Ethics Of Fish Keeping. General Discussion

Do you have ethical concerns about the hobbyist fish keeping industry?


  • Total voters
    34
  • Poll closed .

Mendellen

Member
So this theme has come up in other topics on fishlore but I think a general conversation about ethical issues within the aquarium trade may be interesting. What kind of moral dilemmas cause you hesitation or reflection about how you practice the hobby and how do you respond to them? How can the industry address these concerns?

Some personal background... I am an architecture student in a small city with over 300 regional lakes where I have lived most of my life. As this environment has become a part of who I am, my final thesis will be centered around the theoretical creation of a lakeside public aquarium with (freshwater) regional exhibits which will be used to educate visitors about the impacts of human activities on aquatic ecosystems. Ideally, the filtration system, if possible, would be used to help filter the lake water which has been contaminated by sulfur, heavy metals, excess phosphates and sodium chloride from industrial activities and urban development.

So anyway... as the thesis will be a public-centered project and it also aligns with my personal interest in fish keeping I thought I'd try to generate some discussion with you good folks who are involved in the hobby/trade. Thanks...
 

Thunder_o_b

Member
My concern is with the big market pet industry as a whole. The fish and others are nothing more than lures to get people to buy support equipment. Their lives are not even an after thought to the powers at the top.

There are however very good people at ground level. Today I was actually asked what size aquarium and tank mates the 4 tiny angels I wanted to buy would be in/with. She had not delt with me before (the others in the store have known me for a long time. I thanked her for asking and she said that she will not sell a fish that she thinks is going in a bad setting. BRAVO!!!!!

Oh, the tiny angels are in a 44 gallon to grow out until they are large enough to go in the 150. Prissy and Mable are so large that the little ones would seem like snack food.
 

Discus-Tang

Member
The pet industry as a whole sort of disturbs me. Especially fish and other "novelty" pets. It's very hard to make a living with an lfs, so they often have to misinform their customers. I believe that all pet stores should be state-approved, though that will never happen.

I also have an issue with collection, especially of endangered species. So many fish have become endangered in the process, and cyanide fishing (a common technique for collection) usually results in deaths of other fish not to be collected. Cyanide fishing is also known to kill more than 80% of collected fish before they make it to the store.
 

BettaBeetlesandBugs

Member
Agreed. Way too many people buy fish just because it "looks pretty" or because they stand out for being exotic or something of the like. Before getting a fish or any pet in general one should always do their research. A baby Oscar will not fit in a 10 gallon tank forever. I am not saying this to be rude, I actually encourage people to get pet fish. It not only educates us but gives us respect for the fragile ecosystem around us, but before getting a pet thorough research should be done, and a proper plan for disposing the fish if you are not able to care for it. The fact that some people are dumping non native plecos, cichlids, goldfish, etc. into our ecosystem and bodies of water really hurts me. It not only hurts our native ecosystem, but also hurts the fish. It's a new place for them and it stresses them out. If you can't care for it anymore, give it to a friend, relative, or a local pet store.

Additionally, I fully agree with your statement, Thunder_o_b. Many typical big-box pet stores just seem to focus on making money. I have only ever visited 2 pet stores in my life that showed true passion for the hobby. One of the stores even had a huge(40 gallons?) tank raising brine shrimp to feed all of the fish! Although they're much pricier, I would personally prefer buying from a source that truly cares for their animals, instead of one that's trying to make money. It's not morally right to sell some customers a sickly fish that you know will die in a matter of days.
 

SegiDream

Member
My issues with the hobby.. I don't like the idea of collecting fish from the wild which are or could easily become endangered. I wish a little more care could be given to the fish in chain stores. My city has a large freshwater aquarium right along the riverbank. It's a nice aquarium but IMO a tad too expensive for what they have to offer.
 

Jellibeen

Member
The above people have already raised most of the issues I have. The industry treating fish as disposable, stores misinforming customers, detrimental effects of collecting from the wild.

I read The Dragon Behind the Glass which opened my eyes up to how collecting from the wild affects the environment and the people that live there. It also made me think a lot about people objectifying fish. I think it happens with people who are very involved in the hobby, as well. Even people who put a lot of care into their tank still think of their fish as objects. If the fish dies, they get sad because they lost a nice specimen, not because they cared about the fish itself. Of course, this is not by any means all hobbyists, but it is some of them.
 

Shasta

Member
Same with what a lot of people able said. I feel live pets in any large scale company are likely to be mistreated since it’s just a side sale and thus not a big concern for companies big heads .

