‘Monster Fish’ is a term used by aquarium enthusiasts for fish that grow so large they can’t be kept in most home aquariums. They’re commonly sold as small fish, often to inexperienced fish-keepers who have no idea how large they’ll get. The Big Fish Campaign is determined to change that through proactive education.
There are several reasons that aquarium hobbyists can end up with monster fish:
- Since fish are often sold as juveniles, many people aren’t aware of the size they’ll reach as adults.
- They may believe myths that suggest the fish will “grow to the size of the tank”.
- They could mistakenly think that public aquariums will accept them when they get too large.
- They could believe it’s OK to let overgrown fish go in the wild if they get too big.
Goldfish are common victims of this misconception. A common Goldfish can reach a foot in length and those cute little fancy goldfish should at least hit baseball size (some grow much larger). Another super-size fish that is often sold as an algae eater when it’s a juvenile is the ‘Common Pleco’, which will end up 1-2 feet long! Other jumbo fish include some Cichlids, Catfish, and Arowana.
In monster fish-keeping circles, a 120 gallon aquarium is considered small. Unfortunately, once these fish get too large for the average aquarium (or those horrible little fish bowls) they’ll suffer and die. They could also be released into the wild due to ignorance or irresponsibility, where they can cause a lot of damage to natural ecosystems.
If you research your fish before purchasing, you can choose those that are suitable for your aquarium’s size and avoid these issues. If you want to know what it takes to raise a monster fish, (including the expense, tank size, constant maintenance, etc.) visit the Monster Fishkeepers community.
“The aim of the Big Fish Campaign is to raise awareness about the problem of aquarium fish that grow larger than the vast majority of home aquaria can accommodate, and to promote responsible buying and selling of these larger species” the Big Fish Campaign website states. “It is not the aim of the campaign to ban certain fish from sale, or push for restrictive licensing – quite the opposite in fact: it is hoped that a more responsible attitude from fish-keepers, retailers and wholesalers/importers will help to prevent the need for future legislation.”
These initiatives are worthy of support and encouragement. Whether you’re a merchant or a fish-keeper, please help make a difference by participating.
Have you ever had a monster fish? Please share your experience in the comments below.
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