Finding A Fish
Finding A Fish
Marc Grover (Professional Aquarist) gives expert video advice on: Is it a good idea to buy a fish online?; Should I get a fish from a show or auction? and more...
Where can I get a fish?
With the best place for you to get a fish, there's a lot of options for you. First of all there are pet stores that sell fish and everything else. You can go online, but it's buyer beware because you can't see what you're getting, it comes shipped to you and it may be alive, or it may not be alive. It may be what you asked for, it may be the right size, or it may not be. Your absolute best bet when you're picking a fish is to come into a reputable fish only or fish oriented pet store, and they can help you. You're going to have professional aquarium staff, they will be able to tell you almost anything you need to know about almost any fish you can get. They're going to have a better selection because that's what they specialize in, and chances are that because they know what they're doing, the health of the specimens are going to greatly exceed any other place you can go to get a fish.
Do pet shops sell healthy fish?
It's tough to answer this question of "do pet shops sell healthy fish." It really depends on the pet shop. If you stick with a store that is really a fish shop, that's totally oriented around fish, you're going to have a much better chance of getting a healthier specimen. To me, it's common sense. If you go into a store and they specialize in twenty or thirty different things, how good are they going to be at any one of those things? If you come into a store that specializes in one or two things, you've got a better chance of them really knowing what they're talking about.
Where can I find saltwater fish?
The best place to find saltwater fish is to find an aquarium store that specializes in marine specimens. There are a lot of pet stores that don't deal with them at all, that only sell fresh water. There are a number of fish stores that are specific to fish; that don't deal with saltwater either. So you want to try and find a reputable marine specimen dealer or saltwater fish dealer. You can search for them online, find their websites, find out where they are in your area. The yellow Pages is another great resource as well.
Is it a good idea to buy a fish online?
In my professional opinion, it is not. The main reasons are these. You don't get to see what you are buying. You could see a picture of it, but you don't get to see it. Half of the fun of buying a fish is coming into the fish store and looking at the myriad possibilities of specimens for your particular aquarium. Secondly, you are rarely going to find any kind of expertise when you buy a fish online. You're going to find someone who is selling you something over the phone, just like buying a book, or anything else. They're not going to know anything about that specimen. When you come into an aquarium store, or a professional aquarist, they're going to know everything that you need to know to pick the right fish, everything about that fish, what it eats, and how you keep it healthy. If you have any problems with that fish, it's tough online to get hold of them when something has gone wrong. It's a lot easier to walk into your fish store and say, "Hey, I'm having problems. These are the symptoms. What do I do?" In my opinion, it's much better to come into an actual professional fish store to buy fish, as opposed to doing it online.
Should I get a fish from a show or auction?
If you get a fish from a fish show or an auction, typically what you're going to find is the care that's gone into that, is going to be very similar to what a professional aquarist would do. Most of them come from societies, and they really take this stuff seriously. They're not going to put a specimen out there or an animal out there that in any way, shape, or form is going to reflect badly on them, or their organization. So the chances are, you're going to find a very high-quality fish specimen. Hopefully you'll also get the expertise to go along with it, but at least from a specimen standpoint, the quality is probably going to be very high.
Where can I find a fish auction?
If you are looking for a fish auction you can try some fish stores. Or, if you are looking for fish societies then some aquarium shops will actually have some information on that. However, not a lot do. Your best bet is to do some type of Internet search, and try to find them geographically in your area for the particular fish that you are into. Whether you are into discus, betta fish, or you are saltwater coral keepers, there are societies that actually swap fragments of coral. It's an amazing thing. You don't have to go into the ocean to get them. You've got people who are growing them in their tanks. You can swap a purple one for one of their green ones. This stuff happens all the time, and the best place to find those societies is to definitely do an online search.
What is an 'aquatic society'?
Aquatic societies are for hardcore fish enthusiasts, people that are really into either a style of fishkeeping or a particular type of fish. Betta breeding societies are huge. Some of the most gorgeous fish you'll ever see, that some of us proprietors can't even get our hands on, are from these Betta societies where people actually spend time to breed particular colors or fin shapes. The people are so into it that they form little societies that have monthly meetings and that have newsletters, and have online chat rooms. It's as big as you can think. That's basically what an aquarium society is. There are also some that deal with coral and the oceans that are real conservationists. They want to make sure that whatever we're doing in the water ways of the world we're doing it with the utmost care. I speak highly of those organisations.