An aquarium for children – can that be useful? Aquariums are very fascinating for children. Many love to watch the fish in their habitat underwater. Of course, this quickly gives rise to the desire to own your own aquarium. And that has many advantages, also compared to other pets. The aquarium hobby is suitable for people with allergies to animal hair and takes relatively little time. But is this dream realizable for your child? How can you not only meet the needs of the child but also those of the fish at the same time? We would like to show you what to look out for if you want your child to have their own aquarium.
Who is in Charge?
Let’s start with the most important point: an aquarium is not a “toy”. It contains living animals that require good care and whose demands must be met at all times. This fact also offers the child the wonderful opportunity to take on responsibility and develop a sense of duty. After all, animal welfare is directly dependent on its actions. With the purchase of an aquarium, you, as a parent, undertake to give your child support in their new tasks and to be at their side with advice and action at all times. After all, the animals should be fine. And with some tasks, your child will need help. Because it is hardly able to take care of the pool adequately from the start. It is ideal if there is already an aquarium in your own household or in your circle of friends, which the young aquarist can help with from time to time. In this way, feeding and caring for the pool dwellers can be learned through play. An own aquarium, on the other hand, is compulsory. We recommend that your child should be at least 10 years old for this.
Planning an Aquarium for Children
Bravo! You have decided that you want your child to have their first pets of their own. Now it’s time to plan! You should definitely involve your offspring here. And not just so that he can express his wishes. Rather, in this phase, he should also be able to develop an initial understanding of the demands of the new “roommates”. This makes a lot of things easier in retrospect.
The Right Location
First of all, it makes sense to set up the aquarium in the nursery. Some manufacturers have even specialized in design for aquariums for children and offer, for example, a Käptn Blaubär aquarium or a Minion aquarium – great eye-catchers for the children’s room! However, you must first clarify whether certain requirements can be met there at all. The location should be protected from direct sunlight. Otherwise, there is a risk of unwanted algae growth and overheating of the water, which is dangerous for the animals. The pool must also be clearly visible for your child (take into account the height of the stand!). Through traffic and loud romping in front of the aquarium is undesirable: The animals are then frightened. Last but not least, pay attention to the weight of the aquarium. Even a small basin for beginners with a capacity of 54 liters quickly weighs around 70 kg with decoration. Not every closet can sustain this weight permanently. Ideally, you should therefore use a special base cabinet.
Choosing the Right Pool
One quickly tends to think in a space-saving manner and therefore looks around for the smallest possible aquarium. But is choosing the right pool really only about the space available in the children’s room? No. There is one important point you should not ignore when planning your aquarium: the larger an aquarium, the more stable the water values are. An aquarium for children also has to be able to forgive minor maintenance mistakes. While a larger tank can possibly compensate for a little too generous feeding and the associated deterioration in the water values, in a very small aquarium this can quickly lead to the water tipping over and possibly even the death of the animals living in it.
We, therefore, advise against purchasing nano aquariums for children. Even if it sounds paradoxical at first: plan big to get started! It should be at least 54 liters of tank volume to get started. With a rectangular shape, this corresponds to an edge length of around 60cm.
Anyone who is unsure about the technology (filters, heating, etc.) can fall back on ready-made complete sets. They are even available as child-friendly versions. The essential components for a smooth start are already included here. Otherwise, you will find general information on setting up an aquarium here.
Suitable Aquarium Inhabitants
For a children’s aquarium, we recommend choosing robust and easy-care species. Last but not least, they should also be easily observable. A fish that burrows in the sand during the day and can only be seen while being fed can quickly get bored. More suitable for children are colorful and active ornamental fish. For example, viviparous tooth carps such as guppy or platy are recommended. When buying, look for healthy and resilient trunks. Amano shrimp and some armored catfish species are also animals that have comparatively low demands. Before you buy, find out together thoroughly about the needs of the selected species and whether you can keep them together.
Another exciting part of the planning is the design of the underwater world. Here your junior can let off steam creatively. In principle, it doesn’t matter whether a sunken shipwreck can be found, everything stays natural or the scenery is modeled on a children’s series. The only thing that must be taken into account is that the fish should feel good too. There must be enough free swimming space. Refuge should also be available to the animals. It is always advisable to choose a substrate that is as dark as possible. Most ornamental fish get along well with this, while light or brightly colored substrates can cause stress in some species.
Everything is in Place – the Run-in Phase Follows
Everything has been decided, the pool is set up and filled with water, the technology is running. Let’s go buy fish! Stop, please not so fast: no fish can be used yet. First, the first big challenge awaits your child: the run-in phase. It can take up to 4 weeks for the water values to level out in such a way that fish can be kept. This is a real test of patience, especially for children. Talk to your child about it at an early age so that unnecessary disappointment can be avoided and this time can only be used for anticipation. In the meantime, you can already look around for fish together to find a suitable and reputable dealer.
Finally – the Fish Have Moved In
The retraction is done and the fish have moved into the basin. Now everything is perfect. With a little guidance, your child can gradually take on tasks independently. Feeding is especially great for many children. Therefore, too much is quickly fed out of sheer zeal. That harms the fish. First of all, be present at every feeding, later you can portion the food in advance. If your child is a little more experienced, they can feed all by themselves. Mishandling of electrical devices in contact with water can pose a risk. Instruct your child correctly and do not leave them alone at first when it comes to changing the water or the technology!
An Aquarium for Children
With their own aquarium, your child will have the great opportunity to learn a lot and observe animals up close. Looking at the fish has a calming effect and yet always remains interesting. You might even find a fascinating hobby that will last a lifetime. Stand by your child with advice and action when necessary. So you will have a lot of fun in the aquarium together!