This seems to just be a lot more bluntly obvious with fish given the fact they require a lot of (sellable) expensive side peices that can make easy sales/cash (so thus they attract more cash hungry sellers since they can profit from it while dogs and cats are maybe food and maybe toys so not worth trying to pay to sell live dogs/cats). Also the fact that fish are just a lot different from the normal/well known pets (cats/dogs) so they are publically very easily misunderstood (goldfish for example. When I first started I though it was only the fancy goldfish that grew large and then feeder ones stayed small and I even tried researching about them before getting them and later learning that was wrong) and thus easily able to make lot of cash off of due to people not knowing better. Also I wonder how much is just lazy-ness and how much is ill intent give if you don’t take the time to research it’s very easy to miss a bunch due to lazy-ness or just not caring or assuming it doesn’t matter and not paying attention to the details.
And that's still not touching the whole fish seen as decor due to the fact that most fish aren’t seen as interact/playful pets (and a lot can be from their housing not being set up right which causes people to not be very empathetic to a pet that you can’t socialize with) so people don’t always empathize with them due to not socializing with them (in the sense with mammals where you can touch and pet and so on that helps lead to bonding and caring for your pet). I’m not saying everyone does this, I just feel this is a big pitfall that prevents people as understanding these fish and enjoying them as pets instead of shiny decor or relaxing decor (so like plants on a pond, pretty but most don’t give a though to the plants feelings)
 

Jellibeen

Member
Every so often, I feel a lot of guilt over
keeping fish in tanks especially wild caught ones. I didn’t do enough research about my zebra loaches. I didn’t want to buy wild caught fish, but didn’t check before buying them. I can’t help but feel guilt that they were taken from a huge habitat and now live in a tank that is miniscule by comparison. Sure, they don’t have predators and they get food delivered to them daily. There are upsides and downsides to tank life.

I wonder if anyone else has these sort of reservations about fish happiness and freedom.
 

Repolie

Member
There's some things that irk me a bit. This hobby is mostly based around money. And to make money, people will physically alter a fish to make it more desirable with uneeded cosmetic surgeries such as fish tattooing, colour injections and many more other things. The fish was meant to look like that, leave it alone. If you don't like it, find something else. Or some badly bred fish with traits that lower their quality of life. I also don't like wild caught fish because they were taken from a place with unlimited space, then put into a confined area. But that's about it.
 

The Aquatic Weasel

Member
One word: Walmart.
 

goldface

Member
I don't have any moral dilemmas. I'm even okay with keeping wild fish, within reason.
 
  • Moderator

smee82

Moderator
Member
I'm with scarface I don't see any moral or ethical issues with keeping fish. Honestly ive had more trouble with SJWs who most of the time are arrogant and seem uneducated.
 

Dave125g

Member
I have no moral dilemmas, really. I feel I'm a responsible fishkeeper. As a responsible fish keeper I feel its our moral responsibility to educate newbies or even pet store owners/employees whom we see making an obvious mistake.
Not everyone is outspoken as I am, however. Those who see a person buying a common gold fish and a half gallon bowl ,and say nothing, have the ethical problem.
 

Fishcat

Member
I do worry about wild-caught fish. It is not that I think wild=bad. A responsible fishery for the trade can encourage conservation of what becomes a valuable resource. My concerns are with unsustainable collection and with the selling of fish that are difficult to maintain in a home aquarium setting - fish that are difficult to feed, for example. As to the question of life in an aquarium being confining, my thoughts on this are largely based on Gerald Durrell’s in “The Stationary Ark”, his book on setting up the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. I highly recommend this book for anyone who’s musing about the ethics of animals in captivity.
The ethics of fish keeping must be evaluated case by case, I think - there’s no simple rule to go by. One person’s pet is another person’s feeder, after all.
 

Jellibeen

Member
Repolie said:
There's some things that irk me a bit. This hobby is mostly based around money. And to make money, people will physically alter a fish to make it more desirable with uneeded cosmetic surgeries such as fish tattooing, colour injections and many more other things. The fish was meant to look like that, leave it alone. If you don't like it, find something else. Or some badly bred fish with traits that lower their quality of life. I also don't like wild caught fish because they were taken from a place with unlimited space, then put into a confined area. But that's about it.

Agreed. There are so many fish that look beautiful without being physically altered. They come in every shape, size, and color. So why tattoo them?

I know many fish and crustaceans that won’t breed successfully in captivity because they require conditions that are hard to replicate in tanks, such as eggs laid in freshwater then swept into saltwater. But, a lack of breeding in captivity is often seen as a sign of depression in mammals. This makes
me wonder if some species that won’t breed in captivity are unhappy or stressed or generally unsatisfied. Of course, it’s near impossible to know for sure but this is something I take into consideration.

I will have to check out “The Stationary Ark.” It looks interesting.

As far as one person’s fish being another person’s feeder: There is an monster fish instagram page that I no longer follow. They had many large predatory fish in giant aquariums and ponds (so many bichirs! I love those guys.) It was sweet to see large fish actually kept in giant tanks. Anyway, one time they posted a video of two fish of the same size fighting. Well, not really fighting. One was attacking and eating the other. It gave me a sick feeling to watch. Then I started thinking about why i, and many other followers, had such an issue with this video but no issue with videos of giant fish eating feeder fish. I believe it stems from
people objectifying fish. We see a feeder fish, and decide that this fish is meant to be killed. That is its purpose. Humans bred it to be food for other fish, therefore it exists only as food for other fish.

