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I am by no means an expert on any type of cichlid or aquarium knowledge but I seem to be running into the same thing at each store I go to. I tend to know more about cichlids than the people working at the store. Or at the very least I know enough to tell them that what they are saying to me is just not true. This is both sad and frightening to think that I am becoming more informed than the people I hoped would be able to answer my questions...

I was wondering if people have come to similar conclusions? I would also like to thank those on this site who have helped me out numerous times and have been a solid place for information and continuing my education of the hobby.

-Potus
 

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I used to manage a good store, most stores (atleast in my area) only hire for labor. Its cheaper & easier to find uneducated labor then someone who knows what they're doing, after all it is the buyers responsibility to research what they want & how to care for it BEFORE making a purchase. Sadly 99.99% dont. I used to even provide information packets for free. Most people didnt want it. Then wondered why stuff was dying.
 

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Back in the 80s-90s, before the advent of the "big" fish stores, LFS actually had people who knew stuff about the things they sell.

Seems like it is a lost art. Of course you will find the occasional person at the big stores or LFS who know something about fish; but, they are the exception.

Truth is that access to the internet has enabled us to become far more versed in areas of interests such as fishing, hunting, collecting, cooking, and even the fish we keep, than I could have ever imagined when I set up my first cichlid tank in 1991.
 

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There are two smaller fish stores in my area in which only the owners work, they are fairly knowledgeable. However chain stores.... Tend to be uneducated, one local store a you GDR lady was working, she decided to she was going to take a Frontosa home who was already 6 inchs put it in a 10g tank because he black and white. He matched her zebra print comforter, I bought him to prevent that. People are special.
 

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exasperatus2002 said:
I used to manage a good store, most stores (atleast in my area) only hire for labor. Its cheaper & easier to find uneducated labor then someone who knows what they're doing, after all it is the buyers responsibility to research what they want & how to care for it BEFORE making a purchase. Sadly 99.99% dont. I used to even provide information packets for free. Most people didnt want it. Then wondered why stuff was dying.
I used to work for a chain retail store. I went on the internet to learn about the fish because what management knew could have been put on the head of a pin and still have room left over. They didn't care just as long as they had the sales.
 

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you sell more fish if the buyer's fish keep dying. This means you also sell the cheapest fish, since fish are now like ornaments or flowers, you get fresh ones every few months (or less). Keep this system going and you have a healthy turnover each month.

Yes, I am bitter about this. It means hundreds of fish are poisoned and die in houses all over. Have I mentioned the tiny, tiny betta bowls? Sobs.
 

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i think the problem is finding a person whose knowlege in the area is probably on a par with a university graduate, then pay them peanuts to constantly explain the nitrogen cycle to an endless stream of clowns!!!!! not many people will put up with this!!!
 

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I think due to the economy being in such disarray, it does not make good business sense for big chains to exhaust precious resources into hiring someone who actually knows the job. After all, it’s not like they’re gonna be performing heart surgery. Just that the person knows that fish live in water is probably good enough to land you the job. Plus, and I know this from interaction with different ppl, customers do NOT like hearing that their tank is too small to house a certain fish. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, the truth hurts. Especially if a young child is with his parents and points towards a beautiful Jack Dempsey. His parents only want to make the child happy, not get into a heated debate with an LFS worker. In the end, it doesn’t matter if that Dempsey will be living in a small 5 gallon, as long as $ exchanges hands.

When I first set up my aquarium, and went to the LFS to stock up, I bought a green terror. The LFS guy told me they’re a *bit* territorial, but if you make sure they are well fed, they are an excellent community fish!
 

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It is a real shame that now days we as fish hobby people have to really do our homework in order to know what we are trying to obtain and do with our aquaruims and cannot rely on the LFS people to help us. It kind of makes me mad when they always want to come up to you in the store and ask " can I help you with something!" lol. Then i say do you think you really can? But it has come to this for me when I do go looking for fish I will now look for the little small fish store the mom and pop type they seem to have a lot more knowledge and if they are wrong with trying to sex a fish will let me bring it back and they will try to correct their mistake.
 

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The worst is when they have brochures and pamphlets that have all the wrong information. Staff can be wrong, but if the hard information behind the staff is wrong then no one will ever be right unless you get an actual fish keeper working there.
 

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I agree...

An employee of an LFS sold Mbunas to my cousin even though he told them he wants fish that he can keep with guppies and mollies... He said yep they can be kept with them no problem and within hours of their arrival they killed a couple of his fish...
 

