Many aquarists have, at some point or another, questioned the ethics behind their favorite hobby. So, is it cruel to house fish in an aquarium? Unfortunately, this is not a simple yes or no answer. There are hundreds of different fish species sold from aquarium retail stores daily. Then, multiply that number by the many different aquarium sizes, filtration options, substrate choices and landscape designs, so on and so forth. Every aquarium is different and every fish species has different needs that must be met in order to thrive in a contained environment. When this question is stripped down to its simplistic form we really only need to know one thing; are you responsible enough to care for fish in an aquarium?


The Responsibilities of Aquarium Ownership

No, fish don’t need to be walked or taken to the park. But that doesn’t mean aquarium ownership comes without responsibility and effort. Before anyone ever purchases an aquarium, research must be done. You must identify what type of fish you will want to house in the aquarium and from there, you can build the perfect aquarium habitat. Start by finding the fish you find the most appealing and enjoyable to watch. After that, you can learn about their background and history. Information such as where they’re from, what they eat and if they’ll butt heads with other desirable fish. This is only a starting point for your research.

After you’ve identified the needs of the fish you want, you can then move on to the research of the aquarium you want to purchase. Some basic information points here would be the size of the aquarium, most suitable filtration and monthly cost of maintenance. But, this is only just the beginning of the research required to purchase your own aquarium.

But, don’t think the work is done once your new aquarium is up and running. Some aquariums require daily feedings, weekly water changes and other miscellaneous tasks to keep the aquarium in its best shape. The cost of maintaining an aquarium is never-ending but this is helpful in order to deter the faint of heart.



If the proper amount of research is performed BEFORE purchasing an aquarium, the fish can and will live long, happy and prosperous lives. When an aquarist decides to do all the necessary research beforehand, they can ensure the fish will have enough swimming room, get along with their tank mates and receive adequate feeding. Responsibility is the key to answering the larger question at hand; is it cruel to house fish in an aquarium?