View Full Version : Walmart - Help! Suggestions for good practices

07-03-2008, 02:53 PM
Hi all!

Been out of the hobby for a little while now, but I need some help please.

Well, I don't condone Walmart keeping fish. That's just my personal opinion. BUT, my sweet and sensitive retired mother has a gig at Walmart to keep herself busy, and don't you know she's been put in the pet section.

She is having lots of stress. And I don't have all the answers for her, as the sum of my experience resides on the hobbyist side of things.

I have some questions I dearly need some advice for. I would really appreciate any advice from people with lfs/pet store experience.

She knows nothing, but I have explained the basics of the hobby. So, in no apparent order:

1 - she says the fish get shipped from Mississauga to her store (it's a new store near her home in Bala (near Orillia)). Anyway, she says all orders get on dock at 6:30am, but the manager won't let them start until 8am. Anyone think the extra hour and a half is a problem? (I have no idea the care the fish get in shipping)

2 - anyone know if a Walmart system has automated w/c's? I have to take a trip up there and check things out. What is recommended as per w/c's for a system such as Walmarts?

3 - she'll get some control over stocking/ordering, and I could give a rats a$$ what the manager thinks - I think she should stick with a small assortment of goldfish, dithers, maybe gouramis, livebearers, bascially anything that a newbie might try to choke in the surely 10 gallon tank they'd be taking the fish home to - I don't condone WM selling cichlids personally. For the most part (and I've witnessed the poor information chain) it seems to be impulse buyers, taking home three 1.5 inch oscars to their doom.

4 - acclimatization - floating the bags and dimming the lights I'd think. Anyone know if the tanks are all connected? I'm thinking about temperature etc. I don't think there's any chance to quarantine.

5 - I can outline what knowledge base she'd need for educating prospective newbies - like tank husbandry, fish compatibility and nutrition etc. She surely needs to have a decent understanding in general. I can make her notes on that end. Anything else she would need to know?

Well, basically, I'm asking for a lot. Sorry for this hugely open-ended post. But whatever any of you might know that could make this poor situation as much of a positive as possible would be greatly appreciated! She is such an animal lover, and the fish deaths are causing her much stress.

Thanks in advance for everyone's advice :)

07-03-2008, 03:15 PM

Long time no see my friend!

1. If the fish survived the shipping I doubt the extra time will hurt them so long as the temperature remains consistent. It would help if he bags were of the breathable variety.

2. No clue.

3. Likely a good idea for the customer and the fish, might get her into to trouble though.

4. 15 minute float is likely the best she'll get, I highly doubt quarantining would be possible.

5. The basics should suffice, cycling would be most important followed by tank size ideas.

07-03-2008, 03:19 PM
Dead fishes is part of the game especially when you don't know where they are coming from and you didn't pick them out yourself. Not to mention the more you get the higher the chances of a few dying. I've brought home fish that die within the first day just cuz they were infected with ich and I didn't see it. Then it spread to my whole tank! Thanks alot LFS now I've gotta go back and buy meds. Figuring out why they are dying and stopping it is the challenging part. Tell her they went to the big fish bowl in the sky!

07-03-2008, 04:34 PM
Thanks, thanks, thanks.

Yeah K Labs - I really doubt quarantining new purchases is much of an option for most WM Buyers. Obviously on my suggestion list. But, WM seems to be for the most part, at least from my experience, the place where desire prevails over knowledge and common sense. You think most people have a spare tank (or bucket, airstone and heater) to provide a decent quarantine period? ;)

Glaive - damn bro! You up in post count history now!! ;) Thanks for the input - appreciate it! Hope you and your wards are well :)

07-03-2008, 04:58 PM
1 - probably wouldnt hurt them if like glaive said temps remain stable

2 - none of the walmarts around here do. ive talked to the pet clerks in our local walmart and he does the water changes with a python weekly

3 - good luck. she probably has control up until a certain point and that point is to where walmart is still making its money.

4 - the tanks are all connected. they dont get quarantine time nor would i guess your mom will be allowed to quarantine before sale.

5 - tell her to find some reputable care sheets to put on the tanks or print outs for people to take home.

07-03-2008, 05:06 PM
Thanks MK - Good advice. Appreciate it.

Just talked to my Mom - this is one crazy WM! It opened up in a summer town - totally understaffed, no management, no leadership, no accountability! All the staff.management are retirees. She could run the department under her own directive apparently. I guess as long as she sells the dry goods.

The care sheets are a great idea - and I think I can have her stocking goldies/livebearers/tetras with no-one the wiser :)

07-03-2008, 08:45 PM
Danios, Giant danios, white clouds, all the hardier fish is where you should point her and that way she saves herself a lot of headaches.

Jeff F.
07-03-2008, 09:09 PM
Make sure she can recognize signs of "ich" and knows how to deal with them. I've actually had to intervine with my local Meijers associates and inform them on problems. They get ZERO training and I've actually had multiple tanks shut down while they figured out how to treat them. And I've done it in front of customers while I sent them to our reputible LFS!!! No profit to me but I simply get tired of the IGNORANCE showed at some of the major chains. I truly hope your sis makes a difference in her location. Good Luck!!

07-03-2008, 10:10 PM
i ask this question because i honestly don't know the answer... will a store like walmart take the necessary steps to treat ich if it gets into their tank? Ich medicine doesn't cost much, and presumably they would have it sitting right there on the shelf, so it would "just" be a matter of pulling a bottle from inventory for internal use. If so -- and lord, i hope so, or they REALLY have no business selling fish -- then having her learn to recognize ich on the incoming fish (probably showing up a week after they arrived) would go a long way.

Then, the only other thing to do is make sure she has a care sheet that explains tank cycling in real layman's terms to hand out (along with the care sheets for the fishies). Thus, if she can:

1. sell healthy fish
2. to people who will understand how to set up a new tank, and
3. keep her own tanks maintained,

then she'll have done a great deal to enhance the enjoyment of the hobby to a host of beginners.

Oh, and don't let the customers mix tropical fish and goldfish.

Oh, and goldfish are as messy as cichlids, so filter accordingly :)

One more suggestion... hook her up with her own 10 gallon guppy tank. Pick one up from someone in toronto off of craigslist for 25 dollars with all the trimmings. Nothing enhances being able to explain it to someone like having done it yourself. :)

07-04-2008, 03:52 AM
Thanks - good points! Appreciate the help :)

07-04-2008, 12:20 PM
If they are on individual filtration a little salt can go a long way in the right tanks. Catfish typically do not react well to salt for example.

07-04-2008, 02:42 PM
The tanks are all connected together that are in the same "unit" which I think have a total of 9 tanks each... I almost bought one of the displays they were chucking once.

07-06-2008, 04:17 PM
Neo! Glad to see you visiting! I think you pretty much got more advice than your mother can handle right off the bat so I won't add to the stress.

Just wanted to say hello and that we miss you around here. :D