Getting a pet is a big deal for a family and it can be the first real way to teach your children responsibility. Owning a pet is not simple and it requires a lot of work to make sure that it is healthy and cared for. One of the most important parts of owning any pet is making sure they have a clean and comfortable environment to live in.
Fish as pets aren’t as demanding on the care as pets like dogs or cats, but you still need plenty of responsibility to keep them alive and well. Teaching kids how to care for them can help act as a bridge for when they need to start looking after a bigger pet or just help them learn the duty of being a good owner. Here are some things to teach your kids about caring for fish and their aquarium.
Lead By Example
The first step is to always be the type of person they can look to for guidance or advice. You wouldn’t expect them to know how to change out a filter, clean a heater, or how to clean the inside of the glass right away and on their own, so it’s best to lead by example. As a parent, this is one of your greatest skills and showing them how to do things properly first-hand is a good way to make sure that they are seeing how to care for the fish and take care of the aquarium. Doing is teaching, so be a good example for them of what a pet owner should look like.
Provide Them Learning Resources
Another addition to that is to help them figure out what their fish need from expert sources. You might know some basics about the aquarium and fish care, but you don’t need to pretend you’re a professional on the matter, so it’s time you find good sources of information that you can rely on to teach them. If you look at the expert info at Aquaticly, you can see how much there is to learn about fish. Anything from feeding needs, to regulating their environment, there is plenty of stuff you can brush up on before you get a fish so that you know what will help your kid. This is important if you have a variety of fish all with different needs.
Understanding the Fish’s Needs
Each fish is going to be different in its care needs. A goldfish is a pretty basic example of a fish that doesn’t need much but you have to learn what kinds of food it needs. They like pellets, algae, aquarium plants, and bloodworms, among other food sources, so it’s good to know how each fish can change in terms of their needs. Your child needs to know that they can’t just take a one size fits all approach with fish as they vary a lot. Similarly, some fish need mates so they don’t get lonely as well. It’s also valuable information to remember that many fish will start to grow to fit their environment, so showing your kids how to account for this will make them better pet owners.
Keeping a Routine Care Schedule
You want to compound in them a sense of responsibility for pet care. Even though a fish is a solitary animal that can’t leave its aquarium, it doesn’t mean it is self-sufficient. To combat this problem with kids shirking their duties is to create a routine schedule. Write it on a board or create some kind of journal or agenda that has alternating tasks and make sure that they document their progress. This is a good way to instill a system that tracks what needs to be done so they don’t forget.
Mentioned previously is the need for a good environment for the fish. This means cleaning it regularly, but you also want to make sure that the fish aren’t floating around in a barren tank. The best way to make the tank look better and be better for the fish is by helping your kids pick out aquarium decorations. These decorations help create a better environment and it simulates a more natural feeling for them so they have a better quality of life.
Even though fish aren’t exactly the hardest pet to care for, you still want your kids to understand that owning a living creature as a pet, no matter how small, means they need to be responsible. With a little help, you can show them how to take care of fish and be good pet owners.
Choose the right fish
It is important to choose a fish that is low-maintenance and simple to care for when selecting a pet fish for your child. Goldfish are a fantastic choice since they do not need a lot of maintenance and are fairly durable. A goldfish is a calm and lovely addition to your aquarium. Moreover, be careful to steer clear of fish that are known to be aggressive or snappy since they might be harmful to young children.
Also, choosing a fish that is on the smaller side is a smart move. Your youngster will be able to handle it more easily and be less likely to inadvertently damage it if you do this.
Get the right supplies
Make sure you have all the essentials on hand before bringing your new pet fish home. A fish tank, filter, air pump, gravel, and food are included. A fish net and some plants for the tank would also be good ideas.
Moreover, make sure the fish tank is locked so your toddler cannot get it. This is crucial for the fish’s protection as well as the safety of your youngster.
Set the tank up
It is time to set up the fish tank once you have all the necessary ingredients. Add the gravel once the tank has been filled with water. This process is crucial because it keeps the water pure. Finally, include the plants and further customize the tank’s appearance. You might, for instance, include a fortress or a pirate ship for your child’s goldfish to explore, as well as some rocks for them to hide behind.
Finally, add the fish. Before releasing them, be careful to slowly adapt them to the new habitat by floating the bag they arrived in on top of the tank for around 15 minutes. Remember that it is ideal to start by merely adding one or two fish to the tank.
