Every Answer I Get Is Different

GKMoore

Is it me or does everyone else get very different conflicting answers to every question in the hobby??? I feel like no one really knows and their answers are either pulled out of thin air or what they have heard from someone else without questioning it. Examples of this are:

Compatible tank mates- I will read online that certain fish go well together, then the fish store tells me DO NOT put said fish together or there will be major aggression. But I see youtube videos with the fish together. I know each fish is different and must monitor the aggression anytime a new fish is put in. And I'm sure there are many factors that can trigger aggression like tank size and territorial boundaries, but why would the fish store give me a stern no that they can't live in harmony? I have read online not to mix African with South American Ciclids, but this same fish store has Severum with peacock cichlids and they have been in there for months without issue..

Water parameters- I am under the impression that each fish has a certain needs for PH range. Every site I go to for care guides and online purchases can have different ranges. One will say a Gold Severum needs 5.5 - 6.5 ph and another will say 6.5-7.5 ph, on top of that the fish store that sells them has them in tank water with an 8.2-8.4 ph and they are just fine! That a huge PH difference that I thought meant life or death for the fish... So who's right? I know as long as the PH is consistent they will adapt to it. So why even put parameters for each fish? The same goes for temp. Different sites have different answers.

Basically, does anyone REALLY know the right answers? I mean, why spend all this time researching for answers when there are 2 or 3 or more answers that only confuse me. I want to properly take care of my fish and not throw them in a bad situation, but it seems like there's no way to know and just learn by experience.

Months prior, I went against the advice of the online community because the fish store assured me I wouldn't have any problems and my favorite fish in doing so. Trying to set up the right tank for a new one and the information out there is irritating..
 

Thunder_o_b

Your best bet is choose a small number of sources and stick with them.

I generally do not look beyond Fishlore. But I have been in to fish keeping a very long time.
 

Artemis2

I've tend to have bad advice given to me when I go to a Petco or a PetSmart. So I don't ask them questions about items any more.
 

Jellibeen

Yes, there will always be conflicting information. It’s important to consider who is giving you the information, and what experience they have. That’s why the forum is a good place. You can look at a member’s page and get a sense of how much experience they have, and with what. If I start giving advice on live bearers, you could look at my profile and realize I only have one baby molly, so i’m not a good source of info.

You can talk to to 10 different people and get 10 different answers, but usually there’s a bit of overlap that will
give you a good idea of what is “right.”
 

Waterloo

Totally understand this. Been having the same issue just with the subject of lights! I only trust one LFS for info and that's mostly because its a "mom and pop" kinda shop and the owner have been in the hobby personally for a very long time. Fishlore has been my go to for info. The hobby has a major learning curve and yes, a lot is trial and error and what works for you personally.
 

Marcus Hu

Well, fish adopts, and also can be manipulated.
 

Fashooga

Research is really the only way to figure out compatibility as well as if they fit temperature wise. Fish can acclimate to certain pH if they are acclimated right. I would use sites that purely focuses on certain species, such as a site that is specifically geared towards catfish and catfish only. Other sites offer only cichlid information.

Youtube videos are tough to measure success on because some of the people on there don't tell you whether it was hard to get them to get along in the first place. Also a lot of the youtubers do have large tanks so the space that is provided evens the aggression out a little better.

A lot of opinions here are purely just based on experience. Some people were able to make fish that usually don't get along work...also sometimes you get fish that are not as aggressive as you thought they be...for instance my JD doesn't really care about much as long as she's fed...BP gets the reputation as being shy but my BP is a total jerk.
 

Alia_1408

I agree with Thunder_o_b.

I personally don't look for answers beyond Fishlore for any of my questions.
 

Lchi87

Unfortunately, there is no magic recipe for a successful tank. I think most agree on the basics like cycling and QTing new additions but other things like stocking, temperature ranges, etc have a lot of grey area. Each tank and situation is unique so what may work for one, may not work for another. Let your fish be your guide; if they are thriving, chances are what you're doing is likely fine.
 

trainandfishguy

The advise that I have received here has always been spot on. I simply don't trust fish stores because they are either 1. They are in the business of selling stuff 2. They hire staff sometimes that is no more knowledgeable than a newbie to the hobby. Once in a while you come across a few employees that you can trust.
 

