Family fishkeeping with Tetra and why we love it
It is a little over a month now since we set up our Tetra Aqua Art Explorer 30L aquarium and we are in agreement that our new fish have settled well. We still had two fish from our previous (very tiny) aquarium and initially I worried that we might lose them in the move to the new tank but I’m delighted to say that they have slotted right in with their new mates.
Choosing the fish
When we went to the aquatics shop to buy our new fishy friends we began by speaking to the shop assistant to find out which fish would be best for our new Tetra 30L aquarium. As a family we prefer to keep tropical fish which means we need to have a water heater as they don’t like cold water. We told the assistant what size aquarium we had, how long it had been set up and about the two fish (and one snail) we already had. He advised that he would only start by adding 5-6 fish to begin of varying sizes as adding too many at once can stress them out, making them ill or increasing the chances of fighting.
Meet the fish
Ollie chose a Blue Neon Gourami, Lillie has a Dwarf Gourami, Albie wanted two Cardinal Tetras and Will opted for Platy Pintail Red Wagtail. They have named them BUT they rename them most weeks so I have given up trying to remember them. The important thing is, the children love them and argue daily over whose turn it is to feed them and weekly over who gets to do the water change.
What we love about fishkeeping
My fascination with fish started when I was a child and my Mum won fish for me at the fair. Despite the stories you hear, we managed to keep our fish living for a long time. When I was in my twenties and had a home of my own I started keeping Tropical Fish and this is when my love for fish really began. There are so many beautiful fish and they are far easier to care for than you imagine. Sometimes I would find myself watching the fish instead of watching TV because I found them so calming and therapeutic, but that’s not the only benefits;
- fish don’t need walking so they are a great pet for children of all ages to get involved with.
- feeding fish is as simple as fish flakes or pellets (although I would recommend observing your children as my Ollie has a tendency to get over-generous with the food)
- it teaches children about responsibility. Because we were having arguments and losing track of who fed the fish last, we now have a rota system kindly drawn up by Lillie about who should be feeding the fish (and rabbits and dog) when and at what time.
- great for reducing stress!!! In a family of six there are always going to be times when someone accidentally breaks something, hurts someone or just can’t bear to be in the same breathing space as another family member. During these times I always suggest that the ‘stressed party’ go and ‘check on the fish’. They usually end up sitting and watching the fish for at least 15-20 minutes by which time they have calmed down and (mostly) forgotten why they were so stressed in the first place.
- fish have personalities too – oh yes they do. Ollie’s Gourami in particular knows when it is getting near to feeding time and he knows exactly where in the fish tank the food drops in because at the same time each day he will sit right below the feeding flap and ‘smacks’ the water with his mouth. When you do finally drop the food in, he will jump out of the water to get the food and will usually gobble up more than the rest of the fish. Albie’s two Neon Tetras will follow your finger as you move it across the glass, so I am sure you can imagine this amuses the children very much. Lillie’s gourami is much more reserved and quite shy preferring to hide behind the filter or in the plants until feeding time, then will happily mix with the others. Will’s platy hardly ever comes to the front of the tank and has proved rather elusive at getting a photograph but if anyone goes near the food when he has his eye on it, they had better move out of his way.
- team work – as I mentioned above, as a family of six there will be times that we just don’t get along BUT if we don’t work as a team them things can go wrong. Luckily, we have managed to keep our fish alive over the last month but thanks to Lillie’s rota, we are able to work together to care for our fish (and pets) so that no single person feels the pressure alone.
- they don’t cost the earth to start, feed or maintain and there are no expensive insurance premiums to pay.
Caring for our fish
Thanks to the clever design of the Tetra Aqua Art Explorer nobody has to get their hands wet (well not much). The Tetra Easy Crystal filters need replacing every four weeks and can be done so by simply lifting them out of the filter compartment mounted at the back of the aquarium and sliding a new one into place. We also do a 20% water change weekly which is just a case of scooping out 20% of the water and replacing it with fresh tap water and adding a few drops of Tetra Safestart to reduces ammonia and nitrite which is dangerous for the fish.
Would you, or do you, keep fish? What interests you about an aquarium?