Aquarium fish can bring a lot of joy and beauty to your home, but it’s important to make sure you’re taking home a healthy pet fish. Buying sick or stressed-out aquarium fish is not only cruel, but it can also pose a health risk for other animals in the tank.

Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to ensure that the aquarium fish you purchase will be healthy and happy in their new home.

In this article, we will discuss eight tips on how to spot healthy aquarium fish in the store before making your purchase.

Problems When Buying Fish from a Pet Store

Buying Fish

Before we get into the specific tips on how to spot healthy fish, it’s important to understand some of the problems that can occur when buying aquarium fish from a pet shop.

Many pet stores have overcrowded tanks, and this can lead to stress in the fish as well as diseases being spread more easily between the different species.

Furthermore, pet stores often rely on chemicals to keep the tank clean, which can be harmful to the fish.

Tips for Choosing Healthy Fish in the Pet Store

1. Research the Type of Fish You Want to Buy

Type of Fish

Before visiting the pet store, it is important to research the type of aquarium fish you want to buy.

Make sure to read up on their diet, size, and water requirements so that you have a good understanding of what kind of environment they need in order to thrive. At aquanswers, for instance, you can get pretty much all the answers to common questions about freshwater and saltwater fish and aquarium care.

Ample research will help ensure that you can provide them with the proper care once they are home with you.

2. Inspect the Aquarium for Cleanliness and Good Water Quality


Once at the pet store, it is important to first look at the conditions of the aquarium where the fish are being kept. Make sure that there is no algae or buildup on the glass, as this can be an indication of poor water quality.

Additionally, look for signs of fouling and damage to the fish’s fins or body. This can be an indication of poor water quality or that the aquarium is overcrowded.

3. Look for Signs of Stress in the Fish

Stress in the Fish

Next, observe the behavior of the fish. Are they swimming normally? Do they seem sluggish or are they breathing rapidly? Fish that are stressed out or sick will look and act differently from healthy fish. If you observe any signs of stress, it is best to avoid purchasing that particular fish.

4. Check That There Is Enough Space in the Tank for All the Fish to Swim Comfortably

Swim Comfortably

When looking at an aquarium full of fish, make sure that all the fish have enough space to swim comfortably. Overcrowding is a common problem in pet store aquariums and can cause stress and illness in the fish. If you notice any signs of overcrowding, ask the store staff if they can transfer some of the fish into another tank.

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5. Observe if Any of the Fish are Displaying Abnormal Behaviors

Abnormal Behaviors

If you notice any of the fish displaying abnormal behaviors such as fin-biting or swimming erratically, it is best to avoid buying them. These behaviors can be signs of stress or illness and are not conducive to a healthy aquarium environment.

6. Ask Store Staff About What Food They Feed Their Pet Fish and How Often They Do It

Pet Fish

When selecting a pet fish, be sure to ask the store staff what they are feeding their aquarium fish and how often they feed them. Knowing this information can help you determine if the fish have been well taken care of or not.

7.  Make Sure You Know Exactly What Kind of Environment Your Chosen Species Needs Before Buying It

Kind of Environment

Before selecting an aquarium fish, research the exact kind of environment your species needs. Knowing this information will help ensure that you can provide the proper care once they are home with you.

8. Ask the Staff if They Know the Origin of the Fish and How Long They Have Been in the Store

 Origin of the Fish

This is important because fish that have been sourced from reputable breeders or suppliers and have been in the store for a shorter period of time are more likely to be healthy.

Knowing where the fish comes from can tell you a lot about the fish’s health and well-being. Fish from responsible, professional breeders or suppliers are more likely to be healthy because the breeder will have put in the time and effort to ensure that the fish are kept in good condition.

Also, if fish have been in the store for a long time, it may indicate that there is something wrong with them, and might not be as healthy as you want them to be.

By getting information about the origin and how long the fish have been in the store, you can help to ensure that you are buying a healthy and well-cared-for fish that has a good chance of thriving in your aquarium.

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9. Have a Quarantine Tank Ready at Home So You Can Observe New Arrivals Before Adding Them to Your Main Tank

Quarantine Tank

Finally, make sure you have a quarantine tank set up at home before bringing your new aquarium fish home. This will allow you to observe them for any signs of disease or stress before adding them to the main tank. Having a quarantine tank is an important step in ensuring the health and well-being of all the aquarium fish living in your home.

With these eight tips, you should be well-equipped to spot healthy aquarium fish at the pet store. Remember to always take your time and choose carefully! By following these steps, you can ensure that all of your aquatic friends.


With this knowledge in hand, you are now ready to go out and find the perfect aquarium fish for your home. Happy shopping!  Good luck and have fun!  If you ever need any help or advice, the pet store staff should be more than willing to lend a hand.  Enjoy setting up your new aquarium—it can be a very rewarding experience. Go forth and get your fish!


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