Department of Education

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics


General guidance

In Australia, the common names for particular fish species vary among the States or even among between different parts of the same State. For this reason, it is advisable to use scientific names.

Keys and descriptions of species can be obtained from scientific publications. There is ample material about Australian marine and freshwater fish available and the fish department of the Australian Museum can be contacted for more information about identification.

Because there are many varieties of fish, the information published here is confined to general terms only.

Numerous species, both native and exotic, are available commercially. It is very easy to keep fish in an aquarium in the classroom. As an educational tool, aquaria can be used to study the habitats of fish and their reproductive and other behaviour. With a small breeding tank, for example, students can watch the spawning, hatching and development of fish.

In a school environment, it is much easier to keep and maintain freshwater tanks than saltwater tanks.

Where different species are kept in a common environment, consideration must be given to compatibility. It is also important to note that, as some fish grow, they may bully smaller individuals, even of the same species. When choosing which fish to use, your capacity to maintain and care for the fish should also be considered. Thought must be given to their care during school holidays and arrangements must be made for appropriate maintenance of the aquarium during these periods.

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