I am not by any means attacking people who use feeder fish. I don’t have an issue with it. I don’t see it as different than killing fish to be made into pellets or flakes. However, thinking about feeder fish did make me consider how people, myself included, lose respect for fish because we believe we have every right to decide whether a fish exists to live or exists to die.
 

Zentuckyfriedchicken

Member
Personally, I know that when I get a fish, it will have the best life possible unless a catastrophic accident occurs (my clown bill getting stuck in a safety mesh). The way I look at is you are trading the fishes freedom for almost guaranteed safety. Some issues I have are the treatment of some fish at stores and some morphs. For example the treatment of feeders. Also some of the disgusting fish morphs. (I have no problem with blood Parrots) For example pearl scale goldfish (so fat that they can’t swim right) and stubby clown fish (bred to be missing vertebrae). Yeah, that’s all I got.
 

rainbowsprinkles

Member
Jellibeen said:
As far as one person’s fish being another person’s feeder: There is an monster fish instagram page that I no longer follow. They had many large predatory fish in giant aquariums and ponds (so many bichirs! I love those guys.) It was sweet to see large fish actually kept in giant tanks. Anyway, one time they posted a video of two fish of the same size fighting. Well, not really fighting. One was attacking and eating the other. It gave me a sick feeling to watch. Then I started thinking about why i, and many other followers, had such an issue with this video but no issue with videos of giant fish eating feeder fish. I believe it stems from
people objectifying fish. We see a feeder fish, and decide that this fish is meant to be killed. That is its purpose. Humans bred it to be food for other fish, therefore it exists only as food for other fish.

I am not by any means attacking people who use feeder fish. I don’t have an issue with it. I don’t see it as different than killing fish to be made into pellets or flakes. However, thinking about feeder fish did make me consider how people, myself included, lose respect for fish because we believe we have every right to decide whether a fish exists to live or exists to die.
Yes it is a good point-we are all guilty of using feeder fish- look at the ingredients of your fish food. Even herbivore food has fish as a main ingredient. I also eat fish..but there is no humane slaughter requirement for food fish. Being eaten by a predator is probably more humane than suffocation in air, after hours impaled on a long line bait hook.. I do think about that sometimes. I’ve also been thinking of designing invertebrate-based fish food for my own fish.. Bug bytes is an improvement but still has salmon.
 

Discus-Tang

Member
rainbowsprinkles said:
Yes it is a good point-we are all guilty of using feeder fish- look at the ingredients of your fish food. Even herbivore food has fish as a main ingredient. I also eat fish..but there is no humane slaughter requirement for food fish. Being eaten by a predator is probably more humane than suffocation in air, after hours impaled on a long line bait hook.. I do think about that sometimes. I’ve also been thinking of designing invertebrate-based fish food for my own fish.. Bug bytes is an improvement but still has salmon.
If the fish are piscivores, you should feed them fish (in pellet form)
 

rainbowsprinkles

Member
BringKermitBack said:
If the fish are piscivores, you should feed them fish (in pellet form)
All my fish eat mostly inverts in wild so I feel they should be fed inverts
 

Jellibeen

Member
I use bug bites, partially because oceans are in terrible shape, and partially because many fish eat more bugs than fish flesh. I’m not thrilled about feeding my fish food that contributes to the depletion of oceans, but I do it cos my fish need to eat a healthy diet.
 

Dave125g

Member
Not for nothing, keeping fish in your home is unethical. Not that I'm against it, I keep fish too.

We keep fish for our own enjoyment. As much as we give them a good home, it is solely for our enjoyment. The fish we keep have no say in the matter. Just thought I'd point that out.
 

