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what would you do in this situation


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Ok so yesterday I went to a not so local fish store and they had elephant nose fish there(I have not seen them before and I usually research fish before buying) so I asked the guy who is also the owner of the store about them and he basically told me they were great community fish, very peaceful. I liked the unusual look of them so decided to buy one when I thought out loud of what else I could buy and he mentioned getting 2 elephant noses so on a whim that is what I ended up doing.

Turns out these fish are extrememly territorial and having 2 in a tank is a bad idea, luckily I have a decent size tank with hiding spots for both fish but still one is going to end up killing the other. The less aggressive one has been reduced to trying to avoid the other (not very successfully either I might add) I am going to ring the store later today and ask if I can take one back as it is thier poor advice that put me in this situation and now I have lost all confidence in them as a source of advice.

The question I have is would you bite your tongue or would you quiz the guy as to why he gave you that advice? I think it comes down to one of two things.......he either has no idea about the fish and just said what he knew would get a sale or he knows about the fish and purposely gave me bad advice to sell them, either way its not a very good way to do business and makes me lose faith in lfs advice.

I am also wondering as I have never taken a fish back before I take it he has the right to refuse taking it back? Hopefully he will accept it though. I dont have the fish bags I brought them home in (in hind sight I should start keeping those) but I do have a 20ltr bucket I can take him back in. Catching one of them will be fun, probably the quickest fish in the tank!

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Hey 6 ft,

These guys are amazing little fish, we have them in occasionally & I love their weird little dolphin faces


This is basically my understanding of these fish, they're hideous to each other and wouldn't recommend more than one in the same tank - often groups of these fish are kept together in the fish shop tanks and there is a dominant one that makes everyone else quite miserable.

HOWEVER (where your lfs dude might have gotten it wrong) is that they're generally pretty chill with OTHER fish tank mates.

So there's that... I have to say it's really hard getting to know each and every specie's temperaments and wants, so perhaps go in with the benefit of the doubt.

Take one or both back in and speak with the guy who sold them to you, if he's a reasonable human he'll be receptive.

Just explain exactly what you have here - you didn't know, you asked, and from what you observed, and some advice you've since been given - these guys aren't great in with their own species.

Maybe then suggest that if you return it perhaps you could get a credit note or swap for another fish more suited ...or plants or something.

I was once given an EXTREMELY aggressive catfish (forget the variety) who proceeded to shred all my XXL show quality goldfish's tails - upon good "advice" from someone I trusted at my LFS.

I took it back (albiet a little crocodile-teary) and they refunded me without me even asking.... this is what I would imagine is good standard practise, you need to win the loyalty and trust of your customes or your rooted.

So when all else fails - turn the taps on!!

But seriously, just approach it with the most understanding, diplomatic, calm, happy attitude.

Then when you've negotiated your face off, and IF they still give you grief, throw the "trades and services ombudsman" in the sentence and watch the penny drop.

It shouldn't come to that.

I always go in with diplomacy, calmNess and a positive attitude, people are SO much more receptive to that beat - and if it fails - show them your dark side.


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Its a hard one, it's always going to come down to how the individual approaches and reacts.

Partly it's the customer's responsibility to understand what s/he's buying... but when you're taken by something in a shop, you want it then and there... we don't always have access to the right info, so we turn to a shop keeper.

This is why some resources within the shop would be ideal.... imagine if every species in a shop had a care sheet you could hand to the customer before they bought.

But when you ask for advice and it's ill-given, or just wrong (knowingly or unknowingly) I think that's where the service comes into play and you should back your mistake and offer a freaking refund.

We'll be keen to hear how it goes 6ft.

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I would prefer staff be honest and admit they aren't sure then you could at least do a quick search on your phone at least for some answers.

Nothing makes a person look stupider than carrying on like they actually know what they are talking about and you KNOW they are wrong. Have watched a certain person do this on numerous occasions but can't be bothered arguing with them. I always wonder how they will feel when/if they realise just how wrong they are.

A little knowledge is dangerous for most people.

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Hi guys, I spoke to the guy on the phone (calmly and politely lol) and he has agree'd to take one back but the thing is I wont be able to get there until next weekend. He said to try netting the aggressive one for 10 minutes and see if that helps, seems to have helped somewhat but the aggressor has reduced the peaceful one to sitting in the corner of the tank up high trying to avoid him. Here is a tip for anyone thinking of getting these fish, if you need to catch them you dont need to chase them with a net just let the net dangle in the water and they will come to you to check it out (well atleast this one did)

I might have to put him in the 20l bucket and change the water every day if this keeps up so he does not die from stress before I take him back. Not sure which one to take back though, the aggressor (he is slightly bigger)or the peaceful one.

I dont like seeing aggression in my tank, gives me angst! The bloody rainbow started off picking on a cory too but funnily enough the cory pretty much just stopped running so the rainbow has started on his mate. I knew that could be a problem when I bought 2 rainbows, I intend getting more next weekend but realize now I should have just waited and got a school of 6. Patience is not my strong point!

