Adding fish to your saltwater aquarium is usually the most fun part of the setup process. There is much excitement involved with bringing fish home and putting them in the aquarium that you’ve cycling for weeks. When you add the fish, the aquarium comes alive.
In order to preserve that excitement and to promote an ongoing healthy aquarium you must select your fish wisely. There is nothing worse than putting a new fish in the aquarium and watching it get sick and die. It’s even worse if that new fish makes your other fish sick due to being unhealthy.
Don’t Buy on Impulse
Do your research and due diligence before you buy any type of fish for your saltwater aquarium. Be sure that you will be able to take care of the fish and that it is within your skill level as an aquarium owner.
Don’t just wander into a fish store and buy a fish because a fish looks “totally rad”. You could be risking the life of the other fish in your aquarium. You could even be risking the health of your aquarium as a whole. Don’t buy on impulse and make a bad decision.
Without doing your research you run the risk of buying a fish that might be aggressive to other tank mates or unhealthy and contagious. Be sure to observe the fish and find out what it is compatible with before buying.
Observe Before You Buy
If you are buying your aquarium fish from the local fish store you have the opportunity to observe the fish before making a purchase. Observing a fish for an extended period of time can tell you a lot about it’s health.
Watch how the fish swims around and interacts with other fish that it is swimming with. Check for any unusual marks or spots. You want a fish that looks and acts healthy.
In most cases you should be able to get the fish store to feed the fish while you observe. Watch how the fish eats. If the fish is eating well, it should be easy to acclimate to your aquarium. Fish that aren’t eating well might have lowered immune systems and can suffer more drastically from stress.
Don’t Buy a Sick Fish
Though a rare situation, it is possible to buy or adopt a sick dog or cat and nurse it back to health. This is not a good idea with fish. Even if you feel bad for a sick fish at a fish store, buying it is a bad idea. Sick fish can be carrying parasites and diseases that will quickly spread throughout your entire aquarium if they get the chance. It’s not worth the risk.
Being selective and patient is a good idea when buying saltwater aquarium fish. Stocking your aquarium with nothing but the best and most compatible fish will pay dividends. Your time is best spent enjoying the ambience of your aquarium rather than caring for unhealthy fish and dealing with bad purchasing decisions.