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Old 07-30-2012, 12:57 AM   #1 
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Join Date: May 2012
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How to do Walmart Water Changes

So I intend to start the Open Door process at the Walmart where I work in hopes of improving the conditions the bettas, and the other fish, are kept in. I assume this will mean I'll be the one caring for the fish a few minutes after each of my shifts (I'm a cashier). To sell the idea of just letting me take care of the fish, I need to present a low-cost, low-maintenance cleaning schedule that won't take a lot of my (aka the company's) time.

When it comes to changing the bettas' water, I need some advice!

Our fish tanks are supposed to have preconditioned spigots for cold water and tropical fish, but ours do not function. The water from the tap does not have an adjustable temperature, and is way too cold to do water changes with. I was thinking I could fill a five gallon bucket with the tap water and condition it, then use it the next day for the water changes, and it'd be room temperature by then. I can't think of any way to properly acclimate the fish given the time constraint I'll probably be under, so I want to get the water as close to the water in their cups as I can. D:

I was thinking of bringing in my own API Stress Coat, and was wondering if I should use a low dose of aquarium salt, too, just because I know the those cups are beyond stressful?

Anyway, ANY suggestions on how I can speed up caring for these fish, and make an appealing, rational argument to management would be great. While I like to think my Walmart isn't all about the money, obviously these fish need an advocate.
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Old 07-30-2012, 03:54 AM   #2 
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My first idea was the you could actually try talking to the manager to let you work in the fish section. Present an argument like 'Your fish look a bit unwell, if you were to put one of the less talented fish keepers on cashier, I would look after the fish once a week'.

If you don't feel comfortable doing that, you could always try to pre-condition the water so that all the fish get clean water daily. I guess you could try buying a LED heat light to put above the cups if you could, so that they would be warmer and the water changing matter wouldn't be so difficult. Although, that costs a bit of money. You could try to do half the cups in the morning and the rest when you finish, so that you dont run out of time.

Otherwise, your plan sounds like the best idea! Good Luck!
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Old 07-30-2012, 04:34 AM   #3 
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Hello! I'm so glad to hear you are stepping up to walmart. I actually work at a walmart as well however my walmart stopped selling live animals a month before I was hired four years ago. When it comes to doing something for the store you can use what your walmart offers for conditioner and you'd always want to do a "store use" tag (same ticket as the claims slips but instead of writing reason for return write store use on it)rather than use something under your own money but I do know some people don't mind spending their money for the store so I guess it all matters with you. If your manager or anyone else in your store declines or doesn't help you I suggest you carry onto the open door and contact the next step up :)
For the water issue...I would use a different faucet perhaps in the back or maybe up front whereever your manteince stations may be located...if they aren't too far away either...most wally worlds are set up different so...maybe also you can suggest to your manager to get that sink looked at and fixed.
Best of luck!!! :)
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Old 07-30-2012, 04:35 AM   #4 
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I think the second fastest way is to precondition water and let it sit until the temp evens out.

then take a cup, loosen the lid a little and pour the water out from the gap. Bettas are generally ok with no water for a couple of seconds. Then scoop new water into the cups.

my other idea is to collect a few cups, so that during the water changes, you simply fill each one and net fish into new cup, then put the lid on.

dump the water in the dirty, fishless cups and wash them.
save for bext water change

should be the fastest way....
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:29 AM   #5 
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When I requested that the betta cups be cleaned, the lady that helped me filled a little plastic container (that you would ususally net customers' fish into before bagging them) with conditioned water from one of the tanks, and netted the betta into the container; then she washed the cup and dumped the fish and the new water back in.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:48 AM   #6 
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ooops, posted in wrong place! seem to do that a lot these days
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:50 AM   #7 
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Wow, thanks for all the responses! :D

I know ideally I'd be able to keep the bettas in the big tank display we have--or at least float them in one of the heated tanks... I like the idea of the LED light. I'll keep that in mind for when I get further entrenched into the Open Door system and feel like management has open ears for my ideas. :P Luckily our Walmart usually doesn't carry more than 10-12 bettas, so I don't think water changes will take too long.

I just realized I could probably borrow a spigot from the gardening section since it's not that far away from Pets, and the maintenance station is across the store. (Though I could probably get the water to closer room temperature at the maintenance station... hmm, that's something to think about. lol)

I'm hoping there are some extra betta cups floating around somewhere. I also heard that Petco has a history of giving away betta cups to those who ask. :) At the moment there isn't even a bucket or container designated for water changes. I talked to one of my supervisors (not salaried management), and she said that usually they don't do any water changes with the fish, or even clean the tanks (she got a little riled up just talking about it, too). Based on what I see every time I go over there, I agree. :/

I considered using water from the tanks, but the temperature difference would be pretty dramatic, and to be honest, the big tanks have worse water than the betta cups. o.O I still need to learn about all those different species (like oscars, chiclids, and we even have puffer fish for some reason) before I volunteer to take care of them. I could probably figure out how to use an algae scrubber though [/sarcasm].

