Best Places to Purchase or Adopt
Caring for fish is a complicated, but rewarding undertaking. Sourcing the animals is no different. What is the best place to purchase new fish? There are several things to keep in mind, such as sourcing, health and shipping.
How Are the Fish Sourced?
Unfortunately, many fish found in pet shops are wild-caught. This is a problem because it is not sustainable. Removing young fish from the wild can cause their species to become threatened or even extinct. It can also upset the local ecosystem, since fish play an important role as both predator and prey in the water. Many governments are attempting to stop this aspect of the exotic fish industry, so it will probably be illegal to attain fish like this soon. It's best to buy from someone who breeds fish in captivity. Captive-bred fish are likely to be healthier and more suited to living in a tank, as another benefit.
Do the Fish For Sale Seem Healthy?
It's vital to never buy fish that seem ill. In addition, since sickness spreads quickly in infected waters, even healthy-looking fish should not be purchased if their tank-mates are ill. Signs of illness include cloudy eyes, gray or other-colored fuzz on the scales or fins with holes in them. Other symptoms of sickness include dull scales, stool that trails from the fish's body without being fully released or trouble swimming. Of course, a tank with a dead fish in it is also a major red flag.
Transporting the New Fish
There's no sense in buying fish if they can not be transported to their new home! It's important to ask the buyer how the fish will be delivered. Fish being sent in the mail face several risks, which can be minimized through good safety measures. Typically, fish are shipped in boxes, with individuals or small groups in special plastic bags.
The fish will be much safer if shipped in what are called breathing bags or breather bags. These bags are designed to allow oxygen in and carbon dioxide out. This reduces the risk of suffocation, which can happen in regular plastic bags. Professionals who care about their animals' well-being will use breathing bags to ensure the fish survive transport.
Do Veterinarians Inspect the Breeding Tanks?
Many breeding facilities have veterinarians inspect their tanks. This is a good way to know the fish are likely being kept in safe, disease-free environments.
What about Adopting Fish?
Fish are usually bought or sold, or even traded, but rarely adopted. Still, it does happen occasionally. Animal shelters will each have their own standards for fish, aquatic turtles and other creatures that live in water all or part of the time. Alternatively, sometimes individuals will no longer be able to willing to care for their fish. When it comes to adopting a fish, one should ask for pictures and how the animals have been cared for. The health of such animals is never guaranteed and neither is the legality. Sometimes, people who own pirahnas or other illegal exotics may try to dump their animals on others who aren't aware they are illegal to own. As such, while good fish can be adopted from individuals, it's best to acquire them from a shelter or responsible breeder instead.