Fishes are very popular pets. For example, in France there are 26 million pet fish and 8 million cats. 10% of households own at least one fish aquarium, and 25% of households own at least one cat. The main reason for the acquisition of a fish is aesthetic.
Most often stars of aquariums, fish are quiet animals, they don't damage the habitat and do not distract visitors; they live in a different environment from their owner, however they react to what is happening near the aquarium, especially when it's time to eat. Fishes health issues are however usually supported by the owner rather than by a veterinarian.
In 2007, 500 varieties of tropical freshwater fish and 10 varieties of goldfish are commonly available in pet stores. Among the fish species most commonly used in the aquarium you can find guppy, platy, the swordtail, neon blue, neon cardinalis, the scalar, the discus, oscar, Siamese fighting fish, gourami, the macropod, zebrafish, the bearded, the killie, the armored catfish, grouper, goldfish and koi (Japanese carp). 25% of tropical freshwater fish sold are guppy and blue neon. In most of occidental countries goldfish, koi, and livestock varieties of guppy, zebrafish and Siamese fighting fish are recognized as pets.
Life expectancy of a fish: the average life expectancy of goldfish and piranhas is 5 to 10 years, small fish (guppies, Siamese fighters ...) live two years on average. For carp (koi and others), it's much more, up to 70 years for some species!
Animal abuse is unbearable, and it is important to give rights to animals. For more than three decades, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has been fighting to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system, pushing government agencies to do their jobs to protect animals and shining a national spotlight on issues like factory farming and dissection in schools.