If your kiddo is begging for a pet, consider a fish tank. You have endless options when it comes to colorful aquatic friends for your child to choose from, and they'll learn valuable skills around responsibility, caretaking, and even a bit of science!
As a bonus, a fish tank can double as a night light in your child's bedroom or become beautiful decor in your living room. Really, maintaining an aquarium can become a new hobby the whole family can enjoy. But let's get back to the benefits for your kids. Teaching your children about fishkeeping can help them grow and mature in lots of ways.
1. Keeping fish can help your child be more social.
Is your little one a bit shy? As soon as your child has their very own pet to care for, they will want to tell everyone about it and will eagerly drag every visitor to your home over to the aquarium to get a close-up look at the fish they love. And you'll likely get updates on the fish's every move too. Soon your quiet child will become a fast-talking fish-lover!
2. Being an aquarist helps kids learn responsibilities.
Once your kiddo sees how pet fish dance at the water surface to slurp up flake food or dive to the bottom of the tank to get sinking pellets, they'll think the chore of feeding time is a pretty cool responsibility and look forward to the task. Using test water strips to check the water chemistry and adding balancing products to the water (with supervision) can also be intriguing.
3. Watching a nitrogen bloom is science in action.
Did you know the water changes colors when you set up a new fish tank? This natural balancing act goes through a few stages, including a nitrogen bloom which opens the door for a cool science discussion between you and your children. Keep it simple and interesting! For older kids, you can also explore building an ecosystem that nurtures growing live plants in the aquarium or keeping guppies that easily reproduce live young — creating a fun way to chat about the magic of reproduction.
4. Keeping fish is therapeutic and relaxing.
The hobby of fish-watching can reduce stress and improve overall mood. And for children with anxiety, the magic of a slow-swimming fish can help melt away those jitters. Why not set up a fish tank for them to gaze at and see how their behavior and mood change. The new finned pets might just bring the whole household a splash of tropical peace.
5. Starting a fish tank introduces your child to decision-making.
When you go to the pet store, you can let your child choose the aquarium decor and style. This shows them they have a voice. If they want pink gravel, fluffy faux plants, and a sunken UFO for decor, then so be it! This is their pet's home and underwater creation. As a bonus, every time the tank needs to be cleaned (more responsibility!), they get to rearrange the decor (more fun!).
Pet Fish Help Kids Grow and Learn
Kids benefit from having a pet to call their very own. Not only do they get to bond with their friend, but they also learn to care for the animal, discover that others have needs, and possibly adopt a lifelong hobby that brings them calm and happiness.
Learn more about setting up an aquarium and caring for aquatic pets in the Ultimate Fishkeeping Guide.