[ AquariumKids ]

How to constructively confront someone over improper fish care:

By Evan Baldonado
(Owner of AquariumKids)

Fish in bowl on instagram

We've all been there, seeing someone failing to properly care for an animal. Or maybe we've even been the one who fails to give an animal adequate care and is then called out on it. By learning these six simple steps, you can learn a polite yet effective way to confront others and [hopefully] get them to change their ways. This method really does work – I just tried it out on instagram and I was successful! I can't post a real screenshot here because of copyright laws, but you can learn the general method that I used below:

Step 1: Initiate friendly contact:

This is one of the most important steps because it helps ensure that the person whose animals you're trying to help stays receptive. Skip this step and you're just some person on the internet yelling at them. Get personal here - tell them your name and maybe even a very short story about your fish-keeping experience. This helps to establish that, like them, you are just another person.

Step 2: State the problem without blaming:

Here's where you tell them about what you think they're doing incorrectly. Are they keeping a goldfish in a bowl? Not using dechlorinator? Tell them now, but do it nicely, please! Being aggressive can cause them to go on the defensive and become unresponsive to well-intentioned help.

Step 3: Provide a way to fix the problem:

What's the point in saying that there's something wrong if you don't offer a way to fix it? Give them a way to fix what you think they've done wrong.

Step 4: Justify why they should take action:

Now that they already know what's wrong and what they can do to fix it, here's your chance to support what you want them to do. Will it help their fish live longer? Be happier?

Step 5: Kindly offer extra help:

After finishing with your advice, give them some extra help. Direct them to a place where they can find more information or offer your time – what you offer is really up to you.

Step 6: End positively:

Congratulate them! Thank them! Find a way to end things on a positive note. This helps ensure that they don't see you as the enemy – only as someone trying to help them and someone who cares about them and their animals.


In order:

[step 1] Hello, goldfish lover here!
[step 2] I noticed that your goldfish are in bowls.
[step 3] Have you considered getting a larger tank for them?
[step 4] They would certainly appreciate some more room to move around in.
[step 5] I have a goldfish care sheet up on my website if you're interested.
[step 6] Congratulations on your first pets :)

Slightly out-of-order:

[step 1/2] Hi, my name's [] and noticed that you have your goldfish in bowls.
[step 1] When I was younger, I had goldfish in a bowl, too.
[step 3/4] I was devastated when they passed away and then I learned that goldfish will do much better if they have a bigger tank.
[step 5] I'd love to help you out, so feel free to message me if you have any questions or need any help with caring for your goldfish!
[step 6] Congratulations on becoming a pet owner :)


Thanks for reading about how to confront someone over improper fish care (published 7/8/16)! For more information, please browse around AquariumKids.com! Feel free to contact me at evanb [at] aquariumkids [dot] com with any questions.

What's your experience in correcting others? Let's start a discussion in the comments section below:

- Evan Baldonado

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