Improve or remove the fish tanks at Wal-Mart stores
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It is not uncommon to visit any Walmart fish department and see fish kept in poor conditions. Betta fish kept in bowls of yellow, hazy water. Two or more species that should never be kept in the same tank. Diseased or dead fish left apparently unattended, often several dead fish on display. Nobody in sight that works in the department to answer questions. These are just a few of the problems commonly seen in Walmart fish departments. There is no debate among fishkeeper hobbyists across the Nation that a change needs to be made.
Fish bought from reputable breeders/distributors and kept in good care can live for years. I do not believe Walmart specifically intends to neglect their live merchandise; I believe the problem is lack of training and staffing in the pet department.
I would like to see a commitment from Walmart to have a comprehensive training system put in place. The training should include:
- Understanding the nitrogen cycle. Involving and how ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH can affect the ecosystem of freshwater and saltwater environments and at what levels each can become toxic to fish. It is also necessary for fish health to know how to correct these levels when they have reached an unacceptable range.
- Understanding of the specific needs of each fish kept in stock. All species have varying pH, temperature and feeding requirements to be kept in good health. It is acceptable to mix species in a single tank when the requirements are similar between species, so long as they are also compatible with each other in regards to aggression.
- Understanding of overcrowding. If all the water parameters are normal and needs are met, a healthy fish tank must not have too many fish. Overstocking can stress the inhabitants and reduce their immune system and appetite, causing illness.
- Feeding schedule, and portions. Irregular feeding times and over/under feeding can also lead to an unhealthy fish tank. Sticking to a reasonable feeding schedule and appropriate portion sizes is paramount.
It is necessary to keep at least one full-time, fully trained employee in the fish department at all times. There is a lot of work to be done to maintain a fish store, even a small one within a department store like Walmart. Checking-in new fish shipments and acclimating them to the display tanks, feeding, cleaning and performing water changes, treating illnesses, answering customer questions and providing seasoned advice are just a few of the tasks necessary to keep even the smallest of fish tanks healthy.
If Walmart declines to make the changes necessary to provide healthy fish to their customers, those who have signed this petition would like to see Walmart discontinue the sale of fish at ALL locations.
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