Consider getting them a fish or two to start their journey as a pet owner. Fish are recommended as ideal starter pets as they are relatively low maintenance compared to cats and dogs. Use our beginner aquarium care guide to learn how much care goes into looking after fish and how much tank maintenance is required.
Choosing a Fish Tank
Provide a home for your fish before buying them. There are several tank sizes and designs available. The Spruce recommends a 20-gallon tank or larger. If lack of space is an issue, you can choose a smaller tank with smaller types of fish. A stand is needed for larger fish tanks to help support its weight. You can also select whether you would like a glass or acrylic aquarium. Glass has less chance of scratching and is budget-friendly while acrylic weighs less and doesn’t distort the view as some glass tanks do. If you’re not sure which tank to select, you can talk to former aquarium owners or visit your local pet store. Next, you’ll need to cycle your tank to set the safe water temperature and make sure it’s functioning properly.
Decorating a Fish Tank
After you’ve decided what fish tank to use, you can decorate it. There are many aquatic items to choose from such as castles, caves, ships, mermaids, divers, etc. You can also include plastic aquarium plants to spruce up the space. When placing these items in the tank, spread them out and avoid over-crowding.
Once you’ve selected a fish tank and have finished cycling it, you can choose the types and amount of fish you want. Although starting off with a smaller amount of fish is most likely better for your child and allows the fish to have enough room to grow and swim. It also gives them a chance to get used to their new surroundings.
Some popular fish that make good pets are Goldfish, Neon Tetras and Zebra Danios. Bristlenose Plecos are also a good choice for a tank as they help clean unwanted algae from your tank and get along with other fish. If you are planning to get a betta fish, make sure you don’t get other fish with it or you buy a separate tank for them. Betta fish can be aggressive when they are placed in the same tank as other fish.
Maintaining a Fish Tank
Owning a pet can teach your child responsibility and reliability. While feeding the fish can be a simple task, changing the water and cleaning the tank might require some parental supervision. Ideally, the water in the tank should be changed at least once a week. Freshwater tanks require 20-30 per cent of the water to be changed. This can be done by using a siphon to take out the water and debris. Then you can fill the tank with freshwater.
Enjoy the Fish
Watching fish swim in an aquarium can be peaceful and stress-relieving. It also helps keep your child busy and take a break from screen time. Have your child pick out the names for the fish to make the experience more fun.