GKMoore

I've tend to have bad advice given to me when I go to a Petco or a PetSmart. So I don't ask them questions about items any more.
I learned not to trust petco and petsmart day 1 lol. This store is a family owned business with tons of exotic fish.
Research is really the only way to figure out compatibility as well as if they fit temperature wise. Fish can acclimate to certain pH if they are acclimated right. I would use sites that purely focuses on certain species, such as a site that is specifically geared towards catfish and catfish only. Other sites offer only cichlid information.

Youtube videos are tough to measure success on because some of the people on there don't tell you whether it was hard to get them to get along in the first place. Also a lot of the youtubers do have large tanks so the space that is provided evens the aggression out a little better.

A lot of opinions here are purely just based on experience. Some people were able to make fish that usually don't get along work...also sometimes you get fish that are not as aggressive as you thought they be...for instance my JD doesn't really care about much as long as she's fed...BP gets the reputation as being shy but my BP is a total jerk.
Here are the two links I'm confused about. Look at ph tolerance . My tank is 8.0ph and I have seen them living in higher. But the seller might have a lower ph.. anyway...
 

fa4960

I think a lot has to do with how you ask your questions, especially on forums.

The more homework you have done the better answer I think you get from the communities like Fishlore. I have noticed that if my questions are very specific I get very specific answers from very knowledgeable members.

Secondly, the majority of us, if not all have no interest in selling you anything. Not necessarily so in the case of your LFS although I am sure there are many good responsible ones out there.
 

DoubleDutch

Could it be things in our hobby aren't exact as for instance math.

No tank is the same, no lighting is the same, no filtrage is the same, no feeding is the same, no keeper is the same, no fish is the same etc. etc..

So every answer you'll get is based on personal experiences or people telling what they heared / read about a certain topic. I think experiences are best to listen to but one have to take sone of the mentioned things in account.

Example : I was never lucky to keep dwarf Corys in 54 litre tanks (lost 2 batches). Here on the forum they are even advised for 10G tanks. Who is right? Were there other issues in my tanks?
 

Gone

Is it me or does everyone else get very different conflicting answers to every question in the hobby???

There's the rub. No, it's not just you.

A while back on a post from a newbie, I wrote a summary of the advice given, and there were 15 different emphatically authoritative directions about what was wrong and how to solve the problem. Solutions ranged from completely tearing down the tank and starting over to waiting and everything would be fine. And everything in between. I was roundly criticized for pointing that out.

Back in the day I was a pitching coach. I told new parents who brought their kids in to learn that they could expect to talk to 100 pitching coaches along the way, and they'd get 100 different explanations of the exact correct mechanics. I told them it was their job to listen and evaluate all the different coaches, try to get a sense of their knowledge and experience, and then decide for themselves what made sense and what didn't.

In the fishkeeping hobby, it's your job to evaluate all the information, then decide what makes the most sense, and choose the method that works for you.

There will be good advice and bad, success and failure, that's part of the process. Although you will get emphatic responses from people telling you exactly what's wrong and exactly what you need to do to fix it, the fact is nobody really knows exactly what's going on, even if they're standing at your tank with a magnifying glass. Other than something like ich, which is painfully obvious, everything is like trying to deconstruct a crime scene and put clues together to paint a picture of what's going on. It's a matter of making educated guesses along the way. The bottom line is that even though you might not have that much experience, you're in the best position to make the diagnosis and choose the best treatment. Listen to everybody, throw out what doesn't make sense, make your best guess, and go with it.
 

Charlie’s Dad

Less is best in this situation in my opinion... .... I encourage you to seek advice thoughts etc.....from Fish Lore exclusively.

The stores are there to sell and only sell.
 

rainbowsprinkles

Part of it is there are different ways of having a healthy tank and sometimes success with different methods will vary based on tap water parameters, room lighting, fish personality, diet and breeding history. Also most things on the forum come from anecdotal experiences not research. And sometimes myths of fish keeping blow up and get perpetuated. That is the problem with even this forum. Sometimes it is helpful but should be treated as opinions and anecdotes and ideas that may or might not be helpful. I have raised several fish that have lived 10-20 years but maybe my methods won’t work for someone who lives somewhere else with different water sources or who prefers a different method of maintenance or has different financial or space situation. We don’t read books by experts anymore we just want instant answers. I say if you aren’t sure what method you want to try, find a fish keeping book. I’m old though.
 

