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Would you like to keep inflatable fish in the aquarium? If so, do not buy fish from a pet store or online, as doing so will cause enormous suffering to the animals. Find out here how you can adopt a puffer fish from the animal shelter and what to look out for when keeping it!

Can you keep inflatable fish in an aquarium?

Like all other fish, puffer fish are not a “hobby” or decoration, but rather intelligent and sentient creatures that can never be kept in a species-appropriate aquarium. No aquarium can provide the living conditions of an ocean, lake or river and meet the natural needs of animals. For example, in some species of blowfish, the male animal builds a nest for mating that can be up to two meters in size. Puffer fish are afraid of people, so it is very stressful for the fish when they are separated from people by only a glass.

Most fish in aquariums suffer a lot from being kept and often die early. [1] Time and time again, there are wrong attitudes that exacerbate animal suffering. For example, if puffers do not have hard food to wear down their ever-growing teeth, their mouths will grow too large and may starve or bite other aquarium inhabitants. [2] Feeding the so-called live feed also causes additional suffering to the animals.

The best possible living conditions should be created for fish already living in private households or waiting for a new home in an animal shelter.

Why you shouldn’t buy inflatable fish

Most species of puffer fish live in the sea, some of them in fresh or brackish water. Some species reach a size of more than one meter. Many pet stores and online stores sell species of fish, such as dwarf puffer and pea, that live in fresh water. About 90 percent of freshwater aquarium fish come from fish farms, where more than 250 million fish are raised in giant tanks each year. Since most puffer fish are solitary, conflicts and fights with their colleagues can quickly arise in aquaculture, and sensitive fish are constantly under pressure.

In pet shops, too, puffer fish are usually kept in tiny tanks of their own species. There are no legally binding minimum requirements for pool size and shop equipment. Animals also suffer from additional stress from constant visitors, lack of space and exercise, and disease. In the pet trade, animals are not counted as sentient beings, but as goods. There are even discount campaigns where inflatable fish are offered at reduced prices. Animals that are not sold are usually killed and thrown away as garbage.

Can you adopt a puffin from a shelter?

Yes, animal shelters sometimes give fish to new homes in addition to dogs, cats and rabbits. Many animals are rescued from poor housing or surrendered because they are overwhelmed. Especially during the coronavirus pandemic, many people thoughtlessly bought animals for “activity” or their own entertainment and rushed them to shelters when keeping them took more time and money than expected.

If you want to give a fish or other fish a home and have learned enough about the animals’ conservation and requirements, visit a local animal shelter or get information from an animal welfare association.

Keeping inflatable fish in the aquarium: the most important tips

If you want to adopt a blowfish from an animal shelter, you should learn more about the animal species beforehand. Puffer fish are particularly sensitive and demanding in their preservation.

Fresh water or brackish water?

While some puffer fish species need fresh water, other species live in sea or brackish water, which is between fresh and salt water in terms of salinity. Find out what types of puffer fish you can get and what water they need. For example, keeping a brackish water in freshwater weakens its immune system and makes it more vulnerable to disease. The water temperature also plays an important role.

Size and design of the aquarium

Many puffer fish delivered to German animal shelters are between six and eight centimeters in size and require an aquarium with a capacity of at least 100 litres. [2] Some species require at least 300 liters. Basically, the bigger the aquarium, the better.

The bottom should be sand or gravel as fish like to bury themselves in the ground. In addition, blowfish need a lot of hiding places through caves, roots, rocks and plants. These also serve as privacy screens from individuals.

Individual or group housing?

Pufferfish should be kept individually as they are local animals. In groups, the fish quickly become aggressive towards each other and nibble on the fins of other fish. It can happen that a puffer fish eats half of another fish. [3]

A few species of puffer fish may be able to live with other species of fish if the aquarium is large enough and well structured. It is best to talk to the sanctuary staff about whether you should keep the fish separately.

puffer fish

old age and disease

Puffer fish can live up to ten years in the wild. [4] Since fish in aquariums usually suffer from stress and rearing, they only at least reach their natural life expectancy. It is a good idea to look for a special veterinary clinic before adoption. Watch for signs of illness, such as a blackened belly.

To give your rescued blowfish the longest stress-free life possible, be sure to prevent the fish from bloat. Far from being cute, this is a defensive tactic that fish use only in life-threatening situations. It can happen that fish are pumped so full of air when inflated that they can no longer deflate and die. [3]

puffer fish

How you can help the inflatable fish

Puffer fish are not “ornamental fish” that exist for decoration or for our entertainment. They are sentient beings with individual personalities and needs that can never live in an aquarium. Never buy fish or other animals from a pet store or breeder, but adopt an animal from an animal shelter. Countless animals are waiting there to find a loving home.

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