Tag Archives: petsmart

ICH!!! Why the aquarium hobby is dying! LISTEN PetCo and Petsmart!

9 Mar

All hobbies peak and then ebb in popularity. The aquarium hobby was most popular in the 1970’s. There were a number of tropical fish stores in our town. Now, only three. A PetCo, a Petsmart, and one family -owned store.

I propose two main reasons for the decline of fish-keeping as a hobby.

The main reason is the same one that kids don’t ride bikes, play “Army” or go explore the local creek.

Computers. Simple as that. Computers, cell-phones that do everything, gigantic TV’s with fantastic game systems. Here’s a picture of my son playing a basketball game on our new TV:

No competition I'm afraid.

No competition I’m afraid.

The second reason is ICH! The disease, the little white spots all over your fish. The parasite.

Most stores do not quarantine their fish before sale. Most stores do not have employees who can quickly recognize sick fish. Many stores keep these sick fish in tanks that are inter-connected with the healthy fish.

You just can’t win. I have bought Ich-infested fish 3 times in the past 18 months. A single Angelfish purchased at Petsmart infected all the Angelfish I had at the time. A group of four Tiger Barbs purchased at PetCo caused a mass die-off in my most populated community tank. I had quarantined them for two weeks.

Healthy Red Swordtails.

Healthy Red Swordtails.

Most recently, I bought 4 Black Phantom Tetras at Petsmart. I put them in a 10-gallon tank with some Corydoras and Red Swordtails. The tetras quickly became covered in Ich. After treatment all four were dead. The fish I owned all survived.

Red Swords with Photo-shopped Ich.

Red Swords with Photo-shopped Ich.

So, imagine a new fish owner. He or she is all excited about this new hobby. Buys a brand-new tank, socks a few hundred dollars into filters and food and water-testing supplies. Eventually spends another 50 dollars on fish.

The odds are some of those fish are diseased, and the most likely culprit is Ich. The fishkeeper buys medication, most of the fish die anyway, the enthusiasm is gone, and the tank goes in the garage or up for sale on Craigslist.

I just can’t believe that, in 2013, the fish we buy can’t be entirely rid of Ich. I’m telling you, Petsmart and PetCo, you might be making money selling a few replacement fish and the medication to cure Ich, but you are ruining potential life-long hobbyists by the THOUSANDS. Figure it out!

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How did this happen?

9 Mar

SIXTEEN pounds of fluffy love. With front claws to back it up.

…so the next time we go to PetSmart I do my usual tour of the fish tanks and my wife goes and looks at the cats.

I wander over and join her. We look at this HUGE fluffy cat and she turns,  stares at me and says, “I want that cat.” Just like that.

Now, when you see a cat or dog at a Petshop or Shelter it’s common to Ooooh and Aaaaah and say ” Oh, I want that little kitty!” or “Isn’t he a cute little puppy, he looks so sad….” and on and on.

But this was different. No emotion, no attempt to convince me that we should get this cat. Just, “I want that cat.” I knew I was in for a long afternoon.

I tried, I really did.  We have cats, our kids have cats, I don’t want the kids’ cats coming back to live with us, someone will adopt this cat…all of these great arguments.

To get the cat we had to leave PetSmart, go to the Animal Shelter and fill out an application. They only take cash so we had to make a run to an ATM, then back to the shelter, then to PetSmart, and now we have this GIGANTIC 9-year-old cat, who really is beautiful and calm and quiet and gets along with everyone in the house.

It turns out his elderly owner had passed away and he has been up for adoption since January. The shelter wouldn’t have been able to keep him too much longer.