WetRootsNH

Nature.
Our hobby is centered on living things from nature.
Nature doesn't care about humans rules and "how things are supposed to be."
There are going to be millions of answers that "work" to even the simplest of questions in our hobby. The secret is to research to find a baseline or a set of rules for yourself that you develop from reading the advice of others and making an educated guess.
Also, while it is wise to heed the advice of experienced persons realize that due to nature not caring about our rules and its inherent complexities, that even the experienced can be a little wrong or a lot wrong. Or maybe they are right in their circumstances, but for you that may differ slightly or a lot.
With fishkeeping you are a scientist of sorts. Take what you believe to be true, start there, and develop your own answers over time.

What color is a raccoon? Grey with black?
We all know that for a fact. Its impossible for that to be wrong because we said that it's a fact.
 

Charlie’s Dad

I detect methodical thinking......
 

Inactive User

That a huge PH difference that I thought meant life or death for the fish... So who's right? I know as long as the PH is consistent they will adapt to it. So why even put parameters for each fish? The same goes for temp. Different sites have different answers.

Using pH as a specific example: the issue is that a lot of
"facts" (and I use the term very loosely) are simply anecdotes that are circulated uncritically in the hobby. Eventually, over time, these anecdotes accrete a veneer of "truth" simply by virtue of how many times they are repeated.

From my perspective, the primary contributing factor as to why this occurs is because people misinterpret their own personal experiences as scientific fact: "I saw/did it and it worked and therefore it must be fact" is generally how the cognitive sequence progresses. This, of course, is nonsense: personal experience is an anecdote, and anecdotes are not evidence. There is, of course, a distinction between the uninformed anecdote of Joe Blow, and the informed professional expertise of a researcher in aquatic biology who has a distinguished publication history in peer-reviewed, scholarly journals.

In addition to this, many aspects of the hobby simply have no scientific fact which can inform our decision making. This may be because there is no clear consensus in the scholarly community, or because (most often) there is limited research into a phenomenon, or because the characterisation of the problem is simply not one that can be objectively answered by the natural sciences. In place of clear cut, hard, facts, there gathers instead a large swathe of contradicting, mutually exclusive anecdotes.

This is not to say that anecdotes can't have a semblance of truth, but the rigour of anecdotes is extraordinarily weak. It's almost a certainty that if you were to email a website and ask for non-anecdotal evidence of a claim, they would be unable to provide it. If you were to ask for a cogent and informed explanation of how pH affects fish, they would be unable to provide one.

And of course, as others have pointed out, we can't ignore the overriding commercial interest in wanting to sell us bogus products that has much evidence basis as me claiming that dancing naked under the gibbous moon can treat a migraine.
 

jmaldo

Just a relative "Newbie" myself only been keeping "Wet Pets" for about 1.5 years. There is so much info out there (good and bad) it had my head spinning. Best to do the "Research". I am a member of a few forums and also a member of my Local Fish club. With this combination I am confident after my research of course with the decisions I make. We have a good core of knowledgeable and I consider expert keepers here. As I have you will find them, or they will find you when you ask "Questions".
Agree with Lchi87 and DoubleDutch
Every Tank is as different as a fingerprint no 2 are alike. What works for 1 may not work for another. I have had up to 6 tanks going and each is different.
Also, as mentioned at least in my area the Big "P" stores and LFS may have not have the best answers or advice.
As a teacher once told me "The only dumb question is the one that was not asked"

Learning all the Time.

Best of Luck to you.

Oh, by the way "Welcome" to Fishlore.
 

PonzLL

I think you can sorta apply this idea to everything in life. None of us really have a clue what we're doing and we're all just sorta fumbling our way through life.

At least I hope you guys are, because I know I am lol
 

DoubleDutch

I think you can sorta apply this idea to everything in life. None of us really have a clue what we're doing and we're all just sorta fumbling our way through life.

At least I hope you guys are, because I know I am lol
Hahahaha very true.
No one is giving me the right answers.
 

bizaliz3

Stocking is one of the worst. Because when it comes to stocking it is 100% opinion. And we know that there are always going to be people with different opinions on ANY subject. So when we are dealing with something that is entirely based on opinion, you will never get the same answer.

The water related stuff can be pretty scientific, but as others have suggested, those things can differ based simply on that fact that everyone has different water sources. (among other things)

But again, stocking is the worst. Because everyone is allowed their opinion. One minor example off the top of my head... many people think their shoal of 6 different cories is just as happy as a shoal of 6 of the same type of cory. Many others will disagree. And often the ones who disagree are ones (like myself) who have seen it both ways and have seen first hand the difference in behavior and activity level. And in that scenario, we branch away from opinion and move into experience. I didn't believe it until I saw it myself to be honest!

