You can buy fish from a variety of sources including pet shops and aquatic suppliers. However, before buying any fish you should always find out as much as you can from specialist retailers, experienced successful fish keepers, local clubs and books and magazines.
The most important part is to investigate the pond, aquarium and type of fish which suits your lifestyle, your experience and your budget.
Remember that the needs of the fish are the most important aspect – never buy on impulse.
Cost of keeping a fish
The primary cost involved in fish keeping is in the initial set-up and generally the cost plus time and expertise increases from coldwater to tropical to marine. Some species may require specialist diets, but for all fish keeping, an essential cost is for test kits to keep a check on water quality.
Choosing a fish
There are some points to consider when choosing your fish – we have already had a brief look at size and lifespan but make sure these are both compatible with your system. Also make sure that your chosen fish species is compatible with your pond or aquarium environment, and any other fish you may already keep.
Having decided on what type of system and hence what range of species of fish you would like to keep there are a few more tips on choosing your fish. Look and see if your chosen fish are active, with a bright colour and no marks on the skin or scales or fins. Ask the retailer how long the fish have been on their premises and do they quarantine new arrivals – there is nothing more disappointing than to just get your new fish settled in and for them then to succumb to some infection. Dedicated retailers take fish health very seriously and will even have a fish health plan.
Hints and tips on new ownership
- Your new tank or pond will need to be set up a few days before you buy your fish. This allows the tank and the water to settle down. Ask your aquatic supplier or pet shop how best to prepare the tank when you purchase it. Fish should then only be introduced gradually over the next 6 – 8 weeks to allow the biofilters to become active to cope with the fish waste and to avoid ‘new tank or pond syndrome’. In fish keeping there is no substitute for patience.
- Tap water must be treated before it is used in an aquarium as it contains chlorine – either leave it in a clean open receptacle for at least 24 hours or buy dechlorinator from your retailer.
- If you decide to have a pond, seek advice from experienced specialist pond constructors since there are a number of factors which need to be taken into consideration such as construction materials, size, depth, garden landscaping, filtration, pumps, aeration system and even predator control. However, although that seems a long list, there are a large number of hobby fish keepers who derive great pleasure from their garden ponds.