Pet stores and websites pay a lot of attention to green, eco-friendly ideas for dog and cat owners, but there’s scant info on eco-trends for aquarists. Tropical fish owners who want to maintain a healthy ecologically safe tank for their pets and help the environment on a larger scale can do so in a number of ways.
1) Use ecologically-friendly aquarium products.
Sure, you can cut corners and decorate your fish tank with brightly-colored gravel and a miniature pirate ship from the discount store, but cheap trinkets not only look hackneyed, they can also prove toxic to your aquatic friends. Cut-rate accessories may contain chemicals or add waste materials to your tank. Look for green decorations and cleaning supplies for your aquarium instead. Place ecologically-safe pebbles made from volcanic rock in your tank to purify water and eliminate bacteria. These porous stones decorate both freshwater and saltwater aquariums and keep them chemical-free. Malaysian driftwood helps maintain a low pH for freshwater Discus and Angelfish. It’s safe for fish to nibble on, too.
2) Save energy by using LED lights.
LED (Light Emitting Diode) aquarium lights use less energy than incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lighting. An eco-friendly LED system costs more to set up, with a full reef-capable system costing around $160, but you’ll spend less money on electric bills in the long run. LED lights stay cooler than traditional lighting and can be set for day or night use. A slim, unobtrusive LED light panel also makes maintenance work easier by eliminating the need to move bulky lights.
3) Choose tropical fish bred in captivity.
Preserving tropical fish, especially exotic saltwater species, in their natural habitat has become a hot-button issue for many environmentalists. Extensive cultivation of for the aquarium trade has endangered many fish species, and even live coral, in some parts of the world. Fisherman in Southeast Asia use cyanide to catch tropical fish for the luxury aquarium market. Don’t patronize sellers who secure fish from these unethical sources. The use of cyanide harms both the fish intended for sale and their natural habitat. Purchase your fish from a reputable fish farm or captive breeder. Chances are most freshwater fish have been breed in captivity, but most saltwater species are still collected from the wild.
4). Dispose of fish and fish waste properly.
Don’t dump tank water or dead tropical fish into storm drains, rivers or other bodies of water. This may introduce pathogens into the local water system. Flushing dead aquarium fish down the toilet is unsafe (and illegal) for the same reason. Burying a dead fish in the backyard is the both sensitive and ecologically sound. Some aquarists dispose of deceased fish by wrapping them up and throwing them out with the trash. This may seem harsh to some fishkeepers, but it’s better for the environment than flushing them down the toilet or throwing them down a storm drain. To some hobbyists, saying goodbye to a pet fish is like holding a funeral, while others consider it an unfortunate part of the hobby. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
Learn more about tropical fish and conservation at All Tropical Fish.
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About the author:
Marianne Moro is a freelance writer and publicist living in Hollywood, CA. She has written for many publications, clients and websites, including USA Today, Blogcritics Magazine, Modamag and Entertainment Today, among others. She's the proud co-o...