BUT, now that we have branched into experience, I will move to my biggest pet peeve OF ALL....people who have "experienced" keeping certain fish together that really shouldn't be kept together and announce how it works just fine for them. Yet...their fish are JUVINILES!!!! Too many people forget to mention that fact when they are bragging that it works fine for them. Come back when the fish are sexually mature adults and then tell me if it "works".

Oh sheesh, now I am venting. haha. But that's just another example of why answers will differ even from people who have "experience" with the species. But ya, stocking is all about opinion. And really...the biggest variable is whether the person answering the question cares only about the fish surviving, or if they care about having the fish THRIVE and not just survive.
 

DoubleDutch

applause !
Stocking is one of the worst. Because when it comes to stocking it is 100% opinion. And we know that there are always going to be people with different opinions on ANY subject. So when we are dealing with something that is entirely based on opinion, you will never get the same answer.

The water related stuff can be pretty scientific, but as others have suggested, those things can differ based simply on that fact that everyone has different water sources. (among other things)

But again, stocking is the worst. Because everyone is allowed their opinion. One minor example off the top of my head... many people think their shoal of 6 different cories is just as happy as a shoal of 6 of the same type of cory. Many others will disagree. And often the ones who disagree are ones (like myself) who have seen it both ways and have seen first hand the difference in behavior and activity level. And in that scenario, we branch away from opinion and move into experience. I didn't believe it until I saw it myself to be honest!

BUT, now that we have branched into experience, I will move to my biggest pet peeve OF ALL....people who have "experienced" keeping certain fish together that really shouldn't be kept together and announce how it works just fine for them. Yet...their fish are JUVINILES!!!! Too many people forget to mention that fact when they are bragging that it works fine for them. Come back when the fish are sexually mature adults and then tell me if it "works".

Oh sheesh, now I am venting. haha. But ya, stocking is all about opinion. And really...the biggest variable is whether the person answering the question cares only about the fish surviving, or if they care about having the fish THRIVE and not just survive.
 

NavyChief20

It amuses me that ironically the original poster is getting a myriad of answers to the question of a myriad of answers.

There are some things set in stone on fish keeping. Outside of that its a lot of opinion.
 

DoubleDutch

It amuses me that ironically the original poster is getting a myriad of answers to the question of a myriad of answers.

There are some things set in stone on fish keeping. Outside of that its a lot of opinion.
Do you think there is one answer to the question?
 

wodesorel

If you're ever really curious as to temp and pH, research back to the original source of where the specific fish came from. If you're lucky you can find scientific papers out there that discuss the water conditions where certain species are found in detail. Otherwise you can generally find out a vague location 'this country in mountain tributaries of this river' and guess from there based on geological records.

But like others have said, fish are really adaptable to both temperature and pH so long as it's done slowly. And I think it comes down to who wrote the guide you're reading - someone with hard water won't know about how a fish fairs in soft water, and vice versa. So they have to take a conglomerate of anecdotal evidence and decide what makes the most sense.

And there's always the overhanging issue of copyright - care guides are almost always going to be a few degrees off one another so no one gets accused of plagiarizing or using another site's info without permission.
 

bizaliz3

It amuses me that ironically the original poster is getting a myriad of answers to the question of a myriad of answers.

There are some things set in stone on fish keeping. Outside of that its a lot of opinion.

Well, technically the OP's original post had a myriad of questions itself....so naturally there are a number of answers being given.
 

ystrout

This is how life is in almost every aspect.

There's multiple ways to do the same thing and many techniques work. Also, some things work for certain people and some things don't.

I recommend you always come to FishLore for fish advice and never Petco or Petsmart. Certain independent fish stores give good advice, but not always. Fishlore is such a huge community of people passionate about fish that you'll always get a some good answers. If you don't, or get conflicting answers, try asking again or on a different subforum.

Good luck!
 

NavyChief20

Do you think there is one answer to the question?
That depends on which question

Well, technically the OP's original post had a myriad of questions itself....so naturally there are a number of answers being given.
Technically speaking there was only one question. The OP was pointing out how they get so many answers to questions. The only actual question from the op is "does anyone really know"
 

bizaliz3

Technically speaking there was only one question. The OP was pointing out how they get so many answers to questions. The only actual question from the op is "does anyone really know"

Yes, that was the primary question....but there were a few sub-questions too. Here are the questions I saw in the first post which led me to say there were multiple questions that garnered multiple answers.


does everyone else get very different conflicting answers to every question in the hobby?

why would the fish store give me a stern no that they can't live in harmony?

