“I want a fish tank!” – Children often request fish as pets. This popular desire raises many questions for parents, especially those who have never ventured into the world of fishkeeping before. Common questions can be: Can children look after an aquarium on their own? Which fish are suitable for children? Can you put an aquarium in a child’s bedroom? Read on to discover why an aquarium is a great idea for children and what you should consider when buying an aquarium.
Aquariums for children: the benefits
Giving a child an aquarium can mark the beginning of a lifelong passion of fishkeeping and looking after an animal can benefit a child’s personal development. Fish and other aquatic creatures help children take on responsibility at an early age and develop a sense of duty. At the same time, they discover and learn to appreciate the beauty of nature. Some educational organisations recommend fish aquariums for children for this purpose.
People of all ages, including children – generally find aquariums calming. It’s also great fun to get to know the animals and observe their habits and behaviour. Last but not least, an aquarium for children can be a great alternative for anyone who can’t have cuddly pets due to a family member with a pet hair allergy.
Aquariums for children: important initial considerations
Despite the above, you can’t just fulfil a child’s simple wish for an aquarium without a few initial considerations. Whether or not children can look after an aquarium themselves largely depends on their age. Parents of younger children need to be able to support in maintaining the hobby.
The hobby doesn’t have to be time consuming
An aquarium for children doesn’t have to be time consuming, especially compared to other pets. For instance, a partial water change every two weeks is routine for a established aquarium for children.
It can be useful to create a care schedule with your child so that he/she (with your support) can see what needs to be done and when. When you go on holiday, automatic feeders are great as they can feed your fish whilst you are away. Unless you have a friendly neighbour who is more than happy to not only water your house plants but also feed your fish.
Are aquariums for children suitable for bedrooms?
It’s generally fine to install an aquarium in a child’s bedroom. However, you and your child should carefully consider whether he/she is likely to be disturbed by noises like the sound of water. It’s not only children who can be bothered by noises; fish are also sensitive to what is going on around them in the child’s bedroom. Another consideration to think about is that the aquarium should never be positioned in direct sunlight. It also has to be placed on a stable and flat surface. The furniture unit should be able to support the heavy weight of an aquarium.
Aquariums for children: basic equipment
The aquarium size you choose depends on the fish species that you and your child want to keep. As a basic rule of thumb, the larger the aquarium, the more fish can live in it and the easier it is to look after. Starter line aquariums vary in size, they can range from 30 litres to 60 litre tanks and tend to feature a suitable filtration system and light.
Before buying an aquarium you need to decide whether you would prefer a cold water aquarium (e.g. for goldfish) or a warm water aquarium in which you can keep tropical fish. If you would like to keep tropical fish, a heater is required to ensure a consistent warm temperature.
Aquariums for children: inhabitants
Which are the best types of fish for children? There are several species of fish that are relatively easy to look after, making them good choices for beginners. For example, goldfish are a popular fish for beginners.
When thinking of tropical fish, guppies and platies are ideal for aquariums for children. Thanks to their unique colours, guppies, in particular, not only look fantastic but are also easy for children to tell apart. Another benefit with these species is that, you can watch both fish species reproduce – and that means the joy of baby fish! Incidentally, fish aren’t the only option for your child’s aquarium; many children also love snails and shrimps.
Whether choosing goldfish or guppies, you must always be careful not to overpopulate the aquarium. This stresses the animals and increases the amount of aquarium care required. Ask your pet retailer to advise you on the ideal number of fish for your child’s aquarium. Please remember that you have to be in attendance as a parent when the fish are bought as the sale of fish to children and young people is prohibited for animal welfare reasons.