Q & A: Choosing a fish

Q: I would like to buy my son a goldfish as a pet. How do I choose the best fish?

A:  The most important fact to consider is the welfare of the fish. Goldfish are actually fairly complex to care for and should under no circumstances be kept in a bowl. They need a properly equipped aquarium with a good biological filter. Also, remember that a healthy goldfish can live for 20 years and will grow very large.

Please set up and cycle your tank two weeks before purchasing your fish. The filter needs to mature before the water is safe for fish. There is much information available on the internet regarding the setting up of an aquarium, or see the January 2018 edition of Animaltalk. Your local pet store will also be able to advise you.

The ideal fish to start up with include guppies, white cloud mountain minnows and Siamese fighting fish. When you buy fish from a reputable pet shop, always choose fish with smooth, perfect scales and no blemishes, such as slimy or fuzzy patches on the skin or tiny, white, ‘salt grain-like’ spots. These lesions are signs of disease. The fish chosen should also be active and lively.

Dr Dorianne Elliott, veterinarian

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