Almost as soon as kids are out of the toddler stage, they’re begging you for a pet, right? As parents, we know that, with a pet come responsibilities, as well as an understanding of the respect and care those pets need and deserve. Mammals, such as kitties and puppies need a lot more care than other types of pets. As a first venture into the pet world, a fresh water aquarium fish tank is a great choice. Unlike salt water fish, which require great precision in the salinity, aeration and temperature of their environment, fresh water aquarium fish are much more durable. Aside from keeping the tank clean and not overfeeding, kids can easily learn to manage and maintain a freshwater fish tank.
A 10-gallon aquarium tank is a good choice for the novice pet owner, for a number of reasons. There are dozens of fresh water aquarium fish that get along well, so the kids can stock their tank with a number of different species, each with their own fascinating colors and habits, making it fun and educational to observe. A 10-gallon aquarium is large enough to hold lots of little fishies, plants and ceramic ‘furniture’. The plants and ‘furniture do serve to decorate the tank, but also provide places for fish to hide when they’re feeling timid, or take a snooze.
Furnishing the tank with an algae-eater not only helps keep the tank clean, but this funny looking little animal provides giggles and entertainment as he makes his rounds, cleaning the algae from the glass with his cute little suction-cup mouth.
Fresh water aquarium fish are also not fussy about their water temperature – 60-65 degrees suits most just fine, right out of the tap. An inexpensive thermometer gives a sufficiently accurate reading.
The staff at the aquarium shop can give you guidance on the number and type of fish to start with when you set up the tank.
Despite the algae-eater, the kids will need to learn to clean the tank of fish droppings which accumulate beneath the plastic grid at the bottom of the tank. With older kids, you can go through the process with them a couple of times before letting them do it on their own. With younger kids, you’ll need to supervise the project each time, until you’re certain they know what they’re doing. To keep your fresh water aquarium fish tank healthy and thriving, a thorough cleaning every 2-3 weeks is about right. You’ll need a net to transfer the fish to a large non-metallic bowl while you change the water and clean plants, furniture and plastic screen. The aquarium rocks can be put in a large colander (reserved for that purpose) and rinsed well.
When choosing your fish, don’t overcrowd – remember, the fish grow!
Locating your 10-gallon aquarium on top of a dresser in the kid’s room provides a tranquil scene at bed time, a lighted, moving lullaby to send them off to sweet dreams!