Is keeping a Pet Fish Cruel?

Millions of pet fish are sold each year and most are loved and cared for in the correct manner, which is why the hobby has grown incredibly fast over the past two decades.

However, ever since fish keeping started around 1832, there have always been arguments against keeping wild fish in a home aquarium. Why? I hear you ask. Well, many people are of the opinion that keeping fish in a fish tank is cruel. So let’s have a look at a few reasons why this may be true or if it is totally unfounded.

Is keeping a pet fish cruel? Some irresponsible owners keep their pet fish in improper conditions, and this is when having a pet fish can be cruel. Luckily, there are plenty of other, more responsible owners, who provide their fish with the optimum conditions. In these cases, providing fish with a safe, regulated space with guaranteed sustenance and relative privacy is a kindness.

In fact, a fish in captivity can live a lot longer than it otherwise would do in the wild. They are no longer at risk from predators, harsh weather conditions, and other dangers that, in their natural habitat, they might otherwise face.

There are some common mistakes that fish owners have been known to make. When these are avoided, a pet fish will have a much better chance at survival and a good life.

The following is a list of some of these common mistakes, and ways to avoid them:

An immature habitat

All too often, fish owners place their fish in tanks that are not ready. There are many environmental facets of the tank which must be accounted for initially. It is imperative that, prior to purchasing fish, your tank is completely ready to accommodate them.

Unfortunately, some do not realize that a tank habitat must be mature. This will help ensure that the pH balance and general water chemistry remain stable. Chlorine should be at zero, and the pH should reflect the range required by the respective tank inhabitants.

This is another thing to take into consideration when creating your fish community: similar pH, oxygen level needs and the like.

Is overfeeding your fish cruel?

Though fish can be as dramatic as the next pet when it comes to begging for food, in reality they require very little. Exceeding their requirements can all too easily make fish sick, even fatally.

This is largely due to the fact that food residue and excessive waste will almost certainly degrade the water quality.

To prevent overfeeding, as well as the related hazards, feed your fish only what can be eaten in roughly five minutes. Note the instructed quantity and frequency.

Usually, what is called for are small servings, a few times a day. Clean up any leftovers promptly and thoroughly.

Why is Overstocking a fish tank cruel?

It makes sense to be excited when stocking your aquarium. Fish-keeping is a popular hobby. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm can lead to careless or excessive purchases, which then translates into a crowded tank.

A tank which is too crowded will cause the aquatic inhabitants distress. After all, even the most sociable of fish need some privacy from time to time.

Also, when there are too many fish, ensuring that all of them get enough to eat is virtually impossible.

is keeping fish cruel?
Keeping fish in small spaces without filtration is cruel and not acceptable

You can keep from overstocking your tank by researching exactly how much space each fish type you intend to keep requires. Expand the space accordingly with each addition.

To provide privacy for your fish, include features like caves and other nooks. Plants are also an excellent choice.

Why are small fish tanks bad?

Even if you intend to purchase only one or a few fish, there is still a minimum of space that they will require.

Cramped tanks, like goldfish bowls, for example, will not only inhibit the growth of your fish, they will also cause them some misery. Fish do like to swim about, after all. Most fish function best in a 20-30 gallon tank like the one pictured which is available from Amazon and delivered safely to your door. Depending on the number of fish and the size they will grow to be, you should consider buying a larger tank / aquarium.

Tanks smaller than this do not give fish much room to move about, which can leave them depressed and listless, even sick. A sufficiently large tank is key to the well-being of any pet fish.

Poor filtration in a fish tank will reduce oxygen

In nature, most fish are accustomed to moving water, which filters and cleans itself. A tank of standing water lacking a water filter, will swiftly become dirty.

There will also not be enough oxygen in the water. Both of these things will kill a fish sooner or later, probably sooner.

In order to create the proper filtration in a tank, a water filter is imperative. A good water filter will help oxygenate the water and get rid of waste.

Various filters are available and all sizes of aquariums are covered from small filters for aquariums up to 10 Gallons and larger filters for all sizes above 10 Gallons.

Incompatibility amongst tank mates is cruel

Pairing fish incorrectly is one of the biggest, and most devastating mistakes that a fish owner can make. After all, some fish are shy, and have delicate appendages; other fish are aggressive, and like to nip fins.

For the more submissive fish, this is a recipe for trauma and injury. Some fish will even eat other, smaller fish and shrimp or the like.

To avoid confrontations and fatalities, make sure that all of the fish in your tank are peaceful types. Do your research, and you can even find companions that will favor each other. For example, Vampire Shrimp and Bamboo Shrimp are known to graze together companionably.

Conclusion: Is keeping a Pet Fish Cruel?

To sum it up, when done improperly, having a pet fish can indeed be cruel.  It is simple enough to keep fish humanely, however. 

Simply treating your marine creatures kindly and providing them with the necessary, quality conditions, they will live a long and happy life.

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