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Do You Have to Be 18 To Buy a Fish?

Do You Have to Be 18 To Buy a Fish?

The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.

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Due to various community and environmental reasons, a lot of items and products that are available for sale are only limited to individuals who are above 18 years old, such as firearms, alcohol, etc.

However, some people might be surprised to know that pets too can be only sold to individuals that are above 18 years old. So, do you have to be 18 to buy a fish?

In today’s article, we’ll walk you through a brief guide with everything you need to know in order to answer this question. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Is There a Minimum Age to Buy Fish?

The short answer to this question is “it depends on a variety of factors”. For starters, the purpose of the fish plays a huge role in deciding whether it requires confirmation of age or not.

This is because buying a dead fish from the fish market, in most cases, doesn’t require any form of age identification. However, while buying live fish, things may change significantly.

For example, according to certain laws in many countries and states, individuals are required to be at least 16 or 18 years old in order to be able to buy pet animals from a pet store.

However, you should know that this law doesn’t prohibit kids from taking care of animals. Instead, it is only there to hold adults legally responsible for the welfare of the pets that their children own.

Additionally, in the case of registered animals like dogs and cats, you might need to be above 18 to be able to put your name on legal documents regarding the pet.

Being above 18 is also necessary to prevent children from buying pets without their parent’s consent, especially when they’re still living in their parent’s house.

Even in regions where buying pets is not prohibited for underage individuals, many pet stores put these laws in action because of the recurring incident of angry parents reaching out to the store after finding out about pets bought without their permission.

To sum things up, you do have to be 18 to buy pet fish in various countries and regions. In that case, this means that above-age caregivers have to buy the fish for their children, but the parents remain responsible for the fish legally.

How Old Should a Child Be to Take Care of Pet Fish?

Regardless of the age needed to buy a fish, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the minimum age for which a child is allowed to take care of a pet is around 7 or 8 years old.

At that age, the children start to understand the level of commitment and responsibility needed to take care of the pet to keep it happy and healthy.

Are There Prohibited Fish Species to Buy as Pets?

Yes! Many fish species may be prohibited to be owned as pets, especially exotic ones. Even if you’re above 18 years old, you still cannot own any of these species, which is usually due to the harms that come with raising such a fish as a pet. These harms include:

  • Being dangerous species that can harm others
  • Being an invasive species that can endanger native wildlife
  • Being a critically endangered species that is on the brink of extinction

The laws for specific pets, including fish, that are prohibited may vary from one state to the other.

Click here for a complete list of all the legal and illegal fish species to own for every state in America.

What Are the Best Fish Species for a Beginner?

If you want to buy a fish for a beginner, especially a child, you might be overwhelmed with all the options available on the market.

To help you with the process of finding the best fish species for a beginner, here’s a list of the coolest options for a first-time owner. These fish are quite hardy and beautiful, so they should be a great fit for a child as well:

  • Common Goldfish
  • Tetras and Neon Tetra
  • Rasboras
  • Betta Fish
  • Platies
  • Guppies
  • Kuhli Loaches
  • Corydoras
  • Barbs
  • Angelfish
  • Danios

Can You Buy Fish Online?

Yes you can, and there are plenty of good online pet stores that deal in live fish. This includes stores like:

  • Live Aquaria
  • Chewy
  • Imperial Tropicals
  • Aquatic Arts
  • Aquabid
  • The Wet Spot Tropical Fish
  • Aquarium Plants Factory

While you might be skeptical about buying fish online and whether fish are able to survive shipping, you only need to make sure that the store you’re dealing with is practicing fish-safe shipping methods, as most fish are shipped to both online and real stores anyway.

Can You Keep Multiple Fish in the Same Tank?

As long as the fish aren’t mutually exclusive or aggressive towards each other, you can keep up to 2 or 3 fish for every medium or large sized tank. However, you should make sure that the fish have similar requirements, such as:

  • Ideal temperature
  • pH level
  • Food
  • Oxygenation

Things to Keep in Mind While Getting Your First Pet Fish

Lastly, here are some of the tips that you should consider while buying your first fish:

  • Consider the size of the fish relative to the tank
  • Look for fish within the budget and consider upgrading only when you’re ready
  • Take your time while picking a fish species and choose the one that appeals to you the most
  • Check the legal status of owning such a fish in your region
  • Learn about the living conditions of the fish, and make sure that you pick a hardy one
  • Read several reviews of the seller you’re buying from (whether online or real-life store)
  • Consider hiring a professional to set up the tank and teach you about the basic maintenance

Final Thoughts

This wraps things up for today’s guide that answers the question “do you have to be 18 to buy a fish?”

As you can see, the answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including whether you want to buy a pet fish or a dead one.

Also, it depends on the country, region, or state where you’re buying the fish. Moreover, the type of fish may also play a role in making the fish prohibited for unlicensed buyers and those under 18 years old.