Keeping fish as pets can be fun for the whole family.
Fish can teach kids about aquatic life, and they also make for low-maintenance pets, all things considered. And watching your fish swim around in an aquarium can help you beat stress.
Aquariums do require some upkeep, though, so it's important to know what you're doing and follow these five tips for keeping your aquarium fish healthy.
According to Thomas Narten's Beginning Fishkeeping FAQ, there are five rules to follow in order to ensure your aquarium fish stay healthy.
1. Have patience
Narten says that buying a tank, setting it up, and filling it with fish can (and should) take close to two months. What's your hurry? Slow down and enjoy the process.
2. Perform regular partial water changes
Changing 25 percent of your tank's water every other week serves two purposes -- it dilutes and removes nitrate before it accumulates to dangerous levels, and it replaces trace elements and buffers that get used up by bacteria, plants, etc.
3. Don't overfeed
Just like in dogs and cats, overfeeding your fish can lead to health problems and a dirty tank. Follow all fish food instructions, and skip the extra "treats."
4. Ensure your filtration system works
Read the instruction manual, and if you still have questions, check with a local aquarium store for help. Ditto for cleaning your fish tank filter.
5. Keep the peace
Don't overcrowd or force compatibility. In other words, give your fish enough room to live, and keep them with tank mates they won't try to eat (or vice versa). When purchasing fish, ask about their space requirements. And don't forget to give your fish adequate hiding places (e.g., rocks, plants, etc.).
Seems like fish could make for family-friendly pets. If I didn't already have two cats and a dog to take care of, I'd be sold on the idea myself.
Do you have aquarium fish?
Image via dlkinney/Flickr