Pet store refused to sell guppies because fish enthusiast’s tank “did not meet strict criteria”.

A FISH enthusiast with 20 years experience says he was shocked when a Fenland pet store refused to sell him three tropical fish for his new tank on New Year’s Eve.

Mark Southwell tried to buy three guppies for �5 from the Pets at Home store at Wisbech, and claims he was bombarded with questions by a sales assistant about the new tank.

“I explained to the young sales assistant that I have been keeping fish for many years and three guppies would be fine in my tank,” said Mark. “She said my tank did not meet their criteria, so she would not sell them to me.”

Mark, 32, who lives in March, then offered to place the guppies into his long established fish tank instead.

“She still refused, and said she could not sell me any fish. I found the attitude of Pets at Home totally rude and patronising,” added Mark. “I appreciate they have a duty of care to the animals, but I have been keeping fish for 25 years.

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“Fish are needed in a tank to get its filtration system started; but the shop staff said the tank had to be established for four weeks before fish could be put in.

“I have been buying fish for 20 years and I have never been refused before. I was totally shocked, especially after I offered to put the fish in my established tank.

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“I am not a novice, I am extremely knowledgeable, and the incident really annoyed me.”

Mark has three tanks of fish, two with tropical fish and one cold water tank.

“After I was refused the fish, I transferred some fish from my established tank into the new tank and they have been perfectly fine, as I knew they would be,” he added.

A spokesman for Pets at Homes said: ““Pets at Home is passionate about pets and we go to great lengths to ensure responsible pet ownership. Our colleagues all care deeply about pet welfare and we ensure they have the necessary training required to provide appropriate advice to our customers.

“We understand Mr. Southwell’s frustration as an experienced fish keeper, but many of our customers are new to keeping fish and we want to ensure they understand the needs of the different fish species we sell and their living environment. Our recommendation is that tanks are setup for three days before fish are added, to allow the tank to settle and then fish can be added gradually in accordance with the size of the tank.

“We all deeply care about pets and as a responsible pet retailer we ensure that we put pets before profit.”

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