How do you tell a family member nicely they are overstocking a tank?

Angela_96
  • #1
My mil is so sweet, she got my kiddos today when my miagrane was at its worse... she means well! I bought her a tank a couple months back thinking that she would just put the guppy fry I gave her and maybe an otto in it... Well.. no such luck... she went out and stocked this tank w/ a couple platys and more guppy... and 2 cory cats... this is only a 5 gallon tank!

I am the one that she ask to "test" her water w/ my test kit... her ammonia was off the charts tonight, and nitrites was also up (.50)... I told her to do a partial water change and do the same tomm, I will check the water again tomm.... I don't know how to tell her that she has too many fish w/o upseting her! She isn't the type to take neg feedback....

She is also the family member w/ a goldfish bowl w/ a small filter stuffed in it and 2 larger sized goldfish, I wonder how they are still alive!

I feel bad for her because she used to keep fish, and back then yes she had a larger tank, and she don't know anything about nitrites/ammonia because when I test her water and say you have nitrites/ammonia she says what's that? everytime.... I say just change so much of your water everyday until the level is -0-...
I think we are going to have to get her one of those kits w/ the 14g tanks at walmart for her so she can fit her fish in it (or will she just go buy more fish, prob would?)
She wants the water to be healthy, but at the same time don't want to do what really needs to be done to fix it... aka get rid of some of the bioload!
 
ninilie
  • #2
I dunno how either. I listened on the phone one day as my mom told me the adventures of this gold fish my 13 year old brother won at a fair. She said it should have died several times. She sense then has put a pond in her back yard for it. I asked her if she had a filter, heater or treated the water and everything was a no. They live in nothern california and it rains all the time and the temps get pretty low. When I tried to make an argument she said it was just a free fair gold fish. I was horrified because my mom has always cared well for the lizards, frogs and other animals we have had.

I decided to just let her go on even though I felt like pleading the poor fishes case. She would probally just think I'm crazy and we might have hurt feelings all around. Most people don't hold fish very highly.
 
Angela_96
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
My mother is the one who would go out and buy a 55 gallon tank for a fish if she needed one for a free fish.... but she is a avid bass fisher-lady (we both are) but we catch and release also..... she also has a rabbit that was a 10 dollar bunny that goes to the vet every other week to get its teeth cut because its too spoiled to chew and file them down.... mom is also raising betta babies right now.. she calls me constantly asking me what to do.. and is always trying to do anything to help them... she spoils any animal that comes her way!


my mil.. the opposite! she just don't want to listen, and if you try to tell her anything she gets upset... I don't want to upset her but she needs to loose some fish, and I don't want the fish to die! I wonder if I just go swipe some out of the tank when they aren't home.. you know the disappering fish routine... she would be silly enough to think the other fish ate them...
 
COBettaCouple
  • #4
Hmm.. maybe you could ask her to join you and a dozen of your friends in the closet for a week? Or explain to her that she's basically doing that to those fish. Let her know that they're constantly putting out waste so the more room they have, the less concentrated that waste is. Let her know, they grow better and are more fun to watch when they have the room they need. Let her know that more room = less work to keep the water healthy.

Or maybe just tell her they need a 200 gallon tank and get her to settle for a 20?
 
Angela_96
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Hmm.. maybe you could ask her to join you and a dozen of your friends in the closet for a week? Or explain to her that she's basically doing that to those fish. Let her know that they're constantly putting out waste so the more room they have, the less concentrated that waste is. Let her know, they grow better and are more fun to watch when they have the room they need. Let her know that more room = less work to keep the water healthy.

Or maybe just tell her they need a 200 gallon tank and get her to settle for a 20?

I could tell her that but I had guppies in a 5 gallon tank for a long time so she thinks it will work for her.. she didn't count how many I had though... it wasn't many I had 2 trios and I was overstocked not to mention as soon as I got one I put them into a 10 gallon tank until I got rid of all my guppies and I separated my fry from my guppy parents... but I kept up w/ waterchanges and chem! She has about 15 fish in her tank!
 
