When our fishes or other captive animals become more than we can manage or are no longer wanted, it's sometimes tempting to think we can "set them free" or return them to their natural habitat. Captive animals even fishes, should never be released into the wild after they have been in captivity in your home aquarium. The most important reason for this is the possibility of carrying diseases from the aquarium into the wild, where wild fishes could be infected. Over time, all kinds of disease causing organisms are introduced to your aquarium from fishes that have traveled all over the world before they get to your pet supplier. Diseases may also be introduced with plants, snails and other invertebrates that you put into your tank. It may seem like you are helping the wild fishes by returning one of their kind to it's natural environment. But, in reality, you are putting all of those wild fishes at risk of sickness and death for the sake of one or two fishes that you don't want any more. It's a dangerous trade off. So think twice next time you want to "set them free". Take a look at these other articles about releasing captive animals:
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Hatchery Fish Implicated in Frog Decline, American Currents Fall 2001
What to do with unwanted, sick or dead fishes
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