View Full Version : Review of Article: Fish In Tanks? No Thanks!

01/13/2016, 02:49 PM
PETA has an article up that I happened to come across today, and I thought I'd share my views. FYI I was looking at other fishkeeping articles on other websites and this happened to show up and I figured it'd be complete BS so I checked it out. Here it is with my annotations in red:

Fragile tropical fish, who were born to dwell in the majestic seas and forage among brilliantly colored coral reefs, suffer miserably when they are forced to spend their lives in glass tanks.Fish inside a tank of proper size have a much better life - they don't have to fear predators and get regularly fed. The same is true of river fish.Assuming all fish come from reefs or rivers, making them sound very uneducated Robbed of their natural habitats and denied the ability to travel freely, they must swim around endlessly in the same few cubic inches of water If anyone keeps a fish in a few cubic INCHES of water, that fish will not survive. Even a 10 gallon is around 2300 cubic inches - 3 cubic inches is less than 2 OUNCES..

Where Fish Really Come From
The popularity of keeping tropical fish has created a virtually unregulated industry that catches and breeds as many fish as possible with little regard for the animals themselvesIf we're captive breeding fish I'm pretty sure we want to protect our investment and we have regards for the fish - after all we are devoting our time to conserving wild fish by captive breeding them. And it's definitely not virtually unregulated.. While many species of coral are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, most of the fish who end up in aquariums are notUmm okay... that's because they are not endangered you stupid idiots.(1)

An estimated 95 percent of saltwater fish sold in pet shops come from the wild, mostly from the waters around Indonesia, the Philippines, Fiji, and other Pacific islands.(2) More than 20 million fish, 12 million corals, and 10 million other types of marine life—such as anemones, shrimp, and mollusks—are captured every year to support a $300 million worldwide “hobby.”why is hobby in quotations? Whether you like it or not it's still a hobby nonetheless(3) Some species, such as the Banggai cardinalfish, have become endangered because of overfishing, a practice commonly employed to satisfy the aquarium industry.That's why most banggai cardinals are captive bred now(4)

Collectors douse the coral reefs with cyanide, which is ingested by the fish who live there, and as reported in Scientific American, “[t]he resulting asphyxiation stuns some fish and sends others into spasms, making them easy to grab by hand or net.”Pretty sure LOTS of people have stopped doing this now(5) Half the affected fish die on the reef, and 40 percent of those who survive the initial poisoning die before they reach an aquarium.(6) Cyanide also kills the coral reefs themselves, and marine biologists rank it as one of the biggest dangers in Southeast Asian waters.(7)

Approximately 90 percent of freshwater fish are raised on farmsThis is bad how? Lol this is literally a good thing.(8) Goldfish, for instance, are usually bred in giant tubs in facilities that produce as many as 250 million fish per yearOnce again, not a bad thing here.(9) These animals are sold to zoos, pet stores, and bait shopswhat kind of zoo keeps goldfish?, and many are doomed to live in plastic bags or bowls, neither of which provides the space or oxygen that goldfish needPeople are quickly becoming informed that bowls are not for fish, and in fact lots of pet shops (except online) will not sell you a goldfish (at least the ones I've been to) or any fish if you don't have a good setup for it. The city of Monza, Italy, banned keeping goldfish in bowls because the containers do not meet the needs of the animals and because, as one sponsor of the law pointed out, bowls give fish “a distorted view of reality.”Okie dokie, once again not a bad thing. I'm all for this. It's impossible to enforce this though(10)

Some fish farms are seeking new market niches by creating fish breeds that would never occur in natureLike the dog breeds you all obsess over?, treating fish as ornaments instead of living animalsI think dressing up your dogs for shows is a bit more as treating them like ornaments than hybridizing fish. Some breeders even “paint” fish by injecting fluorescent dyes into the animals’ bodies or altering their genetic makeup to make them more attractive to buyersnot gonna lie, this is pretty f'ed up.(11)

