Payments we accept:

click here
My Cart (0 items)

Why do my fish keep dying? 21/10/2013

Ah yes…..i thought i would start this topic and see where it takes me.I have kept and been into fish since i was eleven years old and now i am forty five…….sounds weird when i say it like that.I run the largest independent fish house in Ireland and to date we have received several awards for what we do.We are a shed in the middle of nowhere hidden from view with no passing trade and yet despite it all we are still here.I wonder about that too by the way.

Why am i different to all my competitors?Well for one i am a fish keeper.I have the largest collection of freshwater fish in the country in fact if i sold some of them i could probably eat more than just beans and toast. I am fanatical about what i let leave the building.Health wise that is.

There is though after all a very serious issue here.I hear this every day of my life ‘Why do my fish keep dying?’On the basis that most people can feed and look after themselves and are at least mildly intelligent i truly believe not every customer is completely incompetent and can not keep fish alive.And if the customer tests his water parameters on a regular basis then i think hand on my heart that there are deeper routed problems here to address.I do not believe for one moment that people intentionally set out to kill there livestock even though accidents do happen.They happen to me on a regular basis.

I believe the real issues as to why my fish keep dying is the trade.From my experience as a supplier to the trade i feel i am more than qualified to make that statement.One of the reason i pulled back from supplying the trade was the sheer incompetence of the traders i was dealing with.Now i mean incompetent.I was supplying fish to people that had less knowledge than even novice fish keepers have and they were supplying the public?Oh my god….they were frustrating times let me tell you.Most of the shops but not all of them sell fish to make money…..they are not hobbyists.Most shops but not all of them will sell you anything to turn a penny because if it dies in their tank they have lost the money.That does not happen here.With me.We have so many stock tanks that we can sell other items if an animal is not healthy.But because Ireland is Ireland and people do not care about one another anymore those shops will continue to sell fish that are unfit for sale.And do you know why?Because the public are to stupid to realize this.

I am not saying everything i sell stays perfect that would be arrogant.What i am saying is the best of what we have goes out the door.If i have problems then we exclude the problems from going on sale.Other shops cannot afford to do this.Also every meter of our stock tanks are self contained ie each bank of tanks.Most shops centralize their systems for convenience sake we do not.So we do not have problems going through all our tanks.Now let me get back to an earlier point i made.Customers losing fish.You would lose a lot less fish if you were not so lazy.Get off your you no what and support the shops that have the reputation for healthy stock.The lazy people buy the closet possible usually at a superstore or a garden center.Superstores and garden centers are a no no….trust me.To them it is a numbers game….there will be a new face serving you every other week.That is a bad reflection on that business.There should be stringent regulation that would end that for a start.

Anyway sorry i have so much to say i am wandering here.It is about why fish keep dying….OK on the basis that you acclimatize your fish correctly by adding aquarium water to the bag slowly over 20 to 30 min till bag fills up and your water parameters are where they should be then fish after a period of six weeks should fully acclimatize.What i mean by acclimatize is that the fish will have adjusted to the water conditions in your tank.This six week window is the real issue here.Most people will have their issues in that period.To overcome this deadly time you must quarantine your fish.Yes you must not me.If i quarantine a fish then give it to you the same thing will happen.Shops that boast about quarantine….don’t really know what they are talking about.It’s just win you over.This is a science after all remember that.

Once you move a fish technically it will need to be re quarantined.One of the biggest problems you will face as a fish keeper is parasites.Most parasites are invisible to the naked eye and any you can see tend not to be a major issue.The parasites we deal with are microscopic and they tend to be the culprits 8 of of ten times.So how can garden centers and superstores and fish shops sell fish if they do not understand the issues they are passing out?I do thankfully.But do you know the worst thing?You do not know either so you become trapped.You buy a fish chance are it will have a heavy parasite load and then it kicks off when you get the time bomb home.This kills me.Everyday i get people coming to me with the same stories my fish keep dying and then they tell me where they bought them.Basically i now say ‘what do you expect?’Sure people are too lazy to keep fish in Ireland.They will go back to the same shop again and again with cap in hand to get advice from some 16 year old that is keeping fish for a week themselves.This is the trap!This is why your fish keep dying!

A perfect example.A friend of ours who buys all his fish off me went to a superstore recently and bought some cardinal tetras.Two days later he lost those cardinals plus forty of his own which were mine plus forty rummy nosed tetra which were mine plus his corydoras. nI told him to back to that store and raise hell….he is going back today.

So basically another shop has wrecked the hobby for one of my customers.I took samples of his dead fish and showed him the problems under the microscope he was appalled.Now most people will take this on the chin.At least for a while.They wont question the stock they are getting even if there are dead fish in the tanks.I keep saying to people use your common sense for god sake.People can be so stupid they make me want to scream.Some of our best customers travel the length of Ireland to visit me and it’s is great to meet enthusiastic people it recharges the battery.250 thousand people within 6 miles of me and what do i have to listen too?’Your too far out!’ i can not help people like that.If i have to explain to them that if they complain to me about why their fish die all the time then tell me i am too far out i will eventually strangle one of them.


But on a more serious note.The health of fish in Irish stores today is shocking.I can look after 425 tanks on my own why can’t they look after what little they have? So stop buying fish in shops that have a poor track record.It is as simple as that.Do not buy from people that do not know what they are doing end of!If your water quality is good then there is a problem.That is a fact.Where did you buy that problem?Go back and get it sorted.

Fish do die.Some will not make it home.This happens.Why do all the old fish die off in my tank and not the new ones or the other classic the new ones died and all my own are still okay…..these are fairly easy questions to answer.When you add new fish to your tank they will enter the six week viscous circle of adjustment.In that time period a lot can happen.I will run through a few scenarios.New fish dying.New arrivals are stressed malnourished most probably and possible unsuitable for your aquarium water parameters.New fish will probably have a heavy parasite load.New fish will be bullied most likely because you have trained your fish to eat what comes into your aquarium through feeding regimes so feed your fish well before adding new fish.Older tank mates will have adjusted to all the madness of your tank they should be fitter stronger and more able to deal with newbies.If new fish survive and older stock dies there is a probability that you have introduced a new problem which will be invisible to the naked eye.I will talk later about how to deal with these health issues.Fish keeping is a science so get to grips with it.If you do not have a full test kit then keep donkeys are something else instead.If a shop tells you that they will test your water for you then run….they are the culprits……..they keep you ignorant…..then they make you feel guilty and then they will tell you lies and slowly but surely the great wheel turns and another person leaves the hobby!!


Ian Patrick Compton