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Discussion Starter #1
So I decided to upgrade from my 10 gallon starter tank to a nice new 36 gallon bowfront. I set up the tank Saturday night, adding water with a 5 gallon bucket about 7 times, and not just once, but each of the 7 times I dumped water into the tank, I used the solution that came with the tank to kill the chlorine from the tap water (I have my own solution I use during water changes but decided to use the one that came with the tank for the heck of it).

I let the tank sit for about 24 hours and on Sunday night I tested the water levels with a strip that tests for 6 different levels -- Nitrates, Nitrites, pH, Alkalinity, Hardness, and Chlorine, and all of them came back looking great. Still, I decided to wait another day or so for the tank to continue to cycle a bit, and after a total of about 48 hours (Saturday night to Monday night), I decided to transfer my fish yesterday.

I started with 3 small convicts (I will get to this more in a minute), and I watched them swim around and adjust for about 30-45 minutes, and after they seemed OK, I decided to move my other fish -- just two larger cichlids that I have had for a year or so. The cichlids were pretty scared as they saw my getting my little convicts from the 10 gallon tank -- one of them was even hiding in a small cave I have. Once I moved them over to the new tank, the same cichlid went into a larger cave I have and I never saw him come out (he's just a wuss I think), and the other cichlid just kinda stayed on the bottom. I watched them for about 15 minutes or so and they seemed OK -- they did not appear to be gasping for air or having an issue with the water right away.

Needless to say, I woke up this morning about 8 hours later, and ALL of them have died :( I have no idea what went wrong if all of the levels appeared to test OK, and the water temperature was close to the original tank (roughly 77F or so).

What's even more puzzling, as I mentioned earlier I had 3 VERY small convicts in addition to my 2 cichlids...well...those 3 convicts were given to me about two months ago from a friend of mine. He has convicts who are ridiculously horny I guess because they seem to have babies every 2-3 months. We had our doubts, but we successfully completed a transfer from his tank to mine -- two COMPLETELY different environments.

So I am at a total loss as to why I wasn't able to complete a transfer to a new tank of mine. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
 

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So I decided to upgrade from my 10 gallon starter tank to a nice new 36 gallon bowfront. I set up the tank Saturday night, adding water with a 5 gallon bucket about 7 times, and not just once, but each of the 7 times I dumped water into the tank, I used the solution that came with the tank to kill the chlorine from the tap water (I have my own solution I use during water changes but decided to use the one that came with the tank for the heck of it).

I let the tank sit for about 24 hours and on Sunday night I tested the water levels with a strip that tests for 6 different levels -- Nitrates, Nitrites, pH, Alkalinity, Hardness, and Chlorine, and all of them came back looking great. Still, I decided to wait another day or so for the tank to continue to cycle a bit, and after a total of about 48 hours (Saturday night to Monday night), I decided to transfer my fish yesterday.

I started with 3 small convicts (I will get to this more in a minute), and I watched them swim around and adjust for about 30-45 minutes, and after they seemed OK, I decided to move my other fish -- just two larger cichlids that I have had for a year or so. The cichlids were pretty scared as they saw my getting my little convicts from the 10 gallon tank -- one of them was even hiding in a small cave I have. Once I moved them over to the new tank, the same cichlid went into a larger cave I have and I never saw him come out (he's just a wuss I think), and the other cichlid just kinda stayed on the bottom. I watched them for about 15 minutes or so and they seemed OK -- they did not appear to be gasping for air or having an issue with the water right away.

Needless to say, I woke up this morning about 8 hours later, and ALL of them have died :( I have no idea what went wrong if all of the levels appeared to test OK, and the water temperature was close to the original tank (roughly 77F or so).

What's even more puzzling, as I mentioned earlier I had 3 VERY small convicts in addition to my 2 cichlids...well...those 3 convicts were given to me about two months ago from a friend of mine. He has convicts who are ridiculously horny I guess because they seem to have babies every 2-3 months. We had our doubts, but we successfully completed a transfer from his tank to mine -- two COMPLETELY different environments.

