Tesco temporarily withdraws aquarium

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A tiny novelty aquarium offered for sale on the Tesco Direct website is to be temporarily withdrawn from sale following complaints made by Practical Fishkeeping.

The Office Fish Tank, which measures just 18 x 16 x 13cm, was marketed by Tesco Direct as being suitable for "guppies, goldfish and tetras" but is provided with no filter or heater and is too small to accommodate either item of equipment. Care advice suggested that the "tank rinses off and refills under the tap."

Practical Fishkeeping contacted Tesco in September regarding the sale of the aquarium after receiving a number of complaints from readers.

A Tesco spokesman today told Practical Fishkeeping that the product was being withdrawn: "This product is only available through Tesco Direct. We have suspended this item as a precaution while we review its suitability.""We have suspended this item as a precaution while we review its suitability..."

With a volume of less than 4 litres, Practical Fishkeeping believes the aquarium is entirely unsuitable for fishkeeping. All species required a filtered aquarium, heating is required for guppies and tetras, and rinsing and refilling an aquarium with tapwater could expose fishes to dangerous levels of toxic chlorine and chloramine present in tapwater.

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) position statement on aquarium size says: " An absolute minimum volume of water in which fish, of an appropriate small size, should be kept for long periods is four litres. However, those new to fishkeeping should not usually consider using an aquarium that has a volume of less than 10 litres."

Keith Davenport, Chief Executive of OATA said: "It is absolutely essential that the water conditions are maintained to avoid putting at risk the welfare of the fish being kept. Water quality tests kits are an essential purchase, not an optional extra when fish or aquaria are purchased. Extremely small aquaria are certainly not products the beginner should consider purchasing."

The Office Fish Tank was still advertised on the Tesco Direct website at the time of publication.

The novelty aquarium is currently offered for sale by a number of online retailers.