…but that’s no reason to get pissy at me when I tell you why they died in the first place.
Especially after you asked me to tell you.
One of the nice things about the pet store I work at is that customers can bring in their water samples to get them tested. Most often this occurs when a fish dies and they want to make sure the water isn’t at fault (thus putting any other fish/aquatic creatures at risk of reaching the same fate). Two people came in to return a couple of fish, and asked me to check their water. Not a problem. I get the return done and ready for the cashier, and start on the water.
“We tested it earlier,” the man tells me, “but we wanted to get it done here too, just in case.”
“We also want to get some more fish.”
“Alright, you can let me know as soon as you know which ones you want.”
We discuss the fish.
“I want the gold ones right here,” the woman says.
“The tequila sunrise or the blonde delta?” I ask, unsure as neither of them really qualify as being ‘gold’.
“What’s the difference?”
There’s a tag right on the tank that shows the fish and tells a bit about them, but whatever. Don’t read it. “The sunrises are the yellow and red, and the deltas are the orange with white.”
“Oh, I guess I want the dollar fish.”
Those would be the sunrises. I confirm this with her.
“Yeah, two of those.”
I get all her other fish, and return to grab the last two. I hate catching them, They always swim to the corner where the net won’t quite reach. I manage to get one of them and put it with the other fish.
“Oh, um, is that the one you’re getting for me?”
“Yes?” I answer, unsure. “You wanted the dollar fish, right? The sunrises?”
“I wanted the gold ones.”
“In this tank we have deltas and sunrises.” Seriously. Where was she getting gold from?
“Oh, I guess I want the deltas.”
Well. Fine. Not a huge deal…had I not confirmed what you wanted multiple times prior to this. I put on a smile, let her know it’s not a problem and go about changing the fish out. Poor things. I probably stressed them out a bunch.
Now that that’s finished, the man asks me if I figured out what was wrong with the water. After showing him the results of the test, I explain what the different colors mean.
“Overall, your water is pretty clean. The pH is a little low, but that can be fixed pretty easily. I did notice that your ammonia levels are very high. They’re definitely in the harmful levels, and that’s most likely the cause of the your fishes deaths.”
“Yeah, that’s what we had found out before. We bought some tablets to help.”
“Did they seem to make a difference?”
“No. What should we do about it?”
“Well, I’d recommend getting a liquid instead. Something you can put in the water. How often do you clean your tank?”
“I haven’t for awhile. Maybe every couple weeks.”
“Oh…Well, you should definitely clean it more often. All the build up of waste and grime could have easily brought your ammonia levels up.”
“Well,” he says, suddenly snippy, “I clean it. I have a filter.”
“Yes, but like I said, if you want this to get fixed, it would be best to clean it at least once a week, if not more because of how many fish you have in it. You may want to go ahead and do a complete clean before you put these new fish in. The biggest thing is going to be scrubbing it down and putting in fresh water. That should make a big difference.”
“Hmph, I think I’ll just stick with the tablets.”
And then they left. With four more fish that may not make it through the week. Fuck.