|From valuable lessons for newcomers, to helpful reminders for old hands, this article is filled with tips for everyone.
There are several things to consider when
selecting a new fish. Assuming that you have already selected the species
of fish, you must mainly consider the health of the fish. There are two
main components in determining the health of a fish, appearance and
behavior. The following factors should be considered by appearance:
Fins - The fins of the fish
should be fully extended and not frayed. If the fins are frayed, the
fish may be fighting a bacterial infection.
Body Surface - There should be
no abnormal spots or soars on the exterior of the fish's body. In
addition, check for indications of parasites on the fish. Unless the
fish is light in color, you should be able to see Amyloodinium
cysts on the fish's exterior. These will appear as tiny white specks.
Occasionally, a fish
will be malnurished. Look at the abdomen of the fish. It should not be
sunken in at all. Rather, the abdomen should appear slightly rounded.
Eyes - The eyes of a new fish
should be clear and not protruding. If a fish's eyes are cloudy or
"popping out" slightly, the fish is not in good health, and
has a bacterial infection. Note that is some species such as grouper,
the eyes of the fish can temporarily cloud somewhat when fed live
food, but this shouldn't persist for more than a day or so. Otherwise
something is wrong.
Behavior is also an important component in
determining the health of a new fish. The following should be taken into
consideration regarding behavior:
Breathing - The breathing of a
new fish should be moderate and relaxed. A fish which appears to be
breathing rapidly is in bad condition and is under potentially lethal
Feeding - Too often people take
a fish home without ever establishing that it is eating. Ask the
seller to feed the fish. This way you will know that the fish should
eat when you get it home. Remember that when introducing a new fish to
your aquarium that it is temporarily stressed, and may not eat for a
day or two. Eventually it will eat again, so be patient at first.