Explain the needs of the fish
Be sure to go through with your child what is required for the fish to remain healthy. This includes access to food, clean water, and a hiding spot. Also, it’s critical to emphasize that touching the fish excessively might stress them out.
Be careful to emphasize that the fish must be handled delicately as well. This is important since young children might not realize how delicate the fish are. Also, it is useful preparation for when kids have to care for an actual pet in the future.
Fishkeeping teaches children valuable lessons
Here are some lessons kids learn by taking care of their own fish tank:
Biological and ecological knowledge
Aquariums in homes are scaled-down versions of the natural world. Hence, anything that takes place in a lake or stream outside of an aquarium must do so either naturally or with our assistance. Fish do not live for very long if it does not.
Naturally, this implies that fish must eat enough, sleep enough, be stress-free, and interact in a safe manner. A fishkeeper must research various fish species and their demands in order to comprehend what they consume, how large they grow, and whether they can coexist. A youngster gains valuable knowledge about biology and ecology as a result.
Basic Chemistry Lessons
Chemistry has lessons to be learned as well. Rivers and lakes in the wild naturally control the water quality. Fish excrement must be decomposed in your aquarium, and the resulting chemicals must be evacuated. Kids may do easy water chemistry tests (with adult supervision) to evaluate the water’s quality and determine whether actions need to be made to enhance a fish tank’s waste-processing capabilities.
Respect for the Environment and the Natural World
The chance to teach a youngster about respect for nature, animals, the environment, and even other people is maybe more significant than these science teachings. Growing up to be a responsible adult who is more conscious of their activities and how they affect the world is more likely for a youngster who develops compassion for the fish under his or her care.
Children’s Maintenance Duties for Their Tanks
Domestic fish kept in tanks are caged animals with little ability to care for themselves, as has previously been demonstrated. Whatever they possess or lack is due to the human in charge of that tank. Youngsters who are concerned about their fish will see quickly how their choices affect their animals, and perhaps develop a sense of pride in their aquarium and its inhabitants.
The little care required for an established fish tank should actually take no longer than an hour or two per month. Nonetheless, the duties that must be completed are crucial:
- Fish need to be fed. While it should go without saying, a child must be diligent in order to do this daily chore.
- Water must be changed often in fish aquariums. This task has to be completed at least once every month, ideally twice. A third or so of the tank’s water is taken out and refilled with new, pure water. This helps the natural processes mentioned above by diluting the waste chemicals in the tank.
- Tropical fish require aquariums to be maintained between 75 and 80 degrees, which is the ideal temperature range. The fish may perish if the temperature dramatically rises or decreases.
- Algae must be kept out of tanks. Even well-maintained tanks can occasionally produce some algae, but excessive algae development is an indication that something is amiss. It frequently has to be manually removed with an algae scraper.
- Aquariums for fish must be maintained tidy. To get rid of any collected waste and trash, the filter, gravel, and all of the décor should be thoroughly cleaned once a month.
The advantages of having pet fish for kids
- Children find it amazing that creatures can live in water without being able to breathe air. Having a fish tank provides the ideal setting for learning about fish, their gills, and their behavior. Also, learning about all aquatic species may result from it.
- Fish come in a wide variety of sizes, hues, and forms, making them ideal for in-depth study.
- Youngsters will gain knowledge about fish maintenance and experience a sense of success each time they do so. Maintaining fish fosters accountability.
- Keeping fish in a tank might help you relax. You may truly unwind by observing the fish swimming happily through the water and the bubbles rising to the surface. This could be a good location for your emotionally sensitive youngster to sit if they are feeling a bit overstimulated or exhausted.
- Youngsters could have an additional thrill from witnessing one of your fish give birth. The sight of 12 tiny guppies swimming and hiding among the plants thrilled Miss Possum. She enjoyed and gained knowledge from the experience as we watched them develop.
- The sound of the water pouring from the filter, the serenity of staring at the water, and the movement of the fish all help to alleviate tension.
- Fish tanks create excellent night lights, which may be helpful for children who are terrified of the dark. As I indicated above, tanks make excellent night lighting, and it may be relaxing to watch the fish swim.
- Aquariums educate about duty. By taking care of their fish, your children will learn a lot about responsibility. While maintaining a fish tank does not need much effort, feeding and cleaning them do, so this pet is a fantastic place to start when teaching your child responsibility.
- Science and arithmetic are taught through freshwater aquariums. Your children will develop their math abilities when they assist you in weighing out the chemicals and food your fish require. They are also excellent for introducing your children to science, as they can discover the various species of fish in the tank and their requirements.