Minors Buying Fish

Should minors be allowed to purchase fish?

  • Yes

    Votes: 28 57.1%
  • No

    Votes: 21 42.9%

  • Total voters
    49
AxolotlAquarist
  • #1
I am a minor, and I have never entered a fish store and been allowed to buy a fish, snail, frog, or any other animal without a parent or legal guardian present. I understand that this rule probably applies to all living creatures - that pet stores shouldn't be allowed to let eight-year-olds buy rabbits and whatnot. It probably helps prevent accidental animal abuse and holds off angry parents, but I believe a fifteen-year-old should be allowed to buy a guppy. What is your opinion? Should pet stores value the lives of their fish and be certain the animals aren't being bought off a mere whim, or should minors be allowed to choose fish for themselves because, after all, you don't have to be 18 to keep a guppy alive.
 
FishLoverEmma0
  • #2
I am a minor, and I have never entered a fish store and been allowed to buy a fish, snail, frog, or any other animal without a parent or legal guardian present. I understand that this rule probably applies to all living creatures - that pet stores shouldn't be allowed to let eight-year-olds buy rabbits and whatnot. It probably helps prevent accidental animal abuse and holds off angry parents, but I believe a fifteen-year-old should be allowed to buy a guppy. What is your opinion? Should pet stores value the lives of their fish and be certain the animals aren't being bought off a mere whim, or should minors be allowed to choose fish for themselves because, after all, you don't have to be 18 to keep a guppy alive.
Yes I agree, you should he at least 13 to buy a freshwater fish, and have a guardian with you to buy a saltwater fish unless you show them your experience. Shouldnt petstores want you to just go broke there? With this rule they probably lose about 1,000 dollars a year.
 
2211Nighthawk
  • #3
The last time a thread like this came up, it got ugly but I’m gonna say my 2 cents. A 30 year old can be just as ignorant or flat out cruel as a 10 year old. At the same time, a 10 year old who does their research I would gladly sell fish to over the 30 year old that dosen’t. Couldn't care less about age limits when a lack of knowledge is the bigger issue.
 
75g Discus Tank
  • #4
I would let it becaus you can’t assume that all 8 year olds will keep a fish in a bowl.

I would make it a requirement for a pet store to ask a set of questions about the habitat and care the animal will get. This will. Are sure that kids with bad habitats or no knowledge of the animal won’t get the animal but kids that know about the care and have a good home habitat can.
 
FishLoverEmma0
  • #5
The last time a thread like this came up, it got ugly but I’m gonna say my 2 cents. A 30 year old can be just as ignorant or flat out cruel as a 10 year old. At the same time, a 10 year old who does their research I would gladly sell fish to over the 30 year old that dosen’t. Couldn't care less about age limits when a lack of knowledge is the bigger issue.
Exactly. When I was working at a fish store (we are really friendly and don't make a profit from the store, its just for fun and all money earned goes back into the store for better equipment, fish, etc.) One 34 year old guy asked me how to care for a cichlid in a 5 gal. I told him this was UN acceptable and told him he should get a smaller fish, like a guppy, and put a filter and heater in. So he decided he was going to get a clownfish. This was completely unacceptable. I used my rights to refuse selling it to him. Another time, a 9 year old came in wanting to buy a clown knife. He showed me a picture on his mothers phone of his 280 gal, which looked completely fine to me. He told me the water levels and temperature. I happily sold him the clown knife, and about 3 weeks later his mom came in and showed me how well itwas doing. She told me that he was taking care of it all by himself!
 
75g Discus Tank
  • #6
Sometimes LFSs are kinda crazy.

I remember one kid at an LFS buying a red tail catfish with his family.

It was for a 55.

The mom asked what they could feed him.

The owner replied bloodworms, which was a reasonable answer as it was a tiny red tail(3 inches).

Then, the mom said, “Would 1-2 worms daily be enough?”

I just walked away. I didn’t hear what the owner said, but he probably told her about a cube a day would be good.

He also said that the fish would outgrow the 55.
 
ledlight
  • #7
I am under 18 and I have never had any store not sell me a fish because of that. One time I even had to sign a paper to buy some African dwarf frogs and when I got home I realised the paoepaper said "must be 18 to buy live animals." They didnt really check lol or maybe I look 18 or older. Idk probably not. But I think it doesn't matter because even if the parent is there they don't necesarrily know how to take care of the fish properly either. They could even be the one telling their kid the misinformation. I mean a lot of parents go buy their kid a goldfish in a ridiculously tiny bowl as an "easy" first pet.
 
