Ethical aspects of aquariums
Ethics is a set of principles of correct behavior, a theory or system of moral values. Applicable to Pets, this means that the owner of the animal must do everything in his or her power to ensure that the animal lives in a comfortable environment and will live a long life.
One of the reasons people have Pets is the desire to groom and cherish them. The process itself has a positive effect on the pet owner, as it provides a lower level of stress and gives other health benefits. But the health of the pet is also important, and from an ethical point of view, its biological and psychological needs must be taken into account.
Why is ethics so important in aquariums?
Many people are attracted to aquarism as a hobby because people like the look of a well-groomed beautiful aquarium, but fish is not a decoration. When fish are kept as Pets in a pond or aquarium, they are completely dependent on the owner to feed them and care for them. And although there are no laws on fish welfare yet, from a moral point of view, the only right thing to do is to ensure the highest possible quality of care. If proper care is not possible, due to lack of space or funds, you should find a more suitable home for the fish.
What laws act in respect akvariumistiki?
Most current animal welfare laws date back to 1911 and offer little protection to fish. The animal welfare bill, published in October 2005, prohibits the injection staining of fish, but does not prohibit the importation of painted fish. Fish donation is not illegal at the state level, but some local governments have adopted bans on it.
Also, the new law stipulates that the aquarist is obliged to do everything to ensure the welfare of his pet. And although the law provides only minimal protection for fish, it would be unethical to limit ourselves to the requirements of the laws.
What is meant by cruel treatment of fish?
In order to prevent the abuse of fish, it is necessary to determine what the abuse is. There is no clear language in the laws that indicates what is legal and what is not. From the point of view of ethics, any action capable to cause harm to a small fish or to worsen conditions of its life, it is possible to consider cruel treatment.
Keeping fish in unsuitable environments – for example, in the famous spherical aquariums for goldfish-too small aquariums, aquariums without filtration or the necessary water heating, or keeping small fish in vases with flowers – is inhumane, since such conditions are categorically not suitable for fish. Failure to provide a suitable environment for fish leads to water quality problems.
Poor water quality is probably the most common cause of fish death and disease. Although this is not always the aquarist’s fault, he should regularly monitor the water quality to make sure it meets the level required for fish. The water should not contain ammonia and nitrite, and nitrate levels should be as low as possible. The nitrogen cycle should be started before placing any fish in the aquarium, using other sources of ammonia. Using fish in starting the nitrogen cycle exposes them to ammonia, which can harm or even kill them. Fish requirements for pH, temperature and hardness should be studied and appropriate water parameters should be provided. If even after taking precautions, the disease still appeared, you should understand what kind of disease it is, what is its cause and start treating fish as soon as possible.
Do not forget about the other inhabitants of the aquarium. Keeping small fish together with large predators will result in all small fish being eaten, which is cruel treatment. When creating an aquarium with different species of fish, it is necessary to find out and compare the requirements of all species of fish, for example, cyclides require water with a high pH level, they can not be kept together with discus, preferring acidic water. Insufficient number of neighbors in the aquarium can cause severe stress for some fish. If in nature the fish lives in shallow water, the lack of relatives can lead to the fact that it will get sick or even die.
Which is better – caught in the wild or raised in captivity fish?
Some aquarists are strongly against keeping fish that have been caught in the wild. This is a very complex issue, with many points for and against fish caught in the wild.
However, many fish do not breed in an aquarium or special cages, so the only way to get them for aquarists is to catch them in the wild. Moreover, such fish provide for the aquarist a huge selection of species. If there was no catching of fish in the wild, modern aquariumistics would be quite different. In addition, this trapping has allowed the discovery of several new species of fish and the study of their behavior, and as a result, those who breed fish in nature have learned to breed new species.
However, catching large numbers of fish in the wild can have negative effects on the environment. For example, the red-tailed shark, a popular aquarium fish, has now disappeared from the wild and is now only bred on farms in Thailand. The reason for the disappearance is not clear, perhaps it is partly due to fishing for aquariums, but do not forget about other factors – the construction of dams, for example, led to the destruction of their natural habitat.
Moreover, fish can suffer even if its not managed to capture. Corals are very popular among aquarists, but natural coral reefs disappear very quickly. Coral reefs are home to several thousand species of fish, and if the reefs are destroyed, these fish will also disappear.
The prevailing view in the aquarium trade is that the trade in fish caught in the wild is beneficial to people living in the habitats of such fish. It is trade that provides them with work and forces them to preserve the natural habitat of fish.
But from an ethical point of view, removing an animal from its habitat for the sake of keeping it as a pet is categorically wrong. However, keeping fish in captivity and studying them may allow ichthyologists to begin breeding these species in captivity. Therefore, before making a purchase, you should consider the source of goods and fish that you plan to purchase.
How can an aquarist help prevent cruelty?
Owning an aquarium is due to the large number of responsibilities, not all of them are associated exclusively with the fish in the aquarium. Avoid shops that sell colored or unhealthy fish. If enough aquarists boycott such stores, standards of fish handling could improve across the industry.
Not all staff stores have the necessary knowledge, so aquarists should independently seek information about a particular type of fish before buying to purchase the necessary equipment and provide fish decent living conditions. The network is available a huge number of books and articles containing all the necessary information for the beginner, and even more detailed data for experienced aquarists.
Keeping fish is a big responsibility that requires understanding the needs of fish and working to keep the aquarium clean and tidy, with good quality water, but the result of all this is beautiful healthy fish, and this is the biggest reward for any aquarist.