Lacey D

Member
I got my start as a biologist and was raised to fish (we even had a stocked pond so feeding the trout was my daily chore and pleasure), so here's my take:
  1. I dislike mass wild collection for fish destined directly for the pet trade. It is disruptive to the environment, destructive to the fish (which experience astronomical mortality rates, especially when the 'collectors' are poachers), and introduce disease and parasites into the hobby. It has contributed to extinctions, and is frankly just heartbreaking all on its own. There is a difference between a captive-bred animal and the behavior it exhibits (since captivity is all that it's ever known), and a formerly wild animal.
  2. Responsible, licensed collection for the purposes of studying the fish or propagation to sell their descendants into the pet trade is a different thing, and has been the salvation of many species. Pure endler are probably extinct in the wild--their lagoon has been largely destroyed by pollution and development, and the introduction/intrusion into their territory by other wild guppy strains no longer held at bay by the no-longer brackish conditions. But thanks to a few notable expeditions, pure wild-strain endler are in no danger of going extinct in the pet trade (although still at risk of being hybridized).
  3. The "industry" side of the fish-world is something I am very conflicted about. In the best of situations, it is a run by ethical people who are working to propagate species, removing the incentive for wild collection. But frequently even those breeders force-mature the fish, and their lifespans are drastically reduced in order to get the maximum number out the door. It always comes down to dollars, and there are (in the US) no inspections or ethical accountability for agriculturalists. The majority of pet stores have fish just to sell tanks, and decent sized aquariums are crazy-overpriced for what they are--glass, PVC and silicon. This, the easily availability of unsuitable and delicate fish, and a lack of education encourages the public to neglect their fish's basic needs, and then consider them all but disposable, because fish 'just don't live that long'.
  4. And don't hate on me, but...there is also a problem with how nearly every search for information on the internet leads to a forum of people asking for said information. There are very few actual authorities with accessible articles, and so many of the major players in the industry put out professional-looking articles on their websites, often with HIGHLY inaccurate or misleading information--such as pushing 1 gallon aquariums for betta. This lures even the customers who are trying to research down the wrong path, out of the mistaken belief that "they wouldn't sell it if it wasn't good for the fish!"
  5. At least with dogs, cat, and other kinds of exotic pets, they cost so much that going to the vet is a no-brainer (for those who have a brain). But for a 29 cent feeder goldfish that you got at a fair? Yah... not going to happen. And many hobbiests don't seem to even realize that there ARE aquatic vets, and that there are research centers for aquaculturalists and biologists at nearly every university who can provide a lot more information about why your entire aquarium died overnight than a forum can...
  6. But finally...I like having fish in small glass boxes. I like doing my best to recreate a tiny ecosystem, and yes, for me that means that fish are going to eat each other on occasion. My current setup is too small to handle aggressive species, but one day I want a massive aquarium where I can recreate a South American river estuary, and let nature take its course as I just try to keep the water as life-conducive as possible and the environment as healthy as possible with plants and caves. I like catching fish, and watch YouTubers who are out and collecting with interest, to see what they find. I listen to talks by other scientists who have collected in the wild, and I really DO love to fish, and I eat my catch (when legal). I think it's important to not have blinders on about how 'perfect' life in the wild is--a 2013 study found that 25% of impregnated female guppies were carrying the genetic material of males who were no longer in that population, i.e. dead. Life in the wild is often short, brutal and painful. It is our job in the hobby to make our captive fishes' lives as long, peaceful, and fulfilled as possible. ...and often that is going to include the stimulation of letting them search out their own food.
 

Jellibeen

Member
Dave125g said:
Not for nothing, keeping fish in your home is unethical. Not that I'm against it, I keep fish too.

We keep fish for our own enjoyment. As much as we give them a good home, it is solely for our enjoyment. The fish we keep have no say in the matter. Just thought I'd point that out.
Yup. There’s a lot of moral ambiguity for keeping pets in general. That’s
why I feel badly about it sometimes. My cat technically has some say in the manner. I’ve let her outside before, and she hardly left the door begging to come in. Fish don’t have that choice.
 

goldface

Member
It’s hard to think that fish have those thoughts or capable of complex reasoning. Of course no one can know for certain what really goes on inside the mind of a fish, except a fish. But I know this. Whether the fish is only 2lbs or 300lbs, they both will be fooled by the same piece of metal with a hook attached that you yo-yo up and down. They say it mimicks an injured or falling baitfish, but really a piece of metal is a piece of falling metal. So I lean more towards them being not so complex, thinking-wise, if a 50 yr old animal will be fooled by the same lure as a minnow.
 

aced it

Member
I try to avoid wild caught fish as much as I can. Part of the reason I prefer longfin varieties and weird color variations(besides glofish- they just look funny) is because I know for sure they're captive bred. I see the aquarium itself as the main part of the hobby. We put all the work into creating a tiny ecosystem in a box, and the fish in the ecosystem interacting with us is just a bonus.
Edit: I accidentally posted before finishing my sentence.
 

Awaken_Riceball_

Member
I personally think, it will be controvsial, before one is allow to become an Aquarium hobbyist, they should obtain a permit. It is similar to regulations in place for fishing and hunting permits. A permit will educate future hobbyist about the harm of releasing non-native fish and plant species into the wild as well as equip with the knowledge to increase the chance of being successful in the hobby. In addition, I think all big pet stores should be regulated to hire workers who are skill or obtain a fish keeping permit with higher pay above minium wage.

In this scenrio, a successful hobbyist is a returning costumer which means more steady flow income for aquatic business either selling equipment or fish.

As others have stated, the ethic of big aquarium stores is to profit by selling what they can to less inform/knowledable customers. In addition, I think big aquarium stores should be held accountable by selling fish to customers who does not have the proper equipment or environment to handle certain types of fish like an junior Oscar in a 10G aquarium unless the customers has proven (in some way) it is a temporary setup like a QT tank.

The permit will allow companies to track the customer's purchase in the aquatic trade, and it is also beneticial to the company by losing up the burden of profit margin lost by having to many customers return dead fish with their DOA policy.

Lastly, as others have stated, I think the method of capturing wild fish is unethnical because the fish is taken from its vast waterway home into an enclosed environment for mere entertainment. I think there should a much larger focus on captive bred fish; although, I understand that some fish have a very difficult time reproducing in an enclosure.

