Posted in pet health, pets

Fishy friends

You can’t take them for a walk, but fish still have a fin up over other scaly pets. Freshwater fish like a pair of guppies are fairly easy to care for and are mesmerizing to watch. As long as you don’t mind a few absent-minded minutes poring over these creatures, you may find them a nice addition to the household – or to your classroom, if you’re a grade school teacher.
And, provided that you have a safety lid on top of your aquarium, fish can even be entertainment for felines in the household.
It’s a good idea to keep a lid on the tank wherever it is, just in case. Fish have been known to jump out on occasion, though no one knows why.
Begin with just one or two fish, in a 10-gallon tank. The pet store employees should be able to help you get the right setup. Only a couple of fish will be good for starters. The more fish you add, the more cleaning you may have to do to maintain a healthy aquarium, especially if you choose to buy goldfish. They’re okay in small numbers, but they grow rapidly and can even make it necessary to switch to a larger tank because they’ve outgrown a 10-gallon aquarium.
You’ll have to invest in a few tools, like a filter, a bag or two of aquarium gravel, a scoop and a few plastic plants for places for fish to hide. Don’t forget a guide book on how to care for your guppies… or visit the library to check one out to read.
It helps a lot to have access to water and a sink nearby. One of the daily chores will be to feed the fish, taking care not to overfeed them. Checking the water’s chemistry is best done by an adult, but you’ll want to have the test chemicals and tools nearby and a sink to dispose of your test water afterward.
If you’re brave, and don’t mind the mess, you can clean the tank yourself regularly. Or add an algae eater or two to the tank. These fish make their way around the aquarium, cleaning the algae off the glass as they go. They’ll be fine as long as they can keep up with the growth, and you can avoid having to scrape the “windows” yourself a little longer.
After a few weeks you may need to change out a few quarts of water to replenish it with fresh. Tap water has chlorine in it so you may have to make some amendments to make the water fit for finny critters. Again, most pet stores have a fish expert on staff to help you find the equipment you need to keep your pets healthy. Just ask.
Children of all ages can appreciate the presence of a fish, learning how they take oxygen from the water to breathe, just as we do from the air around us.

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Owned by three cats over age 13