Which type of fish would you like to learn more about?
It is important to know whether your fish are captive bred or wild caught. For the most part, freshwater species available in store are captive bred – by either commercial farms or dedicated hobbyists. However, some may have been collected from the wild. Any reputable local fish shop will advise you on what is captive bred or wild caught. If they do not know, then you should not by from them.
Why buy captive bred fish?
The main reasons you should buy captive bred specimens is to protect natural stocks in the wild. For example, historical exploits of the banggai cardinal from the aquarium trade resulted in severe declines in the natural population between 2001 and 2004 (click here for the reference). However, these fish are now bred in captivity, and responsible aquarists should try to purchase these captive specimens. Another positive reason for buying captive bred species is that they are accustomed to captivity, thus making your life easier when it comes to netting them for health checks or moving them between aquariums. Captive bred fish tend to be very hardy, and thus there is a smaller chance that they will harbour diseases. They also tend to be cheaper to purchase. From my experience, purchasing captive bred fry (babies) and growing them to thriving adults can be very rewarding.
The other side of the argument
There is a huge debate between keeping captive bred and wild caught specimens. There is no question that taking anything from the wild will impact the natural population in the longterm. We strongly recommend that you, as beginners, should always purchase captive bred specimens. With that said, we do understand that wild caught specimens are important for aquarists. After all, without wild caught specimens we would have no aquarium fish! Taking from the wild should only take place if you have prior knowledge of fish populations in the area. This should be based on sound scientific studies and with a clear breeding program to establish captive bred specimens in the aquarium trade.
A few considerations before purchasing your fish.
Naturally, there are some species that get along peacefully, but some that will attack at the drop of a hat. Different species will prefer different water parameters and aquascaped environments. Always do your research and note the species that can be kept together. Be careful not to introduce too many fish into your aquarium at once. Be aware that different species have different need. Click on the tropical fresh water or saltwater marine icons above to learn more.