Are fish tanks cruel?

Are fish tanks cruel? It depends. If the fish tank is too small for the fish or the equipment in it and water changes all in combination aren’t giving the right quality of water, heat and light then that’s cruel for at least those species of fish that aren’t being catered for. Fish also have the right to hidey holes where they can enjoy their privacy for the species that need it. Of course, some individuals within a species might need it more than others. Fish differ not only between species but within a species. They even differ in their behaviour within one spawning of fry. Such is life, for organisms that reproduce sexually. It is one of the so-called “joys of sex” that Alex Comfort neglected to mention as he was more concerned with the prurient. In fact, I hope my readers haven’t even heard of him.

BB Radio – einfach der beste Mix

The mix of fish is what people tend to get wrong the most though. Putting together fish of different sizes so that the smaller ones end up getting eaten is not fair on them. Also, you should not put fin-nippers or biters like barbs or puffer fish or overly playful fish like botias in with delicate fish which don’t like to be chased around, like discus or mormyrids. Everyone should know not to mix two male Bettas, but you could have a similar result over a longer period with a lot of kinds of cichlids. When you breed fish not taking care to have males and females from separate bloodstock, this also can lead to unintentional cruelty. That is because the number of young with genetic issues and deformities is likely to be higher.

Nuh’un gemisi sizin evdedir

If you avoid those problems, there is nothing intrinsically cruel about the aquarium hobby. Our well-maintained aquarium fishes have a much better quality of life much better than that in the wild. Whole species are now being maintained in hobbyist collections which are extinct in the wild. The German hobby and Hans-Georg Evers in particular brought the Noah’s Ark capability of our hobby to peoples attention already in the 1980s.

Many livebearers and even cherry barbs are maintained despite habitat destruction in captive collections.  Other hobbyists have gone so far as to describe species to science which they have found wither coming through trade channels or in their own explorations of the Amazon.

The image shows Brachyrhamdia marthae, named by my old friend and mentor Dr. David D. Sands in honour of his then wife. David Sands used to write many articles promoting non-cruel fishkeeping, avoiding for instance keeping very large fish like red-tailed catfishes in small fish tanks where they would not thrive.

I hope some aquarists reading this will aspire to be part of some cottage conservation project, and dedicate some nice tanks to this idea.

Aqua cuna vitae, ager nobis

So, you see why it depends. Depending on what you do with your tank it can be heaven or hell for your piscine companions. In itself it is not cruel, it is a set of panes of glass.

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Some Q&A about Aquatics (Quora #4)

A couple of Saturdays ago I started a series which was intended to reproduce my inputs on Quora over here on this blog, as a repurposing and collating of them as well as a way of making sure I don’t lose my own content. Once again I recently had a warning from Quora just for letting another Englishman know thatt in saying no Englishman likes Donald Trump he took rather too much on himself as there are those of us who do. This was enough to have a second warning from Quora and so now I need to accelerate the copying over of my own work from that site in case I lose all those hours of work and creativity. Where there is moderation, there is limited trust.

At first I did one article per post, but there are quite a lot of briefer answers and it makes little sense to copy these over in that format, so now I have in mind to produce more answers in a single post, based around onne theme, and I have been preparing lists that analyse these articles into common themes. Last time in #3 we took a few articles I had written about Betta splendens, the Siamese fighting fish. These answers gave rise to more questions for me to answer (Quora has A2A, or Ask to Answer where people get invited to answer, either because the person asking knows them or they are suggested by the software. Alternatively you can jump in and give an answer on whatever appears on your screen. If you have opted to receive emails, you get a feed from Quora or items that may interest you) and these questions started to be about fishkeeping or aquatics in more general terms, and even (to be looked at later on) about ichthyology. Inevitably I also started to receive questions about sport fishing and I have zero time for that. I am ready to talk about fishery as part of the food industry, but not about angling, fly fishing or any of these sadistic pseudosports.

Please remember that my answers vary a lot from facetious to informative usually depending on my mood, the time available and what I think about the question. Be prepared for a rather broad range of approaches to questions. Quora goes from highly intellectual Q&A to the dumbest things a human being can write or read. I try to vary my own tone to match the quality of the question.

If you want to discuss or ask anything else around these themes, please get a discussion going in the comments. It’s what the comment facility is there for. I hope it is not onerous to log on and make some kind of utterance.

My own Heros severus.

As mentioned in the title, the theme for today is aquatics, and these answers were given by me all in 2015-2016.

1. Can you overfeed fish? How do you avoid doing so?

You can always add more food but it is harder to take it out. Give enough for everything to be eaten in a few minutes and feed morning and evening. You can leave raw carrot pieces or washed lettuce leaves – not much – or the skins of fresh cucumbers in there for them to eat more gradually.

Feeding too much will cause a nitrate hike, it has a demand on oxygen and will generally poison the fish as well as cause bacterial blooms and too much growth of algae.

Continue reading “Some Q&A about Aquatics (Quora #4)”