So I am at a total loss as to why I wasn't able to complete a transfer to a new tank of mine. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
you should of acclimated them slowly with the drip method. instead of just putting them straight in. is the tank cycled? what where your test readings?
 

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you should of acclimated them slowly with the drip method. instead of just putting them straight in. is the tank cycled? what where your test readings?
What is the drip method? And what exactly is "slowly"? I have read things stating that it takes a week, or two weeks, to fully cycle, and then I've also read things that state there is no "magical" amount of time to wait and that nothing special happens on day 7 or day 14, so basically as long as the levels and readings appear ok, then you should be all set, which was the case. As I mentioned, my readings all appeared normal -- I don't have exact numbers, but I used those test strips (which I have also read can actually be inaccurate...is that true?), and the readings on those strips were all within the "safe" guidelines.

The only thing I did not test for was Ammonia, which a friend of mine has advised could very well have been the problem. Is it possible I put too many fish in all at once? I waited 30-45 minutes after putting in the 3 convicts which again are VERY small (not sure if size has anything to do with how they affect they water levels), and then put in my two cichlids.
 

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....Still, I decided to wait another day or so for the tank to continue to cycle a bit, and after a total of about 48 hours (Saturday night to Monday night), I decided to transfer my fish yesterday.....
Tanks take weeks to establish the nitrogen cycle, not days. Do you have any plants in there? I would be surprised that all the fish died in 8 hours even if the tank wasn't cycled with no plants so I would suggest that was not likely the the killer but I don't know how sensitive cichlids are. Have you tested the water again since?

I would not have used the new treatment, just because what you were using was working, at least not for a whole tank start... but that's just me, there may have been nothing wrong with the product... what was it anyway?

Jeff.
 

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....
The only thing I did not test for was Ammonia, which a friend of mine has advised could very well have been the problem. Is it possible I put too many fish in all at once? I waited 30-45 minutes after putting in the 3 convicts which again are VERY small (not sure if size has anything to do with how they affect they water levels), and then put in my two cichlids.
I missed that you didn't list ammonia in the testing. So you have absolutely no idea if it was high or not... what were you adding to the tank to cycle it?

Jeff.
 

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Tanks take weeks to establish the nitrogen cycle, not days. Do you have any plants in there? I would be surprised that all the fish died in 8 hours even if the tank wasn't cycled with no plants so I would suggest that was not likely the the killer but I don't know how sensitive cichlids are. Have you tested the water again since?

I would not have used the new treatment, just because what you were using was working, at least not for a whole tank start... but that's just me, there may have been nothing wrong with the product... what was it anyway?

Jeff.
I have plants, but they're not live plants...which I assume is what you meant. I have not tested the water since, but I will for sure when I get home tonight. I guess I probably should have continued to use the stuff I was using all along during water changes, but I just figured I got this new bottle and it came with the filter so I thought I was following recommended guidelines (as least from the tank/filter manufacturer...)

I normally use two products, both from Aquasafe. One I put in once a week (on Mondays) which is supposed to balance various levels of the tank (maybe it also does Ammonia and perhaps I should have put some drops of that in before adding the fish?), and the other as I mentioned I only use when doing water changes because it kills the chlorine.

Tetra AquaSafe Plus for Aquariums - Fish Care - Fish - PetSmart <-- once a week

PetSmart - Tetra AquaSafe Plus Water Conditioner customer reviews - product reviews - read top consumer ratings <-- during water changes

Aqueon Water Conditioner - Sale - Fish - PetSmart <-- this might not be exactly what was included with my tank and filter, but it is damn close, and this is what I used to treat the tap water for my new tank. I probably should just used both of my products above that I was normally using :(
 

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I have plants, but they're not live plants...which I assume is what you meant. I have not tested the water since, but I will for sure when I get home tonight. I guess I probably should have continued to use the stuff I was using all along during water changes, but I just figured I got this new bottle and it came with the filter so I thought I was following recommended guidelines (as least from the tank/filter manufacturer...)

