Buying fish for your aquarium is a fun and exciting part of fish keeping but there are also certain pitfalls which you should take care to avoid. Choosing a healthy fish is vital for the well-being of your existing fish, corals and plants. If you inadvertently add fish to your set-up which are less than healthy or even worse, diseased then you of course run the risk of infecting your tank.
So what are the main things to look for when choosing a new fish for your aquarium? There are of course many visual clues to watch out for in terms of spotting which fish are in good health and which are not. If you see a tank which has a dead fish in it or fish which do not look in perfect health then do not purchase fish from it. The risks of all the resident fish being infected or unwell are far greater if the tank is already home to sick fish.
Once you have ascertained that all of the fish within a tank are healthy in appearance with good colour, healthy tails and fins and clear eyes then you can consider purchasing one. One of the best indicators of health in a fish is a fish which eats well; good eating habits indicate that the fish’s survival instincts are strong and that it is functioning well. Ask the owner of the shop when feeding time is scheduled for and revisit at that time to view the fish as they are being fed. A good retailer will not mind at all if you choose to do this as it indicates a sensible and well informed approach to your fish keeping.
If your target fish feeds well and looks good then you can buy with confidence; if it does not feed then avoid! General tips for buying new fish for your aquarium include the following;
- Fish should have strong erect fins
- There should be no visible spots or sores on the fish
- Ensure fish are active and lively
- Check feeding habits
Much of what you need to know could be considered common sense; a sick fish generally looks sick pretty quickly so with care, you should have no need to fall prey to poorly kept fish in retail environments. Buying live fish online is not a good idea in general unless the retailer is very well respected. Many people will return again and again to the same dealers for their fish having had one good experience and this is a sensible rule of thumb in general. A passionate and skilful fish keeper will be extremely careful about ensuring the health of all of their fish.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and also seek advice if you are unsure about the fish you would like to purchase. Asking about feeding habits and socialisation is a good idea especially if you plan to introduce the fish into an already established aquarium. Choosing new fish should be a fun and exciting experience so enjoy the process…but remember the rules!
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