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Marine Fish Guide

Keeping marine fish can be a daunting prospect, and requires some serious consideration! In these pages we have outlined all the information you need to get started with marine fish.

The attraction of marine fish

yellow tangA well designed and maintained marine reef tank is a stunning sight and no other group of aquarium fish offers the vivid and intricate colours of marine reef fish. Walking into your local fish shop and seeing a vast array of beautifully coloured marine fish would tempt anyone to keep these fish, but there are many things to consider before diving in at the deep end. Marine fish require a certain amount of care and the right kind of approach if they are to be kept successfully, and for this reason they may not be suited to new fish keepers or those without a serious commitment.

The learning curve

If you have experience with freshwater fish you are off to a good start, and many of the care principles will also apply to marine fish, but you should be prepared to learn a bit more and get involved in your hobby if you start keeping marine fish. There are new items of equipment to understand, along with extra elements of water quality, and of course the wide range of fish and livestock available for marine aquariums. Knowledge is the key to success, but don't expect to become an expert overnight – learning as much as possible is a steady process and is part of the enjoyment of keeping fish.

Ethical fish keeping

Some fish keepers may be turned off the idea of keeping marines because of the well-documented decline in precious marine reef habitats around the world, and we all have a responsibility to look after the world's natural habitats as much as we possibly can. This is a tricky area to navigate through, and whilst some aspects of marine fish keeping do cause harm to natural environments, on the whole the hobby can be a very good thing for natural habitats and reefs.
In the UK at least, the vast majority of marine fish seen for sale are caught from managed reefs, which are protected from harm and given 'rest' periods between catching to allow fish stocks to recover. In these cases, it can be argued that without the income from marine fish caught for the aquarium hobby, the reefs would be far more vulnerable to damage from other sources. In addition to this, employing local workers to hand-catch fish can prevent them from obtaining income from more environmentally damaging activities. In comparison, damage caused by fishing for the aquarium trade is miniscule compared to that caused from food fishing and pollution, and if the fish keeping trade can help to protect areas from these threats, we should all be buying as many marine fish as possible!

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