MissMTS
  • #6
I know how you feel. My sister has a betta in a 1/4 gallon glass ball that hangs from a stand. My mom got mad at her because the water was so gross and kept nagging her to change it because it wasn't fair to her fish. Needless to say, the betta died.......and you know what my sister said? She told me that she went to Petco the same day and got another betta that looked similar and that my mom never found out what really happened. That disgusts me. I spend hours caring for all of my fishies, and if you can't take care of fish, you shouldn't have them. She also has a 10 gallon that is way overstocked as well. Whenever I mention it to her she flips out. I hope that you can find a way to break it to your MIL and that she is more open minded than my sis.
 
Angela_96
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Now my mil will change the fish water, she won't let it get nasty.. and if I tell her it needs a water change because of a test being off she will do it.. so I know she is open minded about that.. its the bio-load issue that I know she would flip out about if I said something...
 
Shawnie
  • #8
You could always have her join fishlore and read some of the posts from others ...or maybe your husband can bring it up to her?
 
Lucy
  • #9
Mother's Day is coming, the 14 gallon you mentioned would be a nice gift. If you add in lots of nice plants and decorations it would look fuller so maybe she won't feel the urge to add more fish.
 
sirdarksol
  • #10
This is something that we don't like to think of, but there are some people who will never understand. Goldfish and bettas have always been kept in bowls, and you can cram ten fish and a pleco in a twenty gallon tank. It's the way things have always been done. The pleco lived for over a year, so it was successful, right?
The people at my brother's day program are like this. They just don't understand how a fish could require so much care. They had a pleco that I was trying to rescue. It died about an hour before I was going to pick it up. I had explained that the really big fish don't do well in a 10g, and not to listen to the idiot at the pet store because he doesn't know anything about fish, and I would go out with my own money and buy some fish to stock the tank with.
Two weeks ago, I show up and there's a goldfish in the tank, swimming alongside the two black skirt tetras. I wanted to cry.
The idea is "they normally live in little bowls, so it should be really happy here."
Like I said, some people don't want to learn. The creatures are "just fish", not like puppies or anything, so they don't need a lot of work or care.
Hopefully your mother in law isn't one of these people and can gently be swayed.
 
Narcicius
  • #11
I think if you're direct and just tell her 1" of fish per gallon then look at her tank very drammatically. If not then just steal a few of teh bigger ones, and never tell her, EVAR!!!!!
 
Allie
  • #12
I think if you're direct and just tell her 1" of fish per gallon then look at her tank very drammatically. If not then just steal a few of teh bigger ones, and never tell her, EVAR!!!!!
There ya go.
Don't worry about being nice...Tell her Allie and the rest at fish lore told her she is over stocked. A 5 gallon tank is meant for a Betta or a puffer. 5 gallon don't have an potential. okey:
 
Angela_96
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
I tried the inch per gallon, then she looked at my cichlid tanks and said well that def don't look like an inch per gallon... I sure didn't want to get into that one... that they didn't go under the inch per gallon rule...
I will try the nice approach with her.. if it keeps up we will just get her a bigger tank as a mothers day gift as above mentioned as an excuse to buy it... I plan to get my mother a biowheel and a couple angel fish... her filter is way under rated for her tank so that's my nice way of saying heres what they need.. she will appricate the clear water when its put on there.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #14
Maybe you could talk her into learning the principles of bioload through her desire to have Betta fry. Bioload is a huge factor there.

I could tell her that but I had guppies in a 5 gallon tank for a long time so she thinks it will work for her.. she didn't count how many I had though... it wasn't many I had 2 trios and I was overstocked not to mention as soon as I got one I put them into a 10 gallon tank until I got rid of all my guppies and I separated my fry from my guppy parents... but I kept up w/ waterchanges and chem! She has about 15 fish in her tank!
 
Angela_96
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Maybe you could talk her into learning the principles of bioload through her desire to have Betta fry. Bioload is a huge factor there.

My mother is the one w/ the Bettas she is actually very good w/ Bioloads in her tank. My mil is the fish squasher... so to speak..
 
COBettaCouple
  • #16
Ah, I see.. I'm following you now.
 

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