Fish can be a great pet for pre-schoolers. Easy to keep and noise free, they are great for busy families as they don’t need walking or house training. Young children are drawn to both bright colours and nature, so a fish tank creates a talking point about colours, nature, water and much more.
For a young child, it’s a good idea to keep costs down. Children can be fickle creatures and if they lose interest in a tank you have spent a lot of money on, you will likely be the one in tears. You can of course just have a goldfish in a simple bowl, but more and more people are opting for a tank with a filter and lights, which makes the best of their aquarium.
Most tanks now come with some, if not all the kit required. Swell UK have a wide range of affordable aquariums that contain a filter, lights, décor and more. This saves money and time, as everything is ready to go. It’s best to set the tank up and allow the water to sit for at least a few days before adding the fish.
It’s great to encourage children of all ages to take care of a pet, but supervision is required – even with fish. Over feeding can create an ammonia build up, which is toxic and sometimes fatal. It also creates a messy tank, which can look unsightly.
So what sort of tank for under 5’s?
There are plenty of character tanks available now. From characters such as Peppa Pig to SpongeBob Squarepants, the manufacturers have developed a range of beginner tanks that have the background, décor and bright colours of the cartoons. Of course this appeals to young children and can be a great starting point. However, as your child grows, so does their taste and that sparkly, pink tank might be met with disdain quicker than you think!
A small, basic tank is a good idea, especially if you are a beginner to fish keeping yourself. A 15 or 20 litre tank is enough to start with and can house a couple of fish easily. Most have a hood or canopy which is ideal to protect the fish from over eager little hands. Many come complete with all of the kit required, or you can add your own. Don’t add too many fish, as the water will become dirty very quickly.
Don’t rule out a tropical set up. True, they need a little more maintenance than a cold water tank but the fish are exotic and beautiful in colour and make for enchanting viewing. A tropical tank will need a heater as well as the rest of the kit, to keep the fish warm. Special bulbs are used too, which highlight the natural colours of the fish. Tropical tanks are available in small sizes, so you don’t need a huge set up to create a beautiful aquarium.
Special thanks to Kate Fever, Lisa Ringrose, Deb Foster and Jo Baker for their fishy snaps!
Key Points to Consider:
- A hood is a good idea to keep little fingers out.
- When feeding, promote a ‘less is more’ approach.
- One or two bright coloured fish are a good starting point.
- Have fun with substrates and décor, as they are relatively cheap to replace.
- Regular water changes and cleaning will keep the tank clean & looking good.
- Keep the tank out of direct sunlight, as too much light will encourage algae growth.
Disclaimer: This post is written in collaboration with Swell UK.