You know what gets me heated?
Now, i’m not just talking about the Abuse we’ll hear about on the News, or TV shows. Like a Dog fighting ring, or an animal hoarding situation, or starving an animal. That shit should piss everyone off, and if it doesn’t-seek help.
I’m talking about shit people don’t really think about.
When you go to a breeder, or to the pound, or a pet store-you expect the animals to be taken care of. That the animals are always the primary concern. Well, that may be the case at some places, but not in my work experience. But, i’ll get to that in a Moment-First, a bit of backstory.
I am deeply fond of animals that most people don’t seem to care all that much about. I Am a Fish person. I love taking care of fish. I love their personalities, i love aqua scaping tanks, Hell…I love researching fish on my down time for fun. I am beyond obsessed with Aquatics. Along with the whole Disney thing, i was raised as an aquarist.
I would often spend my days watching our fish. When i was young, we had a 300 gallon Fish only Salt tank, and a 20 gallon Coral and Invert tank. However, i remember convincing my Dad to put a Hawkfish in his Coral tank, because i loved the way he looked. He got it for me. <3
We were mostly a Family that dealt in Saltwater, and any time we had a Saltwater tank, we had a puffer of some sort. I think i was around my Tween years at this time, but there was a puffer that we had that just bonded to me. He was gentle, loving, would follow me wherever i went…well, within reason. I would hand feed him his favorite food, Peas. If there was times he felt he wasn’t getting enough attention, or wanted food…He would squirt water from his mouth and onto the floor until i walked over to him. He was amazing.
Now, you’ll find me working in Freshwater. While i do enjoy Saltwater…freshwater is a lot less maintenance. Having a Saltwater tank is like having a child-you need to be there to work on it and make sure everything is alright every single day. Where, when it comes to freshwater…If you do a Water change every Week people think it’s too much work.
Plus, when i got back into the aquarist hobby, i became attached to Labyrinth fish, Like Betta’s, and Gourami’s. So, while i’d be getting betta tanks, i’d be researching other freshwater fish and learning how awesome they are. Freshwater just stuck with me.
To give you an Idea of what kind of My personal tanks:
- 5g betta tank x2
- 55g community tank
- Soon to have a 6g Micro tank.
As for the Family’s tanks that i also care for, and are a mix of salt and fresh:
- 125g Stingray tank (will soon be upgrading)
- 125g Salt community tank
- 50g Salt Community tank
- 12g Salt Micro tank
- 20g long Fresh community tank
- 8g Fresh community tank
If you think that’s a lot of tanks, we’ve seriously Downgraded over the past year or so. We used to have a good 18 or so tanks.
I Bond with fish the same way that you bond with your dog, or your cat, or whatever other animal you have. I Bond with every single one of them. I Know their Personalities.
Like, with Betta fish for example. Most people you talk to will say that you can’t have a male betta with Anything at all. At most, they’ll say a Snail would be alright. Now, don’t get me wrong, i’ve had some grumpy gills that needed to be left alone. But, not all betta fish are the same.
Phantom, My Dragon scale Elephant ear betta, shares his tank with a bunch of tiny snails, and 3 Pygmy cories. He’s a grump, but he’s so sweet and gentle. He wouldn’t harm a thing. He often checks on them, Makes sure they get some food before he goes after it, and is just plain sweet as can be.
Jack, my Halfmoon Betta shares his tank with a Large Cory. He used to be in a 10g community tank, until i decided to tear it down and move most of the fish to the 55g. He got his own little tank, and a Buddy. He’s never aggressive with him, or with any other fish he’s been with. He actually used to be best buddies with a Baby Angel fish i had
And my last Betta, Bubba gum, the Halfmoon Plakat. He resides in the 55g community tank. He’s very chill with everyone, though he does flare at other fish (even those bigger then him) every so often, just to show them he’s the boss.
But, enough of the sappy “I love my fish” shit. The reason you continued reading was to get to my little rant about a past job. So, here goes.
I will not state the company name. For two reasons, One, there are people at that specific store i do like, and two, not all of that companies stores are like that.
So, I had applied to work in the aquatics section of a pet store. I had been in that store numerous times. They knew me well, and knew that i knew my shit when it came to fish. So, they wanted me to lead the aquatics section. I was super stoked about that.
I was told i got the job, and i was ecstatic. I knew it was going to be hard work. Cleaning, water changes, stocking, paper work, testing, etc. But, that was a Dream job. the hard work is Worth it 100% if it’s something i enjoy doing.