For all the grief the elephant noses are causing they are such beautiful fish to watch when they are acting normal in the tank, very relaxing to watch until the chase scenes break out. Pity they cant get along and yes from the research I have since done 1 fish on its own or a large group of them is the way to keep them (store had about 20 in same tank but no room for them to move so I could not see any aggression in that tank, they were on top of each other which also made me think they were peaceful) If only I had that fact sheet melb-betta, would have saved me so much angst!

I have learnt my lesson though, I will never impulse buy again. I will go and research it first.

Gotta laugh at myself though, I know exactly what I want to do with this tank and it all went pear shaped on a whim with my last visit. Wish I could have got back there today and swapped the elephant nose for some more rainbows, that should sort it.

I think I mentioned in another post im getting a new phone soon so as soon as I do I will post some pictures and videos of the tank, hopefully its not a fight night video :P

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Yeah! we'd love to see how they're going - you can put a bit of tinfoil in the tank for the elephant and watch them play, their snouts are electosensitive (crazy!) so they like to play with tinfoil which has a bit of charge (or something)

Great to see the LFS guy has held up his part, and you can treat it like a learning curve for both of you.

I totally understand the impulse purchase, I nearly came home with a SCAT not knowing ANYTHING about what it wants

just cos has spots and is called Steve.

Fortunately someone bought him.


No Argus fish today please Ness.




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"Elephant Noses are very peaceful and interesting fish. The probe below their mouth is not really a nose but is a very sensitive electric organ that is very good at finding small worms in dark or murky water. If you put a small ball of tinfoil in the aquarium, the Elephant Noses will play with it. This may be due to the electrical properties of the tinfoil."

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They have been peaceful with the other fish in the tank although I did witness the aggressive rainbow and elephant nose in a mexican stand off for about 5-6 seconds, was quiet funny to watch, the EN as I shall call it :P is 5x the size of the rainbow lol.

new movie......Chi starring in - big trouble in LFS (little fish shop) :lol:

Edited by 6ftaquaman
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you guys are going to love this........

Today is the first day I have had a chance to take the Elelphant Nose back to the "not so local" lfs. Luckily I decided to ring first to make sure it was still ok as here is how the telephone conversation went.....

Me: Hi, spoke to someone about two EN's I bought last week and an aggression problem im having.....was it you I spoke to?

lfs: Nah did you speak to ****?

Me: I dont know, cant remember his name.

lfs: why whats wrong?

Me: one is being very aggressive to the other (to cut a long story short) I want to bring it back in an swap it for other fish

lfs: nah mate, we dont swap fish. They should be fine..(and here is the kicker)... some fish are just more aggressive than others but it shouldnt be a problem.

Me: No its not fine for me, it is a problem.

lfs: we dont swap fish for things like that, no lfs do.

Me: I know thats not right.

lfs: mate im not gunna argue with ya.

(all the time this guys voice is raising, not sure if I mine did too but probably did considering the way the conversation was going)

Me: why was I was told last weekend I could bring it back, now your telling me I cant?

lfs: It wasnt me you spoke to, who did you speak to?

Me: I dont know his name (so I described him)

(then he almost screamed this)

lfs: well that is "name", you will have to call back on saturday to speak to him.

I was so angry I did the best thing I could in the situation and just hung up. I will certainly be speaking to the other guy on saturday now that I have his name peirced into my ear drum (the one that suggested I get 2 in the first place) but wether they take the EN back or not they have lost a customer.

I will find it too hard to buy fish from people I want to slap across the head :P

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the reason I keep fish, train dogs and ride horses?

because humans are idiots.

however, as I'm a bit boring and waaaaaaaaay too slow to anger, personally, I'd still press the reset button in my head...... go in calm.

call ahead, ask to speak to wassisname.

if wassisname isn't in, dont stress, call back when he'll be in - don't communicate with the other douchebags.

call on saturday ahead, ensure he's in & happy to exchange.

(if he wont be around, if he could leave a message for the other staff, leave your name and number too)

go in relaxed, do the exchange and mention at the very end that you were a bit disappointed with the way douche-tastic was behaving on the phone, and has just about lost you as a customer.

Ask to speak with the manager if you can too, just politely, gently - your disappointed, not psycho angry.

the delicacy here is loyalty.. but if a manager hears a formal calm strike against a staff, it may be the tipping point that s/he needs to fire that little idiot.


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I read things this way...

Douch-tastic was probably part owner. Saturday guy is probably the other part owner.

I think they probably disagree over this stuff... Often .... And Enough to be an ongoing sticking point.

Saturday guy will be in on Saturday and will keep his word.

As Ness said, stay calm... Sure you'll get what you need, and, they'll continue to hate each other. Not your problem. Good luck!

