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Old 03-05-2015, 10:28 PM   #1
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Is Fish-Keeping Ethical?

With a growing number of people keeping fish as pets, many people find themselves asking "Is fish-keeping ethical?" This is usually an uncomfortable or sore topic for many people, but, to me, it's also an interesting one. So, I wanted to hear your beliefs on the matter. I ask you all on AA: Is Fish-Keeping Ethical?


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Old 03-05-2015, 10:36 PM   #2
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I think that as long as you do your best to create the healthiest living environment for the fish...it is ethical. There are limitations to which people should respect though...
There are certain fish that are simply not suitable for a home aquarium and it is sad that those boundaries are breeched.


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Old 03-05-2015, 11:07 PM   #3
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I am sorta with Michelle. I love MFK but some of those fish should stay in their habitat in the wild.

As long as you do your very best to keep them healthy then I don't see any reason why it's any less ethical than other pets.


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Old 03-05-2015, 11:33 PM   #4
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Is owning a dog or cat ethical?
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Old 03-05-2015, 11:45 PM   #5
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Is owning a dog or cat ethical?

Does that apply in the same vein since they have been domesticated from wild ancestors. Fish haven't been domesticated, per se. Not arguing, just curious as to your opinion.
Either way, I would say so long as the fish are given ample room and a healthy environment, that it is ethical.
There is a bit of a fine line here. By showcasing fish, we can raise awareness about endangered species and habitats for those species. However, those same species might not do well in captivity no matter how similar of a natural habitat is provided.
Just as with any animal, do no harm and be responsible, I believe to be a well tolerated mantra.


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Old 03-06-2015, 12:23 AM   #6
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Is owning a dog or cat ethical?
I think you are on the right track but needs to be refined. Is keeping a domesticated animal, such as a large breed dog, one that was man made to be a hunter, in a small apartment ethical? Walking the dog, no matter for how long, will not replace the dog running after prey. yet people still do it.

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Does that apply in the same vein since they have been domesticated from wild ancestors. Fish haven't been domesticated, per se. Not arguing, just curious as to your opinion.
Either way, I would say so long as the fish are given ample room and a healthy environment, that it is ethical.
There is a bit of a fine line here. By showcasing fish, we can raise awareness about endangered species and habitats for those species. However, those same species might not do well in captivity no matter how similar of a natural habitat is provided.
Just as with any animal, do no harm and be responsible, I believe to be a well tolerated mantra.


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Actually, some fish HAVE been domesticated. The Betta is one. It's original domestication was for fighting and gambling on those fights. Dates back a couple hundred years. But I get your point.
Here's part of the problem with your post, most of the fish in today's hobby are not wild but man made recreations & in my eyes, some are abominations, that do not exist in the wild. So how does displaying them help the environment or create awareness for the cause? It could be said that "Who needs wild fish when we can just create our own fish from what has already been caught? ( For example, Parrot cichlids and Flowerhorns.) " This mentality gives the impression that we can do without wild fish so develop their land.
I think "ethical" is not defined enough when it comes to pet keeping in general. I think it's best determined by the hobbyist, Does he or she strive for the best possible environment to meet the "normal" needs of a specie and not just treat the animal as a throw away pet. It's really about pets more than just fish. As in my example above, people make and keep pets to ease the pains of our daily lives or to have as company but don;t necessarily keep the pet properly. But since it's a larger animal that can fend for itself, somewhat, when we are not there, the "Ethical" question doesn't get brought up. Getting back to Dogs, new breeds are being created, almost daily, based on how we humans are living. The TOY breeds came about when more city people couldn't have pets over a certain weight so BOOM, toy dogs breeds were created so that they could stay in apartments and not have huge demands on their owners for their "natural" needs. ( Hence how wee wee pads and poop blankets came into being. ) Here's the problem tho, these breeds inherited or were created with many health issues. So, was it "ethical" to create the breeds or keep them around still? In a recent program I watched, I believe the numbers were that 75% of the dog species around today, didn't exist 25 years ago. Where's the Ethics in that?
But, back to fish.... Since man HAS made so many variations to the wild stock, that so many of the fish don;t even resemble the wild stock, I think it only becomes unethical to keep a larger fish in a smaller tank for the course of it's lifetime. Fulfill the needs of the specie and then there is no need to question the "ethics" of fish keeping.
AT least THAT'S my opinion.
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Old 03-06-2015, 01:47 AM   #7
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I am 100% on board with the idea of ethics as you described it. Depending on the species, it can have a wide range of tolerable interpretation.

I had no idea just how much manipulation had been done to fish (or wasn't as aware of it). But, having looked up your examples, I can see your point. I knew about some of the more obvious ones (glofish) but I appreciate you taking the time to go into more detail.

Don't even get me started on the dog segue! Even breeds which were around 100 years ago have been so selectively bred that they don't resemble their ancestors at all! Not to mention the health problems that come from such a narrow genetic field... Grr!!

Anyways, I appreciate the discussion! Always refreshing to hear ideas and opinions!!


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Old 03-06-2015, 12:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DeeLee2013 View Post
I am 100% on board with the idea of ethics as you described it. Depending on the species, it can have a wide range of tolerable interpretation.

I had no idea just how much manipulation had been done to fish (or wasn't as aware of it). But, having looked up your examples, I can see your point. I knew about some of the more obvious ones (glofish) but I appreciate you taking the time to go into more detail.

Don't even get me started on the dog segue! Even breeds which were around 100 years ago have been so selectively bred that they don't resemble their ancestors at all! Not to mention the health problems that come from such a narrow genetic field... Grr!!

Anyways, I appreciate the discussion! Always refreshing to hear ideas and opinions!!


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Having been in the pet/fish industry for over 40 years and keeping fish as a hobby for now 50 years, I have seen a lot of things come and go. I just try to be the voice of experience here as many on this and other sites only know what's happening now vs what has been happening for much longer. In all honesty, the more I get back into breeding fish, the more I want the wild fish again They were much more interesting to have ( IMO)
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Old 03-06-2015, 03:51 PM   #9
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Having been in the pet/fish industry for over 40 years and keeping fish as a hobby for now 50 years, I have seen a lot of things come and go. I just try to be the voice of experience here as many on this and other sites only know what's happening now vs what has been happening for much longer. In all honesty, the more I get back into breeding fish, the more I want the wild fish again They were much more interesting to have ( IMO)
At least we still have African cichlids

I know exactly how you feel though. I've been itching to do a native michigan tank for quite a while now. It would be awesome to have a bluegill tank.
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Old 03-06-2015, 05:14 PM   #10
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Only the keeper or owner can practice ethical methods therefore defining how ethical the practice is.

I'm an ethical fish keeper, weekly water changes, don't overstock, feed appropriately, monitor behavior.

My brother isn't, no water changes, I feed them, doesn't really care about them....

Don't worry I'm having an intervention and taking over the tank.
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