I normally use two products, both from Aquasafe. One I put in once a week (on Mondays) which is supposed to balance various levels of the tank (maybe it also does Ammonia and perhaps I should have put some drops of that in before adding the fish?), and the other as I mentioned I only use when doing water changes because it kills the chlorine.

Tetra AquaSafe Plus for Aquariums - Fish Care - Fish - PetSmart <-- once a week

PetSmart - Tetra AquaSafe Plus Water Conditioner customer reviews - product reviews - read top consumer ratings <-- during water changes

Aqueon Water Conditioner - Sale - Fish - PetSmart <-- this might not be exactly what was included with my tank and filter, but it is damn close, and this is what I used to treat the tap water for my new tank. I probably should just used both of my products above that I was normally using :(
Those aren't going to be a problem BUT all they do is treat the chloramine. I would suggest to toss them and go with something like Prime which does the same AND neutralizes the ammonia and nitrites for a day or two as well. That way, if you do have high levels you can re-treat until the cycle looks after them naturally or you can change out the water to clear them manually.

I don't see where Aquasafe does anything other than treatment and some other superfluous stuff, from the description " It neutralizes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals that are harmful to fish. Contains BioExtract with natural biopolymers which support the development of beneficial filter bacteria for healthy, clear water. Enhances fish's natural protective slime coating and helps heal abrasions with unique colloid ingredients."

Certainly no mention of ammonia. I have a bottle of prime for that purpose alone, which I have not had to open yet (well water).

If you keep your water changes up and observe good maintenance and substrate vacuuming you shouldn't need any other additive stuff... unless you were trying to raise the GH or something.

Oh, live plants are a HUGE advantage, enough so that they can eliminate the need for the whole process in the first place. Consider getting the tank well planted while it is cycling and it will help keep the water quality up.

At this point I assume that you are fishless.... take some time to read up on the cycle process and do that completely before adding any more fish, here's the cycle article link on this site. Read up and feel free to ask questions. Look at the planted tank method closely.

Jeff.
 

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Those aren't going to be a problem BUT all they do is treat the chloramine. I would suggest to toss them and go with something like Prime which does the same AND neutralizes the ammonia and nitrites for a day or two as well. That way, if you do have high levels you can re-treat until the cycle looks after them naturally or you can change out the water to clear them manually.

I don't see where Aquasafe does anything other than treatment and some other superfluous stuff, from the description " It neutralizes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals that are harmful to fish. Contains BioExtract with natural biopolymers which support the development of beneficial filter bacteria for healthy, clear water. Enhances fish's natural protective slime coating and helps heal abrasions with unique colloid ingredients."

Certainly no mention of ammonia. I have a bottle of prime for that purpose alone, which I have not had to open yet (well water).

If you keep your water changes up and observe good maintenance and substrate vacuuming you shouldn't need any other additive stuff... unless you were trying to raise the GH or something.

Oh, live plants are a HUGE advantage, enough so that they can eliminate the need for the whole process in the first place. Consider getting the tank well planted while it is cycling and it will help keep the water quality up.

At this point I assume that you are fishless.... take some time to read up on the cycle process and do that completely before adding any more fish, here's the cycle article link on this site. Read up and feel free to ask questions. Look at the planted tank method closely.

Jeff.
Thanks Jeff. Funny enough, the same friend who talked to me about Ammonia also uses Prime I believe. The ironic part is, as you can see from my posts, I originally registered here two years ago and have actually gone through this process a few times (albeit never from an existing tank to a new one, always from nothing to new). I felt in the past year or two I've gotten pretty good at caring for my fish and these guys (my cichlids) have been going strong for about a year or longer. Oddly enough, I have never had to do anything in terms of treating for ammonia and my water has always been clear, always had good levels (in terms of the 6 tests I use on those strips), and always a good temperature. I thought I had a great system going as far as treating the water once a week for those chloramines and metals, and then of course treating the tap water during weekly or bi-weekly water changes.

