Buying a new fish

Fish, like all animals, need five things to be healthy and happy; these are called ‘The Five Freedoms’ or animal welfare needs.

  1.  Environment – a suitable living environment
  2.  Diet – a suitable diet
  3.  Behaviour – to be able to behave normally
  4.  Companionship – to have appropriate companionship
  5.  Health – to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

If you decide to buy fish, IPAAG recommends the following:

  • Good water quality is essential. Getting the water quality right in your aquarium is one of the most important factors in keeping fish healthy. This means finding out how many fish your aquarium can support, as well as researching equipment such as filters and air pumps. Seek advice from an experienced aquarist to establish your aquarium. Advice is also available from books, websites and specialist shops.
  • Tap water should always be treated before being added to an aquarium, as chlorine is harmful to fish.
  • Ensure you buy from someone who has experience in keeping fish.
  • Ensure that the fish you buy are healthy and free from any sign of injury or disease.
  • Ensure you provide adequate facilities to transport your fish home and ensure water temperatures are the same when transferring them to their new environment.
  • If any paperwork is unavailable and has to be sent on, obtain a written commitment as to when it will be delivered.
  • Never over-stock your aquarium.
  • If different species are to be mixed, ensure that they have compatible environmental requirements and will not fight.
  • Remember, fish require specialist veterinary care which could involve referral to a specialist and be expensive.

There are many animal species sold online for a quick profit and often raised without proper care, love or attention and sold to unsuitable households.  These pets often end up being unwanted, abandoned each year, simply because they are just not the right type of pet for the family.  It is important when getting any new pet that you choose carefully and that it is an informed decision with the entire family.  If you decide to buy a pet online, check the website complies with IPAAG Minimum Standards.

Always consider contacting your local animal rescue/rehoming centre first – to check have they a suitable animal you might offer a home to.

For further information and advice, please see:

ISPCA & local SPCA’s –

Irish Blue Cross –

Veterinary Ireland –