Just my thoughts.
 

Dave125g

Member
Awaken_Riceball_ said:
I personally think, it will be controvsial, before one is allow to become an Aquarium hobbyist, they should obtain a permit. It is similar to regulations in place for fishing and hunting permits. A permit will educate future hobbyist about the harm of releasing non-native fish and plant species into the wild as well as equip with the knowledge to increase the chance of being successful in the hobby. In addition, I think all big pet stores should be regulated to hire workers who are skill or obtain a fish keeping permit with higher pay above minium wage.

In this scenrio, a successful hobbyist is a returning costumer which means more steady flow income for aquatic business either selling equipment or fish.

As others have stated, the ethic of big aquarium stores is to profit by selling what they can to less inform/knowledable customers. In addition, I think big aquarium stores should be held accountable by selling fish to customers who does not have the proper equipment or environment to handle certain types of fish like an junior Oscar in a 10G aquarium unless the customers has proven (in some way) it is a temporary setup like a QT tank.

The permit will allow companies to track the customer's purchase in the aquatic trade, and it is also beneticial to the company by losing up the burden of profit margin lost by having to many customers return dead fish with their DOA policy.

Lastly, as others have stated, I think the method of capturing wild fish is unethnical because the fish is taken from its vast waterway home into an enclosed environment for mere entertainment. I think there should a much larger focus on captive bred fish; although, I understand that some fish have a very difficult time reproducing in an enclosure.

Just my thoughts.
I like your ideas, however it will increase costs dramatically for fish keepers, as well as deter some from becoming a fishkeeper.
 

Jellibeen

Member
scarface said:
It’s hard to think that fish have those thoughts or capable of complex reasoning. Of course no one can know for certain what really goes on inside the mind of a fish, except a fish. But I know this. Whether the fish is only 2lbs or 300lbs, they both will be fooled by the same piece of metal with a hook attached that you yo-yo up and down. They say it mimicks an injured or falling baitfish, but really a piece of metal is a piece of falling metal. So I lean more towards them being not so complex, thinking-wise, if a 50 yr old animal will be fooled by the same lure as a minnow.
True, however I don’t think ability to have complex thoughts determines whether a being is capable of feeling discomfort, stress, or pain.
 

SegiDream

Member
Dave125g said:
I like your ideas, however it will increase costs dramatically for fish keepers, as well as deter some from becoming a fishkeeper.
You're right. It would have deterred me without a doubt. The only reason I became interested was because my husband got a great discount for a 3 gallon tetra cube and wanted to give it to our daughter who was 10 at the time. And I said if we're going to give her something like that, we need to learn about it first. She didn't want fish and I wound up being the one totally fixated.
 

Crazycoryfishlady

Member
I've been called an animal hoarder, a poor fishkeeper, been told I want to play the role of god so I cage animals in tiny habitats.
All these things that make me wonder if my enjoyment is worth the containment of fish who used to roam miles and miles and miles in their lives.
Most bettas barely get 10 gallons now a days unless you really love them lol
Yet they're used to exploring vast streams that stretch for miles as well.
Humans have always played a role of ruler, since the beginning of time we've been taking animals and using them for our enjoyment and pleasure as well as practical use.
Fishkeeping is just one of our somewhat newer ways to play keeper.

I often find myself trying to justify why I keep animals, whether it be that the store they were for sale in was no place for them to stay, or that they would be less likely to survive if they were in the wild, had to fend and find food themselves.

Regardless of if we enjoy it or not, I still feel we all know it is somewhat wrong to contain creatures in the ways we do.
How some people declaw animals, never let them outside, keep them overcrowded or in too small a tank or house, or even too small a yard.
But then, there is a responsible way to keep animals that I also believe we all try to attain.
Lots of us make an effort to make the fishes environment like it is in the wild, we try to make them feel at home, rather than just keep them to look at them in a bowl.
We make efforts and spend loads of money on decorations and supplies that aid the fishes well being while kept in a glass case.

I guess, so long as we make an effort to keep our fish healthy, happy, and with enough space to swim, there is a certain level of okayness in it.

I used to catch frogs and newts/salamanders and little fish as a kid, and I never once felt bad about taking it out of it's home, to me the home was dirty, it was full of gross things, especially when humans littered in it.
There were times people dumped cans of gross material, possibly oils, and I came to the pond to find animals floating dead in the water, some birds dead too, I was glad I saved some of them.
There were times in that same place where we found crushed animals from either predators or other humans, sometimes they were still alive, and I took them home, fed them and took care of them til we could go to a vet.
Some of their injuries were far too much for them to survive, but at least they didn't die alone and someone tried to help.

It depends on the situation the fish were taken from if they're wild in my opinion, we have very gross places in my city littered with trash that I've gotten animals from since I was a kid, I haven't done this recently, but sometimes I really do think I made their lives a bit better before they died.
I've rescued one clawed crays before, and eventually found them good homes where they lived for years, or are still living.
I sometimes believe they would have been killed had they not been taken from their environment.
It's both evil and kindness to keep animals.