I guess maybe I did not let the tank sit for long enough, or perhaps I added too many all at once. I have also been reading that adding them altogether can make the ammonia or nitrate levels spike, so perhaps I wouldn't have had a problem if I did them gradually.
 

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Thanks Jeff. Funny enough, the same friend who talked to me about Ammonia also uses Prime I believe. The ironic part is, as you can see from my posts, I originally registered here two years ago and have actually gone through this process a few times (albeit never from an existing tank to a new one, always from nothing to new). I felt in the past year or two I've gotten pretty good at caring for my fish and these guys (my cichlids) have been going strong for about a year or longer. Oddly enough, I have never had to do anything in terms of treating for ammonia and my water has always been clear, always had good levels (in terms of the 6 tests I use on those strips), and always a good temperature. I thought I had a great system going as far as treating the water once a week for those chloramines and metals, and then of course treating the tap water during weekly or bi-weekly water changes.

I guess maybe I did not let the tank sit for long enough, or perhaps I added too many all at once. I have also been reading that adding them altogether can make the ammonia or nitrate levels spike, so perhaps I wouldn't have had a problem if I did them gradually.
Gradual would have been good but still not ideal in a new tank. I know, even with my plethora of plants I added 12 fish at once and had a nitrite spike two weeks later... I assume that the ammonia was up as well but the plants do such a great job of absorbing it that the levels were not detrimental to the fish and were what I would call "non-zero"... only they don't handle nitrites so my cycle had to catch up.

Normally you don't need to treat for ammonia, the tank looks after it but not with a new setup.

Check out the cycle article link, even if you've had good luck before it's worth the read.

Jeff.
 

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So here's an update. I waited 4 more days and eventually a friend gave me the test kit (strip) for Ammonia. I don't know if waiting an extra 3-4 days just cycled the tank on its own, but the strip was right between "stress" and "harmful", yet my friend says he has never gotten his test results to read better than that, and his tank is perfectly fine for nearly 2-3 years. That said, I did get Prime and added it to the tank, and the next day I bought some new fish. I started with an Oscar and a Ram. (The Ram actually had a two-part name, but I forget what the first name was). A couple of days later I went to a different store that had a better selection and I got a yellow-ish cichlid and an Albino Cory Catfish (the wife wanted him).

When I put them in the tank everything seemed ok at first. The Oscar definitely sticks to the top and doesn't really mess around on the bottom. But one thing I did notice is that my cichlid, although the smallest in the tank, was terrorizing the Ram after just a few hours. He was pretty relentless and I tried to get him to stop, and even added more plants and caves for the Ram to hide, but it didn't work. After a few days I noticed the Ram's fins were chewed up at night when I fed them he was sitting on the floor on the rocks. The next morning when I fed them he was basically in the same spot, and sure enough, when I got home from work that day....he was gone :( Turns out, the cichlid I have is an Auratus. I thought it was a Bumblebee, but because he's so small I didn't recognize him at first. I've read and seen stories here and on other sites that say the Auratus is pretty aggressive so I am not that surprised, just sad and disappointed.

Anyway, I got three more fish a week later -- a red tailed shark, a blue-ish cichlid that is actually a Johanni, and a Frontosa. The Frontosa cost me $20 and I didn't realize what he was at first, but he is really cool looking. The Johanni is also awesome looking, and both he and the Auratus had it out when I first put him in. The literally went around and around in circles chasing each other's tails. I was nervous and thought one would kill the other, but eventually it has seemed to stop. Even though the Auratus is smaller I think there is mutual respect. I am also surprised that the Frontosa doesn't seem to engage in any of the action, as I was told that fish I s also pretty aggressive. And, of course, the fact that the Oscar, a fish that doesn't really back down from much on its own right, seems to just remain calm and dwell at the top of the tank.

Even though I have a tank that seems like it could be hostile, I think I have a good mix of plants and caves for hiding spots, and the fact that the tank is pretty tall (36 gallon bowfront) seems to be working in my favor since they all have different levels and areas to swim.

