holiday gift giving guide for fish

Holiday Gift Guide to Answer the Question “Where is That Fish I Bought You?”

Happy Holidays. I know you were planning to buy (or bought) your loved one a fish for their saltwater aquarium. I wrote this guide to help them explain the question that is inevitably on your mind…”Where is that fish I bought you?”

holiday gift giving guide for fish

Scenario: I’m guessing your friend or loved one asked for a cool new fish for the Holidays. You’ve taken a liking to the aquarium and can’t wait to help them liven up their tank with a new addition….only…you’re disappointed to find out that the fish you bought isn’t even in the aquarium yet…what gives?

First of all, thank you for thinking of your loved one this holiday season and buying them an awesome fish for their saltwater aquarium. This guide is intended to prepare you for what you may see (or not see) when you visit their house.

One of the biggest challenges associated with keeping a saltwater aquarium is ensuring that all the living things inside the aquarium are happy, healthy and disease or parasite free.

where's the fish?

Most of the equipment in, on, under and around the aquarium works to keep the tank clean so everything stays healthy.

However, two problems that are not easily handled with equipment are diseases and parasites. For the most part, the aquarium acts as a tiny oasis—an island of water in a corner of the house—and for the most part, the inhabitants of the tank can stay disease and parasite free. But the most common way that disease or parasites get into the tank in the first place is when a new fish or coral gets added.


While you might be super-stoked to see the new fish you bought your loved one, as a gift, the fish needs to spend 4-6 weeks in a quarantine tank. This is to make sure that fish is healthy and clean of parasites before it gets added to the aquarium.

That’s the best thing to do to ensure the long-term health of the fish already in the aquarium and the new fish you bought your loved one—and while it takes an excruciating amount of patience to wait this out…the aquarium will be stronger and healthier as a result.

Why does it take so long?

The lifecycle of the most common parasites/pests is about a month. Which means a teeny tiny baby parasite in an egg today would live out its entire life in the span of about a month. But the problem is that if you miss even 1 tiny egg, you could have an explosion of parasites in your hands in just a few weeks, because the little buggers literally multiply. So you have to wait about 4-6 weeks with no signs of parasites before you can declare the coast is clear.

Why does the quarantine tank look so boring?

The goal of a quarantine tank is to make it easy to observe the fish, medicate as necessary and keep things clean. So the quarantine tank is usually a no-frills tank. You don’t want decorations or other things that will make it difficult to clean or possibly give the parasites a place to ‘hide’. You also don’t want anything in there to react with the medication (if necessary).

And that is why the fish you bought is in a boring tank in the basement, right now, instead of in the beautiful display tank like you had hoped. However, invite yourself over in a few weeks to see the new fish in action. Thanks again for the thoughtful gift this holiday season. While it might seem to you that sticking the fish in that boring tank in the basement is an indication that they don’t really like it…you should know that it is a place of respect and appreciation…and it will make it to the display tank soon enough. In the end, thank you for the stocking gift (get it…a gift to help stock the tank…oh boy…nothing worse than aquarium puns…).

Check out the other posts in this series:

Holiday Gift Giving Guide
Live Rock
LED light fixture






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *