Ever since George was 1 year old our kitchen has been home to Donald our fish. Looking after him is part of my morning routine, I quite enjoy switching on his light and feeding him whilst making my morning coffee. I have noticed recently that our fish tank was looking a little tired and couldn’t help but think that Donald needed a new home. Although, I remember how long it took to set up his first tank so I was a little put off.
Which is why I was delighted when the team at Mars Fishcare got in touch to work with them on a campaign to share how to set up a tank and how to care for fish as a family. We were lucky enough to be taught by API Fish Scientist Gary Jones. He walked us through the proper way to set up a freshwater tank and how to really care for it and the fish.
We learned that having an Aquarium in your home has a calming effect, and apparently keeping fish has also proven effective in reducing stress and improving mental health, in addition to aiding children in subjects like science and mathematics. Amazing right? I guess it makes sense why a fish is often a child’s first pet. With our first pet fish George never really got involved with setting up the tank, cleaning it out or feeding him so this time we wanted to share the responsibility with him. He really enjoyed researching all about a freshwater fish tank, types of fish and how to properly install it.
As I was amazed by what we all learned from Gary I thought I would share…
5 tips for setting up an Aquarium with kids
Choosing a fish tank
The team set us up with this Leddy Aquarium – I much prefer the shape of this tank to others. It is modern and energy efficient with LED lighting. The LED lighting helps to enable your fish and plants to develop their natural colours. As our tank could hold 50 litres of water we knew that it meant we could create a little community of fish rather than Donald being all alone. The API technology recommended to be used with this tank is affordable and so we knew that we would be able to maintain the cleaning schedule without disruption.
Which fish to pop in to your tank
I would recommend chatting to the staff at your local garden centre or aquatic centre. Unless you know your stuff you don’t want to make a mistake. There are many fish that you can choose from including Neon Tetra, Guppies, Mollies, Barbs, Goldfish and Rainbowfish. And depending on the size you could buy a few to live together as a community. I would recommend you having your tank set up just before you head out to buy fish.
What you need to buy to put into your fish tank
In addition to a filter, heater (if needed) and lighting, you will need to consider buying plants, gravel and fish food. All of which you need before setting up your fish tank. We chose artificial plants choosing a mixture of green and bright orange, we opted for a natural stone gravel however I could imagine white working really well. And lastly fish food – we were provided with AQUARIAN Tropical Flake Food. A food that supports healthy immune systems and includes high quality protein sources to support optimal growth.
How to set up a freshwater fish tank
And now to the fun part. We were guided to set up our tank on the surface where it would live. Add the light, filter and heater if required. The decoration is next. We were recommended to rinse the new gravel under the cold tap to remove any trapped dirt or dust before adding it to the aquarium. At this stage I would also add your plant life, rocks and any other decoration. And now to add your water, be careful not to add it too quickly so as to disturb all the gravel.
This next stage is really important, you now need to make the water safe and habitable for your fish. This is the part that really impressed me.
First of all we started with API® STRESS COAT water conditioner. Basically this solution instantly makes water safe for your fish by removing chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals. It also helps to reduce stress in your fish and reinvigorates the slime coating.
Next we added API® AQUARIUM SALT. You use this product when starting a new aquarium and at any water change. It also provides essential electrolytes that fish need to reach peak coloration and vitality.
And lastly we used API® QUICK START. This for me was the miracle product as it allows for instant addition of fish. It works by immediately starting the natural aquarium cycle with beneficial bacteria, which converts toxic ammonia into nitrite, then into harmless nitrate. Genius and certainly prevented George from getting impatient.
And lastly at the point you add your fish you should add another does of stress coat.
Where to locate a fish tank in your home
It is best to avoid window positions or anywhere that receives direct sunlight – we have learned from past experience that this can encourage algae growth. You will also need a main socket nearby for plugging in the lights and filter. You will also need to consider that the Aquarium will be filled with water and therefore heavy so you will need to ensure it is placed on a strong, level base.
I would also recommend somewhere that won’t disturb you or a family pet. We chose our kitchen as I knew that George would wake with the sound of the filter. I was also conscious of the tank and Donald being out of reach of our 16 week old puppy. For us the kitchen is a great space, with the right height units for George to reach onto.
Because of the new products available through API Fishcare, I was amazed by how much easier it was setting up a fish tank. So easy. And super quick. And so, with this new technology and with just a few products, we had our new tank set up in less than an hour. The perfect activity for all the family. Now we just need to decide if the fish tank will stay in our kitchen or move to George’s playroom.
If you are looking for a fun, and easy to maintain hobby or pet for the the whole family, I really would recommend you giving fishkeeping a try! They’re so easy. I really do believe that owning a pet is a great way for kids to feel a sense of responsibility.
And that’s my 5 tips for setting up an Aquarium with kids. For more information on products and how to care for your aquarium visit apifishcare.co.uk who have been a pioneer in the aquatics industry for close to 60 years, developing and manufacturing hundreds of quality products to help people create and enjoy their underwater worlds.