Sponsors

Recent Topics

Ammonia Calculator

Articles on TFF UK

Advertisements


Members
Stats
  • Total Posts: 873225
  • Total Topics: 70244
  • Online Today: 65
  • Online Ever: 874
  • (January 15, 2020, 07:42:34 am)
Users Online
Users: 0
Guests: 37
Total: 37

Author Topic: Selecting healthy fish  (Read 10817 times)

Offline AndyGordon

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 0
  • -Receive: 22
  • Posts: 413
Selecting healthy fish
« on: November 01, 2011, 03:25:28 pm »
Introduction
Most of us especially new hobbyists don't use a quarantine tank for our new fish, this makes it especially important to make sure that only good healthy fish are purchased in the first place. Even though at a glance it may seem that all fish look the same there are ways to spot good fish and ones that should be avoided.
I deliberately chose these photos because the first shows a fish, which is an absolute picture of health. It is very alert and interacting with others and is obviously eating well. Its eyes are clear and they are free of any marks and blemishes. All these things indicate good health. The second is so emaciated that there is an obvious problem. But this can't be diagnosed on the spot by an amateur fish keeper. It would be best not only to avoid this fish but all of it's tank mates too

What are the signs to look for when selecting a good fish?
A healthy fish should be actively swimming and not resting motionless on the bottom (unless that is its natural behaviour).
It should be swimming evenly and without any apparent effort. If the fish appears to have to make an effort to either sink lower in the water or if it struggles to break away from the surface then it is a sign that all is not well with the fish. But there are a few species which live in fast flowing water which have reduced swim bladders which allows them to hug the floor rather than be swept away.

A healthy fish should have all  its fins erect and it eyes clear from any cloudiness. Cloudy eyes and folded fins are a sure sign that the fish is suffering from an illness. Reject any fish which is showing these signs so that you won't put your existing stock at risk.

They should be free of any deformities. It might be easy to feel sorry for a fish with deformities but the chances are that it won't be able to compete equally with other fish and it will lead a miserable life as a result. If the fish lived and managed to breed then the deformity could be passed on and leave you stuck with a problem because no shop will buy them.

Healthy fish should be alert and interacting with its surroundings. Fish with glazed eyes and which seem dazed could well be suffering from shock. Shock is a big killer and almost untreatable once the symptoms show. Fish in this condition rarely survive very long.

They should look to be reasonably well fed and not hollow bellied. Wasting is another sign of a diseased fish. It could be an indication of bacterial disease which could easily affect other fish or internal parasites which again may put your existing stock at risk.

They should be free from sores and blemishes. Sores and blemishes may be caused by nothing more than an abrasion which would quickly heal. But it might indicate the fish has been subjected to poor water quality and is suffering from nitrite toxicity which takes a long time to recover from and open sores mean the fish could act as an host to opportunistic infections which could then spread to other fish in the tank.
Even if all these criteria are met the fish should still be rejected if any of the tank mates appear to be unhealthy. Bacterial and viral diseases are capable of spreading very quickly in an aquarium with so many potential hosts. So even if the fish that you want appears to be healthy, if it is in a tank with sick fish it may already be infected but the symptoms haven't started to show. Neon Tetra disease is a good example of this.

Are there any thing else which I should look for?
Poor quality fish are becoming much more of a problem now due to intensive breeding with little or no thought paid to the quality of the breeding stock.
Never buy a fish if other fish in the same tank look diseased in some way.
Always reject any fish with any of the following.
Bent backs, missing gill covers etc. These are classic signs of inbreeding the entire batch of fish should be rejected even if they aren't showing any outward signs. The whole batch will be poor quality.
If the batch of fish has just arrived and is offered for sale immediately. This will cause some fish to die from the stress of it all.
If possible find a reputable retailer who quarantines his stock before it is offered for sale. And who is knowledgeable and helpful. Such dealers are worth sticking with even if they charge a little more.

If you do spot a known disease like Neon tetra disease which is highly contagious and untreatable. Is the net being used to catch the fish also being used for several different tanks, if it is then any fish which can fall victim to this disease and there are many, will stand a good chance of being infected with it. Which means that if you bought one of these fish you would lose most of your tetras and wouldn't be able to reintroduce any more for several months.

A final word
Don't expect to find a fish which would be a potential show winner sat in a fish shop. Fish shops are quite stressful places for fish, the tanks are relatively bare, over crowded and occasionally a large net drops in and chases the occupants around. Add to this the busy environment, kids tapping on the tank and the fact that some of the fish will have suddenly been placed there after a long journey in the dark having not been fed for a few days prior to the journey.
Would you be at your best if this happened to you?
Just because you can do something, doesn't make it the right thing to do.