Fish Can Speak, Make Tools, and Think
Fish have cognitive abilities that equal and sometimes surpass those of nonhuman primatessource needed, I highly doubt there are many fish that are this smart (sure there are fish that recognize their owner and stuff but smarter than a chimpanzee? come on). They can recognize individuals, use tools, and maintain complex social relationshipswhat kind of tools is your fish going to use? Or at least any kind of fish you can regularly buy. Biologists wrote in Fish and Fisheries that fish are “steeped in social intelligence, pursuing Machiavellian strategies of manipulation, punishment and reconciliation, exhibiting stable cultural traditions, and co-operating to inspect predators and catch food.”(12)

Fish communicate with one another through a range of low-frequency sounds—from buzzes and clicks to yelps and sobs. These sounds, which are audible to humans only with the use of special instruments, communicate emotional states such as alarm or delight and help with courtship.(13) The pumps and filters necessary in many home aquariums can interfere with this communication. “[A]t the least, we’re disrupting their communication; at worst, we’re driving them bonkers,” says ichthyologist Phillip Lobel.And the flow of the oceans they come from doesn't disturb them?(14)

What You Can Do
Please don’t support the tropical fish trade by purchasing fishnot going to happen. If you enjoy watching fish, consider downloading one of the many colorful and realistic fish-themed computer screensavers available on the WebOR - or - learn how to take care of a fish tank properly, start out with something manageable, and work your way either up or down from there. Don’t support businesses or fairs that give fish away in contests or promotionsI agree with this one. In the United Kingdom, it is illegal to give fish as prizes or sell animals to children under the age of 16, and guardians must provide a “suitable environment” for all animals.(15) A similar law is in effect in Reggio Emilia, Italy.(16)Don't agree with the "under 16" rule but everything else here is good, just hard to enforce

Siamese fighting fish, who are often sold as “decorations” or party favorswhat party can I get free bettas at because I need to go to this one, are fighting for their lives as their popularity grows. Pet shops, discount superstores, florists, and even online catalogs sell Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) in tiny cups or flower vases to consumers who are often uneducated about proper betta care. These tiny containers are not suitable for any fish.

Biologists say that there is no safe way to return captive fish to their natural environments—which are often located in a completely different region of the world—because of the difficulty in locating such a habitat and the possibility of introducing disease to the other fish there. Researchers have found many species of non-native fish, including predatory species, living off the coast of Florida, and they attribute these populations to careless aquarium owners.(17) These fish pose a real threat to native species. Never flush fish down the toilet in the hope of “freeing” them, as seen in the popular movie Finding Nemo. Even if a fish survived the shock of being put into the swirling fresh water, he or she would die a painful death in the plumbing system or at the water treatment plant.I highly doubt any idiot would flush a live fish down the toilet(18)

If you already have fish, you can make their lives easier by providing them with an environment that is as much like their natural habitat as possibleyes, but I'm sure what you're about to say isn't very close. While captive fish can never live natural lives, the following tips will help ensure that they are as happy as possiblebut wait now you're advocating keeping them? I am so confused.:

• The more space that fish have, the happier and healthier they will be. Their needs vary, so check with an expert or consult a good fish book to determine their requirements. One general guideline is that you should provide 3 gallons of water for every 1 inch of fish.(19)I am compelled to shoot someone in the face every time I see a "general size guidelines" - tank volume does not matter it's the dimensions. You can have a 300 gallon cylinder tank that's a few inches in diameter, but by your logic you could keep over 8 feet of fish in this tank
• Treat tap water properly before putting it into the aquarium, as most municipal water contains chlorine, which can kill fish. The type of chemicals that you should use depends on your area’s water. Consult with a local tropical fish supply store to determine the proper treatment. What? If it's freshwater, dechlorinate it. If it's [going to be] saltwater, run it through RODI. Pretty simple really
• Different types of fish require different pH levels. Check the pH level daily for the first month and weekly thereafter.
• A filter to remove waste particles and noxious chemicals from the water is essential. Live plants help with this task and provide oxygen, shelter, hiding places, and the occasional snack. Earlier you said filters drive fish bonkers so pick one or the other here
• A properly working air pump is necessary to provide oxygen.
• Fish need a constant temperature, generally between 68°F and 76°F, but you should check with a fish supply store for information that is specific to the type of fish that you are keeping.(20) Automatic aquarium heaters monitor the water temperature and turn the heater on and off as needed. Attaching a small thermometer to the tank will help you ensure that the heater is functioning properly.You guys said you're talking about tropical fish - 68 degrees is not suitable for tropical fish, sorry to say. Also I may have just never heard of it but where have you found automatic heaters?
• The natural waste of fish emits ammonia, which can accumulate to toxic levels, so clean the tank regularly, but never empty the tank completely. Be sure to clean the glass well with a pad or a brush to prevent algae growth.
• Create places for the fish to hide and explore. Ceramic objects, natural rocks, and plants work well. Make sure that all objects are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before they are put into the tank. Do not use metal objects, as they will rust.
• Be aware of the environment outside the aquarium. Suddenly switching on a bright light in a dark room can startle fish, and vibrations from a television or a stereo can alarm and stress them. Who keeps their fish in dark rooms all day? Switching it on at night, sure I get that but saying you can't have a radio or TV near the tank is unrealistic
• Keep all harmful chemicals away from the aquarium. Cigarette smoke, paint fumes, and aerosol sprays can be toxic if they are absorbed into the water.
• The aquarium should be in a spot where temperature and light are constant and controllable. Tropical fish supply stores may be able to advise you on the best amount of light for the fish you are keeping. Remember that direct sunlight and drafts from nearby doors or windows can change the water temperature, and fumes from a nearby kitchen or workshop can injure the fish.
• Don’t overfeed! Uneaten food and waste material are broken down into ammonia and nitrites, which are toxic. One expert recommends providing only as much food as your fish can eat in 30 seconds.what kind of expert is that?(21)
• If a fish seems sick or lethargic, take him or her to a vetI'm sorry but I'm not taking a neon tetra to a vet to save it. I'll give it meds but that fish isn't going to the vet. Fish can be medicated, anesthetized, given shots, and operated on, just like other animalsYes, but good luck finding a vet to do it. And it's not like it's something easy to do either. Take along a separate sample of the tank water.
• Most fish enjoy companionship. If you have a single fish, check with friends and neighbors to find another loner to adopt—but don’t support the fish trade by going to a dealer.This whole sentence is a mess right here
• Supply stores and catalogs have clear plastic dividers available that can be used to create a safe section in a large tank for a betta fish who is living in a “community” aquarium. Make sure that the divider fits securely in the tank and provides necessary access to the surface.So now bettas need to be housed with NOTHING else whatsoever? Because last time I checked, they do fine in community tanks considering they're peaceful and being kept with peaceful fish

Just my thoughts on this article. In general it's an awful article and they should not be able to cover this topic. Not that they should be able to cover ANY other topics either.

01/17/2016, 08:52 AM
Some additional points I would add:

Fish in captivity can live many times longer than their counterparts in the wild. In a recent "Changing Seas" episode, http://changingseas.tv/ the life expectancy of the supermales of a wrasse species in the wild is "months". The life expectancy for Coral Beauty dwarf angels can be as little as a year, http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00392841

PETA "If you enjoy watching fish, consider downloading one of the many colorful and realistic fish-themed computer screensavers available on the Web"

Watching a video or screen saver does not have the same theraputic effect as being in front of an aquarium with live fish, we have a psycholigical need to interact directly with nature. Aquariums are one way to meet this need. https://www.healthdesign.org/chd/research/health-and-nature-influence-nature-design-environment-care

01/17/2016, 07:26 PM
Great points to add. I personally, along with lots of other people, feel that PETA is no different than other radical organizations like the WBC, and does not need to be put into any place of power or authority

Silly clownfish
01/19/2016, 08:37 PM

Ok, my 18 yr old TR clown wouldn't exist without aquarists, and I really doubt my 17 yr old (not counting age when I got him) flame hawk would be alive today in the wild. All of my fish have it much better in my well fed tank than the wild. Is it natural? no. Is it cruel, I don't think so. I have several inverts over a decade old too.

