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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

Choosing your fish

Use vital visual clues to help you select quality fish
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - February 19, 2011
By: James Ong
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Choosing your fish

Your aquarium is all set up, and you are ready to add fish to the tank. Though your excitement is running high, don’t lose your head. The choices you make now are critical.

Many new fish owners lose some or even all their fish overnight – and eventually give up on fish – without even knowing why. That doesn’t have to happen to you if you take care to avoid the two biggest errors made by most aquarists: adding too many fish at a time, and not knowing how to choose the right fish. Tip the scales in your favour; learn what you need to know about the following:

In moderation

While drooling over all the beautiful fish you may see at the aquarium store, remember that only two to three fish should be introduced to the tank initially. Once the break-in cycle of your tank is established and stable, additional fish can be introduced.

No new fish

Before you make any purchase, it is always a good idea to find out if the fish you want has been quarantined for at least two to three weeks prior to being offered for sale. New arrivals could be carrying diseases or may succumb to stress induced by transport and other factors. After they have settled in, wait some time to see if they are still alive and well before buying them.

Choosing your fish

Use vital visual clues to help you select quality fish.

The body shape and colour pattern of your chosen fish should adhere to its standard characteristic. Its colours should be deep and obvious with its patterns clearly defined. Also, you would do well to avoid buying fish with physical blemishes such as lumps, pimples, spots, boils and split fins. A bloated fish with protruding scales may be infected with several diseases such as cancer in its internal organs, or be afflicted by large parasites, which make its abdomen swell unnaturally.

Though some fish characteristically swim with folded fins, others that do the same may actually be unwell. A fish that persistently sinks or floats to the surface may be suffering a disorder in its swim-bladder, an organ that acts like balloon to allow the fish to rise or sink in the water as required.

Also, if you notice a fish swimming while dangling a trail of faeces, it could mean that it is suffering from an internal ailment. On the other hand, it may just be constipated. Lastly, a fish which hides behind a plant, under a rock or simply mopes by itself in a corner of the tank most of the time is likely to be sick too.

Take heed of the above as you embark on your quest for fish. Good luck!


What’s a safe stocking level?