So, i go in for training. A Person that i like at that store was to be my trainer. Let’s call her Kate. Kate was super excited that i got the job as well, in fact she requested that she be able to call and tell me that i got the job. The first few days were filled with a lot of computer training, then came working the register. Working the register at this job made me realize that i had BAD anxiety. Mix that with my memory problems, and you’ve got a Fun time.
So we finally move on to fish stuff. I’ll start with the Weekly water change day.Kate showed me how to do the first 2 sections of tanks. (Side note, every two rows, or sections, in this store are hooked up to the same filtration.) She then had me do the rest while she went and helped people in another department.
Everything was going well. Siphon the tank 20%, clean the gravel, scrub the algae, make everything look nice, add clean water, rinse, repeat. I apparently was going slow, which she expected my first time doing this. However, i thought i was going pretty fast. I just wanted to make sure everything looked perfect. So, i ended up not finishing in time, which again, she expected. The next day i came in i was supposed to finish.
As soon as i left work, i noticed how badly my back and feet ached. Which, i guess goes to show you that i really don’t think about my own shit when i’m taking care of something else that is important to me.
I come into work the next day, and do a DRF (Dead Fish run), and look at this dogface puffer in one of the salt tanks. I see clear signs of Ich. So, as soon as i was done with the DRF and Kate came back, i let her know. She mentioned that we needed to treat him. Which i was all, “Indeed. So, where’s the quarantine tank and the medication?”
HAH Nah. that’s not the way they do shit there.
Instead i was instructed to Take the puffer out, and do a freshwater dip.
For 7. fucking. minutes.
A freshwater dips is taking a SALTWATER animal, and Dipping them in FRESHWATER. Which shocks, and could kill the fucking animal.
But for 7 fucking minutes i was told to do it. It was brutal.
I felt so bad for the little guy. I actually kept talking to him. Telling him that everything would be alright, and that he just had to stay there for a little bit longer. Tears were rolling down my face because i felt so bad for him. Legitimately, they were.
So, let me explain this thing about Puffers. Puffers have a Slime coat on them. Basically, it’s like additional protection against disease. When they are Shocked, and stressed…they lose that Slime coat.
Now, here’s the thing about Ich. It lives in the tank. If you just take out a fish with ich, and simply put another one in…guess what? It’s gonna get ich.
Remember what i said about every 2 rows being on the same filtration system? Well, If that tank has ich-all of that shit is being cycled through the filtration system and into the other tanks. That means…Yup…ALL OF THE TANKS HAD ICH.
So, the freshwater dip was horrific. But, what i was instructed to do next was the stupidest fucking thing i’ve ever heard. I figured i had to do this horrible thing, so we could then put him in a different tank and medicate. LOLNOPE. They had me put the fucking puffer BACK INTO THE SAME TANK. Now, he has no additional Protection with the Slime coat. So, the second he’s put back in that tank…welcome to Ichville: population you.
Not only am i shocked the puffer didn’t die during the freshwater dip-i’m shocked he still lived for like 4 more days after being put back into the tank.
Trust me on this, if i could have purchased him, and taken him home to actually quarantine, medicate, and take care of him for the rest of forever, i would have. I actually named him. While he was being freshwater dipped, i kept calling him a little Trooper. So, his name became Trooper. I went and asked my father if he’d be willing to help the puffer with me if i purchased him. But, having 18 tanks at the time…not really much room for another one.
Also, This specific store doesn’t give a fuck. Sure, they wont sell you that specific fish because it has ich. But, if you want the other fish in the same tank, or anything else in that filtration system? Yup. we’re supposed to sell it to you. However, when Kate wasn’t there, i wouldn’t sell customers fish in any sections where a tank had ich, for their safety.
I’m not going to kill an entire tank of a customers fish because we needed to make a $9.99 sale or some shit. That’s fucked up.
So a couple days go by filled with selling people fish, stocking, and BAD anxiety attacks, and kate asks me to do something that i have been waiting since i got hired to do. Feed the Bettas. They’re my favorite little buggers ever. So, this was the best day ever. What made it even better? A song from my favorite band played on the radio while i was feeding them. I Didn’t give a fuck, i danced and softly sang along as i fed the little boogers. Don’t judge me.
Then came the day where i had reached my final point. True, there was some other fucked up shit that happened that kept inching me forward. But this. Well, i could barely deal with this. Some shit i wont mention, because this blog post will go on even longer.
