Have you just recently discovered you love fish and are inkling to have them in a nice, cozy tank at home? Well, you’ve been bitten by the love bug, or should we say, hooked on the fish!
But don’t let your passion get the better of your good judgment as you come scuttling to the aquarium shop and pick out the fish you’d love to have just like that. There are important things to consider in buying aquarium fish because keeping one is a life-changing commitment.
So before you plunge into a relationship with a new aquatic friend, ask the shopkeeper these ten simple questions:
1. What Kind of Fish Is This?
Not all fish are the same. In fact, there are hundreds of fish classifications and each classification is unique from the other in terms of physical characteristics, habitat, diet and a lot more.
When you’re buying a certain kind of fish, you should be able to know what classification it belongs to, because then you’ll be able to research about it more.
2. Is it a Male or Female?
Yes, it’s important to know the sex of your fish because a female fish can have different needs than a male fish. It would also be good to know how they reproduce or spawn so you’ll have an idea if and when you can expect more fish babies in your tank.
There are certain kinds of aquatic animals, like a clownfish, that are hermaphrodites which can reproduce by themselves, in which case you don’t need to worry about buying a pair.
3. How Old is the Fish?
You’d want to know when the fish was conceived not because you’d want to celebrate its birthday every year, but because you’d want to have an idea when it reaches the mature age.
In three years, it might grow to a certain size that you would need to replace your tank with a bigger one. In five years, it might already have reached its lifespan and by then, you should have already prepared for the inevitable and found a replacement for your tank.
4. What Kind of Tank Does This Fish Need?
The shopkeeper should give you specific details on the kind of habitat your fish needs.
Freshwater or saltwater? Cool or warm temperature? Big, open spaces or lots of hiding places? There are many things you need to prepare with your tank if you want the fish to live there long enough.
5. What Do I Feed It?
Ask very specific details about the fish’s diet and even its eating habits. This way, you’ll avoid getting surprised when you see the fish chewing on other invertebrates in your tank. Make sure your fish will get the proper nutrition by researching on the best fish food to give your fish. Also, don’t make the mistake of feeding the fish randomly.
There are various ways of feeding fish, so it’s important that you know the feeding routines of the shopkeeper and follow this same routine as part of acclimatizing the fish to its new habitat.
6. What is the Behavior of This Fish?
And speaking of chewing on other invertebrates, you would want to know if your fish kills other fish. Is the fish aggressive? Can it co-exist with other fish, corals or different kinds of invertebrates in the tank without attacking or eating them?
You should be able to understand the personality of your fish so you can make appropriate adjustments with your aquarium.
7. What Are The Special Characteristics or Unique Abilities of This Fish?
You will take pride of your newly owned pet if you know it’s an asset or that few people own something so unique and amazing. How will you brag to a friend how great it is you own such an interesting aquatic pet if you don’t know its best features. Go ask the shopkeeper or better yet, research about it on the Internet.
Knowing the great abilities or characteristics of the fish will boost your enthusiasm in keeping them and you’ll develop your relationship with them as you get to know them better. But do that before you buy the fish because these kinds of special variety pets can be expensive.
8. What Do I Need To Do To Acclimate The Fish To My Tank?
Before buying the fish, make sure you are all prepared to bring home the fish and that your tank is all set and comfy. You should ask what other things you need to do or prepare to make sure your fish will quickly adapt and be comfortable in its new environment. If you think you’re not prepared, don’t buy the fish just yet.
Take care of all the things you need to do with your tank, like setting up a new filter or heater, or putting a glass covering. Make a checklist. And when you’ve ticked all the things in the checklist, you’re all set to bring home that fish with confidence.
9. How Much?
So now we get to the big question – the price of the fish.
You can actually start with cheaper fish varieties that can be less cumbersome to keep and requires less tank maintenance. But if you opt to get a unique and sought-after breed, be sure you’re prepared to pay higher. Still, don’t be fooled by cheap price offers because it usually entails a caveat. In most cases, the fish they are selling could be in bad condition. In worst cases, it could be illegally acquired.
Research about the price ranges for the kinds of fish you’re eyeing. Ask for quotation from other shops.
10. Are You a Registered Pet Store or Aquatic Shop?
It is best to know who you are dealing with. As mentioned earlier, buying a fish pet can be a lifelong commitment and you’d want to deal only with a legitimate shop because they will also become your lifelong partner in maintaining your tank and raising your fish well. Investigate the reputation of the store and examine its experience in handling aquatic species.