Aquaria Information from



   How does buying livestock, and particularly aquarium fish, differ from purchasing dry goods? A lot! A container of fish food is a container of fish food. It will always remain the same until the maker changes the ingredients or packaging. There is no weekly variance. Fish, on the other hand, can vary in size, color, condition, and availability. This is normal, and must be accepted as part of the aquarium hobby. 

   The primary concern of most dealers is the sizing of aquarium fish. They will vary in size- not always week to week, but season to season. Fish that are farm raised may be spawned only once a year, like goldfish. The size of goldfish is controlled by keeping the population at a given level. The more crowded, the less they grow. Since goldfish are spawned in the spring, the new stock available in summer will generally be smaller in size. However, if demand is not intense, some fish from the previous year may still be available. These fish are larger, and always gold colored. 

   Farm-raised fish will generally be larger in the late spring or summer because of decreased demand. Also, many farms rotate their breeding stock at this time of year, and some unusually large sizes will be available. Commercial sizing is usually different from what hobbyists or some dealers will have in mind. Red Tail Sharks that are small will be 1/2" to 3/4", medium will be 1" to 1 and a 1/4", and large are 2 and a 1/2". While the Red Tail Shark is an extreme example, commercial sizing doesn't always agree on what the adult size of a particular species is. 

   Wild-caught fish often vary in size depending on variety. More common species such as Cardinal Tetras can be sorted by size- small, medium, and large- and be consistent within these size categories. Less common species like Leporinus and Anostomus will have more variance, with sizes varying by an inch or more among individual fish in a batch. 

   Rare fish have an even greater size disparity. Generally speaking, the larger the adult size, the greater the size difference between individual fish in a shipment.

   To ensure they have an adequate fish supply, wholesalers will buy the same variety from several sources. Different farms raise different strains of a given fish. For example, Red Velvet Swordtails will vary from scarlet to a deep blood red, depending upon the breeder/farm. Also, because temperature is a factor in determining growth - mature male swordtails are scarcer in the busy winter season. In the case of wild-caught fish, different colors and patterns may be exhibited, depending on where the species is being collected. A perfect example is the wild-caught Discus or Corydoras Catfish. 

   The condition of aquarium fish depends mostly on how they are handled before they reach your local dealer. Wild-caught fish may be captured and shipped immediately, or be held for long periods. While we buy from the most reputable suppliers, time of year, weather conditions, and temperature are critical factors. Once the fish arrive at Fish Mart they get the very best care our many years of experience can provide. Excellent water quality, prophylactic medication, and appropriate diet are all part of the extensive attention all fish receive before our dealers buy them. 

   Availability is seasonal for most wild-caught fish and some large farm-raised fish. Colder water temperatures in winter inhibit trapping, as does the rainy season when rivers overflow their banks. On the brighter side, more species are being raised commercially, both abroad and in Florida. But even with farm-raised fish, not all sizes are available all the time. At times, demand outstrips supply. Though seldom a problem, the combination of our sophisticated computer inventory tracking system and our state-of-the-art holding facility assure an unparalleled fill rate. 

   As you can see, there are many more factors involved in getting livestock from its source to a store than there are in shipping dry goods from the manufacturer. Fish Mart's many years of expertise and service gets the best variety and best conditioned fish delivered to our customers at a competitive price.

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