You're considering getting a fish tank but may wonder if it's a worthwhile time and financial investment for your family — especially for your children. You're in luck. There are numerous benefits of owning a fish tank for kids.
Let's look at five ways fish tanks are good for your children.
1. It teaches responsibility.
Keeping a pet teaches your child responsibility. And a fish is much easier to care for than a cat or dog. Show them how to feed the fish, how much food they get, where to shake the fish food, and how often to feed them. Explain to them how to choose the right fish food. If your child is very young, you could have them hand you the fish food or do a few shakes on top of the tank while you assist the child. If your child is old enough, put them in charge of feeding the fish.
You could also enlist a child's help with cleaning the fish tank. Give them responsibilities that make sense for their age. A young child could simply watch and hand you the items you point to during water changes. Kids in grade school could help clean the outside of the fish tank with an aquarium-safe cleaner. Teens could help more with the actual cleaning process, like using a scraper to get in corners and remove algae.
Keep a checklist with stickers or markers where they can "check off" they've fed the fish. And if you have more than one child, let them take turns feeding the fish so they can share the responsibility and the fun.
Tip: Children under four should always be monitored around pets, regardless of how large or small the pet is.
2. It can be therapeutic.
There's a reason many doctor's offices have fish tanks. Sure, they're cool to look at, but they can also help people feel calmer. In one study, people reported being in a better mood, feeling more relaxed and calmer after watching live fish in a tank for five minutes. Another study found that visiting an aquarium positively affected children's moods and calmed them. So why not bring that experience to your home? When you're looking for something to add to the home that may help your kids — and you — feel calmer and less anxious, consider adding a fish tank. And fish are so much better to watch than your devices!
Observing, caring for, and watching animals teaches children compassion, respect, and patience. An easier-to-care-for pet like a fish is a great starting point for kids to learn more about, observe them in their natural habitats, and even create bonds with them as they visit their finned friends each day.
3. It teaches them about science.
Use the fish tank to teach your children about aquatic life. Explain how fish breathe underwater (aquatic respiration), how they sleep, the food they eat, and how their bodies work. When you clean the fish tank — or problem-solve how to fix cloudy water — enlist your children to watch and walk them through the process. Explain why you're doing what you're doing as you complete each step. Discuss the importance of maintaining a clean fish tank for the fish's health.
4. It can help children with autism disorder.
Observing fish may help children with autism spectrum disorder calm down and reduce anxiety. Studies show that "aquatic therapy intervention" can have positive results on children's social communication and physical competence.
5. It inspires creativity.
One of the most fun parts of having a fish tank for kids is all of the cool decorations, plants, and "underwater toys" they can pick out. The colorful fish and contrasting plants, rocks, logs, pebbles, and accessories make personalizing your family's aquarium fun. Sunken treasure chests that blow bubbles inspire wonder and awe in little ones. Your kids could even pick out seasonal decorations like skeletons for Halloween and Santa Claus for Christmas to change the way the fish tank looks. Talk to your child about the colors they see in the fish tank and help them draw the family pet using crayons. (The LED Mini Bow Kits with SmartClean Technology are great for first-time fish keepers.)
Keeping fish benefits the whole family.
Having a fish tank is an experience that benefits children and adults. Many studies show that when people observe fish in aquariums, they have positive benefits, particularly in stress reduction and increased relaxation. Whose household couldn't use more of that?
Now that you know the benefits of fish tanks for children, the only questions you have to ask yourself are, "How big a tank are we going to get?" and "Which of the 10 best pet fish should we fill it with?"