TropicalFishForums

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Offline jaytaff

    • Hero Member
    • ****
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 0
    • -Receive: 4
    • Posts: 2850
    • Fish Addict
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #1 on: November 01, 2011, 03:27:01 pm »
    Very good wealth of information Andy :)


    Thanks for taking time to do it, more info out there the better for people first starting up :)

    Offline Betsy Boo

    • Hero Member
    • ****
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 0
    • -Receive: 1
    • Posts: 2284
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #2 on: November 01, 2011, 03:48:53 pm »
    Agree. Thank you Andy. Very informative.
    5ft Hi-Tech Planted Community Tank

    4ft Malawi Tank awaiting setup

    28L Planted Red Cherry Shrimp Tank

    28L Planted Betta Tank, home of 'Geoff'.

    Offline jaytaff

    • Hero Member
    • ****
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 0
    • -Receive: 4
    • Posts: 2850
    • Fish Addict
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #3 on: November 01, 2011, 03:51:59 pm »
    Mods should sticky it i think :)

    Offline Tigerlily

    • Hero Member
    • ****
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 0
    • -Receive: 0
    • Posts: 1314
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #4 on: November 01, 2011, 04:31:43 pm »
    Brilliant!

    Thanks, Andy!

    Offline sharkysmum

    • Hero Member
    • ****
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 0
    • -Receive: 0
    • Posts: 2205
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #5 on: November 01, 2011, 04:42:14 pm »
    Great article - thanks for doing it Andy *cheers*

    Offline WBT12

    • Hero Member
    • ****
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 7
    • -Receive: 155
    • Posts: 2784
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #6 on: November 01, 2011, 04:50:27 pm »
    Deffo agree for this to be a Sticky thread...

    Thanks for that, great post...

    WBT12
     :cool:
    30 ltr (1)
    Cherry Red Shrimp +
    2 Rasbora Urophthalmoides Brigittae
     
    30 ltr (2)
    1 Betta (M) +
    Algae Shrimp

    Offline plankton

    • TFF Staff Retired
    • Superhero Member
    • *****
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 162
    • -Receive: 6657
    • Posts: 82699
    • I will say this only once, OK a million times....
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #7 on: November 01, 2011, 07:29:27 pm »
    Thank you Andy. Stickied (I can do that :) )
    Sent from my PC as I still don't understand the the logic for mobile internet usage ;) *grin*
    I really hate "autocorrupt"!!!

    "We found this spoon sir"

    Take it easy
    Ian

    Offline beckah

    • Full Member
    • **
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 0
    • -Receive: 0
    • Posts: 163
    Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #8 on: November 01, 2011, 07:35:54 pm »
    Found that really informative, thank you

    Offline malawibarmy

    • Hero Member
    • ****
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 1
    • -Receive: 1
    • Posts: 1535
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #9 on: November 01, 2011, 08:03:57 pm »
    great post, well done andy.
    it wasn't me, & if it was i didn't do it

    Offline Nimbus

    • Full Member
    • **
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 0
    • -Receive: 0
    • Posts: 246
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #10 on: November 01, 2011, 09:10:12 pm »
    Nicely said

    Offline ClothahumpDisabled

    • Superhero Member
    • *****
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 18
    • -Receive: 37
    • Posts: 6182
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #11 on: November 01, 2011, 09:17:10 pm »
    Copied into articles section, thank you Andy.
    Please do not Private Message me with fish keeping questions, put them in the Forums.




    Offline Dendrobium

    • Hero Member
    • ****
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 0
    • -Receive: 12
    • Posts: 2305
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #12 on: November 01, 2011, 09:22:57 pm »
    Great Post.

    Something else that I would add, is in certain circumstances, I would ask if it possible for the fish to be fed while you watched. Not really practical if you are buying a bunch of Neons, or Guppies. But if the fish are expensive (eg Discus), or oddballs with unusual dietary requirements you may want to see them eating properly before you take them home.

    A while back I was looking at the Spotted Bush Fish (Ctenopoma) and was talking to the shopkeeper about them. He claimed that they were eating Prima crumbs. As far as I was aware, they would only eat frozen or live foods.
    So I asked him if he wouldn't mind feeding them in front of me. He was happy to oblige, and indeed, they did gobble up the Prima. So I was happy to take one home.

    CGRich

    • Guest
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #13 on: November 06, 2011, 09:27:46 am »
    Very interesting. I now am armed when going to the local shop, although the place I go is very good and all the help and advice is very interesting. *fish2*

    Offline j_hutchison

    • Hero Member
    • ****
    • Thank You
    • -Given: 1
    • -Receive: 0
    • Posts: 1344
    • cherry barbs are awesome!!!!!!
    Re: Selecting healthy fish
    « Reply #14 on: January 01, 2012, 11:16:27 am »
    If the batch of fish has just arrived and is offered for sale immediately. This will cause some fish to die from the stress of it all.


    Really good post and the quote i picked uot is very true and luckily my LFS gets the delivery in on a tuesday morning and are not for sale till the next day.

    6 Cherry Barbs

    Check out my
    Tank Log

    my youtube channel
    TheMrHutchie