Fish Rescue Guide

Not all fish start out with the best life. We have received several requests to assist with fish “rescue” jobs and owners unsure what to do with their new pets. Often taken in under less than ideal circumstances, what can do you do to make your new fish feel at home?


No matter where your fish is coming from, you should ALWAYS quarantine your new fish in a SEPARATE tank with SEPARATE equipment, kept at least 3 feet from your current tank (out of the “splash zone.”) Even if you are rescuing giant koi, skipping this step could mean certain death for your other fish. Depending on your fish species, you will need to keep you new additions separate for at least 4-6 weeks.

Feed Appropriate Diet

Don’t just feed the new kids “whatever you have on hand.” If your rescue fish are a different species or have a different lifestyle, they will need a different diet. Do your research before buying a food to make sure it will provide your rescue fish with appropriate nutrition.

Do You Have Enough Room?

If you are planning on adding your rescue fish to your current tank, do you have enough room for everyone? Will all your species play nicely together? If you are unsure about what species you have and what they require, do your research before adding them to your system and simply “hoping for the best.”

Get a Health Check

This is especially important for fish like koi, who can carry latent viral diseases capable of wiping out a pond. Discuss with your veterinarian what testing may be required before your fish clear quarantine. Fish that are kept in less than ideal water quality can be stressed and more likely to carry diseases.

Re-Homing Fish

Despite your best intentions, not all fish will fit in with your current setup or situation. Try to find your rescue fish a new home by contacting a local fish club, your local fish veterinarian, talking with local fish maintenance professionals or local pet stores.

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