Cichlidiot (cich·lid·i·ot)

Fishkeeping for the masses

  • cich·lid : Any of various tropical and subtropical freshwater fishes of the family Cichlidae, many of which are popular as aquarium fish
  • id·i·ot : A foolish or stupid person
  • All original content is © 2006-2007 Cichlidiot.
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Sad State of Affairs

Posted by cichlidiot on December 29, 2006

On the way home from work today, I stopped by the SM Megamall branch of Bio Research, the Philippines’ largest chain of pet shops, for some fish food. As I was waiting in line, I noticed one of the staff packing up six juvenile Aequidens rivulatus in one bag for some poor unsuspecting customer. After politely telling him that I didn’t think that this was acceptable, he retorted that the fish were just skittish because they were stressed from being bagged.

I can’t help but wonder why the management team of Bio Research, which has such a dominating position in the industry, doesn’t see the merits of properly training and educating employees on topics such as proper fish care, at the very least. I would think that these people understand the basic principles of economics and business, and how the company stands to gain a lot more with a complement of knowledgeable staff, as compared to the status quo. Just take the case of the lady that purchased the six juvenile Aequidens rivulatus. There is a reason why this fish is called the Green Terror, after all, and I’m sure that at least one of them will die before 2007 is over, simply because the lady didn’t seem to know what she was getting herself into by buying this particular cichlid. Furthermore, there is a strong likelihood that this lady’s aquarium will see more deaths since she did not purchase an aquarium, meaning she probably already has an established tank with some community fish in it. In the short-term, Bio Research made a sale of P600, or the equivalent of $12. Now, if the unsuspecting lady who bought these fish gives up on fishkeeping as a hobby due to frustration over the death of her fish, then Bio Research has just lost another potential “regular” who could have easily brought in around P500 to P1,000 in revenues annually. Even if she doesn’t abandon fishkeeping altogether, chances are, her dissatisfaction with Bio Research will probably make her shop somewhere else.

Among the hobbyists I know, only a few have decidedly good experiences with Bio Research. I can’t imagine just how much potential revenue the management of Bio Research is giving up by neglecting to properly train the company’s employees. Considering that it is in their best interest to promote fishkeeping as a hobby, it’s a pity that stuff like this has to happen. Hopefully, they figure things out sooner than later.


4 Responses to “Sad State of Affairs”

  1. A few weeks ago, I bought a fully-decorated 5-gallon aquarium with an under-gravel filter from the same branch of Bio Research for Php 1,500. I decided to buy a 2.5 inch Red/White Oranda. The saleslady suggested that I buy two 1 inch telescope goldfish and packed them together into the same bag. She also suggested that I buy some goldfish food, a bottle of methylene blue, and an anti-chlorine solution. My total bill came to PhP 2,000. I thought it would be such a nifty thing to own a fish tank for the first time and not have to worry about how to assemble everything myself.

    On day two, the original three white spots on the Oranda’s tail fin suddenly multiplied. It was only through Internet research that I discovered that I bought a sick fish! I used the methylene blue based on the dosage indicated on the bottle, but the white spots multiplied so rapidly that on the seventh day, all three fish died.

    I started to think it was all my fault that the fish died of the white spots, my being a newbie and all. I ended up spending an entire weekend just reading on goldfish care and basic aquarium maintenance, and how to quarantine a tank for twelve days until the life-cycle of the Ich was over. Maybe I should have bought a book on goldfish before buying some.

    I went to the same branch again just this afternoon, and saw the same tell-tale signs of sickness on the other goldfish. (I also saw some cichlids with their tail fins completely mutilated plus a horde of fish packed into plastic cups, selling for Php 40 each. They all looked dyed. They all looked so pathetic.) It wasn’t a good day for finding good fish, so I just bought a thermometer.

    Now I’m stuck with a fish tank and I’m feeling hopeless about ever finding any good fish for it. Do you know of any other pet shop that sells healthy goldfish and doesn’t go about dyeing and mutilating their fish for a living?

  2. Stephen said

    The fish you see in plastic cups are Siamese fighting fish, or Betta splendens. They are naturally colorful fish and not dyed, although keeping them in plastic cups is such a lousy way to sell livestock.

    I’m sorry to hear about your goldfish. A lot of hobbyists start that way, myself included. I’m glad you haven’t given up with this bad experience. I’d discourage you from keeping goldfish in a 5 gallon tank though. They do get quite big, and are coldwater fish, so they really won’t do well in such small living quarters, regardless of how diligent you are in keeping your aquarium clean. I’d suggest going for some of the smaller tetras, like neons, or some zebra danios.

    There are a couple of good fish stores that sell good quality livestock. If you can, try visiting Angel Ampil, who writes a regular column on fishkeeping for Animal Scene. You can get in touch with him via e-mail at If you’re close to Cartimar, then you can try Metro Pet Shop, which is at the corner.

    If you still need help, just leave me a message and I’ll try to help you look for some fish suitable for your tank.

  3. Aquarium Newbie said

    Many thanks for all the information and practical advice.

    Maybe the fishkeepers at B.R. rationalized the plastic cups due to the relatively high temperature and surface breathing requirements of Betta splendens. Maybe.

    I’m planning to buy a 20-30 gallon tank soon, and cycle it with one or two of the fish types you mentioned.

    The good thing is that the temperature readings for the 5 gallon tank are between 22-24 degrees Celsius, since I keep the tank in a dark area of a well-ventilated room. I suppose this would be adequate for a Zebra Danio.

    I would still like to keep an Oranda or two. Am I being too stubborn?

    I wonder how others are able to keep fancy goldfish in our tropical climate.

  4. ae jimenez said

    i also bought 2 goldfish worth 150php each and another 2 for 350php each. One died in less than three hours after arriving home then another died the next day. I observed that the two remaining fish have white spots all around them and after doing research I concluded BioResearch sold me all four sick fish.

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