A NSW Government website

Aquarium owners and trade

Aquarium fish are one of the most popular animals kept as pets with 16% of NSW homes having a pet fish. Whilst keeping fish is fun, buying fish is a long-term decision with some species living up to 20 years.
Fish need regular maintenance to make sure their environment is kept clean and healthy. Make sure you talk to your aquarium or pet store to fully understand the level of commitment required to care for your fish and tank.
If you no longer want to keep your fish, you need to treat your pet humanely and rehome it responsibly.


The welfare of all animals, including fish is protected by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979. Dumping an unwanted pet fish is no different to dumping a pet cat or dog and is an illegal act of under Section 11 of the Act.

Releasing fish into NSW public waters such as rivers, creeks and impoundments is illegal under the Fisheries Management Act without a fish stocking permit. You could be fined!

Ensure that fish you keep are not prohibited species. Schedule 2 of the Biosecurity Act and Schedule 1 of the Biosecurity Regulation lists fish species declared as prohibited matter and notifiable matter in NSW. Check which species are illegal to possess, buy, sell, or move. Heavy penalties apply for non-compliance. In addition, NSW DPI has the power to seize and require the destruction of these pests.

Finally, don't buy fish, plants or ‘live rock’ from overseas on the internet – it’s illegal! Use a reputable local dealer.