The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
576 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I'm trying to understand the pros and cons of getting fish that are wild caught vs. tank raised and it seems like there are a lot of factors at play. Obviously there are many cases where you don't really get a choice and all or nearly all stock is either wild caught or tank raised, but there are many species where either is available, especially if you are willing to do a little legwork. But which do you prefer and why?

I have heard that tank raised fish are more accepting of water conditions that fall outside their native environment, both in terms of pH and hardness. But I also have heard concerns that tank raised fish might have issues arising from in breeding/generations of poor breeding practices. I have heard wild fish are more likely to have weird parasites and be stressed out from being caught and shipped multiple times, and I have also heard that fish farms are cess pools of disease, especially ones that have become resistant to common treatments. I have heard very conflicting things about the coloring of wild vs. tank raised fish - that wild fish can have striking colors that get lost quickly with captive breeding and that selective breeding has brought out colors that surpass their muddy colored wild relatives.

I suspect that the merits of the debate vary between species/groups and there are some fish that are worth it to get wild fish and others where captive bred has the edge. But I don't have a good enough understanding to sort this out myself and I'm curious to hear about the experiences and opinions of others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Honestly, if you're willing to do the research, finding a reputable hobbyist breeder/ aquarium co op to buy from would be the healthiest in terms of sustainability and over all ability to transition to your water. This isn't always available and can be somewhat unreliable. I don't like buying fish from petco, but I do... I also have a few qt tanks because of this. I think it also depends on the specific fish you're looking at, as you've mentioned.

You've kind of mentioned most of the pros and cons already but I'm just going to throw in that in more delicate wild caught specimens you're going to need a good grasp on the water parameters in which they came from and replicate them as closely as possible. This should be left to those willing to set up biotope tanks with intentions of breeding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,924 Posts
Like many things, it just depends. Some fish are shy if wild caught but the next generation is extremely bold.

Best option is getting a line bred fish from a responsible local hobbyist that has been breeding for color and health. This is near impossible to find on most species, but technically it's your best option.

I saw some youtube videos about people catching wild fish in the amazon. One point they made is that the people there doing the catching are extremely poor. By buying wild caught fish these people are able to put food on their table and also stops other people who might instead turn rainforest into farmland, leaving it rainforest as it is an industry that puts money in their pocket as well. Just more things to consider.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,710 Posts
I always buy wild firstly. Next, I buy from home breeders I know through local aquarium society and/or word of mouth from breeders. I haven't bought farm-raised fish in about 12 years. These are the fish you find commonly at LFS or mass retailers. Due to the close quarters these farm-raised fish are bred and raised in, the proactive overuse of anti-parasite meds and antibiotics, and the weakening of strains through cross-bredding and lack of diversity among stock-- farm raised stock leads to poor results in the aquarium.
Wild fish are not necessarily full of parasites or higher stressed than farm raised fish. They can be- but, it isnt a fast rule. The most important aspect of receiving healthy wild fish is to know your local or online vendor. Ask questions about their quarantine procedures and water parameters ( this is important with acclimation). How long do they let their stock acclimate before offering up on availability lists. For fish that are prone to particular parasites-- for example (Carnegiella strigata) the marbled hatchetfish-- is prone to internal protozoa- ask if they been proactively treated. Some forms of targeted prophylactic treatments for certain strains of wild fish should be done, and the experienced vendor will know which fish and treatment is needed before the wild fish get to the customer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,279 Posts
I would rather get fish from a local "breeder" , even if they did not intend to be a breeder , because the fish they have have been bred and lived in water that is very close if not identical to mine . I do have one store that I get fish from and that is because I know the guy that runs the fish dept . He has been in the retail end of things for years and he keeps tanks himself . He will tell me what fish are ok and which ones are not at that time . I have not gotten a sick fish from him in years . And he will order whatever I want . Of course I only buy run of the mill fish . Nothing as high end as Discus or other particular fish . I don't feel I have reached the level of experience to try to keep these fish . I am happy with my guys as is .
 
  • Like
Reactions: Plinkploop

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,414 Posts
So I haven't seen any of this yet, but I really want to see no shaming going on. There's a lot of context behind the buy that you might be unaware of (example, cb fish can be cheaper, and that extra $5 can make a large difference for a money strapped hobbyist).

Because I'm interested in breeding, I prefer to go for wild caught fish. That being said, most of the fish I buy are from captive stock. The number of times I've dealt with zebra danios that just develop rickets for no reason later on in life is...astounding.

Wild fish can be finickier than captive bred fish. Most CB fish you find will probably take to flake. But a wild caught fish? It's probably not going to see those flakes and think "wow that's food!"

As aforementioned, some wild caught fish are cheaper than their captive bred counterparts. And in some cases, the wild caught fish is more common than the captive bred fish. For example, to the best of my knowledge, a majority of goldring danios (Danio tinwini) brought in are wild caught, because there are few breeding reports (like, 1) out there about the fish breeding in captivity.

