LAST UPDATED: 28th August 2023 by The Editorial Team
Cost of keeping fish
Fish keeping is a hobby that many people, young and old, can do and be successful at. Due to the relatively easiness and the fact fish do not need the intense care and attention that other pets need, the hobby is more popular than ever. Improvements in technology make some of the more complicated equipment cheaper and easier to get hold of, while the diversity of fish stock is better than ever.
Choosing fish keeping as a hobby can be extremely rewarding if done correctly. It is not always simple, but with the right knowledge and application you can enjoy a healthy stock of fish at a reasonable cost.
The cost of fish keeping will depend on what fish you want and the environment with which you will keep them. Some require much more attention and very specific conditions, while others are hardy and can live in very simplistic environments, making fish keeping suitable for amateurs and keen enthusiasts alike.
Factors to consider
Pond or aquarium
One of the biggest limitations within fish keeping is how much time and money you are willing to put into it. The first thing to consider is where you want to keep the fish. Ponds and aquariums are the two main environments and both have their advantages and disadvantages. Having fish in a pond is expensive, but requires little effort once set up, while having an aquarium can be a lot cheaper (depending on size and complexity of the tank) but needs maintenance to stay habitable.
Ponds can be dug and laid using professional services or using your DIY skills, but obviously connecting water pipes and filtration systems will require some experience before attempting. You can then fill the pond with a few plants and fish. In the UK the only fish you could use would be coldwater freshwater fish, as they will have to be able to survive the variable temperatures.
Aquariums bought at most sizes, and for beginners should be small until you have the knowledge to set up bigger tanks with more fish. A tank can be set up to support the four main environments that fish live in; coldwater freshwater, coldwater marine, tropical freshwater or tropical marine. Tropical refers to warmer temperatures (around 25 – 27C) and marine refers to sea water or salty water. Fish that live in sea water will not be able to live in normal freshwater and vice versa.
Number of fish
The number of fish you can have is usually dictated by the size of the habitat you have for them, plus the size the fish will normally grow to. Many of the smaller, common fish such as tetras and guppys can be put into the smallest of tanks on the market, however angel fish and catfish grow larger and will need a fish tank of a certain size to accommodate them as they grow.
Positioning a tank is important as you will need the space to put it and it must be out of direct sunlight and loud noises. If you are buying a small bowl for a goldfish, it must be out of reach of animals and children, and if you have a large 3 foot aquarium then you will want a sturdy stand to put it on (can be bought from pet store) away from too much human traffic. If these issues are not dealt with and the position of your tank is wrong, then the fish will ultimately perish.
Costs to consider
The tank will be the first purchase. This will vary in cost depending on style, brand and size. You can get a tank from 30cm width to pretty much any size you choose. Aquariums usually stock up to 3 or 4ft in width, but it is possible to use specialist companies to make custom glass tanks. Alternatively if a pond is being used, it will be necessary to have a suitable lining and filtration system for them. These can be sourced from most garden centres.
The equipment needed for an aquarium will include a filter, heater (for tropical use), and light. Other additions to your tank include substrate (gravel), plants and rocks. Fish food is also necessary, so depending on the type of eating habits your fish have, will dictate the cost of the food you will need to buy. Some fish are particular with their diets and may only consume live foods, while other, more common fish eat simple, cheap flakes.
Buying your fish, once the tank is set up, is the next cost. Although many of the common species are cheap, some rare or difficult species to keep are considerably more. Koi Carp are famously expensive as they are show fish with incredible life spans.
It may also be necessary to take your fish to the vets if unwell. Although not common, ailing fish can be treated using professional veterinary services.
|Fish||£1 – £50 on average (depending on species)|
£50 – £2000 on average (Koi)
|Aquarium||£30 – £400 on average (depending on size)||2023|
|Pond||£3000 – £7000 on average (depending on size)||2023|
|Feed||£2 – £5 per month||2023|
|Equipment||Aquarium filter: £15 – £100 (depending on size and type)|
Pond filter: £140 – £900 (depending on size and type)
Aquarium heater: £10 – £40
Basics before buying an aquarium video
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