FishLoverEmma0
  • #8
I am under 18 and I have never had any store not sell me a fish because of that. One time I even had to sign a paper to buy some African dwarf frogs and when I got home I realised the paoepaper said "must be 18 to buy live animals." They didnt really check lol or maybe I look 18 or older. Idk probably not. But I think it doesn't matter because even if the parent is there they don't necesarrily know how to take care of the fish properly either. They could even be the one telling their kid the misinformation. I mean a lot of parents go buy their kid a goldfish in a ridiculously tiny bowl as an "easy" first pet.
This happens with hermit crabs also. Parents buy their kids a hermit crab with a painted shell, a small hermit crab enclosure, colorful gravel, some hermit crab store food, and fill a small bowl up with tap water and think its fine. This is not okay. My hermies have an 18x18x18 terrarium, with coconut fiber and sand, heated, shady and lighted, planted, fresh fruits and veggies every day, large sponge, and a shallow on one side deep on the other bowls of fresh and salt. Occasionally misted by the magical rain fairy with a dechlorinated and heated squirt bottle.
 
ledlight
  • #9
No matter what age you are you should take a short quiz before buying said animal lol. The sad thing is some people would put the right answers but then still do the opposite and not take good care of them. Some people just don't care.
 
FishLoverEmma0
  • #10
No matter what age you are you should take a short quiz before buying said animal lol. The sad thing is some people would put the right answers but then still do the opposite and not take good care of them. Some people just don't care.
That is why you should have to show them proof of your tank existing like a picture!!

I am a minor, and I have never entered a fish store and been allowed to buy a fish, snail, frog, or any other animal without a parent or legal guardian present. I understand that this rule probably applies to all living creatures - that pet stores shouldn't be allowed to let eight-year-olds buy rabbits and whatnot. It probably helps prevent accidental animal abuse and holds off angry parents, but I believe a fifteen-year-old should be allowed to buy a guppy. What is your opinion? Should pet stores value the lives of their fish and be certain the animals aren't being bought off a mere whim, or should minors be allowed to choose fish for themselves because, after all, you don't have to be 18 to keep a guppy alive.
I should email this thread to every Petco and pet smart in America. They might understand. Then again, they just want to make money so...
 
FlipFlopFishFlake
  • #11
Once I went to a Petsmart and picked up a pair of rams and nobody batted an eye, but when I went to a LFS look at fish, the manager immediately approached me and told me that I wasn't buying any live fish in his store and gave me suspicious looks the whole time while I was there, from then on the first thing I do is find an employee that seems knowledgeable and start having a conversation with him about fish before I get the fish, it seems after talking with them they see how experienced I am and they (normally) don't question me. Now a lot of the people from fishstores actually enjoy talking with me and give me discount on fish.
 
sushifanta
  • #12
Honestly I agree that anybody over 13 can keep a fish. I voted no because, like, you don’t want an 8 year old buying a goldfish for 50 cents and then doing something stupid like stomping on it or keeping it in a bathtub.
 
Gypsy13
  • #13
My issue with a minor buying a living being of any kind is if the parents aren’t prepared or willing to keep them. I’ve been in stores when angry parents are bringing pets back that their children bought. I know lots of young people very capable of caring for pets. But without the parent there’s no way to know if that pet is welcome. And what if the angry parent just flushes the fish? And you’re perfectly right in saying lots of adults carry a cruelty gene in them. Anyway, I voted no. Sorry.
 
aussieJJDude
  • #14
Yes I agree, you should he at least 13 to buy a freshwater fish, and have a guardian with you to buy a saltwater fish unless you show them your experience. Shouldnt petstores want you to just go broke there? With this rule they probably lose about 1,000 dollars a year.
Why does the value of freshwater fish differ from marines? A fish is a fish, both have lives and equally important.

A reputable store shouldn't sell animals to minors. Period. If a child wants a fish bad, then go with your parents - or guardian - and purchase said fish together. Not exactly rocket science IMO . A life is a life, and ecen though a minor may be responsible, what child understands the consequence of a life - I thought I did, and honestly 2000's me would say something completely different to 2018 me.
 
