Environmentally-Friendly (and Frugal) Fish-Keeping ©

To celebrate Earth Day, we’ve come up with a list of tips for environmentally-friendly fish-keeping. As a bonus, many of these suggestions will also reduce the cost involved with having aquariums. :-)

  • Leaking aquariums can be resealed or reused as reptile habitats, terrariums, garden seedling shelters, etc.
  • Sell, donate or swap equipment that you no longer can use.
  • Lose the heater: Some fish don’t require high tropical temperatures and are fine (or even happier) at room temp.
  • Save containers for equipment storage, maintenance, etc. For example, we reuse large ice cream buckets for everything from acclimating fish to transporting them.
  • Offer your extra large jars to Betta breeders.
  • Once you’re in a recycling frame of mind, you’ll be surprised at how many ideas you can come up with for reusing household items. We’ve made our own feeding rings, fry-savers, caves, and lots of other items using recycled or upcycled materials in our aquariums.
  • Reuse fish bags for local transport.Earth Day Environmentally Friendly Aquarium Fish Keeping
  • Wash gravel and ornaments that are no longer in use with cold water and dry in the sunshine for natural sanitation.
  • Recycling aquarium water: Fish tank water is packed with nutrients for plants & lawns (as long as there are no chemicals or excessive salt content).
  • When you’re waiting for running water to get hot, put a pitcher under it and top off an aquarium.
  • Try a natural aquarium! No filters, lots of plants, etc. There are a few books on the topic, including Ecology of the Planted Aquarium Ecology of the Planted Aquarium: A Practical Manual and Scientific Treatise for the Home Aquarist by Diana L. Walstad.
  • Nurture beneficial bacteria: Reusable sponges or other media allows for the growth of more beneficial bacteria and reduces filter waste. If your environment is optimized for waste processing, water changes can be reduced in volume.
  • Try live plants: They’re also helpful in filtering waste.
  • Only have the lights on when you’re home to enjoy the fish. If you need to have them on for extended periods for plant growth, experiment until you know the minimum time required for acceptable results.
  • Use energy efficient aquarium lighting with a timer.
  • Never release fish, invertebrates or plants into the wild. Sell them or give them away, or humanely euthanize them if they can’t be rehomed responsibly. Consider the needs and adult size of fish before you buy them to ensure you can take care of them for their entire lifetime. Prevent spawning if you don’t have enough tank space to care for fry (babies).
  • Don’t collect endangered species from the wild. Ask suppliers about the origins of new fish and whether they’ve been captive bred.
  • Don’t purchase wild corals. Try ‘fragging’ to propagate corals and trade them with other hobbyists.
  • Consider a tank for captive-bred endangered species, such as Mexican Goodeids.
  • Feed natural foods such as locally-grown, organic vegetables (when suitable for the species) and/or keep live food cultures for your fish. High-heat processing of manufactured foods uses a lot of electricity with far less benefits for your fish. Opt for low processed, natural fish food instead.
  • Avoid antibiotics: These develop super-bugs which are introduced into our waterways through drainage, etc.
  • Don’t flush dead fish down the toilet as it can introduce disease to wild stocks.
  • Put fish in your outdoor pond or water feature to eat mosquito larvae & algae, avoiding chemical additives & naturally controlling insects.
  • Join a local fish club to obtain locally-bred aquatic pets.

All Natural Pet Care Blog Comment - Sunscreen Recipe for DogsPlease share you’re environmentally-friendly fish-keeping tips in the comments below.

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18 Responses to “Environmentally-Friendly (and Frugal) Fish-Keeping ©”

  1. Whitney Sharpe says:

    I love to trade plants! People who are really into aquarium plants like to collect different kinds but sometimes they’re hard to get or really pricey. Trading is fun and none have to be thrown away.

  2. Steve Wilson says:

    Don’t use plastic bag when your shopping for fish foods. heheh, simple right? but that helpful enough.

  3. Sylvia says:

    I’d appreciate jars for my bettas!

  4. Greg H. Stevenson says:

    I’m new to fishkeeping and so I really appreciate these insider secrets. I got my first aquarium for Christmas and so far I have neon tetras, corydoras and some cherry shrimp. I can’t wait to get another tank!

  5. everhart says:

    Its easy to tell you’ve had aquariums for a long time because these ideas came from experience. Thanks for sharing your learnings.

  6. Barb says:

    You’re just full of ideas for fishkeepers! All pets should be a constant reminder that we need to take care of all creatures great and small.

  7. Topper says:

    Great ideas for fishkeepers….I’ll get right on it!

  8. Claude says:

    I wouldn’t have thought of half of these ecofriendly fish room practices myself…so thank you very much.

  9. Kurt says:

    You may even save me some money so I can buy more fish!

  10. Trevor says:

    Bravo! All fishkeepers should be in touch with nature and the environment. The awareness will make them better fishkeepers.

  11. Bonnie says:

    Great tips for environmentally friendly fish keeping! The two should naturally go hand in hand.

  12. Stephang says:

    Excellent post! Easily the most comprehensive advice for earth friendly aquarists, thank you.

  13. Rich says:

    All of my aquariums are heavily planted and I have 1 Walstad aquarium (120 gallons) with no filtration other than plants. I never throw the water down the drain either.

  14. Heather - Ontario, Canada says:

    I love my aquariums but they do use a lot of electricity. I’ll try some of these tips. I do as much as I can thinnk of now but you’ve given me more ideas. :-)

  15. Cheyanne says:

    Saving the earth’s waters for fish is reflected in my fishkeeping when possible. I do minimal aquarium water changes by using some of your tips here.

  16. Linda says:

    It is really good to read that you care about the fishes and their environment, thanks for caring!

  17. Rick G. says:

    Fabulous ideas! Thanks for caring about fish and the environment.

  18. Rhonda says:

    I water my lawn & gardens with water from my fish tanks as often as possible. It feeds and conserves and is as easy as redirecting the python.

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