I am looking to maybe get some driftwood and exchange some plants or caves, but not totally sure yet. Also thinking of getting 1 or 2 more fish and bring my total to about 8 which is the most I think I would consider putting in there since I think that might be getting too crowded.

Just thought I would share my story up to this point -- so far I am loving the look of the tank and also the fish that are currently in there. Anyone see a problem with my current stock and/or potentially adding 1-2 more in the future?

Thanks for reading.
 

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You are going to have a difficult time housing those fish in a 36 Gallon aquarium. The Oscar requires a much larger living environment than you have provided him with thus far, while you may have obtained him at only a few inches right now, he will grow much much larger and when this time comes he will also become aggressive.

You have fish in that aquarium that will never be compatible (I'm sorry, but it's the truth). Frontosa get fairly large and need to be kept with sedate cichlids. Aggressive chiclids will nip off the beautiful flowing fins that the Frontosa have.

You should be looking to remove fish right now, not add additional fish. With the combination you have in there right now, you will run in to numerous issues in the very near feature.

My intent is to not discourage you or be rude, but simply give you the facts.
 

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You should try using aqadvisor.com to show you the problems you have in your current set-up.

The Red-Tailed shark and the Oscar will both get much too big for that tank. Corydoras need groups of at least 5, minimum. The water parameters between these species do not even overlap, they all need different water hardness.

I'm sorry, but it is NEVER a good idea to just go out and buy pretty fish. Each fish has specific needs that must be thoroughly researched before purchase to ensure optimal health and life-span.
 

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Thanks for the responses. I will touch on three points that I have had experience with so far and am not too concerned about:

1- The Oscar. I have had Oscars before. Many years ago I had one, and he did get quite big. However that tank was probably not much bigger than my 36 gallon, if at all. It was one of those taller octagon-type tanks. I may not have had as many fish in there, but still, it really wasn't all that different than what I have now.

2- In regards to water hardness and certain conditions for each fish, unfortunately I have been told that, living in Florida, almost EVERYONE has hard or very/extremely hard water, and unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about this. I have been using those test strips I mentioned and those do confirm that the water hardness is basically off the charts, or close to it anyway.

3- I have had a shark before (previous one only had a red tail, whereas this new one has all of his fins red) and I have seen that they also get pretty big, but basically the same theory as the Oscar -- they never really seemed to out-grow my setup (this was actually in a previous 10 gallon tank believe it or not). Obviously I will continue to monitor them, but I think I will be ok for a while. At the moment he is EXTREMELY small, so I think I have plenty of time before I have to worry about that (he's about 1-1.5inches in length and VERY thin/skinny)


I guess I probably won't add any more fish right now for the reasons you both specified. The only reason I was thinking of doing it was because I was going on the 1 gallon per inch rule of thumb and some of the cichlids I have now (Auratus and Johanni) I think may not get to be much bigger than 3-4 inches, so they would be the relatively small ones.

I do have a question about the Cory Catfish -- why do you say he needs to be kept in groups of 5 or more? Granted the people at the pet store may not always be the most experienced or knowledgeable, but I was not told that when I bought him and they seemed to sell him to me individually without any problem or resistance. I also have not seen any conflict with him in the tank either -- he seems to keep to himself since he seems unlike the other fish in there, being that he is similar to a Pleco and sucks on the tank walls and/or decorations and plants looking for algae. None of the other fish, especially the cichlids, even seem to pay attention to him.
 

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with regards to the cory's, they naturally live better in groups. They probably won't live comfortably if not in groups, especially with the aggressive fish you have. Something to keep in mind is that pet stores normally don't care about where the fish they sell end up, because all they are worried about is sales. Don't be fooled by them!
Something else to note is that Oscars will grow at least 10 inches from what I've read, and once yours gets larger I'm certain it will eat your cory's.
 

