-Increase the survivability of your next fish purchase- -Stray voltage in the aquarium-
-Quarantine for your new fish- -Moving your aquarium-


By Bruce Davidson

With this article I will try to increase the odds that the next fish you purchase will survive. The first thing you need to do before you select that fish is find a good pet shop with a knowledgeable staff.  It looks like you have since you are on our web page.J Sandy’s is a charter member of the American Marine Life Dealers Association (AMDA). The AMDA is a group of dealers that have pledged to only stock ethically collected aquarium suitable animals. Further we will offer captive bread marine animals whenever possible. We are making the extra effort to learn about the animals and their captive care requirements before we offer them for sale. Once inside take a good look around. The tanks should be clean and algae free. Check out what type of filtration they use, chances are if the filtration is state of the art the fish will be in much better health. Look at all of the fish as a whole, freshwater included, how do they look? Are they swimming or hiding? Do they have to many fish in the same tank? Is the water crystal clear in all of the tanks? Do they have sick, dying or even dead fish on display? Take a look at the dry goods they stock, pay close attention to the books. Do they specialize on marine fish or are they just a full line pet shop that happens to have a few marine tanks. Ask a few questions about filtration, foam skimmers and lighting, you know kind of feel them out. Visit all of the pet shops in your town. If you find a pet shop that had great looking animals and sound advise, STICK WITH THEM

Now that you have decided who has the best marine section it is time to take a look at fish. Stand back a bit and watch the fish you are interested in. Except for bottom dwellers the fish should be swimming around occasionally picking on things here and there. The fish should have good body weight, not pinched in the belly area. You should not be able to see ribs Look at the head area; there should be no indentations above the eye.  An indented area above the eyes is a sign that the fish has not been eating for quite a wile and this can cause internal organ problems. Now take a close look at the eyes. They should be clear the fish should be looking back at you. Now take a close look at all of the fins, they should be free of bites or nicks. Pay close attention to the pectoral fins, the ones right behind and below the gill. This is the easiest fin to see parasites on. When the fish is looking straight at you the pectoral fin normally will stick straight out to the side. In most fish this fin is transparent and any parasites will just jump out at you. If the fish is clean ask the clerk to feed it. As the food is introduced into the tank you should see a change in behavior that indicates that the fish is aware food is present. Now is a good time to ask if the fish has a special diet. Ask if they have a book that you can look in to find out some more information. Look for things like how big will it get, will it change color as an adult, will it eat your shrimp, will it pick on your coral. I like to see the fish eagerly feed but just a nibble is a good sign. If the fish is not in perfect shape and eating walk away no matter how bad you want it or how good of a deal it seems to be.

Now you found a good shop with a perfect fish the next step is to get that sucker in a bag, well not the next step. Never take a fish home the day it comes into the store. It would be best if the fish has been in the store for a week but 3 days is okay if you just can't wait. If the fish just came in ask the store to hold it for a couple of days, most will. Do all of your other shopping before you ask for the fish to be bagged. Before you ask just anyone to bag your perfect fish watch the employees in action. Catching the fish in a non traumatic way takes plenty of practice and skill. Get the best gentlest person to do your bagging. Let the new guy practice on someone else's fish. If it takes you more than an hour to get home ask them to put oxygen in the bag. Most marine fish have pretty sharp spines so a double bag is a good idea. When the fish is handed to you do not carry it with your hand on the bottom. Your hand is 96 degrees or so and the fish water is 77-82 degrees. Carry the bag from the top. Do not let your children carry the fish. Take the fish directly to the checkout and get it in the paper bag as quickly as possible. Fish are not used to being carried around a store and seeing all of those things flashing by. Being enclosed in a paper bag will reduce stress and the fish will likely go to sleep. Do not open the paper bag and check out your new fish at every stop light. Leave the fish in the closed paper bag until you are ready to put him in your tank.

Now you are ready to acclimate the fish into your quarantine tank but that is another article.

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