DECOR DIS­CUS­SIONS

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Letters -

I’ve just read your ‘Eth­i­cal de­bate’ piece in the Septem­ber is­sue. Firstly, I love this sec­tion of the

mag­a­zine. One of the re­cent pieces led to a de­bate be­tween me and a friend about whether it was right to eu­thanase fish. He’s holds pro-life views, and it turns out that ex­tends to fish too. His view was, if it’s still alive, it still has a chance. I couldn’t quite agree with him, but it pro­voked a won­der­fully friendly, al­beit pas­sion­ate, dis­cus­sion – all sparked by your piece.

Any­way, to Septem­ber’s de­bate on the sub­ject of tank decor. As my part­ner al­ways says about po­lar­is­ing views, the an­swer is prob­a­bly some­where in the mid­dle…

My com­mu­nity tank is home to dark sand, a black back­ground and plenty of plants. But it does have a cou­ple of quirks that re­flect my per­son­al­ity – a T. rex skele­ton head or­na­ment (which plants have grown into and my bristlenose uses as a hide), and a Lego diver, held on a base­plate buried into the sand. At first glance, the tank looks like a nat­u­ral com­mu­nity tank. Only when you look closer do my in­ter­ests peek through (to clar­ify, my favourite film is ‘Juras­sic Park’).

There’s also an op­por­tu­nity, as ever, for ed­u­ca­tion. When my nine-year-old daugh­ter wanted to set up a mi­cro tank, I made sure she did it prop­erly. We re­searched ap­pro­pri­ate fish, wa­ter con­di­tions and so on for the tank, and the kind of things the fish would like. Even­tu­ally when she was of­fered the choice of or­na­ments, she chose nat­u­ral over gar­ish, claim­ing it would be bet­ter for this fish. With one ex­cep­tion... a small Se­bas­tian or­na­ment from ‘The Lit­tle Mer­maid’.

I think it’s im­por­tant that when we keep fish (or in­deed any an­i­mal), we

re­alise we are, in fact, play­ing God. And with great power comes great re­spon­si­bil­ity! It’s our moral duty to make sure the fish are healthy and happy, and that ob­vi­ously ben­e­fits us too (mainly through our wal­lets).

If that means pro­vid­ing a nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment for them, then that’s what we should do. But I don’t think there’s any­thing wrong with hav­ing a sense of hu­mour as we un­leash our gen­e­sis-like po­ten­tial. Leigh Austin, email

BE­LOW: Tank dec­o­ra­tion is big busi­ness th­ese days.

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