Whats the stupidest/most useless fish related thing you have bought.

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Sanityassassin

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I am not convinced the master test kit is ever a must. If you enjoy working with the chemistry, it's fun. Maybe if you have a stubborn and impulsive, impatient personality, the test kit results can prove what people tell you. I'll grant that.

It remains that about midway through my hobby experience, I crashed one tank by overstocking. I don't think a test kit would have helped. My eyes were bigger than that tank, and I impulse bought. I've set up hundreds of tanks, and even as a kid and as a teenager, never had another ammonia crash. I have no special insights now I didn't have when I started as a kid, beyond the need for water changes as they were not suggested way back then. I followed simple rules - stock lightly, and always with the full size of the fish as a baseline. Feed carefully, and with experience and changing research, change water with regularity (30% weekly without fail). These happen to be things you have to do with a test kit anyway.

But if you are patient and organized at all, you don't need a test kit. Don't overstock, grow things and do your chores... I'll wager most people who buy kits use them only when the tank looks like the day after a riot. People who test methodically probably take care of their fish methodically. But it's a debate.

But if you say that even a newbie doesn't require a test kit, what are they to do when they go onto an online forum with their usual newbie problem questions?

The first answer to such questions from the guys who are trying to help is usually, "what are your parameters!"

Without said test kit the newbie hasn't a chance of answering this important question and so the guys who are trying to help are just poking around in the dark at best.

A test kit is always handy to have, more so for the newbie, less so for experienced hobbyists.
 

GaryE

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The problem, as I see it, is that the test kit results probably don't describe the problem the newcomer has. You buy new fish, they are clearly ill, and you read test kit results. It becomes a go to answer when you have no answer. I'd argue it isn't an important question to ask.

How long has the tank been set up?
How many fish are in it?
How long have you had these fish?
If they are new, how did the tanks around them in the store look?
Are there plants?
What's the temperature?
Which species do you have and what is your water like, hardness-wise?

Complicated questions. Many new aquarists don't even know what fish they really have, for example. I bought some pencils yesterday, and even if I have kept a lot of fish from that group, these are very young. I won't know what they are til later today when they settle down and confirm what I expect them to be. They were sold under an English trade name I hadn't seen used before, and that could be applied to 3 different species. One of the 3, the one I am 99% sure I have, has different needs from the other 2. So it isn't easy.

A test kit can be a diversion from seeking the real issues - a stock question for every situation. It's easy for some people here to post that question and not even understand the results - it's like the old guys who walk by saying ":How are you doing?' to everyone, but never listen to the answers. It just means hello, in a fish forum version. I know others do understand and then suggest water changes. Maybe we should teach water changing, and not reading colours that tell us we just delayed making a necessary water change while we pulled out a kit and asked number-based questions? It's a stage that can be skipped.

We live in an age of reality denial, and the test kits do provide data to show that yes, the cycle is a real process. They are educational in that sense, and following how things develop in a fishless cycle is fun for some people. But are they crucial? Changing water is. Learning to identify diseases is. Learning how to stock is.
 

Sanityassassin

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The problem, as I see it, is that the test kit results probably don't describe the problem the newcomer has.

There's the key word....."probably". You don't know if it's a parameter issue until the test has been done! If it isn't a parameter issue after all then the people who are trying to help the newbie can do so at least knowing full well that the parameters are fine, or otherwise.

In my eyes there would be nothing worse than trying to guess what's going on with someone's tank when the glaring elephant in the room question hasn't been addressed first. It's always the first easy question, and sometimes solution, to the ops problem. Measure the measureable first, get that out of the way and move on with further questioning.

And also take into consideration that most newbies problems are indeed parameter related, through overfeeding or basic cycling related issues etc etc.
 

Essjay

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Melafix doesn't work against most infections. It's more of an antiseptic. If an infection has taken hold, fish need more than tea tree oil to treat it.

All the -fix medications can affect labyrinth fish so shouldn't be used with them - and that includes bettafix which is aimed at bettas :rolleyes:
 

Sanityassassin

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Just an aside here regarding medications and/or other aquarium related chemicals.

In my opinion, if you adhere to basic hobby related principals such as having a good water change/maintanance schedule, then the need for any medicines and chemicals is reduced enormously.

There is a saying in the hobby that it has little to do with keeping fish, but keeping WATER! This statement, in my opinion is key to being successful.

I don't, and never have, ever, had a fish medicine cupboard. The only chemical I use is sodium thiosulphate (Prime water condition). And if I had the means to store and age multiple hundreds of gallons of water, then I wouldn't even use Prime.

I believe that the incorrect use, through lack of understanding, of the many aquarium chemicals on the market are responsible for more fish deaths than what they actually save!!

Regular maintanance and water changes are the best medicinal methods you can do to prevent disease in the first place.
 

Essjay

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The only chemical I use is sodium thiosulphate (Prime water condition)
Prime contains a lot more than just thiosulphate but Seachem won't say what else it contains. If you want to use the water conditioner with the least in it, try API Tap Water Conditioner.

API TWC contains 2 chemicals, one to remove chlorine and one to bind metals.
Prime contains at least 4 - it removes chlorine, binds metals, detoxifies ammonia, detoxifies nitrite
 

geniph

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I watch my money so I haven't ever bought anything dumb that's fish related, but I just wanted to hear your stories!
I bought a gravel vacuum thing (electric, so it was kind of spendy). I have planted tanks, LOL. I don't even have room to use it and it isn't worth setting it up to use it for pumping water for water changes - it takes longer to set up and get going than it takes me to use the hand-bulb thing to pump a bucketful out.
 

_Pineapple4popsicle

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I’ve bought stupid stuff for sure. The dumbest thing I think would have to be, a long tweezer type thing. It holds nothing. Idk, maybe it’s for some other type tank, but I never have used them after I tried to use them to put new plants on the substrate.
 

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