Are you considering getting fish as a pet? Keeping fish as pets can be a rewarding hobby, and designing and maintaining your aquarium can be a great creative outlet. Watching your fish swim around is both relaxing and fun. Fish make great pets because they require less hands-on care than other animals.

According to research completed by National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth University and the University of Exeter, people who spend time watching aquariums and fish tanks could see improvements in their physical and mental well-being. The team found that viewing aquarium displays led to noticeable reductions in blood pressure and heart rate, and that higher numbers of fish helped to hold people’s attention for longer and improve their moods.

Keeping fish as first pets teaches children about accountability and responsible pet ownership, both of which are great lessons they will benefit from in the future of pet keeping and personal development.

Which Fish to Choose – Goldfish or Tropical Fish?

Goldfish are a great beginner pet and are inexpensive to buy and keep.

All you need to spend is a couple of minutes each day feeding, and 10 minutes every other week for water changes. Goldfish are tough little creatures and, with the right care, can easily live for 10 or more years. For children, goldfish are an ideal first pet — helping them understand their responsibilities in caring for other creatures. But whatever your age, goldfish make great pets. 

Tropical freshwater fish are some of the most colourful creatures to be found anywhere in the world.

Tropical fish are easy to keep, so you don’t need previous fishkeeping experience to set up and successfully maintain a beautiful tropical aquarium. Many of the popular species are small and don’t need much space, and the variety available to the fishkeeper is breathtaking — there are more than 2,000 species to choose from!

The sheer range of tropical fish species can be bewildering for the beginner. The following list shows just a few favourites that you may wish to consider. All are suitable for a mixed-species or ‘community’ aquarium. When you select a combination of top-, middle- and bottom-dwelling fish, the whole aquarium will be vibrant with activity and colour.

  • Platys (any variety)
  • Bloodfin Tetras
  • Head-and-Tail-Light Tetra
  • Blind Cave Tetras
  • Cherry Barbs
  • Danios (Zebra, Pearl, Longfin)
  • Bettas (NOTE: only one male per aquarium)
  • Corys (Green or Peppered)

You may wish to choose a species that is not listed above. Check whether it is suitable for your aquarium by asking the shop staff the following questions:

  • Is the fish peaceful and suitable for a community aquarium?
  • How large will each fish get? Most fish at the shop will be juveniles. A few popular species grow very large, such as the common Plecostomus Catfish (may reach 45 cm), the giant gourami (45 cm) and the tinfoil barb (30 cm).

Does the fish have any special husbandry requirements (e.g. special water conditions)? Avoid difficult-to-keep fish until you gain expertise.

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