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Should Our Family Get a Fish?

Tessa Jurewicz

Family Pets

Fish are amazing pets! By sheer volume, they are the number one pet in North America. If you are considering adding this pet to your family, here is some information that you may want to consider.

What Type of Fish?

Whether it’s a goldfish in a bowl or a stunning coral beauty angelfish in a saltwater mini reef, your options in fish ownership are tremendous. If you are looking for a low maintenance and less expensive option, freshwater and pond fish are great options. If you are interested in a large variety of brightly colored fish, you may be interested in a saltwater aquarium. If you want to expand and vary your aquarium, you can create a mini reef, complete with corals and invertebrates. Check with your local pet supply or aquarium shop to find out about the options and requirements for these different types of pets.

Pros of Fish Ownership

  • Fish require the least amount of space of all pets. If you are looking for a space-saving pet, fish can be a great option. Many renters must pay large fees for housing cats or dogs, but not so for these aquatic pets.
  • Depending upon the type of fish that you choose to keep, fish can be a very inexpensive option. A goldfish, a bowl, and fish flakes could cost less than a fast food dinner for a family. Typically, smaller freshwater fish are a less expensive pet option, whereas, saltwater fish—depending upon your choice—can get rather pricey. Nonetheless, annual care for fish is often much less than for other pets.
  • Fish tanks can add a soothing element to your home. Quite simply, an aquarium full of fish can look beautiful. It promotes feelings of calm and peacefulness. Fish come in a vast variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Simply watching them for a few minutes a day can help you feel relaxed and connected to nature.
  • Fish require minimal maintenance because they are independent. They do not need you to entertain or exercise them. In fact, they entertain us. Unlike most pets, fish require very little daily care other than feeding (which could range from twice a day up to every three days), changing their water, and cleaning algae from their tank.


Cons of Fish Ownership

  • Despite being low maintenance, fish do require care. While feeding is obvious, water care can be challenging. If you own freshwater fish, you should plan on changing 10-15% of the water weekly, making sure that the water is habitable for the type of fish you own. This includes such things as ensuring correct pH, eliminating chlorine, and maintaining proper temperature. If you own saltwater fish, water maintenance can be much more labor intensive.
  • Fish deaths are common. Fish can die for many reasons, due to improper care, other predatory fish, challenging water conditions, or an unknown underlying disease. Having to go through the process of removing a dead fish and replacing it with another fish can be hard for people, especially children.
  • One downside to owning a sedentary pet like fish is that they can be difficult to move. While moving a small fishbowl can be managed with relative ease and a few possible splashes of water, moving tanks and aquariums can be quite demanding. A 50-gallon tank will weigh more than 600 pounds when full of water.

If you are thinking of adding a pet to your family, fish might be a great place to start. The relative ease of owning and caring for fish make them a popular family pet.

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Tessa Jurewicz

Tessa Jurewicz is an accomplished writer who is passionate about helping parents find joy in raising a family. She has honed her passion while teaching elementary-aged children for fifteen years and earning a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education. She practices discovering joy daily in raising three young children of her own.