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frank1rizzo said:
It seems that if you spend 10 minutes reading threads on this site, you'll know more than 80% of the LFS workers. Sad but true.
:D

I disagree. I don't think it takes the full 10 minutes :D

Having said that, there is one lady at my LFS that really knows Cichlids. Chain pet stores? Forget it.
 

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I know whatcha mean, I recently purchased two "german rams" at my LFS I had my doubts and what do ya know they are actually bolivians just as i thought :lol:
 

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The reality is, it's up to each and everone of us to educate ourselves. Can't count on the LFS. Never could. The LFS is in business to sell and make money.....not to educate the public.

I really don't think the level of knowledge at the local LFS is really any different then in the past. Especially when it comes to new world cichlids.

I remember the first red devils I purchased in 1975. I payed $1.75 each as firemouths. I was a 9 year old kid and I certainly knew they were red devils......I had many, many fish books from my oldest brother, and had spent hours and hours looking at them, so it was obvious to me. The local mom and pop store didn't have a clue..... as far as they were concerned they were firemouths. But the price was right! :D

I really think there were more mis-labled fish in the past, then there are today. For example: wasn't all that unusual to see jewel cichlids mis-labled as jack dempseys in the past...... something you are rather unlikely to see in the big box store today.

I remember, very well, the first "home show" are aquarium society held in 1977. At that particular time the local aqaurium society didn't have the funds to put on their regular show, so they had 2 judges go around to member's homes and judge tanks. One of the judges was a previous owner of an LFS and was looked apon as some sort of cichlid expert by many members of the society! :lol: At the time, any plants that were not FULLY aquatic was looked down apon and i had this plant that had grown out of the tank and had flowered. I remember this judge coming right up to the tank, looking at the flower and muttering: "How the h#ll are we suposed to judge this?" :lol: He was very, very offended that i had mixed rift lake cichlid with new world.... though that is not so suprising. He gave me failing marks and wrote a 2 page essay; no exaggeration. But in this essay he went on and on and on, about how "south american" cichlids require soft acidic water and that they should never, ever be put in a tank with limestone! I was an 11 yr. old kid, yet I knew already , a lot of things that this previous LFS owner, a cichlid specialist himself, didn't have a clue! None of my cichlids were "south american" but rather Central american; none came from soft, acidic water and limestone IS the prevailing rock form in many places in Central America. I knew that as an 11 yr. old, yet this LFS owner, a cichlid keeper himself did not! (By the way , I was told by other club members that i was very, very lucky to place 2nd amongst juniors, because the other judge had scored every large tank with high marks....and a 5 ft. 90 gal. was considered BIG in 1977). Don't ever suppose the LFS knows more about cichlids then other aquarists do.

Another example from way back, that sticks in my mind about suposedely knowledgeable LFS owners, also held in high esteeem by aquarium society members. Raised my eyebrows when he did not know the difference between a red, a regular and a tiger oscar, while selling all 3 types at his pet shop!!!! In 1980, I entered my pike (Cr. sp. "venuzuela") and female Urophthalmus in the Aquarium show. There were 2 classes for cichlids: 1) rift lake and 2) all others :lol: I was there, from a distance, as the judges went around judging the fish while this LFS owner instructed the judges----telling them this and that about the fish, because of course he sellls fish, so he must know, right? A lot of really nice cichlids, but i thought my pike may have some chance to place 2nd, but was well aware of the fact that i was biased towards my own fish. Lo and behold, my pike took second...... but the winner was a drab 5-6" male mozambique, not even in breeding coloration! It scored the full 10 marks for size, even though it is a species that can easily exceed 12"! My 9" female Urophthalmus scored 5.5 for size , with a question mark placed after it :-? My second place finnish for the pike was so "cheapened" by some of the rediculous scoring that i vowed to never, enter a fish contest again!. I supose that is what you get, when the judges consult with the local "expert" LFS owner.

Never assume the LFS is knowlegeable, even if they are aquarists themelves. Of course some are very knowlegeable, but even if they are aquarists themselves chances are they know no more then other aquarists do. No doubt , the average user of this fourum, knows a lot more about cichlids, then most most who work at an LFS.
 

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The onus of knowledge is always on the fish keeper. I'm in college and have worked at two chain pet stores. One of which had employees with a laughable amount of knowledge the other had an inept manager but knowledgeable associates. When I lived in San Diego the employees at both Pet Kingdom and Aquatic Warehouse were very knowledgeable (one of the manager also worked at a local aquarium) and were paid accordingly. The round-about point is that, whether the employees are knowledgeable or not, it is always the customer's responsibility to know what they are buying.
 

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I know more than any store by the mere fact I get the internet on my phone :wink:
 
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