There’s nothing more exciting than bringing home your very first pet. Some families add a furry or feathered friend, but we want to focus on something a little more, well, wet. Yep, more than one in ten Australian households keep fish1, so what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in (fish pun absolutely intended!).
With beautiful colours, fascinating patterns and hypnotic moves, fish are a fin-tastic pet. They provide a relaxing ambience and they’re dreamily silent too, which can be something to consider if you have a high volume family! Ah, the serenity.
Fish are perfect for kids
Kids love fish as they’re fun to watch, easy to feed and it’s awesome to make up names (that’s half the fun, right?). Fish teach children responsibility too and can be given age-appropriate care tasks. They can help to change the water, put in the water conditioner or sprinkle some flakes (as long as they’re supervised, so they don’t overfeed!).
Choosing your first fish friends
So what type of fish? Solo dweller or schooling fish? A mixture of species? There’s so much choice! Petbarn has a great selection of live fish that you can browse online and shop in-store. The first question you need to answer is cold or warm water?
Cold water tank: Nearly half of all fish are freshwater species that live in rivers, lakes and wetlands. Many adapt beautifully to life in an unheated tank. Goldfish are a perfect go-to, but did you know there are over 200 breeds? Popular varieties include comets, fantails, black moors or shubunkins. Other hardy cold water aquarium fish include white clouds.
Warm water tank: Here’s a fun fact… most tropical tank fish are freshwater species too! Tropical refers to the water temperature, while freshwater refers to water salinity. Breeds such as danios, barbs, guppies and platys are great tropical fish options if you have a heated tank.
Selecting a tank
Where will your fish live in your home? Finding the right location (that’s not exposed to direct sunlight or wind) will help you work out tank size and how many fish you can happily sustain. Do you have room for an impressive freestanding aquarium or do you prefer a smaller tank?
Recommended fish tanks
Let’s get equipped
Stock up on all the fish supplies you need at Petbarn. Check these must-have items off your list:
- Fish tank (glass or acrylic with lid or hood)
- Fish stand
- Gravel cleaner
- Air pump
- Filter (to attach, if not built-in)
- Heater (with tropical fish)
- Lights (if desired, to highlight fish and grow plants)
- Water conditioner
- Water testing kit (to test pH, ammonia, GH, nitrites and nitrates)
- Fish net
- Plants (real or artificial)
- Ornaments (kids love aquatic statues, bridges, treasure chests, sunken ships, mermaids etc. to make it a watery wonderland)
Setting up your tank
You should operate your filled tank for about a week before adding your fish (this is called cycling your tank) and then check to see if the water conditions are just right. Petbarn can help with free water testing.
Bringing your fish home
Once you’ve brought your new pets home, float the unopened bag with your fish for 5-10 minutes to equalise the temperatures. Using your net, gently scoop up and release fish into their new home (NOTE: Don’t add the bag water into their tank).
Maintaining your new finned friends
Keeping your pets healthy is all about the water! Change 25% of the water every month (and top up the water conditioner). Never do a full water change as that will remove good bacteria that’s helping to break down the fish waste. Test the water every couple of weeks, and keep an eye out for algae which you can remove weekly if it builds up. Use your gravel vacuum to remove waste regularly too (once a week would be optimal). Tank filtration is super important too, as debris and toxins can build up so make sure to change your filter as per the instructions. An ideal aquatic environment will keep your fish swimming for a long time to come.
Enjoy your fish!
Stress-relieving, beautiful to watch, great for kids… it’s no wonder people love their fin-tastic family additions. If you’re looking for a first pet, fish can really make a splash. Ask at your local Petbarn store if you’d like to know more.