I can't imagine how much that costs and that would totally take all the fun out of the hobby for me.

It is nice to have forums of hobbyists in that regard. My husband and I were going out to some social gathering and I was complaining that I wouldn't have much in common with the attendees. He's like talk about your fish and water lilies! I'm like I can guarantee you no one wants to hear about it other than in passing at most maybe. Nothing like blank stares to make you feel fabulous! I'm no socialite though.

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I'd love love love a service to come weekly I'd make them dinner and buy them beer. I find myself pretty unforgiving in regards to animal neglect especially if the person won't listen. It's a tough thing to deal with .

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.... Wow. That story almost makes the fish horror hall of fame!

It was pretty disturbing, I don't know how the [censor] she could sleep at night with that tank less than 2 feet from her pillow.. fish starving...dieing (being eaten by other starving fish) and rotting.... 

But plus side got me into the hobby via free tank (really wish she's given it to be before all the fish were dead though).

Edited by AquaAurora

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I've been trying to get my neighbour to see this in terms of livestock.  I care for his animals about once a year when his family vacations.  He buys good stock, but they tend to go downhill from there.  I'm caring for them this week, and I'm just frustrated.  He has over a dozen chickens of various breeds, and no one is laying.  Maybe because the place is filthy, he buys the cheapest feed, they never get greens, he has multiple roosters in a tight space, and he uses one inadequate water canister per pen, and it gets hopelessly poopy (or, worse, empty) between morning and evening feedings?  ...gee, maybe? 

 

Same story with the goats...do they EVER get mineral?  and, same story with the rest of them.  Even the house cat is a mess.

 

I took in, for the duration, his guinea pigs to my place (they are school piggies, and he didn't have a spare pen for them in the barn).  Dirty, matted, and nails too long.  I set them up in an entirely different enclosure from what he brought over, and trimmed mats, nails, etc.  He told me one was a female, but they are both males...the guy is a science teacher!

 

 Very nice people, most of their kids are adopted.  I like these people as neighbours, but geez.  I can only offer examples, yet I've been doing that for years.   When we first moved here, he offered me two Champagne d'Argent rabbits.  He wasn't happy with them because they weren't breeding.  I looked at the sore hocks (foot bottoms) due to improper wire flooring, and said they were out of condition.  They bred great for me for years (beautiful bunnies), and were the foundation stock of the rabbits I raise today. 

 

Nothing seems to sink in.

Edited by Distaff

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they all laugh at me.. until i bring out my goldfish surgery videos. then i become the goldfish expert in that circle of friends. usually when i host parties and there are people in my house that i am not familiar with, i put a tray of champagne glasses (empty) on the top of the tank lid.. stops people from opening it. often people will make jokes about how ugly they are and how they don't 'look' like goldfish.. that's when i have all my goldfish books out. 3 out of the 5 people will actually bother with picking up a book and seem excited by what they see! sometimes i get a guest who's like "goldfish don't have teeth, get a real fish!" and i bring out the little jar of goldfish teeth collection :rofl

 

after they establish how real my hobby is, i then show them kokos and all my work. that's when the serious questions start rolling in :)

 

i don't care if i appear like a freak to them.. speak to the microscope! 

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People outside the hobby have no clue how lovely these fish can be,  or why some of us will pay a hundred (or much more) dollars for each one.

 

BF was Skyping with a friend and mentioned the price of some of my goldies, and of course the guy was like,  Huh??  I had to intervene into the conversation, and started by comparing them to koi.   People already understand that koi can be pet quality, or very high priced show specimens, with obsessive owners.  So when you start looking crazy, waving the water python in one hand, and a test kit in the other,  someone is more likely to get it if that parallel can get translated over from koi. 

 

No reason a WallMart feeder fish can't be glamorous too.  (I own two, and they get the same daily care the Dandy Oranda and Rain Garden fish get.)

Edited by Distaff

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Sort of an off shoot of this theme...

How do you smile through people who see your tanks and/or family staying at your house watching you care for the tanks snide (imo) remarks about "all that work" you put into them. Usually on the lines of "gosh that sure must be a lot of work you have to do for those fish. Is it really worth it? You sure must like those fish. Hey why does the water got all that stuff (duckweed) in it." These are the types who are NOT interested in hearing about the value of pets (or your "deformed" fish) or the understanding of how any "work" could be enjoyable.

Maybe more of a rant than a question, LOL. Sigh.

I could never imagine going to someone's house and criticizing their collection of knick knacks or commenting on the futility of their sport or something. Yeesh.

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Sort of an off shoot of this theme...

How do you smile through people who see your tanks and/or family staying at your house watching you care for the tanks snide (imo) remarks about "all that work" you put into them. Usually on the lines of "gosh that sure must be a lot of work you have to do for those fish. Is it really worth it? "

I'd replay with "Would you keep a puppy locked in a kennel constantly, left to sit in its own filth for weeks at a time?...No of course not, that would be animal abuse. Well fish deserve the same care and clean environment a puppy should have."

But then I tend to be very blunt with people.

Edited by AquaAurora

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Sort of an off shoot of this theme...

How do you smile through people who see your tanks and/or family staying at your house watching you care for the tanks snide (imo) remarks about "all that work" you put into them. Usually on the lines of "gosh that sure must be a lot of work you have to do for those fish. Is it really worth it? You sure must like those fish. Hey why does the water got all that stuff (duckweed) in it." These are the types who are NOT interested in hearing about the value of pets (or your "deformed" fish) or the understanding of how any "work" could be enjoyable.

Maybe more of a rant than a question, LOL. Sigh.

I could never imagine going to someone's house and criticizing their collection of knick knacks or commenting on the futility of their sport or something. Yeesh.

 

.... or their kids or something. "Gee, having kids sure seems like a lot of work. Is it really worth it?"  :rofl

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Sort of an off shoot of this theme...

How do you smile through people who see your tanks and/or family staying at your house watching you care for the tanks snide (imo) remarks about "all that work" you put into them. Usually on the lines of "gosh that sure must be a lot of work you have to do for those fish. Is it really worth it? You sure must like those fish. Hey why does the water got all that stuff (duckweed) in it." These are the types who are NOT interested in hearing about the value of pets (or your "deformed" fish) or the understanding of how any "work" could be enjoyable.

Maybe more of a rant than a question, LOL. Sigh.

I could never imagine going to someone's house and criticizing their collection of knick knacks or commenting on the futility of their sport or something. Yeesh.

Well, people don't always say the right thing.  Maybe they are just thinking of how heavy the buckets of water must be.  Sometimes, I think the same, and I'm the one hauling buckets. 

 

We had several house guests over earlier this summer, and showing off the fish was part of the initial tour.   My dog came over to get a drink from the tub (yes, she is provided with a bucket of her OWN fresh water.), when our first to arrive guest remarked how the dog was drinking dirty water because the fish were swimming in their own waste.  Well, I had some information to share with him!  As I recall, the information was shared politely and with a generous spirit, but apparently a slight note of indignation, perhaps even a bit of a school marmish tone crept in, and I think my reply might have included a discourse on the entire nitrogen cycle....

 

Anyway, it ended up being a standing joke for the rest of the week. 

Do NOT criticize Maria's fish water! :I-Thank-You:

Edited by Distaff

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