A pet benefits a child in many ways – studies have shown that children who keep pets tend to be healthier and are more emotionally balanced. But keeping a pet is a huge responsibility for families and children, and it is always recommended that enough research has been done before making the commitment to keeping one in the home. While some of the most common pets include cats, dogs and rabbits, our furry friends can be quite a handful to take care of. Many families opt for fish as a first family pet as they think that fish are less demanding, but it is important to note that while the fish themselves do not require much of your attention, the environment they live in does!
Benefits of setting up aquariums at home
Setting up an aquarium at home guarantees hours of fun and learning! An aquarium, when set up well, can contain different species of plants and animals that will pique your child’s interest and curiosity and can contribute to improving his observation skills. Encourage him to share questions he has about the aquarium and the fishes, and guide him in finding his own answers to maximise his learning.
Make trips to the aquarium shop with your little one and get him to help you pick up items for the aquarium when you’re just starting to set it up. Include a variety of components for the aquarium, so that your child can exercise his creativity and be a part of setting up a magical underwater wonderland!
3) Responsibility and ownership
A fish is a great first pet as they are relatively easier to look after, but maintaining an aquarium is not a simple job to do. Give your child age-appropriate tasks that you think he can handle such as feeding the fish at specific times. When they’re older, you can get them to help you monitor the water quality and clean the tank.
4) Emotional health
Watching fishes in an aquarium is a really calming activity. According to research, children’s exposure to aquariums can reduce stress and anxiety! Focusing on taking care of something else can also help to reduce anger and channel his negative emotions to something more productive.
Tips on setting up an aquarium
- Fish selection
The best way to choose your fish is to ask your local retailer. He will be able to give you advice and recommend which fish are suitable for your aquarium and how many. A good rule of thumb is 1 liter of water per centimeter of fish. Guppies, platies and goldfish are all fish that are great for a starter aquarium.
- Perfect location
Ensure that the there is a stable location to place your aquarium (1 liter of water weighs 1kg). Avoid direct sunlight otherwise algae will reproduce faster. Ensure that there is enough room to feed the fish and change the water. Consider whether there are enough electrical sockets nearby, otherwise you will need an extension lead. Important: Always switch off the power supply before putting your hands in the aquarium!
- Preparation- How to set up your tank
Step 1: Stick any decorative poster to the rear wall of the tank
Step 2: Wash the gravel and spread it throughout the aquarium
Step 3: Install the filter
Step 4: Half fill with water (Tip: When filling up the tank, place a small plate on the gravel and pour the water onto a small plate to avoid disturbing the gravel.)
Step 5: Add plants and decorative items (Remember to remove any plastic pots, wool or metal rings from the aquarium plants before adding them)
Step 6: Top up with water, leaving approximately 2cm at the top. The filter outlet must remain above the water level.
Step 7: Switch on the filter
Step 8: Add Tetra AquaSafe into the water as instructed on the label.
Tap water may contain small amounts of chlorine, choramine and other heavy metals, which are harmful to fish. For this reason, always treat fresh tap water with Tetra AquaSafe to turn it into fish-friendly aquarium water.
- Add your fish
Never introduce fish into a new aquarium without giving them time to acclimatise. First, put them into the tank in the closed bag for around 15 minutes so that they get used to the new temperature, then add some aquarium water to the bag at frequent intervals using a cup before slowly letting them swim out onto the aquarium.
Feed your fish twice a day. Pay attention to the amount of food that is given. Overfeeding is very bad for the fish as uneaten fish food left to decay at the bottom of the aquarium will pollute the aquarium. Tetra’s wide range of nutritious ornamental fish food is essential to ensure your fish have a long and healthy life.
Change some of the water in your aquarium once a month to ensure a healthy, thriving environment for your fish to live in. When you change the water, only replace around one-third of the aquarium water with fresh tap water to avoid destroying the useful bacteria. Don’t forget to mix the Tetra AquaSafe into the water to make it safe for the fish every time you change the water.
With Tetra’s help and wide range of high quality, easy-to-use products, keeping fish in a healthy, attractive aquarium is child’s play. For more information on Tetra products and our retailers, please visit their website at http://www.tetra.net/en/en
Do you have an aquarium at home? Share with us some tips on getting your children involved in maintaining it!