Jump to content

LFS & dead fish

Recommended Posts

I was wondering about people's experience with fish bought from their LFS.

I remember clearly one batch from GC that all died within 2 days (cories & black knife). It was the only fish in the tank that died and when i tested the waters all levels were fine and I saw no sign of parasites.

Then recently I added 2 clown loaches which have mysteriously disappeared, I suspect died and got eaten.

If I don't have receipts but the shop keepers should remember me, should I be going to the LFS and asking why their fish die on me ?

I know the last fish I introduced from this store was an Oscar and he immediately had white spot develop, took 2 weeks to recover (not another fish in the tank developed symptoms the same).

How do you bring up the topic and what is experience in getting replacements ?

I know when I mention the problems I get told about must be stress, levels or something else....but never suggestion it is the fish themselves.

I just think if existing fish are not unhealthy and I am extremely careful with introducing...then it must be the supply.

How common is it for everyone and do you just bear it and move on to another supplier ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally believe you should bare with it.

I picked up a dominant male juvenile Geophagus steindachneri from a store in Brisbane that I acclimatised perfectly, had settled in and was eating exceptionally well, and I found dead 3 days later. I returned to the store to find their steindachneri tank rather bare with only a few fish remaining that didn't look overly healthy, yet their other tanks were and still are exceptional, and I have bought there since without any hassles.

There are so many possible causes to these problems that it's unfair to blame the fish stores in most cases, especially if the fish was actively appearing healthy under their care (and if they aren't you probably shouldn't consider buying it).

Also, I might add not to mention store names in this thread (and it's good that you haven't aterese).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its a tough situation

On one hand you have paid money for your fish to only die straight away

On the other it could have been your problem to start with

I know either is difficult to prove one or the other

Though here at Aquariums Alive I give a full 7 days warranty on all fish purchased

I do test the customers water and even if it comes back with shy high readings I honor my warranty and get the customers tank back right b4 I will replace the fish

One major thing is just a difference in water conditions

Like I have tested customers tanks which are very low PH and all the fish they have are surviving as I assume it lowered slowly and the fish got accustomed to it though add a new fish and suddenly its a massive drop in PH and that fish wont survive

I would reccomend tread slowly with the shop and see what they say in regards to it

Just remember some shops have a warranty and some have none


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been fortunate in that it has not happened much to me but on one occasion when it did I had a common pleco die on the 3rd day I had it. I bought 2 at the same time from a lfs. No signs of illness whatsoever, healthy looking fish - but dead! Kept in the same water as the other one which showed no signs of any problems so I assumed it must have been the fish. Tested the water, all fine.

I rang the shop (best to do this first rather than just turn up) and explained what had happened, also explained I had tested the water to show I understood water parameters etc. Initially they said their policy was to only replace fish within 2 days. I put the fish initially in a small quarantine tank on the afternoon of day 1 and found it dead on the morning of day 3. Explained all this and indicated I would like a replacement fish. A little reluctantly they agreed and I still have these plecos, now about 25cm each.

I was prepared for them to refuse to replace the fish in which case I would have had no choice but to accept it. In that case I would also never have bought any fish from them again.

A lot depends on how you approach the lfs. Don't get all steamed up and abusive. Be friendly and reasonable. Sometimes fish die and there is no obvious reason. Also, you must keep receipts to prove you bought the fish from them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spoke to the store today and they just took the bad luck approach.

I explained already 2 weeks ago my oscar introduced from them developed white spot (and there was no evidence in my tank prior)....I quarantined him and took 2 weeks of treatement but he recovered. The remaining oscars at their store never developed white spot, so was my tank blamed....even if no other fish have it before or since.

I was told bad luck to fish dying, as so many reasons for it. I asked for a discount considering I've spent hundreds with them in weeks and now a few fish losses...they said maybe a dollar off!!!

I think I'll look elsewhere....I'd rather pay cheaper from breeders for smaller size than high price at a LFS and then have the fish not survive.

Have to admit that I haven't approached the other LFS (where whole lot died within days) or the breeder where a few fish died (in the bag on the way home). I figured that was my beginnerness and was too shy.

I think this is where you learn to check reputation and ask upfront "what if".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a very similar incident happen to me ... I bought some Tangs from a LFS (6 in total) ... I did everything right in introducing the fish to the tank (running for months with many other tangs living very happily) ... 2 of the fish didnt look too happy in the bag, the next morning they decided to die while all the other were happy as larry ... I rang the store and they said to freeze the fish and bring in a sample of the water.

I took the fish in a week later with some water. The lovely lady tested for everything and found nothing wrong. She got onto the boss and he offered a 50% credit and said it was likely stress. How can u argue with that? If all else fails then its stress. If the fish were stressed before they got into the bag then should they have been sold?

I guess i cant complain, they did give me some compensation.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

WIth all due respect - I wouldn;t give you credit aterese. You have a Oscar that got white spot and was treated and fine - and your 2 clown loach disappeared.

So your Oscar is fine - and as for what happened to your clown loach???? - did they jump out and are under the stand - did the cat eat them? did something else kill them???

