Buying fish online is great way to buy aquarium fish species that are not stocked in your local pet and aquatic shops.
Many fish keepers develop a fondness for a certain type of fish, for me its Catfish. I am always on the lookout for rare and different types of catfish. Buying from online suppliers allows me to expand my collection without trawling around every aquatic shop in the country.
Introducing new fish to your aquarium is always a tricky time and more so when buying fish online. The stress of travelling can be very harmful to your fish, possibly an outbreak of infection and even death. However if you do your research and follow the correct steps you are unlikely to have any problems.
You often find in local aquatic stores the fish stock has been acclimatised to the local water conditions. Delicate fish are of course treated differently, but the hardier fish which can cope with local water conditions are kept in the local water. I mention this because although we all know each different species of fish has its own preferred set of water requirements, we get complacent when the fish we buy locally come already accustomed to our local water. This just means when buying online you need be sure you only buy fish whose water requirements match those in your aquarium. It is a good idea to test your aquarium water, specially test your PH, hardness and temperature. Then use the data you have gathered to research possible additions to your tank. You can use the file profiles on this site to help you decide.
Once you have an idea of the fish you are looking for, you need to decide where to buy them from. A good retailer will have details of their packing and shipping process. This will vary, but it should include details of how the fish are packed and how long delivery takes. As a general rule the fish should be in large strong plastic bags with have around 50% water and 50% air. The bags are then packed in boxes designed to keep the fish warm and protected from any knocks during the journey.
Good fish sellers will also offer a fish guarantee. They should guarantee the fish will be alive 48 hours after delivery. The guarantee will give you peace of mind; however the guarantee will only be valid if you are home to receive the delivery and you follow their acclimatisation procedure to the letter. Basically you will only get your money back if the fish’s death is not your fault. You must do what you can to ensure the fish has a healthy happy life with you. Your should of course ensure your tank is healthy before buying fish online; check the ammonia and nitrite levels are nice and low. Don’t buy more if any of your current fish are sick. Fish sellers will also not take responsibility if the new fish is bullied to death by one of your current fish.
Apart from following the retailer acclimatisation procedure, I would also take some extra precautions. I always like to keep a bottle of Melafix in my fish cabinet. It acts like fish Calpol and I like to put a dose in after adding new fish. Stresscoat is also a great product to add to the tank after adding new fish. Moving home is stressful for fish and it takes time for them to gain confidence in their new home. Therefore ensure there are plenty of hiding places in your tank should your new pet need them.
I hope you find advice useful and I wish you luck in the future when buying fish online.