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with regards to the cory's, they naturally live better in groups. They probably won't live comfortably if not in groups, especially with the aggressive fish you have. Something to keep in mind is that pet stores normally don't care about where the fish they sell end up, because all they are worried about is sales. Don't be fooled by them!
Something else to note is that Oscars will grow at least 10 inches from what I've read, and once yours gets larger I'm certain it will eat your cory's.
From what I know, Cory's are similar to Pleco's, and Pleco's can be known to get huge (I actually saw one at the pet store when I got my fish and it was about 8" long if not more), so wouldn't the Cory also get big? I am assuming if he and the Oscar grow at about the same rate, then the Cory would be around the same size as the Oscar and therefore not be easy food for him :) (hopefully)
 

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From what I know, Cory's are similar to Pleco's, and Pleco's can be known to get huge (I actually saw one at the pet store when I got my fish and it was about 8" long if not more), so wouldn't the Cory also get big? I am assuming if he and the Oscar grow at about the same rate, then the Cory would be around the same size as the Oscar and therefore not be easy food for him :) (hopefully)
They are not similar to plecos in anyway that I can think of and I just had to re-home a pleco that outgrew his tank (not my tank at the time).Cory's get no larger than 3"-4". I have Emerald Catfish (basically corys) and they are about 2.5" and a pepper cory that is no more than 3" (he's a few years old now). Oscars grow about 1" per month I think.

I wonder about your previous Oscar experience.... they get about 12" and live for over 10 years... how long did you keep your previous oscar for?

Jeff.
 

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The Banded Cory is the largest of all the species and it will only attain a 4-5 inch length. Most of the Corys will only get to the 2-3 inch size. The Fish Profiles section of this website will give you more information on a particular fish. My Corys always hang out with each other, and it seems that the more the merrier with this particular fish.
 

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They are not similar to plecos in anyway that I can think of and I just had to re-home a pleco that outgrew his tank (not my tank at the time).Cory's get no larger than 3"-4". I have Emerald Catfish (basically corys) and they are about 2.5" and a pepper cory that is no more than 3" (he's a few years old now). Oscars grow about 1" per month I think.

I wonder about your previous Oscar experience.... they get about 12" and live for over 10 years... how long did you keep your previous oscar for?

Jeff.
I guess I thought they were similar based on look, being that they have a similar body shape/style, and the fact that they seem to behave and eat in the same way (i.e. tank walls, rocks, etc).

In regards to the Oscar, the previous one I had for probably 5-6 years, maybe 7-8, I am really not sure, but he was definitely big, probably the size of my hand with fingertips extended, so I am guessing about 6-8" (which would be right on par with your growth theory if they get to be 12" and live for 10 years)
 

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I live in Florida and my water is very soft, so I'm not sure where you got that information. You should very much look into getting API freshwater master test kit. It's no more than $20 on amazon.

Inch per gallon rule is not accurate at all, as it does not take into account fish activity or overall size. Can you put a ten inch fish in a ten gallon tank? Obviously not. Some fish are quite active and need more room to swim.

That tank is in no way fit for an Oscar. Sure, he can survive, but he will never thrive. And the insufficient space will eventually kill him as his internal organs will continue to grow even when his physical body can grow no larger. Think of it this way - you can keep a dog ALIVE in a small crate for several years, but is it going to be normal and not have emotional/physical injuries? No, it's not. That dog would be a lot happier having an entire home to run around in and exercise.

With the shark, it is a matter of aggression. They are VERY active swimmers and even as juveniles need 4 feet of space to swim in. Without this they can quickly grow aggressive and attack tank-mates or die of stress.

As in regards to the Cory, these fish live in shoals of hundreds or even thousands in the wild. They feel much safer in a group and will develop issues if kept alone.

If you know your water hardness, why keep fish unsuited to it? Get fish that will enjoy your water (livebearers and cherry barbs come to mind) and return the fish that are suffering because of it.

Sure, you can buy a ton of pretty fish and make all the excuses you want, and maybe they'll survive and scrape by a few years. You may even think they're happy because they aren't dead. But will that fish ever thrive and reach full potential? No. And it's inhumane to force a living, breathing, feeling creature to scrape by it's entire life when you have the power to change that.
 
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