Why is it the shops fault?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

shops have to run at a profit, if they gave refunds to everyone that lost a few fish then they wouldn survive,

some shops will refund within 24 hours but you have to take the fish and water sample back,...

it all depends on what LFS you got them from... i have only had this issue of fish dying once, and it was my own fault cos i got them cheap from a not so good shop..

every other fish i have bought from my well known high quaility shop i havent had an issue with any of them, even the fussy types of fish, but i know if i had issues there would be no problems in them helping in how ever they can, either finding my problem or refund or storecredit or discount or something along those lines. all depends on where you go

but if you think everything is cool with your tank and setup and things like that(bit strange about missing fish and the whitespot thing) and they calling it bad luck then you should consider swapping shops(but i can see where they coming from) .... i would look further into the issues your having first though


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should remind that the fish deaths were separate incidents and not all at once or a flow on effect. I'm not complaining and have said before that I haven't said anything before believing it had to be my fault as a beginner. I just now find it harder to accept if water is tested fine to be blamed if they die from stress.

The nitrate was up just after the oscar got the white spot....and I sorted that out. Tests have all been 0, except nitrite of 0.1 which the LFS says is due to cycling continuing (massive water changes with the white spot).

I'm confident with testing again today that all tanks are healthy.

I do have another surprise tonight and I blame it on too large a water change on the weekend (50%)....my guppy tank sufferred mass suicide.

10 of 12 fry are dead that I can see...4 albino bn and 1 common bn. They were fine this morning and gone by evening. I immediately tested my water, everything 0, temp 26, ph 7.5.

It's only a 50l breeding tank and now there is just the adult guppies left and 2 remaining common bn.

Would I be right that if no trace of anything unusual or disease, that it is likely too much stress/water temp or other affect from a 50% water change. I heard albino's are very sensitive ?

I guess this tank will become my quarantine one now :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think i might know the shop you are talking about (if you dont mind pls pm it to me)..

all i can say is choose very carefully. if your paying top dollar for a fish in a shop make sure that all the fish in the tank are 100% healthy before deciding. there are too many factors that can cause problems when adding a new fish (Temp/PH change, tankmates/aggression over territories, stress from the above). these few things can kill a new fish overnight and none of which are the shops fault. the best advice i can give you is to research the fish you want before you buy it and make sure it will be ok. before adding the fish to your aquarium, take out all the rocks/ ornaments and replace them once the new fish are added. this will cause all your fish to have to find a new territory and give the new fish a chance to find one so he fits in.

if i were you id be seperating all the fish that are not africans and put them into another tank.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for that....I want to do exactly that....split all non africans into the new 4ft.

I hope people understand not playing name games....but I do get awful feeling when no fish have survived (amongst 3 tanks) that came from that one shop.

Yet all fish from breeders survived, including fish of same species going into same tank, as the ones that died.

Eg. sharks from them died

sharks from another store survived

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me something isn't quiet right...

What is the ph of the water where you buy the fish from?

When buying fish from anywhere, are the tanks on a system, is there a UV steriliser used, check the tank you want to buy fish from, do all the fish look healthy, are they active, ask for the shop to feed the fish, from where you want to buy. The fish should knock the food off straight away if healthy. If tanks are on system, check other tanks too for signs of disease. How does the lfs store their nets, are these used in other tanks, ie; I have seen lfs use same nets on feeder fish & normal live stock...

Whenever you treat a tank, you have to assume your tank has to re cycle, take care for a few weeks. New fish should not be added. If you use the same nets for all tanks, you have passed the whitespot on to other tanks too.

So many variables here. Just be careful with what you do.

Frenchy :sheep:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Alterese, There is one critical water parameter that is overlooked by most people that is probably responsible for more fish deaths than any other cause - That is Total Dissolved Solids.

When you have a tank for a while the TDS reading will rise because water that evaporates from the tank is essentially pure with zero TDS which causes the levels to rise in your tank slowly - this is called Old-Tank-Syndrome. Fish living in the tank will tolerate this slow rise as their osmotic regulation has time to adjust to the gradual change. Any fish that comes from water with a much lower TDS cannot adjust to it quickly enough and they die of "thirst" because water is not drawn into the body osmotically and the kidneys fail and the fish die.Some fish are less sensitive to TDS changes while for others the slightest difference is a death sentence.

50% water changes are a dangerous thing to do for the same reason so try and limit it to 25% and do them more often if your water-parameters tell you to or you keep sensitive fish that need pristine water quality like Knives-tetras-loaches etc. I do 25% changes every 5 days for my Loachs and this also helps keep down the TDS level.

Cheers Graeme.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be fair to both parties, LFS seem to get a bad rap alot of the time for stuff like this, and some assume they know of the problems, dont forget that its in the stores interest to keep there fish and tanks as healthy as possible, after all there systems run thousands of dollars worth of stock, and that stock is there business.

If you want to be safe, take a sample of your water in, get them to test it, get them to also test the water its coming from and make your own decision on the buy.

Im probably not the best person so say be nice and calm as I often dont do it myself (no need to go into that), but remember a good store knows the value of there customers, one that doesnt will not last long, so shop somewhere else.

And goto our sponsers, we dont allow sponsers on this forum who have a bad track record, or we have personally had problems with, In saying that dont send me any complaints, talk to them.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Considering the advice, I won't go back there.

Mainly because I do see dead fish in their tanks frequently and the others are not the most energetic.

They also encouraged me to do things that I know you guys would say a big NOOOOO to. That is where just making a sale over careful advice is not the best for the consumer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...