Should I Get A Fish
Should I Get A Fish
Marc Grover (Professional Aquarist) gives expert video advice on: Do fish make good pets?; How much time and energy do fish need? and more...
Do fish make good pets?
What's really great about them is that they're a lot different than your typical pet. Obviously you can't take them out and walk them or pet them or what have you, but they have a very tranquilizing effect on their owner and anyone who comes into contact with them. It is a little bit more involved than dealing with a cat or a dog in that you have to have set up an environment for them as opposed to them adapting to your environment.
How much time and energy do fish need?
Once you have the system set up, and that process can be anywhere from an hour to an all day event depending on the size and type of the system. But once you have the system set up, you're going to spend most of your time watching and enjoying your fish. And that's as much time as you want to spend doing it. On a day to day basis, you're really only going to have to feed your fish. That's about a five to ten minute time requirement. As far as maintenance goes, there's a protocol you have to go through for cleaning your tank, either every week, every two weeks or every four weeks, again this depends on the size of the system you have, whether it's fresh water or salt water, whether you have living coral or fish only, and some other factors would come into consideration. So there is a time commitment. It's different than other animals. Again, you don't have to walk it every day, you don't have to spend a certain amount of time every single day with it from a maintenance standpoint. But you will end up spending a lot of time from an enjoyment standpoint, just watching and observing your fish.
What are the costs to consider before I get a fish?
You have to look at how much physical space you have to put your aquarium, you have to look at what I term your 'comfortable budget'. And that's not necessarily what you can afford, but it's what you comfortably want to spend, and then you have to look at the type of fish you really want to get into, whether it's a fresh water tank, fresh water plant tank, salt water fish, salt water coral. All those things have different price points, different size requirements, different equipment requirements. What I'll do is, I'll take those three basic criteria, put them together with what you want and see if I can make it all work. You can spend as little as $100.00 to start a fresh water tropical system, you can spend as much as $25,000 and get what I have, what you sitting behind me, and every price point in between. You can spend $5.00 and get a Beta, so there's almost every budget range out there that makes it viable for you to get the fish.
Should I get a fish if I travel or work a lot?
You can. You just need to establish what you're going to do for feeding that fish or your many fish that you have when you're gone. There are slow-dissolving tablets that work relatively inefficiently, but they do function if it's only going to be a day or two. There are some really nice automatic feeders out on the marketplace that will work for almost every type of fish tank. When you get into more sophisticated aquariums, like reef tanks with living corals and what have you, if you're going to be gone for more than a few days, what you need is to have someone you trust be able to come into the house and perform some very minor things, like putting in liquid foods or frozen foods for your fish. It's very easy to teach them, and if you're gone on vacation and you have someone coming in to do anything, whether it's pick up mail or feed your dog, they can easily lump that into their duties when they come to help you out with your house.
What is a good age to get my child a fish?
You have to gauge your own child. As far as the maintenance standpoint, anyone under five years old will have a hard time probably with the commitment to the maintenance, the water changing, the scrubbing, and what have you. As far as from an enjoyment standpoint, almost any age is going to be great. If they are going to be responsible for the aquarium, I would probably say seven years old or older, generally speaking. You have to gauge your own child and see where their aptitude is for this particular hobby. Kids will enjoy it, all the way down to 18 months because of the colors, the movement, and the tranquil effect which is very soothing for kids.