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5 Ways to Get a Free Pet Fish (And Free Aquarium Supplies)

Get a free pet fish.

If you’re looking for how to snag a free pet fish, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m going to list 5 different methods you can utilize to get yourself a free fish.

How to get a free pet fish

Why would you want one for free n the first place? I’m not sure.

Perhaps you’re trying to take some off the hands of someone else. Or you want to give a fish a better home. Or you just don’t want to pay for one (who likes spending, anyway??).

As with any fish, be sure that you’re not using adopting a fish because it’s free. Be sure you can actually care for it and you have all the necessary equipment to provide a happy home.

You’re probably doing this to get an exotic fish for free since it wouldn’t really make sense to do all this work for a cheap fish. So be sure you have the proper housing requirements and time to care for your new fish.

Anyway, here’s a list of 5 different ways you can find free fish in your local area (and across the nation).


1. Check Craigslist

How to get a free pet fish using Craigslist.
Check Craigslist’s “free” section.

Craigslist always has people giving away tons of good stuff for free.

Whether it’s because they’re moving, just broke up, or maybe even because their fish had babies, it’s up for grabs.

Here’s how to check for free fish:

  • Go to
  • It should automatically locate your city, if it doesn’t or if it places you in the wrong one, change it by selecting your city
  • Click on the “free” category under the “for sale” section
  • Search for “fish” or “aquarium” or “fish tank”

You may or may not find someone giving away free fish. Sometimes, you’ll find someone giving away a whole used aquarium with all their accessories (air pumps, filters, decorations, etc.) with it. Now that’s a score. Whether or not it includes the fish, it’s worth it just for all the free aquarium accessories you get.

With that, you could easily use it to start a new aquarium project, or you can use it for your new free fish when you get it. If you already have a setup and all you need is a fish, you could even sell it and use the cash to buy a fish- it’s still “free” if you think about it.

Here’s an example search for Los Angeles, CA.

2. Check local fish stores (LFS)

Check your LFS for free fish.
Your LFS often has free fish if their tanks are overstocked.

If you have some local fish stores in your area, they may be giving away free fish.

Sometimes when they get overstocked, they tend to put them up for adoption (for free). It widely depends on the owner(s) of the store though. Some have some really nice and generous owners, whereas others may not.

If you happen to know them or you’re buddies with them, they may decide to hook you up with a free fish.

You can find local fish stores in your area by just doing a search on your favorite search engine. Just type in something like “fish stores + your city” and you’ll get a list of them.

Walk into one and try to start up a conversation with the owner or whoever’s working there. If you happen to hit it off, you may just get a free fish. You could also just inquire directly if there are any fish they have an oversupply of and that you’ll be willing to take in.

Here’s a search for local fish stores in Los Angeles, CA.


3. Post on fish forums

Fish forums for free pet fish.
Fish forums are an awesome place with tons of aquarists.

There are a ton of fish forums online that have buy/sell/trade marketplaces.

All you need to do is find one and register. Then make a thread about how you’d like to adopt a fish and if anyone is willing to help you out.

Typically, you’ll be dealing with hardcore aquarists who may understand the struggles of starting up. They also may have multiple tanks and probably some fry (baby fish) they don’t mind giving away.

You must be polite on these forums. I’m a reader of a few different ones and generally, people are very nice and willing to help each other. I mean, they’re volunteering their own time to answer a lot of questions newbies to the hobby have without expecting anything in return.

These people are dedicated hobbyists who do it because it’s a passion.

If you’re nice enough, they may even offer to ship one across the country to you.

If you plan to go this route, I’d suggest for you to make a few posts on the forum introducing yourself and then make the “wanted” post. Almost all have an “introduce yourself” section. That’s a good place to start. You can also generally tell how welcoming people are. If you happen to find a very nice community, you just may score a free pet fish.

Some forums you can check out are reef2reef, fishforums, and fishlore.


4. Ask family and friends

Post on Facebook that you're looking for fish.
Post on your favorite social site that you’re looking for fish.

This is probably the most obvious choice, but it’s often overlooked.

Fish aren’t really something people talk about unless they’re really into the hobby. People in your social circle may already be owners of multiple fish or have baby fish that they wouldn’t mind giving away. Or they may know someone who does.

It’s easy. Just make a post on your favorite social account and see what happens.


5. Post a wanted ad on Craigslist

Post an ad on Craigslist.
Post a wanted ad on Craigslist looking for fish and aquarium supplies.

This is another method just like posting in a forum.

But this time, you’ll be reaching a larger user base.

Posting a wanted ad on craigslist is free and easy.

Here’s how:

  • Go to and make sure you’re in the proper city
  • Click on “post to classifieds”
  • Choose “wanted by owner”
  • Use a catchy title, for example, “want to help me start a new hobby?”
  • Type up a description for your post- be concise and straightforward
  • Choose the proper relay method, add a picture if you want, and fill in the details
  • Post it

If there’s anyone looking to donate you a free fish, you’ll likely get an email about it.

This is hit-or-miss and could go either way. But if you really want a free pet fish, it’s worth a try.


Get a free pet fish

Be persistent to get a free pet fish.
It’s pretty easy to get a pet fish for free if you’re persistent about it.


Well, there you have it. If you try out all of these techniques to get a free fish, you’ll probably end up getting one.

Fish breeders often have overstock fish. People get bored of fish. Local fish stores need to clear up inventory. If you’re persistent enough, you’ll likely score a free fish.

If you have any other ways to get a fish, leave them in the comments below.

If you found this guide helpful, leave a comment and let me know.

Again, please make sure you have the proper setup and time to care for your new fish. Just because it was free doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about it.

If you’re doing this, you’re probably looking to get a more expensive fish for free, such as an exotic since it wouldn’t really make sense to do all this work for a cheap feeder fish.

So that only makes it more critical that you care for your fish.

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