Thursday, November 13, 2008

The main reason why I DO NOT LIKE Tetra (the Company) FW: Monthly Aquarium Maintenance

The below email is a monthly e-minder that I signed up for with Tetra, years ago, to see what it was and I never did unsubscribe but every time I get it, I wonder how many fish Tetra killed this month??? This "e-minder program" from Tetra is mainly marketed to newbie's which makes it even worse.
Here is the email and I'll add my comments afterwards.
-----Original Message-----
From: Tetra []
Sent: Monday, November 03, 2008 12:03 PM
To: Lenny Vasbinder
Subject: Monthly Aquarium Maintenance
Hello from TetraCare.
To keep your aquarium in tip-top condition, please be sure you're doing the following on a regular basis:

1. Test the water monthly using your test kit. Is the water okay (normal pH, zero ammonia, zero nitrite)? If not, please call us at 1-800-423-6458, and we'll help you correct any problems.
2. Do a partial (25%) water change, unless you're using EasyBalance(R). Be sure to add a water treatment such as AquaSafe(R) to the water you add to the aquarium, as tap water is toxic to your fish.
3. Change the cartridge in your Power Filter every month.
The TetraCare team is always here to help you.
You can contact us at 1-800-423-6458. We're here 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday, and Noon to 6:00 p.m. Saturday & Sunday; otherwise leave a voice mail message, and we promise to return your call within 24 hours!
There's never a charge for TetraCare - we're happy to help.
The TetraCare team
----- END MESSAGE ------
OK... The first tip is OK except it doesn't talk about testing for nitrates... which while not the perfect test to determine how good/bad the water quality might be, it's certainly an indicator of a potential problem and should be tested on a regular basis... especially considering the rest
of the "tips" given in this email.
The second tip is suggesting only a monthly 25% PWC which might be OK for a very lightly stocked aquarium... although I think even this example of a tank needs more than 25% of fresh clean water a month. Can you imagine how high the DOC (dissolved organic compound) level would get after the same water is flowing through a dirty filter for a month? The WORST part of this second tip is how Tetra says "... unless you're using EasyBalance..." which is a product Tetra pushes on newbie's. This is a product that Tetra says can be added to a tank and then you only have to do PWC's once every six months. I've written about this crappy chemical before and it's nasty stuff to put in an aquarium and subject fish to for six months. One forum thread I read several years ago added this stuff to their guppy tank and the guppies did not breed in the tank... so I ask... can a chemical that stops guppies from breeding possibly be good for your fish? Maybe Tetra should market this as birth control for livebearers... LOL
If the first two tips didn't kill all of your fish, the third one will likely put them over the edge. Now, Tetra, in order to sell more filter cartridges, is telling people to trash their fully cycled and perfectly good and healthy filter cartridge and advising folks to put a new one in, which will put the tank into a mini-cycle with resulting ammonia and nitrite spikes... every month. (Read my article "Filter Maintenance And Cleaning" for more info on this topic)
In conclusion... this example tank likely has a high nitrate level, huge levels of DOC's in the water column and is being put into a mini-cycle with soon to come ammonia and nitrite spikes... and this is being advised by Tetra to do this on a monthly basis.
So... does Tetra own some of the importing and pet fish farms, so they have an interest in killing as many fish as possible so they can sell people new fish??? Inquiring minds want to know!!!
Lenny Vasbinder
Fish Blog -
(Links to articles referenced above listed on the right side under Archives - Year, Month and under Labels)

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