There’ll come a time, early on in your child’s life, when they begin looking around at all the other animals they encounter and think: why can’t I have one of them in my life? If you’re a busy parent, you might not be too enthusiastic about getting a dog, or even a cat for that matter. If that’s the case, yet you still want your children to enjoy the fun and responsibility of being a pet owner, look at getting them a fish instead. These easy to care for creatures offer plenty of fun and have the bonus of brightening up your home at the same time.
There’s not too much by way of drawbacks when it comes to fish, so you don’t need to think too hard before taking the plunge. However, you do need to make sure that you have the right amount of space in your home to comfortably house a fish tank that’s big enough for however many fish you want to have. While the maintenance required is much less than other pets, it still needs some, such as cleaning the tank and feeding the fish.
Type of Fish
OK, we know that we mentioned Finding Nemo in the title, but we have to be frank: as cute as they might be, clownfish do not make great pets, especially for children. They require too much special attention for that. Instead, start with the classics – you can always work up to the more complicated marine animals when your children get the hang of it. The easiest fish of all is the goldfish, as they don’t have any particular requirements and just about anyone can take care of it. Danio’s and Siamese fighting fish are also popular options.
Unlike a dog, you won’t need to give too much emotional support to your pet fish. It’ll be happy swimming around in its tank, so long as it has all the food it needs. However, you will have to buy a few items to make sure it’s well taken care of. For starters, there’s the tank, which should be large enough so that the fish have plenty of swimming space. You’ll also want to get a Fluval filter so that the water is kept nice and clean. Different fish need different pH levels, so a water test kit and chemicals to adjust the pH will also be necessary. Beyond that, it’s about whichever lights and tank decorations you want!
As this pet is primarily for your children, it’s important that they’re part of the ‘taking care’ process, including making sure the tank is always nice and clean (it sounds easy enough, but it can be a gruelling task), and ensuring they always have enough food. Doing so will help them glean the important benefits of being a fish owner, such as responsibility. While fish can last for many years, they will one day die – and this might be your child’s first experience with death. Make sure you’re ready to give an encouraging pep talk about the nature of life.