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Just won't listen!

HevachHevach Registered User regular
edited July 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Been debating posting this, since it's a ways outside the usual subject matter here, but the more appropriate forums I read ended up being entirely unhelpful.

Ok, so long story short, I've got fish, and I have friends. My friends see tanks all over my house with healthy fish and little fry peeking out of broken flower pots, have a pang of guilt for the goldfish they had for three days as a child, and ask me how I do it so they can get a tank. Usually works out quite well - some of the people I got started have done the same with their friends and relatives.

Until this new guy decides he wants a tank. Insufferable know it all, and being one myself, I know I'll regret helping him, but I print up the instructions I keep saved for buying, setup and cycling and tell him I'll help him with stocking when he's followed all of that to the letter.

Two days later he tells me he threw out my "useless shit" and took "professional advice" (high school dropouts reading canned answers off of cards printed in the 70's). Everything's doing fine, the water stabilized on it's own without the procedures I wrote up... So he thinks.

So he buys of all fish discus (for the unfamiliar, discus are one of the most difficult freshwater fish to keep). At $50 each, all four are dead overnight. So he seeks "better professional advice" and stocks with goldfish temporarily. I got a look at the tank, the goldfish have ammonia burns and are showing signs of suffocation (normal for the likely water quality), but nothing that can't be fixed if he takes action.

So I give him some emergency intervention advice, a scolding about how much more extra work he's made for himself, and hope for the best. I also snuck a water sample out and tested it at home, and no surprise the ammonia was through the roof.

Long story short, he doesn't take the advice, fish are dead. He bought a third batch, which died within hours (probably shock or a pH crash). Somehow now it's MY fault. Even though he's claiming I did something to the water, he still won't change it, so his subsequent fish have all died quickly as well.

Anyway, I don't know how to deal with him and nobody else seems to be giving constructive advice:
Other friends: Actually poison his tank.
Other fish keepers: Cram him in a small box full of his own urine so he knows what the fish went through.

So I finally decided that somebody outside both my circle of friends and the hobby might have a perspective that won't end with bizarre pee puns on the front page news.

Hevach on


  • OrganichuOrganichu jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    He sounds like he doesn't want to truly learn- he just wants to be force fed advice by people he trusts. Apparently he trusts a minimal wage worker more than he trusts you. I suspect he's beyond your help.

    Organichu on
  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited July 2008
    I'd say just let it go. Let him spend another $200 on fish that will be dead overnight. Two or three more times, and maybe he'll get it through his head that he's a moron and fish aren't for him.

    Bionic Monkey on
  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Hevach, this isn't a fish related problem at all. It also isn't your problem. This is entirely his problem.

    He was inspired by your awesomeness (in fishkeeping). But he did not follow your advice, and he refuses to follow your advice. Worse off, it seems like he's unwilling to admit he was wrong, so he keeps trying harder and harder to prove that he was right while failing every time. He's already sunk several hundred dollars into it and his money is already good and gone (what with the fish being DEAD and all). He wants something to blame and he's unwilling to take responsibility for the mess he's made. So now he's trying to lash out at you, regardless of the fact that HE NEVER LISTENED TO YOUR ADVICE.

    Take a read of the previous paragraph. Aside from the parentheticals, this generalized statement can be used for a lot of the mistakes that people make. If a friend built a new computer and decided to add in a phat graffix card that blew up the machine, it wouldn't be the person who told them how to build it correctly that was to blame. Same thing if somebody were to fuck up their automobile by incorrectly installing aftermarket mods, then trying to blame the guy who told them to buy a blower instead of a turbo. And it is no different than if someone were to ask you for a cookie recipe, then tell you it was your fault they tasted like shit after they put in three cups of coriander instead of flour.

    This person didn't listen to you; they absolved of all blame once they threw out your instructions. It is his fault, and his fault alone that the fish are dying because he refused to listen. And frankly, he would have caused the same result NO MATTER WHAT HOBBY he chose to pick up. If you really want to be gracious, you can keep your initial offer open. You'll help him with stocking when, and only when, he's followed all your original directions to the letter.

    tl;dr: Ignore him and brush that dirt off your shoulder.

    zerg rush on
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