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.