How many times has it happened, you've gone down to the local pet store or aquarium store, and seen that gorgeous fish that you just had to bring home? How many times have you brought it home? How many times has that newbie started attacking your other fish? How many times has your fish died overnight, the next day or a few day's later? I bet your sick of questions now, huh? Don't worry, it happens to us all, here is a simple guide to help you from purchasing that fish, that you might later regret.
There are a few things you can do before buying that fish you've just seen in the store tank. Ask yourself
1. What exactly do you know about this fish?
2. How large will it grow when it's full size?
3. Will it attack, bully or fin nip my other fish?
4. Will it eat my other fish?
5. Is my tank going to be large enough for this new fish?
6. Does it have any special requirements?
If you don't know the answers to all of those questions, it's time you found out before you purchased that fish. You can kindly ask a person that works there, or research it through books or on the net. If you feel like researching it before you purchase it and you're worried about it being sold next time you go there, kindly ask if they can keep it on hold for you. The worst a store can say is no. Remember manners, sales people will generally give you better information and explain it better if you use your manners.
Now if you know about the fish, and are still thinking about getting it, there are a few more things to take into consideration.
1. Does the fish look healthy?
2. Is it actively swimming?
3. Are there any other fish in the tank that are dead?
4. Is the tank itself clean?
5. Does it seem to be rubbing of flicking itself against rocks?
The last thing you want to do is spend your money on a dud fish that will die in a few days or weeks, so try to choose healthy fish. They should look brightly coloured, and actively swimming, and there eyes should be clear and not cloudy and not have any white fungal growths on their tails or brown tips on any fins. Another sign is the fish's behaviour, if it's flicking itself against rocks, or displaying any other erratic or abnormal behaviour, don't get that fish or any other fish in that tank, there could be disease contamination, and applies to any dead fish in the tanks. If the tank looks clean, chances are the fish will be healthy too. Some people even go to the trouble of examining the store to see if any dust has accumulated on the stock shelves, which would indicate if they're good store keepers, although this is un-necessary. Ask them about how frequent they do water changes, remember if a tank is high in ammonia the fish may have ammonia poisoning and will probably have a higher chance of carrying disease. Another thing to look out for is how frequently they test the water parameters, which is another indication of how well they look after the fish.
Many people every year incorrectly choose fish, that they thought would be great for their aquariums, until they found out that the fish was predatory, or out grew their tanks, and as a result of this are irresponsibly subjected to a slow painful death in our waterways, or grow to be a feral problem, like the Goldfish and European Carp. This article was produced to stop any potential purchasers from buying the wrong fish. There is nothing more depressing then seeing 2 full grown oscars in a small 2ft tank being sold cheaply because the owner couldn't afford to look after them. Oscars are one of the classic examples of neglected fish, they'll grow to nearly 1ft and require large tanks, while owners buy them as small babies, because they look cute and are kept in their small tanks unaware of there growth potential. Eventually they become too big and the owners need to get rid of them. Although the chances of Oscars surviving cold winters is very low, Goldfish on the other hand will and the same applies, where they have become pests in local waterways. Please do your research first and choose only those fish that you can keep. Please use this page as a reference when considering buying that next fish.