Know your fish

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Marine -

Fish are like hu­mans in many ways with their lives re­volv­ing around the cre­ation and main­te­nance of a home, pro­tect­ing it, putting food on the table and, of course, sex. There’s no bet­ter way of avoid­ing po­ten­tial is­sues with changes in be­hav­iour than to know the in­di­vid­ual fish con­cerned and that means re­search­ing it be­fore pur­chase. Is it a species that will change sex and be­come more ter­ri­to­rial? Does it have a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing ag­gres­sive and if so, what species of fish does it sin­gle out for ag­gres­sion more than others?

Can you make ar­range­ments for your fish to be fed reg­u­larly in your ab­sence if a lack of food is likely to be­come a prob­lem?

Is your set-up large enough to house a ter­ri­to­rial in­di­vid­ual of a par­tic­u­lar species? Deal­ers can help here as many will have had feed­back from cus­tomers re­gard­ing the long term be­hav­iour of the fish that they sell. Rather than the sin­gle anec­dote: ‘It was fine in my aquar­ium’, they will have their own ex­pe­ri­ences with a num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als to call upon.

Com­pil­ing such a wealth of in­for­ma­tion might seem in­tim­i­dat­ing, but it can save a heck of a lot of heartache in the long run — as any­one who has tried to catch a Py­jama wrasse in a large reef aquar­ium will ver­ify!

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