Part of the fun of keeping an aquarium is building and watching a vibrant fish community… unless your fish outgrow their tank. Just as puppies grow into large dogs, fish can grow in size as they age. What was once a small Pleco, for example, might grow to 12 or more inches, depending on the species.
What to do then? Here are some tips…
An ounce of prevention…
We hope you’ve heard Ben Franklin’s adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When adding new fish, it’s very important to think ahead. Research the species, learn about its potential for growth and decide if it’s compatible with your tank. Plan on having 1 gallon of water for each inch of fish (based on their size in maturity).
Upgrade to a bigger home
If your fish are already on their way to outgrowing their home, consider upgrading your tank. It’s truly the best option for overgrown fish. In a too small tank, they’re sure to develop health problems and other issues, including more aggressive behavior with tank mates. Consider a larger tank as an investment that will provide a beautiful, healthy home for your finned friends. It will also be easier to maintain, as large tanks are less likely to have temperature fluctuations.
If it’s not possible to get a bigger tank, you may have to consider selling or giving away your fish to another aquarist. Another option is to build an outdoor pond to house large fish, depending on the species and your location, Above all, do NOT release your fish into a local lake, canal or waterway. Just one or two fish can have a very real impact in your local area. Non-native fish can harm native populations by introducing parasites, preying on native fish or depleting their food sources.
With careful choices, you can enjoy your fish aquarium for many healthy years. For help choosing your fish, ask a store associate at Pet Supermarket.