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Lets cull the nonsense..

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BoningKnife

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I wanna make it clear from the get go, this post is not an attack on anybody. I'm seeing the same few problems over and over on here. I'm the sorta person to address things. Likewise if you are on the other side of this argument and disagree, please feel free to do so. One of the many joys of this hobby is it is not subjective.
I keep seeing the same things being said regarding water parameters. GH is a particularly irksome one. Not very long ago GH was essentially ignored within our hobby, people might not want to admit that, but it was. Im not saying it isn't of a certain degree of importance. It's something I monitor myself. However, I think it's causing us to put another unnecessary set of restrictions on the newbie. At the end of the day as far as I am concerned if you can keep a platy you can keep a neon tetra. Species like this are kept and bred all over the world for a reason. Most have no idea what there natural water parameters should be and havent for several generations.
The same sorta thing applies, in my opinion with stocking advice. If a newbie has an idea that's doable, our role should be to encourage that, try to help them approach there goals. Not rotate between essentially the same few stock list suggestions for people. I get it you guys automatically seem to go to safe stocking list a, b and c. I get why, i just think it should stop and we should take the newbies preferences much more seriously into account. Wherever possible we should be helping people keep the sorta things they want to keep. How can we expect people to stick around in the hobby when we keep nudging them further and further away from where there own interests are taking them?
I aint trying to cause any arguments. I don't think anybody is doing it with anything other than the best intentions. I just don't agree with it personally and particularly with the current times, I'm very concerned about detrimental impacts on our hobby. Our hobby needs new people like never before, otherwise we risk facing some very serious price and accessibility issues down the line. Like I say, no dig at anyone, just my honest feelings on what I believe is almost a cultural thing on here.. Fishkeeping is not rocket science. Certainly not to a beginner. It is as complex or as simple as you want it to be.
 

Irksome

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People here do mean well and most believe wholeheartedly in the advice they give and for the most part it is likely to be true. I agree with you though. The rules are not set in stone. My own observations and experiences contradict much that this forum treats almost as doctrine. I have very little experience compared to some members, but what my own eyes tell me in real life will usually outweigh the well meaning advice of somebody on a computer across the world no matter how many fish they have.
 

FishkeeperLinz

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By your own admission, your fish are little more than an investment to you - you get "annoyed" because of the financial hit caused by a fish's death. You investigate why to reduce the financial hit caused by a possible tank wipeout. You tip the scales firmly towards their survival. Most here tip them to equally firmly towards thriving.

Since you particularly mention neon tetras, I'll stick with them. When I first started in the hobby 14 years ago, I remember reading that their average lifespan was about 12 years. I was researching neons for another reason recently and their lifespan came up again. 8 in the wild. As low as 5 in the hobby. Less than half what it was just 14 years ago:


Now, I'm not saying that keeping the fish in the wrong GH is entirely to blame. Everyone in the hobby for any length of time will surely know neon tetras are overbred and that their resilience has decreased as a result. Overbreeding and then just sticking them into water that's harder than what they'd normally thrive in in the wild? Well, the low longevity is hardly a surprise.

Let's get away from fish for a moment.

Reptiles have also been kept as pets for nearly - if not longer - than fish. Would you keep them - or advocate for keeping them - without a heat source? Because they're commercially bred> Because they "don't know" what their wild ancestors evolved in? I would hope not. Reptiles are still coldblooded animals.

Likewise, hardwater fish are still hardwater fish, and softwater fish are still softwater fish. Their bodies haven't evolved to deal with water parameters that their wild ancestors would not survive in. And I've seen at least 2 threads on this forum this week alone where the OP has asked for help because their guppies are suffering. What's glaringly obvious is that when they are asked about, or reveal the fish's tankmates, they mix livebearers with tetras and other softwater species - and only the livebearers are suffering. In both cases, GH is low, pH towards the acidic end of the scale.

Nobody should be discouraging newbies from keeping the fish they really want, whether or not the fish they want would thrive in their source water. What we're saying is that going for fish that would naturally thrive in source water is the path of least resistance. I've just this morning advised someone that if they move the livebearers to a separate tank and raise their hardness, of course they can keep them! Just not in the same tank with the tetras and other softwater fish in the tank that's filled with their source water.

It's not about going for Safe Stocking Guide A, B or C. It's about giving the newbie the information they need to succeed in the hobby. Telling them to get the fish they want, regardless of whether or not the fish then thrive, is doing the newbie and their fish a disservice, IMHO.
 

Colin_T

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The main reason we try to get people to have the GH appropriate for the fish is to maximise the life span of the fish. Yes tetras can live in hard water for a while and most livebearers can live in soft water for a while. But eventually it goes pear shaped and the fish get sick and die prematurely.

