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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

January 31, 2013

Help Customers Select Compatible Fish

By Patrick Donston


The compatibility of fish living in the same aquarium is just as important as the aquarium's equipment and daily, weekly and monthly husbandry practices. However, most hobbyists find it difficult to select the right species that will tolerate one another.

If dominant or aggressive behavior is not taken into consideration, weaker fish may experience substantial stress, be injured or contract secondary diseases. I’m not only talking about direct aggression and competition for food, but also space and intimidation (also known as in-direct aggression). There are many instances where fish are not directly attacked by their tank mates, yet still cannot survive because of shy behavior or lack of space.

One example would be the Scribbled Angel (Chaetodontoplus Duboulayi). When put in a home with lionfish, this fish won’t behave the same or eat properly, even though the lionfish aren’t going near them. Although this is just one example, I hear and see countless others where fish are dying in aquariums they shouldn’t be in to begin with. 

One thing that separates a good fish shop from a poor one is a knowledgeable staff that can give sound advice on this subject. Too many times I have witnessed a less-educated employee shaking his or her head yes to any question a customer may ask. My advice to any shopkeeper or aquatics department manager is to train staff on fish compatibility. Create a compatibility list for your team to study and use as a guide. Quiz them for assurance of progress. Unless you’re the only one who services all of your clients, it is vital your team is giving accurate and uniform advice.

In my next blog, I will give you some tips you will want to ask clients after they’ve selected the proper fish for their community.

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