You’d better have a good excuse for visiting your aquatic store!

Police across the UK are stopping vehicles mid-journey to ask them where they are going. Quite rightly too, but be warned, telling them that you are going to the fish shop, or being caught with just fish on you isn’t going to cut it. So beware…

UK Aquatic stores fall under pet shops, which means that they can stay open to sell essential items as animal welfare is at stake. This is a lifeline for them and for the hobbyist as fish, being aquatic animals, need food, and water.

So if you venture out and make that essential journey to buy food for your fish, you’d better make sure you do, as aquatic store staff won’t thank you either for loitering, wanting water testing and chewing the fat like you usually do. And not buying any fish food.

You’re putting them at risk too by being there so do the right thing and buy food, buy RO or saltwater if you need it, and leave. If you need a new pump or filter do your research before you go, ring to check its in stock, buy it there and then with your food and water, and then leave.

It’s not the time for half an hour on which pump is best and why like you’d usually get. Most shops have visitor number limits in place so there’s probably someone waiting outside after you. And remember that for them to stay two metres away from you in that 1.2 metre wide aisle, you’re going to need to reverse to let them past.

Essential fish purchases

Being fishkeepers ourselves we have tried to come up with a genuine excuse for just buying fish, like for an understocked Malawi cichlid tank, or some extra females to ease the burden on a sole female guppy kept with a load of males. But in the bigger scheme of things, there is no excuse, and it’s sure as hell not worth risking human lives over.

So write down fish food on a list, phone ahead to the store to pre-order or arrange, and take an empty RO drum with you. Or get it all delivered.

You’ve been warned!

Jeremy Gay

Author of three fishkeeping books and lifelong fishkeeper. Experience includes editor of Practical Fishkeeping magazine, editor of Pet Product Marketing magazine, multi award- winning livestock manager and aquatic store manager.