Concerns for fish being sold in stores


New Member
Jan 9, 2018
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As I see people posting from different countries, I'll specify that I am in the USA, I live in East Tennessee. I know this doesn't concern most people that I know but the care of fish in superstores such as Walmart and some pet stores really upset me. They hire anyone off the street to work in the fish department for minimum wage with no to minimal training. I try to never look at the fish when I go to these stores but last time I was at Walmart I accidentally looked. There were dead fish in every tank, some dead so long they were decaying. The tanks were not clean and some tanks were so full of fish there was no room for them to move. When I asked questions to the employee working the department and pointed out the dead fish and tank issues, she not only could care less about the tank conditions but she couldn't answer any questions about fish. Recently my husband went to a local pet store and they actually had blue rams in for a cheap price. He was going to buy them until he looked closely and saw they all had ick, as did other fish in different tanks. He had to hunt down someone to tell them and they didn't seem to know what he was talking about. There should be laws about responsible pet merchants. If you have a fish department, the employees should be trained on basic fish and tank care. They should know to tell someone about fish size in relation to tanks and fish numbers and educate people when they buy live bearers in case they don't know what they are getting into. They should know how to and take care of the fish. We buy our fish online or at a speciality aquarium store or our local PetSmart, super clean tanks, good looking fish and knowledge employees. I know that most people don't think much of fish but I love them. I know they are living creatures that have personalities and turn into our pets. They should be taken care of at whatever store they are at and they should make regulations that any store selling fish have to comply with. This is something I am serious about. I even emailed Walmart after my last visit to tell them how bad their fish Dept was and was offering my husband volunteer services to come help the pet Dept employees learn basic fish care and knowledge but they never replied. This is an issue that should be addressed state by state. I've wrote to my local and state government about this issue and I've not heard back as of yet but will continue to address it until the fish are taken care of properly.

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King puff

Fish Crazy
Dec 8, 2017
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a desert
Thankfully, no Walmart stores near us sell fish. My LFS is very strict about fish and plants though. They do not sell Glowfish, which I think is a good thing, because they are man made. Sadly, it is also illegal to keep floating plants where I live due to their fast reproduction rate.


Fish Guru
Jan 26, 2008
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Perth, WA
I fully agree with you Babsalot, but until the government gives a damn about anything more than getting their name in the history books or having a statue erected in their honour, they just don't care. Basically unless you are a human or provide financial income to the state/ country, the government couldn't care less.

Virtually no species of animal has any rights in a judicial system and dogs, cats, birds, fish are all thought of as disposable assets and can be killed, flushed, given away, whatever. The only exception to this is animal cruelty laws, which state you can't be cruel to an animal and if you want to kill it, do it humanely. However, I do not know of any cases anywhere in the world, involving animal cruelty laws/ charges being applied to someone who has killed a fish or left a fish gasping in a bucket of air while they are fishing.

If you watch any fishing show, you will see animal cruelty ranging from hooks being put through the back of a fish and the fish is cast into the water as live bait. To fish being gaffed, flapping about on deck, left in ice chests to suffocate, having barbed hooks ripped out of their face, etc.

Fish have no rights in the eyes of the law and neither does any animal beside humans. And chances are they never will.

re: shops having untrained staff dealing with fish. Again there are no laws about who you hire, it's entirely up to the proprietor. Every petshop I have worked in, the owner/ management made sure any new employees had basic fish keeping skills, and the staff were trained in diseases and general fish husbandry. Big chain stores are more interested in money, whereas smaller petshops are generally interested in animals and usually (not always) have better staff.

You need to get the government to change the laws but I'm afraid you are bashing your head against a brick wall. Unless it says money, or a politicians name, it's unlikely to change. About the best you can do is contact the local press and maybe invite them to some of the shops to see the dead fish in the tanks and they might do a story, but only if the news is quiet elsewhere :)

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