That a huge PH difference that I thought meant life or death for the fish... So who's right?

So why even put parameters for each fish?

does anyone REALLY know the right answers?
 

ETNsilverstar

The correct answer is 42.
 

david1978

Cromedome would know the answer.
 

NanaW

The correct answer is NO
 

Kalyke

It's an Art.
 

Discus-Tang

I heard he left the forum completely
Yes, he did. In his goodbye post, he quoted The Hitchiker's guide to the galaxy series, which includes life, the universe and everything, in which the "42" joke was made. Coincidence?
 

GKMoore

What color is a raccoon? Grey with black?
We all know that for a fact. Its impossible for that to be wrong because we said that it's a fact.
View attachment 489602
I love when I get asked about colors of objects in photographs because I have a trained eye to see color tones as a professional photographer. It's an Ivory raccoon with a hue of yellow. Don't believe me? Just use Photoshop and grab the color picker to see for yourself..

I detect methodical thinking......
Nailed it. The question I have has no answer, it questions the answer

What color is a raccoon? Grey with black?
Opps... just realized you weren't referring to the picture...
 

Briggs

I personally like to find two or three well informed sources that disagree, listen to their reasoning and decide for myself what to do. I do that in pretty much any avenue of research. If you only ever listen to one point of view, you lose a lot the subtleties that a debate can bring out. If everyone decides to agree about something, we stop asking questions and that can lead to stagnation. Be wary of people who state their opinions as facts, though.

For a long time I thought Douglas Adams chose 42 as a reference to Lewis Carol (who was weirdly fond of the number) but according to Adams the number was inspired by an old John Cleese joke. Not as classy, but very on brand.
 

Gavin Trzcinski

All of these recommendations my be inaccurate because even though certain fish have aggression levels, they also have an individual personality. For example: my electric blue acara would not hurt a fly. Another example would be one jack Dempsey killing every other fish in a 90 gallon
 

Kalyke

Actually, due to the nature of forums, with people at all spectrums of knowledge, I tend not to take direct advice from forums or even Youtube, but they are part of information gathering. There are a variety of people who buy a lot of equipment, get fish and start a Youtube channel-- in other words, they know how to make videos, not keep fish. A few are worth listening to. My ultimate source is going to websites (or getting books) by some society, non-profit, or agency where people's jobs and reputations depend on being accurate. Like "the American (German, whatever) Cichlid society," for example. Or some international organization. Now, for on the spot advice, like "how long should a heater be turned off before you move it (switching a heater from one tank to another)" for instance, I would go to a forum, but I would need to get the advice from several people, (at least 3) to make sure I was not getting advice from one random person. So the advice would have to have some kind of consensus-- that is that 9 out of 10 people would have to think this. It is also important that several would say "it is my experience" or "the package says." Actually, in the case of equipment, I often go straight to the manufacturer who usually will have Tech Support FAQs or another way of asking questions. Some have forums too, like Finnex, Seachem and so on all have their own forums. That is better (IMHO) than getting a response from a 12-year-old with guppies (No offense, elementary teacher experience).
 

Blitzar

Wait what!? I leave for a month and Chrom leaves!?
I heard he left the forum completely
I wonder why.
 

Annie59

In my opinion there really isn't a right or wrong way. So the answer would be no. I read/have read tons of aquarium info then just decide what to do and go from there. But as for getting one answer that would be a no lol. To many people do this hobby in different ways that work. So it's up to the person reading it to decide what will work for them. There are lots of things in the hobby I don't do that others swear by.
 

Blitzar

In my opinion there really isn't a right or wrong way. So the answer would be no. I read/have read tons of aquarium info then just decide what to do and go from there. But as for getting one answer that would be a no lol. To many people do this hobby in different ways that work. So it's up to the person reading it to decide what will work for them. There are lots of things in the hobby I don't do that others swear by.

As fish are individuals, there can't be a single way to keep them. I.e. I have coldwater kuhlI loaches. They're a freshwater fish, but my guys get stressed in a heated tank. Thus, they're in an unheated tank with goldfish and zebra danios.
 

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