I do caution about buying wild caught fish when they come from certain areas. For example, if peat swamps are being destroyed in order to harvest licorice gouramis, then you should probably try to find a captive bred fish instead of a wild caught fish. Simultaneously, the reverse may be true (as evidenced by Project Piraiba). The exception, is if you're actively planning on breeding the fish AND there is no other viable option for you.
 

·
Registered
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." Gandalf: Lord of the Rings
Joined
·
318 Posts
Y'all must be rich lol. Buying fish online is expensive, and then, if that fish goes and dies you lost a whole bunch of money. I buy mostly from petsmart and petco. Some fish have diseases, but some don't. Also you know exactly what your gonna get cuz ya picked it. Not like online. I have no experience with local hobbiests or co ops, because I don't know any.

Sent from my KFONWI using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,414 Posts
Y'all must be rich lol. Buying fish online is expensive, and then, if that fish goes and dies you lost a whole bunch of money. I buy mostly from petsmart and petco. Some fish have diseases, but some don't. Also you know exactly what your gonna get cuz ya picked it. Not like online. I have no experience with local hobbiests or co ops, because I don't know any.

Sent from my KFONWI using Tapatalk
l m a o.

I make 50K/year in LA. Taxes (which I'm happy to pay) bring it down to 38K. Living here is ridiculous (like, I need rent that doesn't have a comma in it per month), so at the end of the day/month/year, I get 200$/month for fun stuff, of which, a haircut eats up $25, amazon takes out 8$ for prime, and so I'm left with like $168 or so. That's still a pretty decent amount of fish I can buy. I'm coasting right now since work's not picked up yet, but it's possible. You just have to be patient. I could just...not buy fish every month, and then the next month I'd have 330 or so to spend on a lot of fish or something.

Goldring danios can be brought in by the LFS. And if you have a stellar one, they can bring in most if not all fish depending on time of year. My old LFS in Arkansas could get in pipefish and goldrings, as well as a lot of the more exotic nano fish, most of which I'm fairly certain are wild caught.

Does the DFW area not have an aquarium club or local fish stores?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Y'all must be rich lol. Buying fish online is expensive, and then, if that fish goes and dies you lost a whole bunch of money. I buy mostly from petsmart and petco. Some fish have diseases, but some don't. Also you know exactly what your gonna get cuz ya picked it. Not like online. I have no experience with local hobbiests or co ops, because I don't know any.

Sent from my KFONWI using Tapatalk
Oh my. I would suggest reaching out to some local aquarium groups. If you just open up a dialogue with other hobbyists you might find yourself able to cut your costs by half and raise the rate of survival/ success. Just my 2 cents. I wish I had more close to me!! They are a wealth of knowledge and resources.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,710 Posts
Y'all must be rich lol. Buying fish online is expensive, and then, if that fish goes and dies you lost a whole bunch of money. I buy mostly from petsmart and petco. Some fish have diseases, but some don't. Also you know exactly what your gonna get cuz ya picked it. Not like online. I have no experience with local hobbiests or co ops, because I don't know any.

Sent from my KFONWI using Tapatalk
My experience is the opposite. I stopped buying locally because it was too expensive having to replace and medicate dying and sick fish. I now know -- even though I dont see them-- that I will not have to deal with that with the handfull of online vendors I buy from. They quarentine their stock prior to sending them to me. By the time they get to me they are robust and strong. Like I said, I have been buying from these vendors for many years-- so experience with an online vendor will tell you which ones to buy from that have excellent quarantine and shipping procedures. If you would like some names let me know. But, no, buying farm raised fish is not cheaper. If it was I would still be buying from these places.
Google your local aquarium society. Go to auctions and meetings-- many are online right now. You will not find healthier, cheaper fish anywhere.
 

·
Registered
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." Gandalf: Lord of the Rings
Joined
·
318 Posts
Sure some names would really help.
But take guppies for example maybe 25% will die.
Example 1: you buy 4 guppies at petsmart $3 each. Total $12, then 1 dies 9 bucks for 3 guppies.
Example 2: you buy 4 guppies online maybe 2 bucks each but then the $30 - $40 shipping!

I, probably, am not looking at the sites discusluv mentioned. Maybe buying online makes sense if you buy alot at one time? I just walk in and see if there are any really healthy fish and then I buy like 4 or 5.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
576 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the great discussion, everyone.

I had maybe overlooked getting fish from local breeders and hobbyists. This is partially because it's been a real bad year to make new acquaintances, I am a bit shy with strangers even in normal years, and I am particular about what I want, but I should look into it, particularly as the timeline on my tank upgrade is getting shifted a bit later.

Sure some names would really help.
But take guppies for example maybe 25% will die.
Example 1: you buy 4 guppies at petsmart $3 each. Total $12, then 1 dies 9 bucks for 3 guppies.
Example 2: you buy 4 guppies online maybe 2 bucks each but then the $30 - $40 shipping!
I think the calculus on this changes as you have more fish in your display tank that could potentially get sick every time you add new fish. My childhood fish tank got wiped out by an introduced disease and now I have a quarantine tank and patience, but you get what I mean. And right now I'm not keeping anything expensive or hard to get a hold of, so even a total loss wouldn't really set me back that much, but that might not be the case by this time next year.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top