Sarah73
  • #15
The last time a thread like this came up, it got ugly but I’m gonna say my 2 cents. A 30 year old can be just as ignorant or flat out cruel as a 10 year old. At the same time, a 10 year old who does their research I would gladly sell fish to over the 30 year old that dosen’t. Couldn't care less about age limits when a lack of knowledge is the bigger issue.
You know what's funny? When I was 15, there was a girl in my fish club that was giving her cories away. I said I'll buy them and she said no because I was under age. I didn't have as much experience as I do now but I still had lots! I was so **** at her for judging because of age.
 
JoeCamaro
  • #16
Well, nothing is more cruel than the Wal-Mart fish section and they are still allowed to buy/have/sell fish.
Just saying.

I understand the point of having an adult with minors to ensure it is ok for you to have a fish or any other pet. I think it is more of a liability thing. You know, your kid goes to a store and get sold an animal. If the parents aren't happy, that could be trouble for the store. Plus a kid should be accompanied by an adult. A, let say, 8 years old kid by himself in a store shouldn't really happen, no?
 
Sarah73
  • #17
Well, nothing is more cruel than the Wal-Mart fish section and they are still allowed to buy/have/sell fish.
Just saying.
Think MANY people agree with that, but we can't do much. Technically they aren't abusing there fish because "some" are still living in the tanks.
 
Mazeus
  • #18
It will also be dictated by the laws where you live. In England and Wales it is illegal to sell animals to anyone under the age of 16 (Aminal Welfare Act 2006), which seems like quite a sensible age to me. The act also means it is illegal for someone under the age of 16 to be awarded an aminal as a prize, which is probably why you never see goldfish being given away as prizes here.

The act also covers the treatment of animals, with heavy fines emposes on sellers who do not abide by the rules. I suspect this is why betta fish are always in there own tanks here, you never see them in little cups.
 
JoeCamaro
  • #19
It will also be dictated by the laws where you live. In England and Wales it is illegal to sell animals to anyone under the age of 16 (Aminal Welfare Act 2006), which seems like quite a sensible age to me. The act also means it is illegal for someone under the age of 16 to be awarded an aminal as a prize, which is probably why you never see goldfish being given away as prizes here.

The act also covers the treatment of animals, which heavy fines emposes on sellers who do not abide by the rules. I suspect this is why betta fish are always in there own tanks here, you never see them in little cups.
That should be implemented everywhere. I like it.
 
Andy S
  • #20
It will also be dictated by the laws where you live. In England and Wales it is illegal to sell animals to anyone under the age of 16 (Aminal Welfare Act 2006), which seems like quite a sensible age to me. The act also means it is illegal for someone under the age of 16 to be awarded an aminal as a prize, which is probably why you never see goldfish being given away as prizes here.

The act also covers the treatment of animals, with heavy fines emposes on sellers who do not abide by the rules. I suspect this is why betta fish are always in there own tanks here, you never see them in little cups.
But it wasn't always like this. I remember growing up in England and every year the fair came round and one of the most common prizes given out was a goldfish in a plastic bag. No age limit on the kids playing the game either. I wonder how many goldfish arrived home where they didn't even have a bowl let alone a tank. There must have been thousands of goldfish over the years that perished as a result.
 
Mazeus
  • #21
But it wasn't always like this. I remember growing up in England
and every year the fair came round and one of the most common prizes given out was a goldfish in a plastic bag. No age limit on the kids playing the game either. I wonder how many goldfish arrived home where they didn't even have a bowl let alone a tank. There must have been thousands of goldfish over the years that perished as a result.

Oh for sure, I totally agree. I just feel that this was a move in the right direction.
 
Fanatic
  • #22
Basically, there are good reasons why chain stores like PetCo and PetSmart don't allow someone over the age of 18 to buy a fish.
I highly suspect that they would get kids slightly under that age that want to come in and randomly buy a fish. Some don't even do the intended purpose with the fish, such as toss it in their swimming pool.
Those are rules that must be respected. They also want to see the parent so that the child doesn't get into a big heap of trouble by doing something unlawful with the animal.

I was just at PetCo, I was checking out with a five gallon tank, some cork bark, and two female bettas.
The cashier told me that I wasn't going to have these fish sold unless I had a parent or guardian nearby. I had to fetch my mom in order to complete the purchase.
 
