A few months ago, while wandering around at the mall looking at stuff, I saw a breed of fish called golden mollies in a pet shop. There were perhaps two dozen or so of them inside a tank. They looked like glittering gold flakes. The sight was one of the prettiest I’d ever seen, right up there with Malena Morgan’s piercing blue eyes.
Anyway, after that I got some fish and learned about taking care of little fish from various pet shop folks. Which brings me to lesson 1:
1. Take Advice From People Only When There Is Objective Evidence That They Know Their Shit (you’ve actually seen them doing the thing you want to learn how to do / a reliable source tells you that they know how to do it)
This is because:
2. People Are Full of Shit.
For example, look at these two nincompoops on Yahoo Answers:
This information is irrelevant to everyone except an expert fish breeder, and an expert fish breeder would know all this by herself. The question-er is obviously an amateur, and has no intention of becoming a professional (same as me).
First of all: What is this stupid shit about separating fish by sex? Platies and mollies are tiny fish that sell for around P15- P20 in most pet shops, and thus it’s completely not worth anybody’s time to find out their sex. (The question-er stated the sexes of the mollies, of which there were only two, but not the sexes of the platies, of which there were fucking half a dozen. That’s because it doesn’t fucking matter).
Second: One of the most important things about a fish’s environment is to give them shit to hide in, like plants and those little ceramic castles. Not giving them that shit is kind of like if your parents never gave you your own room and everyone in your family just lived in one big room – one room for sleeping, showering, eating, shitting, masturbating. Stupid. Nowhere does answer-er mention that. Instead he talks about fish harassment. Of course they’ll harass each other if they don’t have anywhere to hide in and be alone and write fish poetry or whatever, and are forced to hang out with each other all the time.
Third: What is this brackish water shit? There’s no way an amateur can reliably maintain the salinity level of water. I don’t even know what device you would use to measure that, let alone be willing to buy it.
There’s more stupid advice below that, but I’ve made my point – that many “experts” will just fucking confuse you and give you stupid, useless advice.
3. Even People Who Know Their Shit Will Also Tell You Stupid Shit. Thus Rely Only Partly on Other People’s Advice, and Find Out the Rest From Empirical Evidence.
(Empirical Evidence is fancy-talk for “You Actually Saw The Shit Happening”)
I live in a small-ish room and don’t have space for an actual aquarium, so purchasing a conventional glass aquarium for keeping my fish was out of the question. While looking for alternatives, I saw this:
This is a plastic tank usually used for keeping large insects and reptiles. It has: narrow slots for ventilation, a lid that snaps on tightly, a handle, and a hinged flap for feeding. It was priced at P165.
A conventional aquarium has: four glass walls. The smallest (which are only a little bit bigger than the plastic tank) are normally priced at no less than P1000.
Given the features of these two things, naturally it was hard for me to decide. Surprisingly, I found myself wanting the plastic tank. I don’t really know why.
Anyway, I asked Mr. Pet Shop Dude (who had given me other helpful information) if I could keep my fish inside the plastic tank. He said no because plastic would get too cloudy when filled with water.
Not having managed to keep any fish alive for any significant period of time in my whole life, I decided he knew better, and purchased the mini fish tank he recommended. Only much later I realized it was fucking made of the same plastic and had the same manufacturer – it was just smaller, more expensive and lacked the convenient features of the larger plastic tank. Fuck.
He wasn’t trying to trick me – he didn’t know either. I only knew because I fucking paid attention and Googled the items. He didn’t bother to find out because he has nothing to gain from finding out. He’d get paid all the same whether or not he tells customers that plastic releases endondomic biohazard toxins into the water, and glass releases probiotic crystals. “Wait, is that true?” Of course not. Endondomic isn’t even a word. On the other hand, I’m pretty poor and have an immediate and pressing interest in knowing how to save a buck. The knowledge of plastic vs. glass, in this case, is literally worth at least P800 (the difference between the price of a glass aquarium and plastic tank, in case you weren’t paying attention). For him it was worth nothing, so he didn’t find it out.