I just read a post from a member inquiring about stocking his 58g tank. He is thinking about getting a Ghostfish, but the species of fish really doesn't matter. He is being told that his Ghostfish can get up to 20 inches in length, but he has fell in love with them and he THINKS the LFS will take them back when they get too big.
My hope is to get this Thread posted as a sticky so that it remains at the top of the Newbie Forum as to educate prospective fish buyers BEFORE they purchase fish.
I will try to keep this short because the longer I type and the more I get worked up about it, the angrier and more indignant I get, so please bare with me.
Whether or not you are new to the fishkeeping hobby (and I use this term loosely) what I am about to post is of the utmost importance if you care about what you are doing.
TOO ALL FISHKEEPERS: (Prospective or Current owners)
Please do not consider your fish merely a disposable item. Fish are animals. They are not simply an impulse buy that you can or should be able to return if they do not suit you.
No rational person would buy a Great Dane puppy to house inside their apt, nor would any rational person buy a DiamondBack RattleSnake and house it in their car. But all too often, fish keepers do exactly this. They buy fish that they are simply not suited to properly house. They buy fish because they look pretty or cool and do not take even one second of their day to research this entirely unknown (to them) animal and make an informed decision as to whether or not they have the ability to house such an animal.
Fish are far too often thought of as disposable in the respect that fishkeepers think they can rely on someone else to house their poor purchase.
They buy a 1 inch Oscar and house it in a 10g tank and KNOW darn good and well that they will have to take it back to the fish store in a couple months because it will outgrow their tank. They buy a fish based on its appeal to them and do not take into account its needs, temperment, living requirements, etc.
Perhaps it is because they are uninformed. Perhaps it is because fish are realtively inexpensive. The same person who would buy an Oscar for a 20g tank would never even think of buying a Cydesdale horse and putting it in their garage. Maybe its because the horse would smell, make noise or be such a physical nuisance. Or maybe its just because the average person KNOWS better than to put such a large animal in such poor housing conditions.
We have animal control. A legal type organization that investigates animal abuses and enforces animal regulations and laws. But rarely does this authority extend to the fishkeeping community.
When someone goes to the animal adoption agency, they typically sign a form giving the agency or their subsidary (local animal control) authority to investigate the housing conditions of the animal being adopted.
A sane and rational personal would not buy 25 cats and keep them indoors. But yet fishkeepers frequently overstock and overcrowd aquariums to the same degree and put their animals in the same danger as the person who bought the 25 cats.
A sane and rational person would not buy a puppy and house it in a 5 foot by 5 foot room with a rattlesnake. But yet this happens all to often in the fishkeeping world when people buy fish that are unable to be kept with other breeds of incompatable fish.
I guess what I am trying to say is please research each and every fish you plan to purchase. You are on a forum like AC because you are looking for information. It is the goal of the creators and moderators of this forum to provide people with information on how to properly care for and maintain a wide range of aquatic life. YOU came here for a reason. That reason was to get information. YOU have taken a step in the right direction.
Make an informed decision BEFORE you buy that next fish or BEFORE you plan your new aquarium. Treat the fish buying process just as you would any other animal purchase. Inform yourself as to what they fish needs...what the fish wants...what the fish MUST have in order to live a healthy and happy existance. Make sure you have the ability to house this animal in such a way that it will be happy now and in the future.