Dch48
  • #23
It depends on what you mean by a minor. I was buying and keeping fish from about the age of 12 and I think that should still be allowed. Under 12, probably not. By 12, most kids will know what animals need. It doesn't help though when you go in PetSmart and the Bettas are in those cups and the label they have for the fish says the minimum tank size is one quart. Yes, not gallon, it says quart. Other fish seem to be labeled correctly but they suffer from the "Betta in a bowl" syndrome like almost every store here in the US does. So I think many buyers, regardless of age, are thinking they are treating their Betta in the right way if they keep it in a small, unfiltered, bare bowl. When I floated my Betta's cup in my 3.5 gallon tank, he saw the more expansive environment outside the cup and couldn't wait to get into it.

My options for buying fish are limited to PetSmart, Walmart, or ordering online. There are no outlets for saltwater fish at all and the shipping charges for fish are outrageous.

Back when I was 12 on Long Island, NY, there was a large pet store that had every kind of fish you would want and you were allowed to net them yourself. There were plastic boxes hanging on the tanks for you to put your chosen fish in and then when you went to pay for them, the store employee gently transferred them to bags and made sure the bags were pumped full of air. I never got a sick fish from that store. That was the good side but of course this was before a lot of the regulations on keeping pets were put in place. In that same store, you could buy a monkey, a Chimp or an Ocelot. Many other animals that are prohibited from sale today were also available if you had the money (they weren't cheap) to buy them.
 
CanadianFishFan
  • #24
Well they don't trust a 10 year old who may be fighting bettas or abusing animals. My fav story is when I was 13 buying two female bettas and a 10 gallon tank. The lady looked at me and said "You can't put them together" I said "I'm dividing it, I'm not stupid". She then counited scanning quietly. Fish you should have to be 14 but other live creatures you should need a adult or be 18.
 
FishLoverEmma0
  • #25
Why does the value of freshwater fish differ from marines? A fish is a fish, both have lives and equally important.

A reputable store shouldn't sell animals to minors. Period. If a child wants a fish bad, then go with your parents - or guardian - and purchase said fish together. Not exactly rocket science IMO . A life is a life, and ecen though a minor may be responsible, what child understands the consequence of a life - I thought I did, and honestly 2000's me would say something completely different to 2018 me.
Well, you wouldn't want a kid to go into a fish store and go buy a clownfish for his little fish bowl. THAT would be fish abuse. That is not acceptable.
 
gilbertsmom
  • #26
As a minor myself, I don’t really see how a minor purchasing a fish by themselves could be all that different to how it is now. Often, both the child & the parent are uninformed (my case lol) about caring for their fish & so are the employees, at least in huge chain stores.
 
JamieXPXP
  • #27
I think minors should be able to get fish because it is a great way for them to learn how to be responsible. everyone starts off knowing very little about the hobby and not allowing young people to become part of it will not help to show people the beauty of it or teach anyone anything. the hobby should be open to everyone of any age because a 10year old may know more and care more then someone who has been in the hobby for years.
 
aussieJJDude
  • #28
Well, you wouldn't want a kid to go into a fish store and go buy a clownfish for his little fish bowl. THAT would be fish abuse. That is not acceptable.
And so would be putting a goldfish, betta, Oscar; *insert other fish here*... so I fail to see the point?

Often marine fish are a lot more expensive than freshwater...


I've always failed to understand 'rules', were it suits some but not all. If a child can't buy a dog without an adult, then they certainly can't buy a fish... they both require care as much as the other.
 
Mcasella
  • #29
I bought fish as a minor. I completely understand being able to regulate so you don't have irate parents coming back in to return the animal their kid got (I only got guppies, they went into a 10 gallon tank).
Making sure the fish gets the minimum required space and care is important, I have had to explain to adults that they need more filtration than what they have and "you have to do water changes" no wonder your fishes keep going belly up your nitrate are immediately going colors that aren't even on the test chart much less in a safe range!
 
chromedome52
  • #30
It is a matter of legal liability. When a store sells anything to a minor, they are actually selling it to their parents. When that something is a live animal there are special risks involved, and most would prefer not to take the chance without the legal guardian's approval. Suppose a kid got spined by a catfish in a bag when there is no legal guardian present. The store could be sued by the parents for giving their child something that caused them injury. Personally, I would not want to take that chance.

I would imagine this does not apply to emancipated minors, as they have removed themselves from the care of their parents. But that's one of those esoteric discussions for a different type of forum.
 
iancrayguy
  • #31
I am only 13 and I keep a Arowana, Red Tailed Catfish, Tire Track eel, and it just depends on knowledge mostly. If you don’t know how to keep fish then just do lots of research on them that’s what I did, do.
 