You compared fish to dogs in your commentary. I have seen PETA propaganda bashing keeping dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals in captivity. So they would see your arguement as supporting them...

That said a lot of fish owners (and other pet owners) aren't responsible. That doesn't make the hobby bad, it does meant that education is needed.

The fact is that a large percent of pets in developed countries have much more comfortable lives than a large percent of human beings on the planet. I find this the more disturbing end of the animal rights spectrum.

01/23/2016, 01:55 AM
Just my thoughts on this article. In general it's an awful article and they should not be able to cover this topic. Not that they should be able to cover ANY other topics either.

It would be more legit if you actually linked to the article. I'm assuming that the numbers in parenthesis indicate footnotes? It's unclear whether you are raging against peta's conclusions, or the information from which they drew them. I did see where you noted "needs cite" on a topic sentence, that's not really how it works tho. The writer starts a para with their conclusion and then supports it with cited sources. Sometimes they use a concluding sentence too, or skip it, or use it instead of a para intro.
Like this:
Bagels are bad food. Bagels make you fat (1). Bagels frequently have gross toppings (2). Bagels are hard to eat without getting cheese on one's face and crumbs on one's shirt (3). Thus, bagels are bad food.
(1) fatbagel weekly
(2) www.toppingsareforsuckers.com
(3) crumbs anonymous; cheese anonymous

No cite needed for the first or last. By pasting the article without the sources or a link to them, you are leaving out context, and where your quibbles are with the cited info - you aren't arguing against peta at all. Being a critic is hard cause you need your ducks in a row before you harsh on other writers' form. I haven't the energy to annotate your post, but it is lacking.

I'm fairly sure that peta opposes most pet ownership, and would euthanize pit bulls rather than risk them being used for dog fights. I'm surprised that anyone is shocked they have a problem with a hobby that sacrifices as many lives as ours does. Sure, someone somewhere kept a clown alive for its full life span, that's not the big pic tho.

Are you as predisposed against the humane society?
They got pretty fired up here:
Over (among other things) this dumpster full of tangs in Hawaii
That's the industry tho. And we are part of it.

01/23/2016, 05:51 AM
People that support PETA humanize all live forms. They do not live with fish and understand fish and corals. They think they live in large areas of the ocean swimming free. When fish live in small areas and live in fear of being eaten constantly. Aggression and territorial in fighting keep fish living in one spot most of their lives. PETA just doesn't know the facts as usual.

02/12/2016, 09:08 AM
One of the silliest posts i've read in a while Kangadrew.

03/01/2016, 09:11 AM
One of the silliest posts i've read in a while Kangadrew.

Agreed. PETA kinda sounds like PITA.

03/04/2016, 07:32 AM
:reading:Agreed. PETA kinda sounds like PITA.

You misinterpreted my post, Kangadrew's babbling's are the silly part

03/04/2016, 05:07 PM
Great points to add. I personally, along with lots of other people, feel that PETA is no different than other radical organizations like the WBC, and does not need to be put into any place of power or authority

Activism. Activist.

03/04/2016, 06:01 PM
Cstrickland has great points regarding the validity that is needed to fully understand the article. I wont touch on that any further..

The simple point here is that there is no clear cut side to the issue. It is obvious that we all care about marine life to some degree, why else would you waste your time on this site. The real question comes from how we care about marine life. I have a very strong connection with the picture presented in Cstricklands post. I was born and raised in Hawaii, and have seen first hand the damage that our hobby can cause. That is "can cause" it doesn't mean that it still is, or has to be. As sad as it is to see instances of our short comings in this trade, I do believe this hobby is important for the education of marine conservation. Who is going to care about something that you may never really experience. caring for marine life is an important tool to reach that goal.

Its easy to hate on PETA, but they really are on the same side. They just care in a different manner than what we do.

03/04/2016, 06:03 PM
And I hate the word happy or sad when talking about fish (and most animals for that matter). You can never quantify nor qualify "Happiness" in an animal. It is healthy or not healthy. if want to talk about behavior it should be noted as "wellness".