Something I want to note about the misinformation on fish crisis, in my city I can't believe how terrible it is.
They will sell you a 10 gallon with a handful of saltwater fish and anemone, one fish being a blue tang, and tell you to have a great day!
The tanks have labels on them saying what the kit has and how many fish it suits.
I'm sorry, but never is a 50 gallon tank going to comfortablely hold 50 or more fish unless they're fry and that thing is filtered to heck and back.
Especially not the ones they show in the tank, big tetras, redtail sharks. Never going to happen.
Bettas and goldfish in bowls are bad enough, but just saying one fish per gallon oh my god, I can't even imagine those tanks.
One of my least favorite things about stock at stores is their feeder fish. They have no room to swim at all just because they're bred for food.
 

Jellibeen

Member
Crazycoryfishlady said:
I've been called an animal hoarder, a poor fishkeeper, been told I want to play the role of god so I cage animals in tiny habitats.
All these things that make me wonder if my enjoyment is worth the containment of fish who used to roam miles and miles and miles in their lives.
Most bettas barely get 10 gallons now a days unless you really love them lol
Yet they're used to exploring vast streams that stretch for miles as well.
Humans have always played a role of ruler, since the beginning of time we've been taking animals and using them for our enjoyment and pleasure as well as practical use.
Fishkeeping is just one of our somewhat newer ways to play keeper.

I often find myself trying to justify why I keep animals, whether it be that the store they were for sale in was no place for them to stay, or that they would be less likely to survive if they were in the wild, had to fend and find food themselves.

Regardless of if we enjoy it or not, I still feel we all know it is somewhat wrong to contain creatures in the ways we do.
How some people declaw animals, never let them outside, keep them overcrowded or in too small a tank or house, or even too small a yard.
But then, there is a responsible way to keep animals that I also believe we all try to attain.
Lots of us make an effort to make the fishes environment like it is in the wild, we try to make them feel at home, rather than just keep them to look at them in a bowl.
We make efforts and spend loads of money on decorations and supplies that aid the fishes well being while kept in a glass case.

I guess, so long as we make an effort to keep our fish healthy, happy, and with enough space to swim, there is a certain level of okayness in it.

I used to catch frogs and newts/salamanders and little fish as a kid, and I never once felt bad about taking it out of it's home, to me the home was dirty, it was full of gross things, especially when humans littered in it.
There were times people dumped cans of gross material, possibly oils, and I came to the pond to find animals floating dead in the water, some birds dead too, I was glad I saved some of them.
There were times in that same place where we found crushed animals from either predators or other humans, sometimes they were still alive, and I took them home, fed them and took care of them til we could go to a vet.
Some of their injuries were far too much for them to survive, but at least they didn't die alone and someone tried to help.

It depends on the situation the fish were taken from if they're wild in my opinion, we have very gross places in my city littered with trash that I've gotten animals from since I was a kid, I haven't done this recently, but sometimes I really do think I made their lives a bit better before they died.
I've rescued one clawed crays before, and eventually found them good homes where they lived for years, or are still living.
I sometimes believe they would have been killed had they not been taken from their environment.
It's both evil and kindness to keep animals.

Something I want to note about the misinformation on fish crisis, in my city I can't believe how terrible it is.
They will sell you a 10 gallon with a handful of saltwater fish and anemone, one fish being a blue tang, and tell you to have a great day!
The tanks have labels on them saying what the kit has and how many fish it suits.
I'm sorry, but never is a 50 gallon tank going to comfortablely hold 50 or more fish unless they're fry and that thing is filtered to heck and back.
Especially not the ones they show in the tank, big tetras, redtail sharks. Never going to happen.
Bettas and goldfish in bowls are bad enough, but just saying one fish per gallon oh my god, I can't even imagine those tanks.
One of my least favorite things about stock at stores is their feeder fish. They have no room to swim at all just because they're bred for food.
I’m glad to see other people have similar feelings to me. It’s good to think about, and good to consider the justifications, valid or not, that I tell myself to believe aquariums are okay. I think all of these points are important for everyone to think about, if they agree with them or not. We all hold the lives of creatures in our hands. Literally, we are responsible for every aspect of their life.
 

Crazycoryfishlady

Member
Jellibeen said:
I’m glad to see other people have similar feelings to me. It’s good to think about, and good to consider the justifications, valid or not, that I tell myself to believe aquariums are okay. I think all of these points are important for everyone to think about, if they agree with them or not. We all hold the lives of creatures in our hands. Literally, we are responsible for every aspect of their life.
Regardless of how much we love fishkeeping, we still bear the definition of captivity, which is to imprison a creature of any sorts against it's will whatever it's will may be.
As much as I feel I'm doing a good thing, I've still got a little fish prison in my house! Lol
 

goldface

Member
Well, I’m glad my concience is clear, regardless of fish willing or not willing.
 

