Despite the common belief that easy-care pets are within a child’s reach, fish have very special needs. These are animals that have found a way to survive in the ocean for more than 500 million years! That’s an incredible amount of time spent developing and adapting to its environment – a habitat an aquarium can’t compete with.
Here are some interesting facts about fish that should make you take them seriously:
They are smarter than you think
The researchers found that the fish recognize each other and gather information by espionage. They are able to remember the social interactions they have had with other fish, and they show affection by rubbing against each other. Dr. Sylvia Earle, one of the world’s leading marine biologists, said,
I wouldn’t have intentionally eaten grouper, any more than I would have eaten rooster spaniel. They have such a good character, they are very curious. As you know, fish are sensitive and have personalities, they get hurt when they get hurt.
They feel pain
Fish have a complex nervous system and react to painful stimuli like all animals: their respiratory rate increases, their muscles contract and they try to escape. Anatomically, physiologically and biologically the nervous system (which interprets pain signals) of fish is about the same as that of mammals, says Dr Donald Broome, scientific advisor to the UK government. Joaquin Phoenix depicts the suffering of a fish in this powerful video he made for PETA:
When you buy tropical fish, you can contribute to the extinction of a species
More than 20 million fish are caught each year to support a global pastime worth $300 million. Some species, such as the Banggai cardinalfish, are in danger of extinction due to overfishing, which is being carried out to please the aquarium industry.
Many ‘pet’ fish may have been stolen from the wild
An estimated 95% of the saltwater fish sold in pet stores comes from the wild, primarily from the waters of Fiji, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other Pacific islands.
They are social animals in small aquariums
The fish talk to each other through a series of low-frequency sounds to court, alert, or transmit. “Fishes have some of the most complex social systems known,” said the behavioral ecologist at the University of Bern, Switzerland. […] You see the fish helping each other. See cooperation and reciprocity forms. »
We most likely evolved from the ancestors of today’s fish
Fish are the oldest group of vertebrates, and many of our human traits — like our articulated jaws — come from them. Fish were the first to have primitive teeth, a skull, and a spinal cord about 550 million years ago!
When you buy freshwater fish, you support a greedy industry
About 90% of these fish are farmed. For example, goldfish are farmed in giant ponds in facilities that produce up to 250 million fish annually. Tropical fish sales are estimated to be between $200 and $300 million annually worldwide.
Misconceptions about fish create bad conditions for them
For example, many people believe that betta fish can survive without being fed regularly and live in a “whole ecosystem”. Their aquarium may consist only of a pot and a plant, so the fish are doomed to a boring, solitary life and a slow death from starvation. In the wild, the betta lives in shallow, slow-moving streams and paddy fields. In captivity, the betta needs large aquariums (at least 10 liters per fish) and maintains temperatures between 24 and 28 ° C.
The fish will surprise you
There are about 30,000 species of fish, more than half of all known backbone animals. Some species of fish can “fly”, while others can climb trees, and some are able to transform from male to female and vice versa.
What you can do to help the fish
Never support companies like pet stores that prioritize profit over animals. Reputable local rescue groups and shelters often have fish that need a new home. If you or someone you know already owns aquatic animals, please also check that the water temperature is kept within the appropriate range for the animal during the winter months. In addition, captive fish need a lot of water, good filtration, climate control, regular cleaning of aquariums and heavy enrichment. You can also make their lives easier by providing them with an environment that is as similar to their natural habitat as possible.
Finally, the best course of action for fish is to stop eating them. Get started with a plant-based diet today and order our “Emerging Plants Guide” to help you get started: