We have all done it. Just had to drop in on your favorite fish store to see their new stock and you end up purchasing a fish you knew nothing about and now the "cute litte fish" is 15 inches, eats everything in the aquarium and is messier than your kids. Where do you go from here?
Many hobbiyst have found themselevs with a fish that became huge very quickly and now, are stuck with the monster. What do you do with it? Many think they can simply let the monster go in the local lake and be done with it. That is never the answer because 1) it is illegal 2) that disrubts ecosystems and 3) thats how invasive species get out (anyone ever heard of the everglades??). Thus, I have below some simple steps to get that "monster" off your hands and out of your aquarium.
1. Check Local Fish Clubs
Many fish clubs have hobbiyst with a wide range of aquariums and interests that would love to have your monster. Simply check online or at local fish stores for postings of meetings and you can quickly find a new home for your fish.
2. Try Petstores
Some petstores will actually take in fish that have gotten too large for systems. I know that many "mom and pop" fish stores will actually give you store credit for handing in your nice specimen to be re-sold in the store. Just beware that the petstore you choose is one that has healthy fish and employees that know about fish. You don't want your monster suffering a sad death due to a badly run petsore.
3. Post on a Fish Fourm
This is a great avenue to find a new home for a fish especially if you don't want to give it away for free. Many hobbyist check fish fourms for great steals on fish that they can't find in their local fish stores, or fish clubs and opens lots of opportunites for a new home for your monster. You can usually place a "pick up only" on the post which allows you to met the new parent and get a feel for their knowledge about keeping fish.
Many of the fish that I see become "monsters" for hobbyist are: Oscars, Sucker Fish (plecostomus), Pacu, Flowerhorns, Bala Sharks and Arowana. To prevent this from happening see the article Begginner Hobbyist: Avoid These Fish.
Hopefully this post has helped relieve the stress of caring for your monster fish and prevents you from illegaly dumping in lakes or streams. If you keep having problems or just need some aquarium care tips or need advice on picking out beginner fish please click the links and happy fish keeping!