Interested in buying new fish for your pre-existing system? Here’s a helpful checklist to help you through!
Questions to ask yourself before buying new fish:
- Do you have room for more fish? The standard 1 gallon of water per 1″ of fish is a terrible standard. Fish vary too much in their build and nutritional conversion for this standard to hold true. Be sure to read this article to make sure you have room for more!
- Will the new fish get along with your current fish? Species tolerances and pecking order need to be taken into consideration when selecting new fish. If you have a tank, make sure that each fish has enough room for their own territory without overlap. Here is a good website to get an idea for different species space requirements.
- Where are you purchasing the fish from? There a numerous “reputable dealers” that claim all their fish are healthy. Be sure to ask about their specific quarantine protocols and see evidence of when the fish were delivered to their facility. A “reputable dealer” does NOT guarantee healthy fish!!!
- How will you be transporting them? How long will the transport be? Most fish are sold and packed with pure oxygen in bags containing some water. These bags are either shipped or hand carried to their new homes. Try to minimize any temperature swings or extremes during transport. Do NOT hold the bag on your lap. Prop them upright in a sturdy box and keep them out of the sun.
- The capture, handling and transport will cause your fish stress and subsequently their immune system will drop, allowing pathogens to replicate rapidly. Fish are not sterile critters and have bacteria and parasites on them at all times, but their immune systems keep them in check. During the stressful transport process, all the pathogens (bacteria, fungus, parasites, etc) will replicate, REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOUR FISH IS COMING FROM. So when they get home to your tank, they will pass on everything to your current fish. How do you prevent this? QUARANTINE! QUARANTINE! QUARANTINE!
- Quarantine all new additions for 4-6 weeks, REGARDLESS of where they come from. This is non-negotiable. You will potentially save the lives of all of your fish by doing this. See our Quarantine Webinar for more information.
By following this checklist, you will ensure that you have healthy fish coming into your system. Most of the health issues in tanks arise secondary to new fish additions. Protect your fish.