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Funnily enough after I took the EN out of the tank on thursday then put it back in it has been less frightened of the other EN which now cant be bothered chasing it all over the tank and will just chase it for 3 or so seconds. So im thinking I might keep it now as it has grown on me and I have a soft spot for little battlers like this guy.

My trips to lfs just keep getting better and better lol, yesterday I went to my actual lfs (not the one I got the EN's at)I get to the store and two of the three people working there are standing right at the front door smoking so I had to walk through it to get into the store. I get inside and there is a 3rd person working there, he is cleaning out the freshwater tanks. As I like to have a good look at the fish before I decide to buy any I would have been there a good 35-40 mins, not one hello from any of them and then the guy cleaning the tanks backs into me and not so much as a sorry! Then I found out why, eventually I asked the guy cleaning the tanks who I needed to see to buy some fish and low and behold, he didnt speak english and just shrugged his shoulders and grunted and gestured like he didnt understand me!

Then.. (oh yes there is more lol)... I go to the counter where one bloke is reading a news paper and ask can I get some fish, he didnt answer me so I thought maybe he didnt hear me so as i'm about to repeat myself he stand up and says what do you want? so I tell him and then proceed to watch the most clueless guy ever trying to catch fish. He dropped one yoyo/pakistani loach on the floor and then almost stepped on it trying to pick it up! I was waiting for him to put it in the bag but luckily he put it back in the tank. Still, I could have eneded up with it as he still had more to catch.

The the funniest part was when I first came in the store and was looking at the fish another customer came in, went straight up to one of them and asked for 2 salt water fish (that was in the first few minutes of me entering the store) We ended up paying at the same time for our fish and the guy serving me says to the other customer.. you waiting for (one of the other muppets that works there) to which the customer replies "he is too slow". I had to stop myself from laughing but they guy is spot on, would have taken him close to 45mins to catch two fish and bag them. They were in a waist high tank too, I could have caught them in 3 mins with the lights off and a blind fold on lol.

So yeah thats my latest rant and now any trip I take to a lfs im going to be thinking what could possibly happen next?! luckily I have most of the stock I want for my tank now so wont be going as regularly.

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Woah, not the greatest run there.

Not a lot I can add to what has been said. I have, in the past, called up a LFS upset and pretty much in tears, even though I was polite - no help (although I never liked that store anyway, actually I was "banned for life" from it at the age of five... they forgot, but I avoid it like the plague anyway). Learnt from then to be extremely calm when it comes to approaching any LFS staff, whether it be by a suggestion, or in examples like this.

If you don't mind me asking, where about are you local to (not asking the actual LFS name, by the way).

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lol "banned from a LFS at the age of 5". That has got to be some sort of record sarah :lol: I will be happy to name the store in a private message if you would like to know which one it is but I tend to err on the side of caution publicly naming people or places on forums.

Do enlighten us as to what got you banned from the lfs at the age of 5...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh sorry I answered this via PM! I'm sure I've told it before, one of those stories I don't let go haha.

I've since deleted the PM, along with its lovely detailed story... if you still have it 6ft, feel free to do the good (not so) old copy & paste. Till then, I'm off to bed..

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Sorry I dont have it either. :notsure:

I went back on the weekend as I wanted more boesemani rainbows and they seem to be the only ones around my area with them at the moment. I walked into the store expecting to see the guy I spoke to on the phone but some other guy I have never seen before was working, as he served me the owner came out and asked me if I was the one with the 2 EN's and I said yes and he said he was told what happened. (only found out he was the owner this weekend)

He was very apologetic about the whole situation and for the way I was spoken to on the phone and said it was a break down in communication between them as the other bloke did not know he had agree'd to taking one back (which I think is only fair but ive since grown attached to the little buggers so I kept it) I told him not to worry about it, the main problem wasnt with him (even though he was the one that gave me the bum steer with getting 2)

I am only speculating now but it looks like this situation may have given this new guy more shifts at the store or even given the other bloke the flick. This new bloke is much more customer friendly than the other one that I really do hope that is the case.

He also threw in 2 extra fish which worked out to $15. I thought showed he was sincere in his apology so I may go back again.

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This is a bit of a good news story, and an interesting one to note.

I am not a big complainer when it comes to crappy service, however if I have exceptional service I go out of my way for the manager/owner to hear about it.

Sometimes it can be something that's simmering in the back of the owner/manager's mind that they have doubts about a staff.... and then when you get to speak to a customer that has the real interaction - that can seal the deal.

Sounds great, glad to hear the winner won, and you might actually go back.

There are plenty of LFS that I will go to and select who I engage with as a customer.


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@ melb-betta- I was wondering as I entered the store how the whole situation was going to play out but as the culprit was not there I was just going to let the whole thing slide then the owner appeared from out the back of the shop to ask if I was the guy with the EN's....

@Yan- Thanks for the heads up, do you know what they are selling for a pair at your store? Do you guys ever get rare fish in? (inparticular red line torpedo barbs / denisonii barbs)

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