New aquarists have enough issues trying to cycle a tank and dealing with diseases. The last thing they want is dead fish and it puts people off fish keeping when their fish die. If we can provide them with all the information up front, and that includes GH, KH and pH, they usually have more success with their fish.

If people want captive bred tetras, they should keep their GH under 200ppm and preferably under 150ppm. If they want wild caught tetras then try to keep the GH under 100ppm.

Likewise if people want livebearers they should try to keep their GH above 200ppm and their pH above 7.0. Captive bred livebearers like mollies, guppies, swordtails & platies are riddled with diseases and suffer from inbreeding more than any other aquarium fish. Putting them in soft acid water is a quick way to kill them and we see this all the time with mollies kept in soft water. They literally die within weeks of being bought.

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If you only want your fish to live for 6 months then keep neon tetras in hard water, but if you want them for longer than that, say 2 years, put them in soft water. I'm not sure where the life spans from the links in the previous thread were obtained, but I have never seen neon tetras live more than 4 or 5 years and most only last 2-3 years, even in suitable conditions.

We had this issue in the shop with customers coming in saying they kept their neons alive for 3 months in their Rift Lake tank and the customers were happy they kept their fish alive for that long. However, when they were told neons can live for several years their happy smiley face turned into a frown.

We had other customers that kept Rift Lake cichlids in soft acid water and the fish were fine for 6-12 months before dying. Most of the fish they kept should have lived for 5 or more years, and their fish never looked very colourful compared to other fish kept in hard water.

We offer advice and if people want to listen and use that advice, that is fine. However, if they want to do their own thing and they start losing fish, we can't be held accountable for their losses. And when the losses are caused by people doing something they were told is incorrect, it upsets some of the people here.
 
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BoningKnife

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Many breeders mass produce both tetras and livebearers, regularly in the same location. I'm not for a second trying to say there aren't cases where GH is an issue. I'm just saying most the time, chances are it's something else. There's a reason fish like that are as widespread as they are and by just neglecting that fact we're doing nothing at all to help the greater good of the industry.
Please don't twist my words. I feel no love for a fish. That doesn't mean I take any less care of them nor that I take any less enjoyment from the hobby than you. My lack of emotional connection to an individual fish doesn't not have any bearing whatsoever on my ability as a fishkeeper.
With captive bred fish, particularly the very common and relatively hardy ones, unless you can personally access the water parameters they were produced in and unless your parameters are particularly extreme, realistically you should be okay. I'm not saying there aren't exceptions. I'm just saying the exceptions can be caused by a wide range of things, not just GH. In an ideal world we would know the parameters of not just the LFS but also there suppliers. However realistically that isnt likely to happen and the fact remains there's a very good reason fish like that are as widespread as they are.
 

Colin_T

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Most of the suppliers we dealt with in Asia added rock salt (bags of swimming pool salt) to their livebearer ponds because they had very soft water.

Most of the importers in Australia add rock salt/ swimming pool salt to the tanks when they import livebearers.

A few places where I worked, I added Rift Lake conditioner to the livebearer tanks because the GH of our water was close to 0ppm. I got the GH up to around 200ppm and if the fish got sick I threw some rock salt in too. I reduced the mortality rates to about 1% after doing that. Prior to me increasing the GH, the shop would lose about 40-50% of all newly imported livebearers.

Most shops don't add Rift Lake conditioner but many do add salt to livebearer tanks.
 
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BoningKnife

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Before my time in the military I spent two years working in a reputable LFS. I'm aware of the variety of parameters stock arrives with. I'm also not trying to suggest GH is irrelevant. I'm just saying I think it's importance is regularly being overstated. In some situations it can be critical, no doubt. If somebody is having issues they should of course investigate. However to make blanket statements like keeping live bearers and tetras apart for GH purposes is simply put, utter nonsense. They have been successfully kept together long term for many many many years by many many hobbyists all over the world. GH is an important aspect of the hobby, however, not as important as is regularly made out on here. Common sense and the history of our hobby is more than enough to dictate that.
 

Guppy10

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Tbh I agree with all points and agree with your comments about stock answers but it's hard to answer a question without knowing all the facts. I get the point about keeping a variety, I got told " I have too many and a bad mix" , this maybe true but all do well so far for ME ! It's a learning curve and advise is just that, you don't have to take it ! I admit I have a bad mix and when they get bigger it will cause problems but ok now. Some folk ask about stocking but don't give details so it's hard to advise, see my point ?
I agree with the other point as well. I don't get attached to a fish or snail etc, if I've had it for months and it dies then I look at what I've missed or neglected and try to learn from it, but I don't cry about it.
I see questions about diseases and algae etc that iv not experienced so I find it bizarre that folk have such issues, but it's good we have experts willing to at least try to help them. For example I got shrimps for first time, all disappeared except 1, snails ok so not copper poisoned , a mystery but I did get a reply that maybe my little corys ate them. Since removing my next shrimps are doing well so I'm thankful that somebody took the time to reply.
 
