for the week of 5/13/99
Some folks are happy with an aquarium full of guppies or tetras, but others don't just want fish, they want F-I-S-H - like snakeheads, pacus, arawanas, clown knives, as well as oscars and a host of other huge cichlids.
On the plus side... Large, active fish can be seen from across the room (maybe even from across the street!) and many of these goliaths learn to recognize their owners and rush to the front of the tank in greeting. Many hobbyists find these big bruisers to be more like true "pets," rather than collector's items. Most are very hardy and can survive for decades under proper care.
On the minus side... These "tankbusters" require big tanks, big filters, big water changes, and big everything else, making their setup and maintenance more costly and time-consuming. Overcrowding or attempting to limit growth by keeping fish in small quarters results in deformed or sickly specimens (see Stunting Fish). Finally, fish that outgrow their homes often end up being destroyed, as few aquarium shops or even public aquariums accept huge fish as trade-ins or donations.
Have fun, but be responsible... Please consider carefully the ultimate size and requirements before purchasing any potentially large fish, and be certain that you will be able to care for it. Take into account how big it can get, and plan ahead for bigger tanks and equipment. If you know it will someday outgrow your facilities, arrange now for a future home.
"Tip of the week" appeared regularly in 1999 and 2000.
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