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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was in PetCo yesterday to pick up some fish food for my daughter's guppies and went to visit the Oscars (I'll be setting up a 120 soon). I was HORRIFIED at what I saw!

OMG, 2 oscars swimming in the tank, absolutely covered with ick spots. One was the tiniest oscar I've seen (1.5 inches or so), really beautiful coloring, so lively and cute, but so sick :( He was swimming up to me and making eye contact - it took all the restraint I had to not buy him and try to nurse him back to health in my daughter's spare 1.5 gallon cube thing (heat and salt and I could maybe cure the ick within a week or two then put him into my 46 until the 120 is ready - this oscar is sooooo tiny).

The other oscar was a little more lethargic, much bigger (3.5 inches), much more sick looking. Then, as I stared into the tank for a bit, I noticed a little face bobbing up and down inside a lava rock decoration in the tank - another oscar, so ill he seemed to have simply gone in there to wait for death. He couldn't even swim anymore. Then I saw a rotting oscar corpse (another little one, about the same size as my little friend) dead and stuck to the filter. He must have been in there for awhile because he was already falling to pieces :(

I didn't know if I should cry or vomit. How can they do this to the fish?! I will NEVER EVER spend a single dollar at PetCo again.

PetSmart, for all their flaws, keeps their fish soooooo much healthier and in better conditions. There's no comparison. Living in a pretty rural area, I'm quite limited and there are no LFS's around (closest is 35 miles away) so PetSmart will have to do for routine purchases - but PetCo = NEVER AGAIN!

So what can I do about this? Call the manager? Complain to corporate HQ?

And do I follow my gut and go get that little oscar who touched my heart, and try to save him? I understand that by getting him, I'd be supporting the store, but OMG it was so hard to walk away from him...the tank is marked "under observation" (what a joke) so I'd have to fight them just to be able to buy him to try and save him.

GAH! What do I do?! I can't get his little face out of my mind...
 

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This is probably going to get locked because of the mention of specific retailers but before it does...
IF you were already planning on getting an Oscar and IF you really will have the tank space (cycled and all), I would definitely get the little guy and nurse him back.
 

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Did you expect anything more from a chain store?

Meanwhile, I am in the same position you are as far as distance from a decent fish store. And while I have never been in a Petco I do boycott Petsmart for their treatment of animals and also their poor customer service.
 

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mrs.som said:
This is probably going to get locked because of the mention of specific retailers but before it does...
IF you were already planning on getting an Oscar and IF you really will have the tank space (cycled and all), I would definitely get the little guy and nurse him back.
While it is very sad, I would have to say, best to not buy the little guy. If you buy him, another will take his place, and the store will profit. :(

Of course, thats sort of an idealists hopefull view - "don't support the practice and it will go away". I've seen others take a different view of: "whether or not you personally buy the fish won't change the industry. You know you can't save all of them, but you can do something for THIS one".

But I also wonder, what happens if you buy him, bring him back to health, and something happens and you never get the big tank for him? Will you have to rehome him? Return him to a LFS? This thread I started a little while ago is just as sad :(
 

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EricaD said:
PetSmart, for all their flaws, keeps their fish soooooo much healthier and in better conditions. There's no comparison.
Absolutely agreed! The petco in my area recently shut down half of their tanks due to ick and all but two of their saltwater tanks due to the salt water equivalent of ick (is it the same?) Its disgusting.
 

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Agreed! The Oscar tank really upset me when I stopped by my local Petco. I saw the same as Erica did. It just makes you want to go to management and say what are you guys doing???!!!! GRRR
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I already have the 120 sitting empty. Just needs to be set up and cycled - I was planning to do it over Christmas but got busy and was in no rush. With 2 other cycled tanks I can get it up and running within weeks, so space for the oscar isn't an issue.

I'm just so sad about the fishie. I can't save them all, and typically I would feel sympathetic but not attached, but this one particular fish really tugged at my heartstrings.

SIGH - I'll stop over there tomorrow night and if he's still there and hasn't totally deteriorated, I'm going to get him. I think maybe he's meant to be mine.
 

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Thats a bummer!! I went to a PetCo for the first time today for another aquarium and their fish section was nicer than most other stores I've seen - must depend on the fish manager. I guess this one has like 20 of his own tanks at home. All these tanks were crystal clear (about 50+) with no dead ones (or visible disease) and no oddball mutants swimming around. All depends on the people running the show I guess!! :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Agreed - each store is different. Our PetCo is horrendous while our local PetSmart is pretty darn good.
 

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I once saw a about 8-10 small tiger oscars at petco in a tank covered with ick. Our local petsmart is better but not perfect. The LFS is 10 times better.
 

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If you can help it, don't spend any money at these box stores. The industry should be in the hands of the hobbiest and those who care about preserving species. If you buy the oscar, your are then responsible for creating more demand/ more mass produced fish/ and more neglect. The only reason those Oscars are there is because people buy them.
 
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I also agree with this petcos care is horrible when I've one in there there's at least one dead fish in each tank. When I was looking at oscars there was a dead albino tiger and the rest were infected with ick.
 
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