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She was the fish lady at Petco. I talked to her for a bit when she was bagging the shrimp I bought. She had 12 bettas. My mother was with me, and she asked if it was true that bettas don't need a filter...and the lady said that yes, they don't need filters or heaters, and she keeps all of hers that way. :| Then she pointed out the tank that she keeps most of her bettas in, and it was so tiny. It was probably the smallest tank they sell. I think this is it: http://www.petco.com/product/109885/Petco-Dual-Betta-Bowl.aspx?CoreCat=BettaHPFishTanks It's a shame that someone who probably knows very little about bettas, despite having so many of her own, is in charge of selling them. :-( Just had to rant!
 

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I had a customer come in today and was picking out a betta. As a leeway into educating customers, I causally ask "Do you have a tank set up for this little guy..?" I was pleased to hear that she had multiple fish tanks and that he was going to go into a large tank on his own.
She then proceeded to say "Fun fact, I use to successfully keep 3 male bettas in one tank. It was a very large tank, and that's why it worked"
.......
I had to refrain from sarcastically asking what her definition of "successful" was. I just managed to calmly say "Well that sounds like a very rare case..." and leave it at that...

I always have to keep my frustrations in check when ever people tell me of "what worked" when they previously had bettas. A LOT of customers tell me that their betta lived a long time in just a bowl with very few water changes. "It just wouldn't die" is the most common phrase I hear... T-T
It pains me when customers do not believe what I tell them simply because their method "worked" in the past.
 

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Also, those "dual betta bowls" make me sad. It's like sticking two human beings into a closet with a curtain in between...
 

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It's the person buying the pets responsibility to have done their own research .. A pet store job unless highly specialized requires no degree .. Sometimes even no diploma .. There's no reason why one would expect them to have a special level of knowledge about fishkeeping . They're just doing their job and if you're lucky you may happen upon a true fish geek in the fish section.. But even then .. I promise there usually is one area they just arent experts on. It is YOUR job to care for the fish (or whatever you're buying ) . This is why this website exists .. So you can get info from true fish keepers and not an employee who for all you know normally works the cash register ..

I find that even the very highly specialized LFSs still can lack knowledge in areas .


Sathori... Did they tell you their definition of a large tank? I only ask as I promise 3 male bettas could coexist just fine in my 225g .. A truly larger tank can offer you the ability to bend the "rules " and have a healthy fish still.

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It seems a lot like Petco/Petsmart intentionally hire people who don't know much about fish. From the company's standpoint I guess I understand. Misinform the customer, fish gets sick, sell medications. Fish dies, sell more fish.

I guess they figure most people won't believe them if they try to sell you a betta and a 10g tank so they suggest the one most people will think is true? Admittedly, when Alacrity had the 20g long all to himself it did look kinda silly :3 Tank mates would have made it livelier.
 

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Kithy, it may seem that way, but I can assure you that those companies do not intentionally hire bad people. They look first to hire people who have good people skills and who are willing to work in a team. Love of pets is a must, but vast knowledge of every animal they provide is not required. They do have basic training over many of the animals in the store and basic care information, but it's a LOT of information and easy to gloss over. When I first started working for Petsmart, I started researching over animals I wasn't so familiar with, especially if I was approached by a customer about one, so that I would be prepared next time. Even after half a year, I still did not know everything about every animal. Now, those chain stores are far from saints, but they do not intentionally hire people to give bad advice.

MameJenny, I cringe that this happened to you. Now she'll be even harder to persuade because an adult at a pet store reaffirmed what she believed (and is incorrect!). Some people will never understand that "living" is not the same as having a good quality of life.
 

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In all the years I have been in fish keeping, and all the sales people I have talked to in stores like Petsmart and Petco I have found very few who understand or even want to listen to information that can generate more in sales in their fish dept. Most people in the fish dept. at petsmart don't even know how to change the water. Al-tho I There are 4 Petsmarts and 4 Petcos in my area. and I have been to all of them and checked out their fish dept. out of 8 shops there were 6 that I found had component people in the store and knew what they were doing 2 of those stores had Marine Biologist working as Managers and their tanks were healthy, clean, and their people gave all the right information. These two places will always get my business (after That Fish Place/That Pet Place, here in Lancaster Pa.) They are one of the largest LFS in the country and all their employees can handle any question about fish or pets you can come up with. I'm lucky to live close and be able to get most of what I need from them.
Places like Petsmart and Petco Can't pay their employees more than minimum wage. Most are part time and the full time help are sometimes very good and than again some times they aren't. But it is up to the customer to do the research and know what is needed.
 

