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Engaging children with the wonderful world of fishkeeping

Engaging children with the wonderful world of fishkeeping Engaging children with the wonderful world of fishkeeping
Posted 11 April, 2017

Top tips on getting started

Keeping your little ones occupied is always tricky and looking for new hobbies that interest them can be even harder. Keeping fish as pets is increasing in popularity, with twice as many children today taking care of fish compared with when their parents were children*. This is not surprising as fish really do make the perfect first pet. Not only are they easy to look after, they are also a great way of teaching children responsibility as well as giving them an indoor hobby that can help tear them away from screens.

Fishkeeping is a simple and enjoyable hobby with little maintenance required. Dave Hulse, Technical Consultant at Tetra, leaders in Aquatics, comments: “Fishkeeping offers so much, not only does it provide hours of fun but also offers an educational aspect helping children learn and understand the responsibility of caring for a pet. As for the parents, whether you are looking for something specifically for the kids’ playroom or a design feature for the living room, there are a wide range of stylish and fun aquariums available, such as the new Tiny Tetra aquarium or for a more elegant option, Tetra’s Cascade Globe and Explorer.”

Top tips for setting up and getting started:

  1. Finding the perfect spot is key both aesthetically and practically; however the following must be considered to ensure things go swimmingly. Ensure that the tank is on a sturdy surface which is able to support 3x the weight of the filled tank, near a power socket and away from direct sunlight and radiators.
  2. Once you have found a suitable location follow the instructions in the box explaining how to set up the filter in the tank. Do not plug the power socket into the wall until the tank is full of water. (You will do this after you have laid your gravel)
  3. For a luscious planted aquarium it is essential to place a layer of aquatic planting gravel at the bottom of the tank so that plants are able to root into and feed off. Now half fill the tank with tap water - a great tip for ensuring that you don’t disturb the laid gravel is placing a plate or saucer over it.  
  4. With the tank half-full of water, you can now add the plants, place the roots of the plant into the special gravel layer by first burrowing a small hole with your fingers and covering the roots afterwards. Now is your chance to become an aquatic florist and arrange your plants. A good tip is to place the larger plants at the back so they don’t block your view of inside the aquarium. If you don’t feel quite brave enough to start out with a planted aquarium you can use plastic plants which require less maintenance. Many stores offer a range of ornaments to decorate aquariums with so you can be just as creative which ever option you choose.
  5. Once you are happy with the layout of your plants, very carefully fill the rest of the tank with tap water, then plug in the power socket and switch on the filter. Tad dah! Now stand back and admire your work. The water will appear very cloudy at first as lots of small particles from the gravel will need to settle down or be trapped by the filter. After 24 hours the water should be crystal clear.
  6. Before you add your fish you’ll need to treat the water. Use Tetra’s AquaSafe to neutralise harmful substances in tap water such as chlorine and chloramine and make it suitable for your new friends. After 24 hours you can then add your fish.
  7. Whether it’s shrimps or fish it’s important to speak to your local retailer about the correct pets for your particular tank. They will be able to advise which fish are suited to the size of your tank and also help you decide which fish to put together to ensure your new friends all get along. Add Tetra SafeStart to the tank straight after you’ve added your companions as this adds special bacteria to the water that will break down the waste they produce.
  8. When adding your new fish/shrimps friends it is really important to acclimatise them to the water. They will be transported in sealed plastic bags and these must be floated on the surface of the tank for 20 minutes. Siphon out enough water to make room for the bag. After 20 minutes open the bag and allow a small amount of tank water in, repeat this process every ten minutes for the next hour. Now gently lift the bag and allow the new family members to swim out into their new home.
  9. Do not feed your fish or shrimps in the first 24 hours to allow them to relax and settle in their new home. When it comes to feeding it’s important to make sure you use high quality food to ensure your fish receive the right amount of nutrition. This will also help to minimise fish waste. On the second day we recommend you feed your fish one crisp each from the TetraPro range, any shrimps you have with one granule each of Tetra CrustaMenu and for any bottom feeding fish, one of the Tetra Pleco Algae or Veggie Wafers. Overfeeding is the most common cause of problems in fish tanks, especially when the tank is new. Once the tank is set up you’ll be able to offer food more regularly, but for now it is wise to be frugal with the fish food!
  10. When it comes to maintenance, use Tetra EasyBalance to help keep the water fresh for up to six months.  Checking the suitability of the water in between is just as easy. Download the Tetra Digital Water Care App which allows you to quickly check the water parameters before offering solutions if needed. For everything else, the check-out Tetra’s website or Facebook for expert tips. 
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