Dave125g

Member
scarface said:
Well, I’m glad my concience is clear, regardless of fish willing or not willing.
Me too. I'm a fish jailer. I'm ok with that.
 

coralbandit

Member
My problem is with the fish farms that create genetically weak fish like the Dwarf gouramI and then mass market it knowing .
My problem is with youtubers looking for hand outs from kids so they can build a 15 thousand dollar arrowanna tank [with others money] only to have the fish jump out and die .Maybe he needed another thousand for a lid [or a brain ?] .You kids should have dug deeper !
I guess my problem is with the people who support these people ? I can turn a blind eye to mistakes ,we all make them . But continued bad judgement that only and actually supports others who have little to no good intent ..Shame on you ! It really is a business for everyone else involved .They make money .We are hobbyist..We spend money ,enough that many make good livings from it .
It's a shame there is no department in charge of how these businesses [can't believe being a youtuber with bad fish info is a business but ?] conduct themselves and possibly inspect /grade any of the product [fish]…
 

Crazycoryfishlady

Member
Some of the fish youtubers disappoint me... I saw some guy give his fish alcohol to get them drunk, another poisoned their fish to see if it would survive, all sorts of disgusting behavior, I've seen stores who have water so dirty they turn the lights out, because a tank that looks black is better than one that is brown with the lights on.
So dirty the whole tank slowly dies because no one buys the fish.
Places where the same bettas that have been there for four months are given a different date to try to push them to sell.
Where the fish have no color because of how stressed they are.
Then I've been to places who have the most amazingly clean tanks, these super responsible fish owners who only have losses because of the breeders shipment methods.
There's always people who don't care about their animals, then there's those who want the animals to thrive, and have a good life.
I want to start a fish rescue for this purpose.
Seek out overwhelmed fish owners and stores, and rescue the fish to prevent losses, they may be a fish but I hold their lives with as much value as others.
There's so much people can do to help, education is the best prevention for poor fishkeeping.
 

-Mak-

Member
Mostly wild harvesting of at-risk species, and releasing invasive species. I worry about the day hybrids or selectively bred fish are released and mess up the wild gene pool, which once infected we will never get back.
Saltwater wild harvesting of fish and coral are also very problematic, I remember doing a case study in my AP environmental science class that had some really disturbing figures.

Also people not knowing anything about fish keeping before buying fish, killing their fish, then buying more to repeat. I've heard about fish farms (our fish are mass produced) pumping their waters full of hormones and antibiotics. I don't know for sure if it's true but if the food industry is doing it I have no doubt fish farms could be doing it too. In the long run hormones+antibiotics are a terrible idea, weakening natural resistance a fish has and increasing antibiotic resistance until what has already happened in our hobby - weak fish that are sensitive and prone to dying.
 

NanaW

Member
Repolie said:
There's some things that irk me a bit. This hobby is mostly based around money. And to make money, people will physically alter a fish to make it more desirable with uneeded cosmetic surgeries such as fish tattooing, colour injections and many more other things. The fish was meant to look like that, leave it alone. If you don't like it, find something else. Or some badly bred fish with traits that lower their quality of life. I also don't like wild caught fish because they were taken from a place with unlimited space, then put into a confined area. But that's about it.
That can hold true for other animals as well, look how they alter dogs to look better, breed them to be designer dogs, crop ears and tails so they will look meaner or cuter its maddening
 
  • Moderator

smee82

Moderator
Member
Maybe its just me but I believe that if you have ethical issues with fish keeping you shouldnt be keeping fish. And as far as permits go no way
 

SegiDream

Member
-Mak- said:
Mostly wild harvesting of at-risk species, and releasing invasive species. I worry about the day hybrids or selectively bred fish are released and mess up the wild gene pool, which once infected we will never get back.
Saltwater wild harvesting of fish and coral are also very problematic, I remember doing a case study in my AP environmental science class that had some really disturbing figures.

Also people not knowing anything about fish keeping before buying fish, killing their fish, then buying more to repeat. I've heard about fish farms (our fish are mass produced) pumping their waters full of hormones and antibiotics. I don't know for sure if it's true but if the food industry is doing it I have no doubt fish farms could be doing it too. In the long run hormones+antibiotics are a terrible idea, weakening natural resistance a fish has and increasing antibiotic resistance until what has already happened in our hobby - weak fish that are sensitive and prone to dying.
Agree. I don't like how dependent we are on antibiotics and so much other stuff, not just with fish. They give antibiotics to milk cows so the milk doesn't sour from an infection, its exactly the kind of antibiotic I'm allergic to. So I have to be careful what kind of milk I drink. Took years to figure that out.

In regards to selectively bred fish, I think having offspring with wild genes and the process of natural selection will eliminate most of this problem over time. I'm no genetics expert but I would think something like white dalmation mollies have recessive genes for their coloration. If they had mixed wild babies like probably only 1/4 would be a white dalmation. And predators would easily spot a white fish. So over several generations it wouldn't be a problem. Any leftover genes from selective breeding could only be because it enhanced their survival rate. Hopefully that makes sense.
 