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BoningKnife

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I haven't received nor sought out any advice with which I am unhappy. The only point I'm trying to make is a little more common sense needs injecting into these forums. Science is all well and good but it should not be a direct replacement for common sense. Ultimately, the way things are, unintentionally I know, but as a whole fishkeeping forums are pushing people away. That's one of the big reasons why they have become a shell of what they once were. It's the same reason many renowned fishkeepers actively avoid places like this, some of whom used to be regular contributers. All I'm trying to say, respectfully, with no intentional negativity, is there is a culture that absolutely needs to change. By all means ignore me, but in. A few years when this place is all but clinging onto existence and your being priced out of the hobby and god knows what else. It's the inbuilt culture of sites like this that will be partly responsible. It shouldn't be like that. We could be a great and helpful community especially at times like this. Science should support common sense, not replace it.
 

Colin_T

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... Ultimately, the way things are, unintentionally I know, but as a whole fishkeeping forums are pushing people away. That's one of the big reasons why they have become a shell of what they once were. It's the same reason many renowned fishkeepers actively avoid places like this, some of whom used to be regular contributers.
A lot of people are using Facebook and other forms of social media because they get a quicker response than if they post on a forum. However, many of the responses they get are short and have little if any useful information.

I have seen this a number of times with people asking for help with their fish on Facebook. They get hundreds of one or two sentence responses but no answers to their questions.

The same thing happened to fish clubs and most fish clubs have either shut down or have significantly fewer members now. Social media did this. People can chat on their phones (via text) and they would rather sit at home texting someone or chatting on social media, than going to a fish club meeting and socialising in person.
 
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BoningKnife

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I agree, to an extent. Forums like this still regularly bring in beginners through Google searches. Not enough is being done to capitalise that and social media whilst easier and faster certainly, has done nothing to damage the reputation of forums like this. That damage is entirely on the forum and its members, over a period of years. Not a knock, just reality. That's not to say things can't be improved, I believe places like this can play a substantial role in the future of our hobby if the things that are pushing people away are addressed. Otherwise, by all means, allow the forum to continue as it has been doing and let it continue to decline. Most situations encompass grey areas. This doesn't. Either things change, or they continue to get worse.
 

Guppy10

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What do you suggest.? A definite answer would help all those who are watching but not contributing to the debate. I really don't no so you must outline your solution as its y your question, which a agree with mainly but have reservations.
Folk come on to get advise to problems then disappear as in Google search which is fine. I'm here to learn about all aspects, I used to be on car forums n was a moderator but I haven't got old bangers anymore so don't need it.
 

Martyn87

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A thought provoking post and kudos to you for sharing your opinion. That is what forums are about.

Forums will do different things for different people, there are also varying degrees of advice and views on forums which are created by the keenest posters. I have noticed here, the advice is very much in favour of the fishes life rather than the hobbyists interests.

From my point of view I think that is a good thing!

When I have fish die I feel like that is a failure, I turn to the forum advice to improve my success rates and thus my interest is also heightened in the hobby. People who turn to a forum for assistance are normally in the same boat and are seeking better advice to increase survival chances so the only advice one can give is; keep fish in the correct parameters and carry out regular maintenance.

Anything other than that is bad advice in my opinion.

A hobbyist can have interests in fish keeping but it doesn’t mean that hobbyist should disregard the care of your animal. It’s like having a dog and never walking it or letting it get overweight. But whether you walk the animal twice a day or twice a week is the grey area. It’s the same here, I see your view of it as; “walk the dog twice a week if that works for you” where as most others advice is “you should walk the dog twice a day, because it’s for the good of the animal” and going a step further...”don’t buy the dog in the first place if you can’t walk it” (Keep tetras in soft water or don’t buy them if you only have access to very hard water)

Given that we are providing advice shouldn’t it be the best advice for the fish rather than the hobbyist? And maximising the fishes life span and enjoyment of their life is paramount!
 

FishkeeperLinz

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lease don't twist my words. I feel no love for a fish. That doesn't mean I take any less care of them nor that I take any less enjoyment from the hobby than you. My lack of emotional connection to an individual fish doesn't not have any bearing whatsoever on my ability as a fishkeeper
You call nonsense on members advising newbies to keep fish that will thrive in their source water, but get upset when I use your own words against you? That's rich!

I never once said you were any less capable a fishkeepers than I. I never said you get any less enjoyment from thebhobby than I. In fact, I never mentioned my own experience or enjoyment or indeed beliefs at all. I said you favour survival, which if you ignore the natural water parameters of the ancestors of the fish in the hobby, you do. I said most people on here favour thriving.

So who's twisting whose words?
 
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