Happy Holidays to a Fishkeeper

So the Holidays are upon us and someone you love is a fish nut, be it your husband, your girlfriend, or even your little nephew. You don’t quite understand it, or maybe you do, but this loved one’s passion is fulfilled by underwater life, scaled dioramas of the lakes and seas.


Okay, so this column isn’t directly related to Tropical Fish of South America, but it applies. To my regular readers searching for my latest experiences with catfish or cichlids, I apologize, but will do my best to post a second article towards the end of the month related to our more typical fare. This topic has just been on my mind for a couple weeks now since I’ve gone about composing my own Christmas list. Perhaps it will save someone from making a poor decision and head off the possibility of a titanic Yuletide flop!

Here is the rule, follow this and it covers probably ninety percent of all dilemmas: DO NOT PURCHASE LIVESTOCK AS A GIFT!!! Even if you’ve heard him or her griping over a water change, “My tank lacks color, I really need to pick up an Oscar to set things off,” or “The bottom of my tank is filthy, if I only could find a nice school of cories to add to the mix,” “What I would give for an Asian Arowana-alas it’s well beyond my price range” (Thank goodness!).

You do not know how to care for this gift prior to the giving-if you do know how, and I apologize for assuming you didn’t, you still shouldn’t make a fish into a gift. Now a gift certificate to his or her favorite local pet shop-that’s a great gift!

Okay though, you sneer at my words, I can take care of a stupid fish pal, c’mon. Okay, you go to the pet shop looking for an Oscar. Do you know what size to get? Are you guessing? Do you realize that it will eat up all of those little neon fish in his 20-gallon tank, before outgrowing the tank itself in a couple of months, and that what you overheard was just a pipedream? Oh, it’s a hundred-gallon tank and you distinctly heard that they were looking for a four-inch specimen to grow out. The pet shop has a tank with half a dozen such fish-which one do you buy? Do you know what to look for? Okay, hopefully I’ve convinced you, if not you’re a lost cause anyway, and we can move on to safer purchases.