WinterSoldier.

Member
Jellibeen said:
The above people have already raised most of the issues I have. The industry treating fish as disposable, stores misinforming customers, detrimental effects of collecting from the wild.

I read The Dragon Behind the Glass which opened my eyes up to how collecting from the wild affects the environment and the people that live there. It also made me think a lot about people objectifying fish. I think it happens with people who are very involved in the hobby, as well. Even people who put a lot of care into their tank still think of their fish as objects. If the fish dies, they get sad because they lost a nice specimen, not because they cared about the fish itself. Of course, this is not by any means all hobbyists, but it is some of them.
I read that book too, one of the best on the fishkeeping hobby. Amazing!
 

Unforgiving Llama

Member
I struggle with this issue a lot.

At the risk of sounding like Morpheus from The Matrix, I would say that we are all born into captivity. We are captives in this modern human society, where from birth we are taught behaviors that are supposed change us into something that is good for society as a whole. Don't kill, don't steal, get educated, be compassionate, contribute to society, have good manners, etc. In exchange we get (relatively) easier access to a basic standard of living.

Most people (myself included) choose this captivity, with all its rules and restrictions, because it is easier than the alternative. I believe that is the crux of the issue; the idealization of "the wild". Sure, I could reject society and go live out in "the wild" with no rules or restrictions. But I would be dead or imprisoned before too long.

As long as you are a good owner, my belief is that your fish/inverts/whatever would probably make the same choice that most of us do, to live in the safety of The Matrix. Sure you will always have the Ted KaczynskI types that would prefer no societal bonds or a primitive lifestyle, but the vast majority of us choose to live in society with all its restrictions rather than fend for ourselves in a harsh, unforgiving world.

I am wrong? Maybe, probably. That is the best I can come up with at this time. I still only buy captive bred animals (whether it is my fish and inverts or my two adopted cats) because if I can, I don't want to make the red pill / blue pill choice for any other living creature.
 

Back40Guppy

Member
YT has definitely boosted the hobby but I believe is harming it in other ways. I think most folks know what I’m talking about.

Back40Guppy said:
YT has definitely boosted the hobby but I believe is harming it in other ways. I think most folks know what I’m talking about.
Here’s how to breed plecos and guppies and angels and....... for profit! Nitrogen cycle? Bah....... just dump some tss in there and you’re good. Breed more fish! 1000 shrimp in a 20 long! Catfish attacks Goldfish! Half the planet wondering if their guppy is pregnant. I mean occasionally there is good content but for the most part, just another clique. Just another commercial. Just more bad advice. Personally I will be glad when the YT fishkeeper craze is over. Shouldn’t be long now. About the lifespan of a bad 80’s hair metal band. Rant complete.
 

david1978

Member
Breeding for profit. Ha. The industry as a whole is just poor looking at it from the stand point of pet store advice and people not researching what they are buying. I see it so much, fish kept in too small tanks, temperature incompatibility and I won't even go into ph. I feel if fish are kept appropriately there isn't an issue.
 

Lynn78too

Member
I won't buy wild caught fish. There is no tank in the world that is large enough to be the same as being in the wild. I watched someone on youtube once and he was saying he would only buy wild caught because they were sturdier and healthier and as he put his fish in (I think it was an arowana) I felt absolutely awful for this poor fish. Imagine, being put into a tank and never again swimming in a huge river basin.

Not to place blame only on fish people, I would also never own a wild caught bird or mammal either and there are plenty of mammal and bird species that are wild caught.
 

goldface

Member
I'm actually hoping to find and purchase wild-caught cories and if it employs someone and also helps in conservation, then I'm all for it. I actually find it more ethical than mass-farmed fishes.
 

Lynn78too

Member
scarface said:
I'm actually hoping to find and purchase wild-caught cories and if it employs someone and also helps in conservation, then I'm all for it. I actually find it more ethical than mass-farmed fishes.
I'm curious, how does it help in conservation? Actually curious and want to know, not being snarky or accusing.
 

Dave125g

Member
Biologists go out and study wild populations ,collecting a few specimens ,then makes a report if any are threatened. Studies like that get the ball rolling on conservation.
 

Lynn78too

Member
Dave125g said:
Biologists go out and study wild populations ,collecting a few specimens ,then makes a report if any are threatened. Studies like that get the ball rolling on conservation.
Doesn't over collection/fishing affect the population negatively though? I understand that having them watch them is good but it's kind of like if conservationists were around 200 years ago and said , "we notice there aren't as many bison, maybe we shouldn't hunt them so much." It was overhunting (for lack of a better word) that almost killed them all, isn't that what could potentially happen if people are overfishing in areas?
 

Jellibeen

Member
Overfishing is different than collecting in small, managed numbers. I can't remember where, but I was looking at a breeder who specialized in taking wild caught fish from endangered habitats and breeding them to help preserve the species.

What is YT?
 

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