Private ScubaSea LifeKeeping Fish Guides › Duty of Care

Code of Conduct for Keeping Fish

Pets come in all shapes and sizes and each one has basic rights about being cared for in an appropriate manner by their keeper or owner.

This help guide simplifies the duty of care for keeping fish according to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (England and Wales) and the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) 2006.

The "Five Freedoms" for Domestic Animals

Every domestic animal, including a pet fish, has the legal right to (all):

Failing to meet the welfare needs of fish in your care (or your child's) may be committing an offence and result in prosecution.

In other words, if you start a fish keeping hobby, you'll need to take a few basic steps to provide a safe and clean environment for your fish to live and grow. Most of all, you must not cause any unnecessary suffering for your pet fish!

Important Decisions You Need to Make

In fact, the Law does not provide you with instructions of what you should do. So, most beginners will need to do some research to get a good understanding of how to keep fish happy and healthy.

The Law: Are you (or your child under 16 years of age) looking after fish? If so, the parent or guardian has the responsibility (not the child) to take all reasonable steps necessary to ensure that all fish species have a suitable and safe environment at all times.

Suitable Environments for Fish

Essential Care Issues

Suitable Diet for Fish

Essential Care Issues

Pro Tip: The Federation of British Aquatic Societies (FBAS) estimates that over-feeding and water fouling kill more fish than any other action.

Allowed to Exhibit "Normal" Behaviour

Essential Care Issues

Being Kept With, or Apart From, Other Fish

Essential Care Issues

Pro Tip: If you have well-fed and healthy fish, clean and operational filters, and water in good condition, you may not need another person to take care of your setup if it's only for a few weeks.

Fishes Need to be Protected

Essential Care Issues

Disposing of Diseased or Dead Fish

You should NOT flush a dead fish down the toilet (or bury it in the ground) because waste water and soil water will make its way into the river systems. Hence, diseased fishes can create a serious problem for native river species in the UK if they don't have a resistance to the strain.

Instead, the best method for getting rid of any dead fish is incineration. Another solution is to wrap it in newspaper and then Microwave it for two (2) minutes at 600 Watts (to kill harmful bacteria and viruses) before putting it into a household waste dustbin for routine collection.

Related Information and Help Guides

Pro Tip: Another section explains how to keep fish healthy according to the Federation of British Aquatic Societies (FBAS).

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