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If you think info on fish is bad in stores .. Go study up on reptiles then revisit those stores and you'll more then likely be shocked .
At least with fish finding the proper fishkeeping standards is IMO not hard at all... But even online finding proper reptile husbandry is extremely spotty .
These are just stores ... That sell pets .. I don't plan on going into walmart and ask an employee how to make quiche Lorraine.. Just because they have all I need to make it.


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These are just stores ... That sell pets .. I don't plan on going into walmart and ask an employee how to make quiche Lorraine.. Just because they have all I need to make it.


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That made me smile. But at the same time if I buy the wrong ingredients and cook a total disaster it will likely end up in the bin, no real harm done. When you are dealing with a living animal/fish there is some responsibility on the store not to sell an animal if a employee knows the welfare of that animal will not be met. And staff should at least be able to advise proper care before selling a pet that is totally depended on their owner for their living conditions and welfare. I agree it is also the person buying the pet that should have done their research before buying the pet, but we know that isn't always the case.
 

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I completely agree. I think the main issue is being a larger company these places have heads of their corporate offices crunching numbers and deciding the profitability is better with lower wages for non management then what your average fish geek would accept. It's frustrating to management at the locations I'm sure..you must staff your store yet you're limited at what pay you can offer. It's like hitting the jackpot when they find an expert or someone already knowledgable . They do EVERYTHING to keep those employees but that's few and far between . The fish guy at my closest petco had a bachelors degree in marine biology .. They had him for yrs and treated him very well . All employees and managers (customers too I bet) cried when he left.. But you can't keep someone around with the wages they offer.. It's more a temporary job till you find a better one if you have such skills . It's just not realistic to have high expectations from those stores .. And another issue is the number of people who have for ages spread the idea that bettas in particular should be small tank/bowl fish . The employees very well may have heard and believed this prior to getting the job and so many customers come in parroting this bad info.. It's not fully the employees fault . I don't think pointing fingers helps I think telling everyone you can better info is far more helpful.

Even the marine biology guy who was at that petco wasn't versed on all fish. African cichlids were still a mystery to him. Was something he was picking my brain over before he left. If you want to help then by all means go into the store and chat with the employees . Be nice.. Engage them in a positive way and help them . It's what we do here on the forum mostly .. Why not IRL too?


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We have a fish store n knoxville and they have a "marine biologists" on staff,sure they can help people, and he does know his stuff about reef keeping, but all their live plnts were covered in blue green algae, we pointed it out and he just had to correct us "cyanobacteria" I was yeah thats what you have and I would buy some of them but I don't want that funk in my tanks, he went on to tell us how easy it is to treat, well at this point I just rolled my eyes and bit my tongue, wanted to say, I do not want to buy plants I have to treat, and if it is so easy why are all of your plants covered in it.....needless to say we have not been back to this store but we have heard from othhrs that the plants are still covered in bluegreen algae, so my point is having an "educated" staff is not always a good thing
 

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We have a fish store n knoxville and they have a "marine biologists" on staff,sure they can help people, and he does know his stuff about reef keeping, but all their live plnts were covered in blue green algae, we pointed it out and he just had to correct us "cyanobacteria" I was yeah thats what you have and I would buy some of them but I don't want that funk in my tanks, he went on to tell us how easy it is to treat, well at this point I just rolled my eyes and bit my tongue, wanted to say, I do not want to buy plants I have to treat, and if it is so easy why are all of your plants covered in it.....needless to say we have not been back to this store but we have heard from othhrs that the plants are still covered in bluegreen algae, so my point is having an "educated" staff is not always a good thing
whoa.. weird. But also this isn't like our home tanks where more likely then not there is only 1 person in charge of maintenance (sometimes 2). These tanks most likely have many hands in charge and policies about what they are allowed to do about this stuff.And contrary to popular belief more is not always better. Continuity is harder to maintain with the more that are involved.
I recall the guy at my petco complaining about policies limiting their ability to keep equipment sterile between different section... I don't recall all but there were a lot of company policies that kept his hands tied.. Sometimes he had to sneak around to do stuff properly ..which only worked because his boss was willing to turn a blind eye.
 

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Sathori... Did they tell you their definition of a large tank? I only ask as I promise 3 male bettas could coexist just fine in my 225g .. A truly larger tank can offer you the ability to bend the "rules " and have a healthy fish still.

