Responsible pet ownership

We believe that educating people to pick the right pet for their lifestyle and care for it properly is the key to happy and healthy pets – and that includes fish.

Whenever you buy fish you should always research the needs of your new pet and make sure you can provide:

  • The right home – your fish needs a suitable tank or pond that’s big enough and has the right equipment and accessories
  • The right food – your fish needs food that is suitable for its species
  • The right behaviour – your fish needs to be provided with an environment where it can act normally
  • The right company – your fish needs the right tankmates so it can live happily alongside them, or live separately if that’s right for them
  • The right care – your fish needs protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease

Many fish have been kept as pets for decades – and even centuries in the case of goldfish and koi. Pet care for exotic species, including fish, has moved on enormously in recent years and there has been a big increase in the knowledge required to care for them properly. So there’s a huge amount of knowledge and understanding about their care which will help you be successful. Look out for hobby magazines, ask in your local fish store and have a look at our information as well.

According to Allergy UK pets, especially furry ones, are the second biggest cause of allergy in the home so pet fish can be a good alternative for people with fur allergies. They can also be an ideal choice if you live in rented accommodation which don’t allow dogs and cats. And they can be less time-consuming than other four legged pets. Once you have your water quality routine set out you can sit back and enjoy them!

Things to think about when you buy your first fish

When you buy a fish you are committing to keep it for its entire life.  So, before you take on this commitment, you should find out:

  • how long your fish can live
  • how large it will grow
  • how much room it will need
  • what sort of equipment it will need to keep it healthy
  • the environment it needs
  • its compatibility with other species you are keeping
  • the food it requires
  • how much time it takes to look after it properly
  • how much it will cost to keep
  • what you’ll do when you go on holiday, become ill or are no longer able to look after your fish
  • does your vet know about fish?

You can find a lot of useful information, from videos to help you set up your first tank to care sheets on a wide range of fish on this website.

Exotic pets

The vast majority of non-native pets in the UK are tropical fish and reptiles so we want to encourage responsible pet ownership. Ultimately we want to make sure owners understand the best ways to keep their pets and also make sure they never release their pets into the wild. So we’ve helped to create a useful code of practice for pet owners to help them understand their responsibilities.

The code covers three main issues for pet owners when it comes to buying and keeping a non-native pet:

  •  The importance of not releasing the pet into the wild or allowing it to escape – mainly because it’s both cruel to the animal and can lead to harm to British wildlife
  • The need to properly dispose of old bedding and pet litter so that eggs and pests can’t get into the wild
  • The importance of owners doing their research and preparing themselves for all that’s involved in keeping their chosen pet for the whole of its life

It also urges traders involved in selling pets to:

  • Make sure customers know and understand all the commitments involved for the pet they want to buy
  • Make sure pets are free of pests and parasites as far as possible when they’re sold

The code is simple and upet code of practice front cover picnderstandable and we hope it will help owners to understand the need to do your research before investing in a new pet so that you understand what you are taking on when you buy your pet.

This will hopefully then mean owners do not decide to get rid of their pet. And if you do have to make this decision you should never release your pet into the wild. It’s cruel and could harm the British countryside and wildlife.

Read the Code of Practice here.