You are probably aware that certain laws are in place to protect the basic rights of animals. These laws are meant to set guidelines for the proper treatment of pets like dogs and cats. Some laws provide basic guidelines for pet owners, decreeing that they must provide their pets with a suitable environment, diet and access to veterinary care. Other laws go so far as to prohibit certain treatment or to provide detail regarding the specific environment in which the animal must be kept. These laws vary from one country to another, but few countries have laws regarding animal cruelty as it is applied to ornamental fish.
Legislation Regarding Cruelty to Fish
The chances are good that you have seen news coverage or read an article in the paper about a local animal rights group raiding a puppy mill or freeing two dozen cats from an abandoned house. But when was the last time you heard or saw anything about the improper treatment of aquarium fish? The reality is that aquarium fish are pets just like cats and dogs and it is the pet owner’s responsibility to provide them with a suitable environment. Some countries have recognized this truth and have passed legislation to protect the basic rights of aquarium fish. In England, for example, it is illegal to use fish as prizes at fairs and carnivals because the fish can be exposed to extreme heat and severe stress in plastic bags. In Switzerland, the law goes so far as to decree that aquariums must have one opaque side so that the fish can be exposed to a natural day/night cycle
Studies Regarding Cruelty to Fish
Until recently there have been few scientific studies regarding the impact of cruelty to fish. A study conducted at Case Western Reserve University, led by biology professor Ronald Oldfield, did just that. In order to observe the impact of environment on the aggression of fish, Oldfield studied Midas cichlids (Amphilophus citrinellus) in a variety of different environments. In addition to their native environment in Nicaragua, Oldfield also studied the fish in an artificial stream at a zoo and in glass aquariums. Oldfield found that as the size of the environment was decreased, the aggressive behaviors of fish became more pronounced. The complexity of the environment – the availability of hiding places and decorations – also played a significant role.
Practical Applications of the Results
Fish are happy in a tank which simulates their native habitat.
The results of Oldfield’s study indicate that aquarium fish become more stressed, and thus more aggressive, when their basic needs for a suitable environment are not met. Whether the tank was too small or too crowded, aggression became a major issue in the fish being studied. Aggression isn’t the only issue at play, however – keep in mind that aggression can lead to increased levels of stress and thus increased susceptibility to disease in aquarium fish. A less-than-suitable environment can have a major impact on the health and well-being of your fish.
Oldfield’s study does more than just raise the issue of animal cruelty as applied to aquarium fish – it also serves as a warning to aquarium hobbyists. As a pet owner, it is your duty to provide your fish with a suitable environment that simulates their native habitat. This includes enough space to grow, correct water parameters and a healthy diet. A simple way to ensure that your aquarium environment remains clean and healthy for your fish is to install an EcoBio-Stone. These products are made with volcanic rock and infused with beneficial bacteria. Once introduced into your tank, these bacteria multiply and immediately begin working to maintain the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle is the process through which harmful chemicals like ammonia (the result of waste breakdown) are converted into less harmful substances. With an EcoBio-Stone in your tank, your water will remain clean and clear, just the type of environment your fish need to remain happy and healthy.