June is National Aquarium Month. Did you have a pet fish as a child, or do you have a child who wants a fish? In the ranking of popular pets, fish come in third, right behind cats and dogs. Statistically, that might be a bit surprising, but consider the benefits associated with keeping fish as pets.
Expense: In comparison with dogs and cats, pet fish are quite economical. Once the basics are bought—fishbowl/tank, fish food, decorative accessories, filtration system (depending on size of tank), and, of course, the fish—the on-going cost is very low. There’s no need for special treats, litter boxes, scoopers, chew toys, beds, collars, leashes, or bags of food that must be stored away so that fur-babies don’t help themselves. Not to mention, the additional cost of installing fences or veterinary visits.
Maintenance: On-going maintenance is minimal as well. Keeping a tank clean and in good working order takes very little time. Including a moss ball, ghost shrimp, or other algae eaters to clean the tank just adds to the aesthetics. Basic fish food is about the size of a salt shaker; no storage issue here.
Designing the Tank: Taking time to research is important. Determine what size tank is needed and whether you plan to have freshwater or saltwater fish. It’s also important to research the types of fish that co-habit well together. Some fish breeds are more aggressive than others. It’s not a good thing to start with four or five fish to find only one swimming around at the end of the day.
The decorative accessories can range from practical to quirky and anywhere in between. Creating a pirate shipwreck with a treasure chest, a sunken ship, and hiding places may be your style. As long as there’s enough water, your fish don’t care so if you want a disco-theme, a country tank, or an art-deco look—go for it. Incorporate the tank into your personal style so that it works within the design of your living space.
Health Benefits: Think about how you feel when watching fish swim around in an aquarium. Your stress level is reduced, anxiety goes down, and blood pressure and heart rate are lower—all from watching fish swimming. It doesn’t matter what size the tank is—the overall health benefits are consistent. With such well-documented benefits, it’s no wonder that aquariums are part of the office décor for many doctors and dentists. Creating a calming environment for patients before they go in for their appointment makes the overall experience better for everyone.
Lesson in Responsibility: Wanting a pet and caring for a pet are two very different things. As many a parent can attest, the pet may be the child’s, but the care and feeding chores often fall onto the parents. Having a fish as a first pet is a good steppingstone to taking on the responsibility and care associated with having a pet.
Goldfish are at the top of the most common of fish pets; there are more than 125 types from which to select. A beta fish pet may also be a good start. Given their wide range of colors, a male beta can be found in almost any color imaginable, from red, green, blue, yellow, and so on. Betas are often kept as solitary pets due to the male’s aggressive tendencies. With proper care, their life span is about three years.
Plan a visit to an aquarium this month. Their displays are fascinating to watch. Do you ever wonder if they’re watching us, too? Something to think about.