This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Mars
Fish Care and the API brand.
Looking for an easy beginners pet for your kids? Why not try setting up a freshwater aquarium?
I have fond memories as a kid keeping fish in my room. The whole experience was memorable, setting up the tank with my mom, naming the fish, watching it swim around as I went to sleep.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend a webinar with Mars Fishcare all about caring for freshwater fish in an aquarium. I’m so excited to share with you all I learned and a few clips from the webinar in this post, so you can help your kids be successful at owning their own pet fish!
One of the things I learned in the webinar was just how good it is to have a freshwater tank for your kids.
Pet fish actually have lots of benefits for kids.
- Fish can reduce stress– The sound of the water flowing from the filter, the calmness of looking at the water and fish swimming around all contribute to lowering stress.
- Tanks make a great night light– Fish tanks may be beneficial to helping kids who are afraid of the dark. Tanks make great night lights and watching the fish swim can be peaceful as I mentioned above.
- Aquariums teach responsibility– Your kids will learn a lot of responsibility taking care of their fish. Fish aren’t too much work, but feeding and cleaning do take some responsibility, which makes this pet a great starter for teaching your child responsibility.
- Freshwater tanks teach science and math– Your kids will learn math skills when they help you measure out the chemicals and food your fish need. They are also great to teach your kids science, as your kids can learn about the different types of fish in the tank and their needs.
What do I need to set up a freshwater tank?
Setting up a freshwater tank for your pet fish is actually really easy, but you will need some things to get started.
- Aquarium– Of course you can’t have freshwater fish unless you have an aquarium. For beginners a 10 gallon tank is great.
- Filter & Heater– Make sure your tank is equipped with a filter and heater. Tropical fish will need a heater to survive since their water needs to be between 76-78 degrees.
- Gravel– You will need gravel to go along the bottom of your tank.
- Fish Net, Aquarium Gravel Cleaner, and Bucket– Make sure you have a fish net should need be and a gravel cleaner & bucket for water changes.
Must Have API Products: The best products to get your tank ready and maintain it come from API by MARS Fishcare. These are really must haves for your tank health. Read about each product you should purchase for your aquarium below.
- API Stress Coat– This makes tap water safe for your fish before you add them to your tank and when you do water changes. It removes chlorine and metals from the water that might be harmful to your pet fish.
- API Quick Start– This also helps make the water safe before you add your fish by adding beneficial bacteria and converting ammonia to nitrate, which will help prevent loss of fish in your tank.
- API Stress Zyme– Maintain your tank with Stress Zyme to reduce sludge in your tank and keep your fish healthy.
- API Accu Clear– Great for clearing up cloudy tanks making it easier for your filter to function.
- API Aquarium Salt– Your fish will breathe easier with aquarium salt, which is made with evaporated sea salt. It helps gill function and should be used before you put your new fish in the tank and during water changes.
- API 5-in-1 Test Strips– Dip this strip into your tank to see if the water is healthy for your fish!
- API Tropical Flake Food– API’s tropical flake food has been tested for nutrition and the health of your fish, made with less ammonia than most fish foods. It is great for all community freshwater fish you will have in your tank.
How do I set up a freshwater tank?
Gather your tank, bucket, gravel, heater, filter, stress coat, aquarium salt, and quick start and get ready to set up your tank.
Here are the steps to setting up your fish tank:
- Rinse gravel and any decorations you have in tap water to remove any dust or dirt. You can do this in a kitchen colander.
- Add gravel to your tank.
- Make sure you place your tank where you want it to be before adding water. The water will make your tank very heavy!
- Add water to your tank, but not quite to the top. Remember you still have to add decorations and other tank equipment.
- Place decorations where you’d like them.
- Add the filter and heater to your tank and plug them in.
- Check that the temperature in the tank is 76-78 degrees for your freshwater community fish.
- Add API Aquarium Salt, API Stress Coat, and API Quick Start according to instructions to get the water ready to add your fish.
- It should take about 2 weeks after adding your fish to have a balanced tank.
IMPORTANT – DO NOT overfeed your fish. It’s very easy to overfeed fish especially for kids. Use the cap to add a small amount of flakes your fish can eat in a short period of time.
How can I maintain my freshwater tank?
Your freshwater tank should be low maintenance care if you follow the following steps!
- Do a 25% water change every 2 weeks. Use your aquarium gravel cleaner and bucket to carefully take 25% of the water out of your tank, cleaning the gravel a bit as you go.
If you do a 25% water change every 2 weeks your tank should stay clean and you should never have to completely empty your tank.
- When replacing water after a water change add API Aquarium Salt, API Quick Start, API Stress Zyme, and API Stress Coat according to instructions to ensure that fish stay healthy and the new water is safe for them.
- Monitor temperature to ensure it stays 76-78 degrees.
- Every 4-6 weeks change the filter cartridge, so your tank has a clean filter.
- Use API Tropical Flake food to help maintain the health of fish and decrease harmful ammonia in tank.
- Use API 5-in-1 test strips to check the health of your tank water periodically.
- Use API Accu Clear when the tank starts looking cloudy to help clear things up.
- Don’t overfeed– Overfeeding your fish can quickly lead to a polluted and dirty tank. This can be harmful to your fish. Although they always look hungry, they don’t need to be fed more than 2 times per day in a very small amount they can eat quickly.
- Ask Questions– If you ever have any concerns about your fish or tank call the 800 number found on your API product bottles. (1-800-842-0659). Someone from MARS Fishcare will be available to help answer any questions regarding the health of your aquarium, how to care for your fish, or any other fish or tank related questions.
- Visit APIFishcare.com for a wealth of resources about caring for your fish and maintaining your tank.
What kinds of fish are best for my freshwater tank?
When looking for fish for your freshwater tank you should ask about community fish that live well together.
We chose a Cory Catfish, 2 Blue Mickey Mouse Platys, 2 Sunrise Guppies, and a few ghost shrimp for our tank.
In a 10 gallon tank you should be able to have about 10 small fish or 2-3 larger fish.
Choose fish from these 2 categories:
- Mid-Swimming Fish– These fish will swim in the middle of the tank and include Tetras, Mollys, Platys, Danios, etc.
Watch out, these may breed. The males are usually more colorful and females less.
- Bottom Feeders (Scavengers)- These fish will help keep your tank clean by scavenging the bottom of the tank for food that wasn’t eaten.
Cory Catfish are the most recommended bottom feeder for efficiency. But, you can also choose an ottocinclus or snail, which aren’t as efficient.
Teaching Kids about Fishkeeping
Your kids will be so happy with their new pet fish aquarium. But, there are some things you should teach them about taking care of their new friends.
- Observe them while they feed their fish. You can sprinkle a small amount of food in the lid for them to feed, since many kids will dump large amounts of food in the tank, which can be harmful.
- Keep food up high, out of reach of children, so they aren’t tempted to overfeed their fish pets.
- Teach your smaller children to be gentle with the fish tank. Tapping or hitting the glass might scare the fish.
- Talk to your kids about the different species of fish in your aquarium. Learn about fish care together and make it fun!
- DO use your fish tank as a great calming night light for your kids or a peaceful place to do homework next to.
Did you set up a freshwater community tank with your kids? What kind of fish did you get? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!