Hopefully if I go about this in the most non-threatening way possible, I can help those poor girls who haven't had their water changed in two weeks.
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:21 PM   #8 
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I didn't read through all but the original post at this time, but if you have any empty gallon drinking water jugs at your home that you have consumed and saved. (HANDY THINGS!!!) Take them in. (figure out how many you need for a shipment of bettas they get in)

Fill them, place them in the storage area where they keep store use fish care supplies if they have one, or somewhere that no one will mess with them.

Ask a manager if you can do an "in store use" -"zero out" on a tap water dechloranator bottle that is cost effective.

(less drops per gallon= cost effective argument, and NOT Stress Coat. It will get too gooey in the cups if for some reason you are not working there and it's left to slime up the fish, or someone fills the jugs and overdoses it in there. Think about living and breathing in a pool of half solid jello... not pleasant.)

The jugs will hopefully come to the same temp as the cups so you won't be able to acclimate them, but the water will be close.

Since you won't have anywhere to put the fish and wash the cups out i'm guessing you can strain the fish in their cups using their lids and pour in the new aged dechlorinated water.

When you see the Thai farms doing water changes with the bamboo water filler machine for the bottles the bettas swirl around in the bottles like they are in a hurricane. I don't condone fish fighting in any way shape or form either, but some of the methods used to train fighters are also rough.

Be as gentile and quick as you can and I think the fish would be ok with a strain and pour water change. If your management does ok the transfer of the fish into a holding container make sure you don't spread disease by not washing the holding container between fish changes. I don't know if Walmart uses a "net dip" type product or not.

It's an idea anyway. Without knowing more about the tools you have available, other then their water is broken and probably not getting fixed...ever... lol. That's the best I can come up with since to a manager that could care less about their bettas, it's gotta be cheap, fast, and doesn't take up too much store space. Employees out on the floor stocking to sell lots of crud are more cost effective then an employee dinking around with a total of just say 10 bettas at 5 bucks each for half hour to an hour at whatever their wage is. The faster you can do it the more likely it will be done.

GL and remember take others advise first if they have a better way just keep the management comments in mind. :D
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:27 PM   #9 
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Rainbow, You work at Walmart, I am wondering why all of a sudden I am seeing "Vases" in the fish section, I noticed at our local WM the other day, but I love your idea, and I hope it will work out, actually putting the cups in a bigger tank, is a great idea, that way it will be heated, and they will still be separate, and the water can be changed, in the same manner as you suggested, having some premixed with the water conditioner, I like that idea, I sure hope it works, Let us know..If you present your idea to management, as a volunteer to help educate others on how to take care of betta fish, other employees, or something, even the managers, if they need it, and put everything in writing, talk to them first, and see if they agree, if they are cooperate and want to work with you, I hope.
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:06 PM   #10 
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Thanks for all the advice!

I changed everybody's water last night, using the cold tank water at first (that's what the manager suggested), then a mixture of the cold and warm tanks in an effort to get the water closer to room temperature. It took me over an hour to do all 20 fish, mostly because half the cups had to be thoroughly scrubbed to get the caked grime off. As a side-note, I thought it was a little humorous that the bigger tanks had been cleaned after I called to get permission to clean the betta's cups. The bettas, however, hadn't been touched. :/ Story of their lives.

I was able to find some containers to put the fish in while I scrubbed their cups. I wish I could have taken some before/after pictures, especially with some of the girls who colored up right after the change and are GORGEOUS! There's one white girl, with a pale pink/green iridescence depending on the light! We have three juvies, too, so I was glad I took my micro-pellets with me to share. lol

I want to meet with the manager today to talk about what she already has covered with the fish--like what they already do on a regular basis. I know ideally the water should be changed every day, but it might be more practical to do so every other day, except for fish that have fin rot. If I came up with a simple sticker system (if the fish has a sticker, change the water) for the fin rot victims, then I wouldn't have to come in on my days off, which would eliminate a lot of paperwork for management.

I considered just doing this all when I'm not on the clock, but I would probably get in more trouble for not getting paid, than I would for getting paid and taking too long. :/

Edit: As for those deplorable "betta-vases," they've been in Walmart's system since they first became popular. If it's any consolation, I've never actually sold one in the five years I've been a cashier.

Last edited by RainbowSocks; 08-01-2012 at 01:11 PM.
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