Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Letters -

I was in­ter­ested to read your de­bate about buy­ing fish mail or­der.

I bought four small Dis­cus from a prom­i­nent web­site. They ar­rived on Fri­day morn­ing and were all alive. In the evening I no­ticed one had died.

I emailed the dealer the next day, re­quest­ing a re­place­ment or re­fund. The dealer re­fused a re­fund be­cause he said I had waited two days (un­true). He also blamed my tank wa­ter qual­ity. I did a 30% wa­ter change and a wa­ter test two days be­fore.

I sent a photo show­ing the sur­viv­ing fish feed­ing at the sur­face. He stated Dis­cus are bot­tom feed­ers and were at the top due to bad wa­ter con­di­tions and lack of an air­stone! He also sug­gested I al­lowed the fish to jump out of the tank. He has threat­ened to black­list me with other deal­ers.

I in­clude a photo of the three re­main­ing healthy fish along­side my ex­ist­ing large Dis­cus, which I’ve had for a num­ber of years. Two of the Dis­cus have poor colour, noth­ing like the vi­brant colours on the web­site. I hope th­ese will im­prove as they grow.

The terms and con­di­tions on the web­site state they do not guar­an­tee live fish sent by post, stat­ing this is ‘in­dus­try stan­dard’, which is not true.

So if buy­ing fish by post, check the terms and con­di­tions first. Bet­ter still, make the jour­ney to a dealer’s premises and buy larger fish that have de­vel­oped their fi­nal colours.

The email ex­changes be­tween me and the dealer are akin to the Monty Python ‘dead par­rot’ sketch. It was also pointed out to me that my ‘ex­ist­ing large Dis­cus’ was a Severum. David Web­ster, via email

NATHAN REPLIES: Well, that sounds like an un­help­ful seller in­deed! While live­stock guar­an­tees are a lit­tle vague, you’d do well to speak to ei­ther trad­ing stan­dards or Cit­i­zens Ad­vice to see where you stand on a loss in such a short space of time.

On the flip­side, on this oc­ca­sion the re­tailer is de­nied the usual course of ac­tion too – when a fish dies, a re­tailer will al­most al­ways re­quest a wa­ter sam­ple to test be­fore a re­place­ment will be given. In ab­sence of that, I can see why they might be stand-off­ish. I’ll con­fess, this isn’t an an­gle I’d thought about dur­ing the orig­i­nal mag­a­zine dis­cus­sion.

Ad­mit­tedly, when it comes to Dis­cus sup­pli­ers, there are only a cou­ple I trust un­con­di­tion­ally – De­vot­edly Dis­cus in Pole­gate and Chen’s Dis­cus in Dod­ding­ton. Hav­ing seen fish from both, I can vouch for their out­stand­ing con­di­tion.

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