We got a shipment of bettas in, so i was asked to get them into their cups, and then afterwards to do betta water changes, and organize them.
The bettas are shipped in super tiny bags. Now, that’s personally not their fault, but whoever the order fish from. It was just a bit heart breaking. Now, when i say super tiny bags…I mean the bags were the size of the Betta. It couldn’t fucking move in the bag. It could simply tilt its head up every once in a while to get air. So sad.
So, i actually got excited to put them in the cups. They’re so Small, but if you saw these bags-the cups are like a fucking mansion to them.
I was told to fill a cup with water, dump the water from the bag, and put the betta in the new cup of water, place on a lid and repeat. I did that, and i thought it was going well. Bettas, and well, all fish really, are sensitive. you want to take great care in moving them from one place to another. the less shock, the less stress, the better.
I did that, and then moved on to changing the water. I was doing pretty well, i thought. Until i was told i was going to slow. I was going as fast as i could without harming the animals. Kate then showed me how we’re supposed to do it. I was horrified. She quickly filled the cup with water, dumped the betta from the bag into a net, and then hit the net on the side of the cup to get him in. That betta hit the bottom of the cup pretty hard. She capped it, and set it down, roughly, and moved onto the next one, so that i would know what i had to do.
I Picked up the pace as much as i could when it came to filling the water, and moving the cups. But, Nah. I’m not going to throw a fish against the bottom of the cup. But, i was still going to slow apparently.
i lost my “Give-a-damn” when it came to that company. I stayed an hour after i was scheduled to get off so i could finish without hurting them. I was even told by the manager to pick up the pace next time. because there’s a certain way they do things, and i needed to follow it exacty.
Nah. Fuck you, you piece of shit. They talk about how the animals are your number one concern. They have training videos on how to properly handle Reptiles, or small animals. They make sure all of THOSE animals are properly handled. They have a health section for THOSE animals. Where they’re set aside, and Medicated, and cared for, AND NOT SOLD BECAUSE THEY’RE FUCKING SICK. Know what they have for the Fish in the health section? A freezer where to keep the food, and the fucking dead fish. That’s a lot of fucking care. Good fucking job.
They do not give a single flying fuck about the aquatics. It’s only stock to them. Because making fucking $4.99 on a sick fish is more important than Medicating it. More important than warning the customer that it’s sick. Also, they say that they have a Saltwater fish Guarantee, the same as they do for freshwater. That’s a fucking lie, but we’re still supposed to tell the customers that. we’re supposed to lie to them. We’re supposed to make a sale no matter what. Hell, i had my manager get pissed at me because i was “fraternizing” with a Customer, rather than making a Sale. This customer came in with a problem. I was, i dunno, acting the way a fucking HEAD of an aquatics department should act, and helping them with their problem? Gee, what a concept.
When i came home after the Betta ordeal, i didn’t talk much. I cried. Thats what i fucking did. I cried because i was heartbroken at how those animals were being cared for. I cried because i was fucking furious at them for doing it. My mother could see how much this was affecting me, so she had a conversation with me.
I felt bad, seeing as this was a job i’d really wanted. that this is the first job i’ve had (other than seasonal) since i was in my bad accident. Which is a story for another day. I felt bad because she was so proud of me. But, here i was telling her that it was killing me. I’d come home from doing that shit, along with all of the anxiety attacks i’d have, and i would be a wreck. It fucked with me. Something that most people would shrug off and say, “it’s just a fish”, hurt me that much.
So, i used my mental illness, and Medication as a way out. I told them that it was messing with me, and i couldn’t focus very well. So, My manager let me go and sent me home right after i told him. So, i didn't quit, nor was i laid off. We just went our separate ways.
I got paid for my time there, and really have only gone back to that store if i need crickets for my gecko, or dog food for my pup and don’t have time to go to another store that’s a bit farther away.
Keep in mind. Things are not always as they appear. When you’re going to buy, or adopt an animal-make sure that it’s actually cared for in the way they say it is. Make sure that that person, or Business is on the Up and up. Do your research.
Every person that is an aquarist that actually gives a damn about fish, will tell you to stay away from that company, or at least to stay away from that specific store, at least those that live around my neck of the woods. They still haven’t hired someone to be head of the aquatics department, and all of them still don’t know a single fucking thing about fish.
If there was a way i could do it, i would get that aquatics section shut down for good in that store. If they don't know how to take care of them, they shouldn't be selling them, and :"educating" people on how to care for them.