RE: NANFA-- Snakeheads and the like............

Crail, Todd (
Mon, 15 Jul 2002 12:55:18 -0400

I know how frustrating that is Nick. I used to have an LFS, and while I
refused to sell any of these animals, guess who's shop they always ended up
at... And guess who always ended up the insensitive jerk because he wouldn't
pay for/take them.

Once I began getting accused of trying to rip them off because I would "only
take it and try to find a home for it, and not pay for it" I started keeping
alka seltzer behind the counter, and would make it again... their problem.
Yeah, here's my 50 cents.

I think my favorite tho, was when I opened up one morning and there were 3
gouramies and a pacu sitting in a 5 liter bucket at my front door. It was

And as an example of the love for the macabre of "piscovores"... There was a
nurse shark (that was sold before I purchased the shop) in a 125 gallon tank
that was about 3' long. It's "spine" was already crooked and it was just
getting worse (like a double bend). At least once a day people would stop by
and ask what happened to "the shark". Fortunately, I didn't have to tell them
I injected it with sodium penathol and put it in the dumpster because it's
body was too soaked in Copper to eat.

The animal that was suffering the most left the greatest impression on people
as they walked thru there. How nice.

Reason 74 of 243 why Todd took his debt and went home ;)


-----Original Message-----
From: Nicholas J. Zarlinga
Sent: Monday, July 15, 2002 8:27 AM
To: ''
Subject: RE: NANFA-- Snakeheads and the like............

As discussed, this is a very difficult subject. Most aquariums have
collection plans which are designed to bring the maximum amount of
education and enjoyment to its visitors. Since there is only a finite
amount of room that they can devote to holding space, it is quickly used up
for quarantine and grow out purposes. If there was more space to house
overgrown pets, it would be better used as exhibit space. As it is,
aquariums never have as much off exhibit holding space as they need because
designers and planners want the maximum amount of space to wow the
public-that's what bring in the dollars-not holding animals. It would sort
of be like the tail wagging the dog. Very infrequently, aquariums will
accept donations of some of the most common animals to come from hobbyist;
redtail catfish, pacu, oscars, snakeheads, irredescent sharks, etc, but
that is only when they are replacing animals or setting up new exhibits.
Since these animals can live for 10's of years, it is not often that they
need to be replaced, especially compared to the amount of animals being

It is hard to tell a pet owner what to do with an animal that has outgrown
the home aquarium. Usually, people are intrigued by the "meanness" of the
fish and it is like a status symbol to have one. (As was mentioned, track
snakehead sales in your local pet store these days.) However, many people
are truly misinformed at the point of purchase and don't realize how big
the animal can get. Most people believe that a fish only grows to the size
of the aquarium. Obviously that is not true. Then there are others that
are so attached to their pet that they call up crying and saying how tame
their fish is and that we must have it because "it will let you pet it". I
had one lady call me up in tears saying how her 18 inch pacu couldn't turn
around any more in her 70 gallon tank and if I didn't take it she would let
it go in the Rocky River (small tributary of Lake Erie) in the hopes that
it would find it's way into the Mississippi (wrong direction) and then find
its way into the Amazon (no explaination needed)! How do you tell a person
like that that probably the most humane thing to do would be to euthanize
the animal. I am not for needlessly killing animals by any means but there
is a reality situation to deal with. I don't know if banning these fish
from the trade is the answer, instead I think that there is more argument
for education of animal ethics in keeping and selling animals. That, of
course is like climbing Mount Everest in a wheel chair!

It would be a great idea to try to spin this surprising popularity around
and try to make some good points about how destructive and irresponsible it
is to release exotics into the wild. All we can do at this point, however,
is to nibbles crumbs off the problem by writing responsible articles (such
as Bob did), don't support pet stores which unscrupulously sell animals
which get potentially large, and try to work withing your local aquarium
clubs to get the messages out in your local area. I also believe that it
should be a priority of public institutions to try to educate visitors on
the responsibility of keeping these animals. We do it when the "man eating
piranha" (usually a pacu) gets caught every year. Unfortunately, I am a
small fish in a big pond.
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