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She did not, she just said a big tank. Most of the customers in my store often think the 10 gallon as a HUGE tank for bettas already. But her definition may have been different. I very rarely hear of customers with tanks bigger than 20 gallons. Many often ask for females so that they can put them in the same tank, because "males obviously must live with females"...

I could see it working with a large amount of hiding space and for the males to escape one another, and I believe that you are correct. How else do wild bettas exist if they would all just seek each other out to kill each other. Space definitely makes a huge difference. However, if another customer were to over hear that someone was able to keep 3 bettas in one tank, I would never hear the end of it - they would be telling me "if it worked for someone else, it will work for them" while they carry their 10 gallon home...
The customer's daughter also asked in a bit of a sarcastic tone, "And they lived how long again...?" So it leads me to believe it didn't last very long...

As for expecting pet store employees to have knowledge on pets - customers come in every day expecting me to diagnose their pets as if I am a veterinarian. They often come to the store in hopes of avoiding going to the vet.
I cannot speak for all stores, but my company does require its employees to learn nutrition for cats/dogs and basic information for fish/birds/small animals/reptiles. However I do wish more employees would take it upon themselves to further research.
 

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Wow, these things are terrible
 

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Yea.. Sathori.. I too wish many employees understood the weight of their position even though it's just a job where they're being a productive member to society to them. Either way I can't really be mad at them . Some stores for whatever reason seem to be capable of attracting knowledgable employees like a moth to a flame but I know that's not all that often. And being knowledgeable doesn't mean personable at all! That I've learned from the reptile rescue I work with . Some people there know their reptile husbandry like no other but can drive people away from them with their lofty attitudes . Must be a nightmare trying to staff these places .


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If you think info on fish is bad in stores .. Go study up on reptiles then revisit those stores and you'll more then likely be shocked .
At least with fish finding the proper fishkeeping standards is IMO not hard at all... But even online finding proper reptile husbandry is extremely spotty .
These are just stores ... That sell pets .. I don't plan on going into walmart and ask an employee how to make quiche Lorraine.. Just because they have all I need to make it.


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no, but quiche lorraine is not going to be a living, breathing animal. They are merely selling you the parts of quiche lorraine, not actually selling you quiche lorraine, and then giving you the wrong information on how to heat it up, or how to serve it. What if you went into walmart, into the meat department, and they sold you meat, but gave you all the wrong information on how to prepare it? Or told you it only had to be heated to 100F and then it was ok to eat? Or sold grills that only cooked pork to 100F and labeled it a "pork grill" even though at that temp pork is NOT safe? One has an assumption that ppl working in certain departments are there to answer questions more than "where do you keep....?" This is what is going on in petstores though and no one questions it, or thinks it strange at all. If, truly, all employees are there for is to answer "where do you keep...?" then the stores should exist as online presences only.

Sorry, just my 2 cents on the matter.
 

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I feel like a large portion of what this problem is.. Is this really odd huge myth that bettas are any different then any other tropical fish .. When it comes to care .. Or ANYTHING. Where this myth came from I'll never know or understand . I'm assuming most of these experiences are betta related ? Not all but a good portion?

I bet if you ask for advice on what you'll need for the other tropical fish .. You'll get far closer to a proper answer. Maybe on that thought just ask about general tropical fish advice when shopping for supplies ? Only time it's important to know it's a betta or any species .. Is when you're stocking a tank. Can't stock fish without knowing the species they'll live with.. Idk ..


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Yea.. Sathori.. I too wish many employees understood the weight of their position even though it's just a job where they're being a productive member to society to them. Either way I can't really be mad at them . Some stores for whatever reason seem to be capable of attracting knowledgable employees like a moth to a flame but I know that's not all that often. And being knowledgeable doesn't mean personable at all! That I've learned from the reptile rescue I work with . Some people there know their reptile husbandry like no other but can drive people away from them with their lofty attitudes . Must be a nightmare trying to staff these places .


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I think the biggest reason for the lack of knowledgable employees stems from the fact that they don't pay us much... Employers are often cheap and don't really want us to spend the time or effort in the care of the animals in the store. I honestly believe the higher-up people in these pet store companies really only care about the money and not the animals. They see big dollar signs when they see what some people are willing to spend on their animals and they take advantage of that.
So a majority of people who really care and take interest in the animal field are more often found in more professional jobs, like veterinary clinics. Which causes the lower paying jobs to fall to those who are there just to make money and do not think of any thing past that.
 

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Stone, which pet store in Knoxville was it? The Aquarium on Papermill Dr, maybe?

It sounds like something they would say.
 
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