Impossible Fish Keeping

ThomasDickson
  • #1
I just came back from Thailand where I visited the aquarium section of Chatuchak market. I was quite horrified by the treatment of the fish, particularly with the ridiculously high stocking densities.
On further inspection, I noticed that the fish actually looked healthier than most of the "chain" pet stores in Australia. I didn't see any signs of disease, poor swimming, poor colour and only occasionally a dead fish.

Most of the ThaI tanks were simple bare-bottom setups with 1-2 large sponge filters and no algae. Compare this to Australia where our petstores have auto-water changes, air-stones, sponge filters, algae and plants in the tanks.

What are ThaI fish sellers doing/know that Australians don't?

Attached is a photo of a 75gal (approx) overstocked with neon tetra and cherry shrimp, a fine layer of substrate, almond leaves and a single sponge filter.

Another example https://www.willflyforfood.net/uplo...-guide/chatuchak-market/chatuchak-market2.jpg
 

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Bryangar
  • #2
I would say markets have definitely mastered fish holding. I don’t really know how they keep the waters clean, maybe some kind of auto water changer? Ive seen videos of markets in china with those. Not sure about thailand.
 
IHaveADogToo
  • #3
The US, Australia, and Europe get Asia’s culls
 
ThomasDickson
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
I would say markets have definitely mastered fish holding. I don’t really know how they keep the waters clean, maybe some kind of auto water changer? Ive seen videos of markets in china with those. Not sure about thailand.
I couldn't see any auto-water changers but maybe they just do manual changes regularly.

The US, Australia, and Europe get Asia’s culls
So maybe the secret is genetics.
 
goldface
  • #5
I don’t know why you’re “horrified” by the stocking. Based on the photo you posted, seems pretty normal here in the US. How does Australia do it?
 
Lagertha
  • #6
I don’t know why you’re “horrified” by the stocking. Based on the photo you posted, seems pretty normal here in the US. How does Australia do it?

It’s not normal in the UK here. If any pet shop did that animal welfare would be in there closing them down.

Pets At Home (our equivalent to your Pet Smart) do over stock a little but not massively. The health of the fish is pretty glum though due to poor water quality but they aren’t permitted to massively over stock their tanks.
 
ThomasDickson
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
I don’t know why you’re “horrified” by the stocking. Based on the photo you posted, seems pretty normal here in the US. How does Australia do it?
Australia is a big island with a small population, so I guess we just take up more space even in our fish keeping. I couldn't find a picture but below is a video of an Aussie fish chain. Notice how empty the tanks are.
 
-Mak-
  • #8
I saw the exact same stuff in Taiwan. The fish at Petco and Petsmart here are deformed, skinny, and sickly, generally not great looking specimens at a low stocking, while in Asia at high stocking I can't recall seeing a single dead fish.
I think at least part of it comes down to the motivation by caretakers to keep the fish healthy. Employees at chain stores here have a set salary that doesn't depend on how well fish sell. In contrast, a lot of fish shops in Asia are small, personally owned vendors or little shops, and the owner's income depends on how well their fish sell, so they have to keep them in good condition.

How they actually do it I don't know (I'll remember to ask next time), but I would argue people here understock bioload-wise. Those tiny tetras probably aren't doing as much to the bioload as you think.

Editing to say, actually could it be because of stocking habits here, that stores have very unsteady cycles? My Petco restocks on Thursday and if I go on a Tuesday or Wednesday some tanks are nearly empty. Seems like a cycle killer to me. And then when new fish come on, they minI cycle? In Asia I went to many shops on different days, tanks were always fully stocked, so a continuous, stable cycle?
 
ThomasDickson
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I saw the exact same stuff in Taiwan. The fish at Petco and Petsmart here are deformed, skinny, and sickly, generally not great looking specimens at a low stocking, while in Asia at high stocking I can't recall seeing a single dead fish.
I think at least part of it comes down to the motivation by caretakers to keep the fish healthy. Employees at chain stores here have a set salary that doesn't depend on how well fish sell. In contrast, a lot of fish shops in Asia are small, personally owned vendors or little shops, and the owner's income depends on how well their fish sell, so they have to keep them in good condition.

How they actually do it I don't know (I'll remember to ask next time), but I would argue people here understock bioload-wise. Those tiny tetras probably aren't doing as much to the bioload as you think.

Editing to say, actually could it be because of stocking habits here, that stores have very unsteady cycles? My Petco restocks on Thursday and if I go on a Tuesday or Wednesday some tanks are nearly empty. Seems like a cycle killer to me. And then when new fish come on, they minI cycle? In Asia I went to many shops on different days, tanks were always fully stocked, so a continuous, stable cycle?

Yes, please do ask next time you are in Taiwan You're right, similarly most privately owned fish stores in Australia have high quality fish compared to chains.

Some aquarium stores feed a constant amount regardless of the number of fish to avoid mini-cyles, I'm not sure if chains like petsmart/bestfriends do this though.
 
goldface
  • #10
I don't want to complicate things, but I've heard bacteria goes into a dormancy period without an ammonia source. Not sure the validity of that, nor can I recall where I got that info. Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned it at all.

ThomasDickson that video is pretty much how our chain stores (Petsmart and Petco) stock their tanks, and yet, I still see quite a few deaths. My local mom-and-pop fish store, however, has it stocked very heavy, sort of like the picture you posted of the tetras, but their fish are very healthy, and I normally don't see many deaths.

I agree with Mak that people generally overestimate bioload. I stock pretty heavy myself and used to test parameters often and was always surprised by the results. So, I think it comes down to knowledge and work ethics.
 
BRDrew
  • #11
I don't know about Thailand but here in Brazil the LFSs have some crazy stocking set-ups and the fish actually do really well.

In one particular LFS they stocked a recently built tank with 3000 fish after the set-up. All at once. 1000 Neon tetras, 1000 hastatus cories and I don't quite remember the third species. The tank is large and all but I would expect the introduction of so many at once to be really risky. As far as the people who work there told me they lost a minimum amount of fish. They have sold nearly all of the original stocking but kept adding new fish, they even have discus and puffers.

I guess if the fish comes from a foreign breeder its easier for them to sell to locals rather than exporting.
 
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