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Monster Fish, Monster Requirements

Before buying monster fish, learn what’s in store for you after they grow to adult size.

By Mike Wickham |

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Aquarium Fish International

Some hobbyists are just a little bit different. They may look at an angelfish and feel no thrill, or they may watch a male betta flare its fins and experience no increased heartbeat. When asked to describe a cardinal tetra (arguably the world’s most beautiful freshwater fish), an aquarist may shrug and simply declare it “bait” or “lunch for a real fish.” These hobbyists find little or no interest in the piddly little fish that interest the rest of us. They like big fish — fish with real meat on their bones. These hobbyists keep monsters!

There have always been monsterkeepers in the hobby, but they are not common. It takes a big aquarium to hold big fish. Some monster species may grow to more than 3 feet long, and they need to be kept in large tanks. Lunker-loving aquarists typically have aquariums of 125 gallons or more. Many hobbyists do not have the budget or room to keep such large aquariums. So keeping big fish is not for everyone.

But if you can afford the time, space and money, big fish are cool! Big fish are definitely eye-grabbers — especially if you’re far-sighted and have trouble seeing little fish when you get up close. You can sit across the room and still enjoy the big guys. And many species develop quite friendly personalities. Big fish can actually be more petlike than little fish. They may be monsters in size but behave more like puppies (depending on the species, of course). So, let’s talk about three species of monster fish. I’ll tell you how to keep them and discuss some problems you will face. I’ll also tell you why some feel you should not keep such large fish.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the February 2012 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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