At some point in your child's life they are going to ask for a pet all their own- if you're lucky, this pet will be relatively small and contained to a tank or cage. The family pet, cat or dog, is the family pet but when a child wants 'their own pet' that means they should be willing to take on all the responsibility of caring for this living creature. Ideally, your child has been socialized with pets an living things enough, by this point, that they understand at least a portion of the responsibility that comes with such a request. So, before you cave into those tear-lined wide eyes at the county fair, an take home 'Goldy,' consider a few simple tips to make those penny 'starter' fish last.
Our Betta fish, Larry, has the No Clean Aquarium we featured almost 2 years ago, and requires no maintenance, aside from pouring fresh water in the top every other day, and feeding a pinch of food every night. The BioBubble we featured last Fall is a gorgeously novel tank that is truly a handful to clean and maintain and much too complex for a 12 year-old. They both house starter fish, but neither feature the hands on accessibility we desired to let Sabrina demonstrate responsibility. Keeping this in mind we choose Guppies for her fish, a step above Bettas, and a tank that was easy to access for care and maintenance. It's important to note, while we looked at and discussed fish on this trip, we did not take fish home, as a tank should be set up and functioning a minimum of 72 hours, to ideally 2-3 weeks, prior to adding fish. Consult an expert in your aquatics department for proper additives and cycling tips and even complimentary water testing. Armed with a hot pink fish net, food pellets, and a bottle of water conditioner, we headed for the most exciting part of our journey (no, not the fish-) the decorations!
Now, I know you're dying to see the gorgeous tank Sabrina set up- truly, I'm jealous of it's beauty; but that will have to wait for another post!
What Daughter Says: Set yourself up for success; penny fish can be lasting family members!