JoeCamaro
  • #32
I am only 13 and I keep a Arowana, Red Tailed Catfish, Tire Track eel, and it just depends on knowledge mostly. If you don’t know how to keep fish then just do lots of research on them that’s what I did, do.
You must be the coolest kid on the block, seriously.
 
iancrayguy
  • #33
Lol no people get really surprised when I tell them that I keep those fish at my age it’s all pretty much about money and how seriously you are about the hobby, and not getting gold fish in a small bowl and letting them die in a week or two.
 
JoeCamaro
  • #34
Lol no people get really surprised when I tell them that I keep those fish at my age it’s all pretty much about money and how seriously you are about the hobby, and not getting gold fish in a small bowl and letting them die in a week or two.
You are still cool. Those are cool fish.
Look at me, 35 and with a tank full of neon tetra and peppered corys, lol. I love them though.
 
iancrayguy
  • #35
I like those fish too, but not when there not cared for the right way. I get upset that there not getting a good life then and the proper care.
 
Mick Frost
  • #36
When I was young, Minors could purchase Alcohol & Cigarettes with a hand-scribbled note from a parent. Just saying.
The main issue with Minors being allowed to purchase Animals without parental consent (in person, no notes) is for health reasons. A child buying an aggressive dog, or a bird (any bird), or any number of reptiles that can carry communicable diseases, is a bad situation for everyone. Blanket laws exist for a reason. Imagine an 8-year-old being allowed to buy a Zoa.
The animal abuse/neglect laws here carry up to a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail. Unfortunately the SPCA here doesn't pay a lot of attention to fish.
 
Aqua Hands
  • #37
I'm 15 and know more than my dad about fish. I know about the basics of salt and I would say 95% of what I need in fresh and the other 5% I can figure out. All I'm saying. lets not get ugly guys
 
Galathiel
  • #38
Unless you are paying the bills, then your parent/guardian should approve what's coming into their house. Does it really kill you to bring them with you? If you're too young to drive, they probably drove you there anyway.
 
KinsKicks
  • #39
Yes, to an extent. My LFS where I used to wrk at had the same issue with both parents and kids not knowing and buying fish on whI'm (and yes, I’ve seen my far share of sticking “Nemo” and a Freshwater angelfish together”. Finally, we decided that we’d actually ask the buying customers super basic questions, for example, about cycling, whether their tank was cycled and what they planned to do with the fish (ie, if someone bought a clownfish and an angelfish, we would need them to tell us that they are putting the angelfish in their 30 gallon tank with X# of tank mates and the clownfish in their 20 gallon saltwater tank). If they were for kids or adults, didn’t matter, they still got quizzed.

In the end, while we got some semi-angry people, we’d actually offer teaching them about the proper way to house fish (if they were willing to listen) and all of them ended up appreciative about it because they would end the loop of buying fish, dying fish, buying more fish. Even had a media tank where we constantly kept filter media seeded for them to tank home and speed up the cycling process. And 99% of the time, they remained returning customers for advice and fish. Business was a lot better and the sales became more consistent
 
Aqua Hands
  • #40
Yes, to an extent. My LFS where I used to wrk at had the same issue with both parents and kids not knowing and buying fish on whI'm (and yes, I’ve seen my far share of sticking “Nemo” and a Freshwater angelfish together”. Finally, we decided that we’d actually ask the buying customers super basic questions, for example, about cycling, whether their tank was cycled and what they planned to do with the fish (ie, if someone bought a clownfish and an angelfish, we would need them to tell us that they are putting the angelfish in their 30 gallon tank with X# of tank mates and the clownfish in their 20 gallon saltwater tank). If they were for kids or adults, didn’t matter, they still got quizzed.

In the end, while we got some semi-angry people, we’d actually offer teaching them about the proper way to house fish (if they were willing to listen) and all of them ended up appreciative about it because they would end the loop of buying fish, dying fish, buying more fish. Even had a media tank where we constantly kept filter media seeded for them to tank home and speed up the cycling process. And 99% of the time, they remained returning customers for advice and fish. Business was a lot better and the sales became more consistent
Oh my that's amazing. I wish my LFS was like that. I have had good and bad advice. They just are garbage at taking care of fish. I actually cried when my first run crashed. I had so much money invested and never even did a single waterchange. thanks to TexasDomer I learned the basics and did my first waterchange. I just absorbed knowledge ever since!
 

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