Aquarium enthusiasts are being urged to take care when collecting or buying fish to brighten up their homes.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) officer Philippa Newton said QBFP have seen an increase in the number of recreational fishers catching illegal fish for their aquarium.“All regulated fish must comply with size and possession limits regardless of whether they are kept for consumption or to keep in an aquarium,” she says. “Some fish, such as declared noxious fish and no-take species, cannot be taken and kept in aquariums.”

Newton said it’s important to remember that aquarium fish cannot be caught to keep or sell unless you have the appropriate licence.“Collecting aquarium fish to sell without the appropriate licence could land you an $1100 on-the-spot fine or a maximum penalty of $110,000,” she says.

Ms Newton also warned aquarium enthusiasts to also take care when purchasing aquarium fish, especially through online classifieds.“People need to ensure the fish they purchase for their tank is legal,” she says. “If buying a fish, check if the species is regulated and whether it has a size limit. If a size limit applies, ensure the fish meets the requirements.

“Always request a receipt to assist in identifying the source and legitimate sale of the fish.”

If you suspect fish are being sold illegally report it immediately to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.