Help Getting Started with an Aquarium

Updated on November 09, 2008
L.M. asks from Armada, MI
10 answers

My 2 year old son has really taken an interest in fish lately. He fell in love with my uncle's very elaborate aquarium when we visited. I would like to get him started with a simple set up. I've never had anything other than a fish in a bowl before. Anyone have any ideas for somethng inexpensive and easy to maintain (since I will be doing the maintenance)?

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A.O.

answers from Kalamazoo on

A betta is the easiest kind of fish to have. They are the only ones that can live in a bowl. All you have to do is clean the bowl once a week. Just save the cup that they come in and you can put the fish in the cup while you are cleaning the bowl. They are also more colorful than any other fish. If you get in to other kinds of fish, you have to have filters, air pumps, salt, and all kinds of other things, so the upkeep is a lot more time consuming. You need to have water conditioner for the betta, but that is just a small bottle and lasts a good while. The only other thing that you need is food and there are small pellets (which they like better than flakes) and dried bloodworms or brine shrimp, to give them variety in their diets. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Good luck!

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R.S.

answers from Detroit on

HI L., When my son was younger we bought him a Sponge Bob tank. It was around $20.00 and came with everything we needed except the fish. The pump was a little loud but he loved it. I purchased it at a pet store. We live in Clio and I bought it at Somethings Fishey. We actually still have it but I'm not sure where all the parts are. Just beware of Beta fish, they live forever. Had one in a bowl for almost 3 years. Then as happy as I was to not have to deal with it, I felt sad for the stupid thing.

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C.S.

answers from Detroit on

We got our 3-year-old a fish last Spring. After talking with the staff at the pet store, they recommended a Betta Fish. It has worked out great. We have a 5-gallon tank and Bettas are very clean fish so there is very little maintenance to do. We just change the wanter and clean the tank about once a month. We considered a goldfish but heard that they are not so clean. We got a male since they are the more attractive of the fish but know that males should be kept by themselves since they don't do well sharing a tank with any other fish. I would definitely recommend a Betta. Our little boy loves his "Squishy". Good luck!

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A.H.

answers from Detroit on

I have a beta in an aquarium kit. The kit was about $20 and I have not had to clean it yet! (that is after the beginning of the summer!) :)

My son also has a larger tank in his room (not sure of the gallon size), but this is not bad either. Sometimes you do not have to empty the whole thing to clean or you purchase an algae eating fish to keep it up.

If you go with a fish bowl, you WILL be needing to clean it at least every five days. I feel it stresses the fish (lessening the life span) and it's extra hassle on you.

Keep a gallon jug after you use up the milk: wash it thoroughly and keep water in there for the tank as the water does evaporate. This saves on having to treat the water before using it. (Cap stays off for at least 36 hours for the chlorine to evaporate - this also works well to water your house plants! Mine are growing much better!)

We have had our fish since my son was 2, now he is 4 and still loves them!

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N.B.

answers from Detroit on

Well, it truly depends on how many fish you want to have and how much time you have to maintain it.
For starters (and I just did this for my 3 year old daughter) is we went to petco, purchased a beta complete with a small tank and some beta food. They are great if you only want to have one fish (they get aggressive if you put other fish in there too). Nice thing is, they only need to be fed about every other day, water change about once a week...no heater, filter or air needed. Beta breathe via the surface so they're are really easy.
If you want something a little more complex with a couple of fish, try a freshwater tropical fish tank. You'll need the heater, air bubbler, filter, and they need to be fed once or twice a day, but you'll have more variety on the fish you put in there...all pet stores should be able to tell you whats compatible with what. I would steer away from aggressive fish because they tend to be a little more picky with water temp and such. If you have any questions, please email me (we have a beta tank, a 31 gallon freshwater, a 150 gallon freshwater, and I grew up around salt water tanks...)
N.
[email protected]____.com

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B.B.

answers from Detroit on

When you pick a fish tank set up remember several things.
#1 - you need at least a 5 gal. tank then 1 gal per inch of fish you plan on having in there.
#2. Gold fish are the hariest, but they are also the dirtiest fish you can buy. They are diggers. Go for more of the tetras.
#3. The bigger the tank the easier the care. We have a 90 gal and only clean it and do partial water changes on it about 2 times a year. It is the center piece in our livingroom and our kids STILL love it after 5 years.
#4. Algae eaters/ plecostomuses are a must for any size tank to help with the care of it... But you may have to supplement them with algae tablets until the tank is established.
#5. All fish grow.
The fish store should be able to tell you the ending average size of the different breeds. (tetras stay smaller)
Some fish are agressive and will eat your other fish.
If possible go with a minimum of a 10 gal tank.
We never bothered with under gravel filters. A good (buy mid range, not cheapest) flow filter works great. Get a rock vacuum... It sucks the poop and goop out of the rocks while doing your water change... 2 jobs, at 1 time.
We love our air stones. It helps aerate the water and they're BUBBLES!!!
If your uncle has fish experience maybe ask him for recomendations of a good fish place. (If the fish are few or not to your liking, go somewhere else or come back after they get more fish in.)
Good luck and would type more, but I gotta go...

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M.B.

answers from Detroit on

If I were you, as far as inexpensive, I would check out craigslist, there is always aquarium supplies on there, and its way cheaper than in the stores. Always cleaning an aquarium is a little work, but I love mine and so do the kids!! Good luck!

Shelly

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M.M.

answers from Lansing on

I would agree with most readers a beta fish is the easiest. I would be carefully buying a start tank. I fell into that trap a couple years ago, Got one from pet smart for about $50.00 the problem is the tank did not come with all the stuff. So by the time we added decoration a filter and air pump and then chemicals and cleaning supplies. It cost another $50.00. Than the tank said not to use a book shelf because it was not stable enough. So the stand cost another 79.99 plus tax. My son loves it. The only thing I would recommended is setting the tank up for about 2wks before adding any fish. It needs time to stabilize. Otherwise the fish will die. We had this happen and it was very upsetting for my son. except for that we had our tank for about 1 1/2yrs. and things have gone great. It is very easy to maintain. We do water changes about twice a month. They recommended every week but the tank has been doing great with water changes every other week. Any other question you welcome to email. I'm not sure what area you live in but we get all our fish from a store called preues in old town of Lansing. they are very helpful.

A.W.

answers from Kalamazoo on

I would start with the fish in the bowl. My kids lost interest in their fish within 3 mo. If you look at a pet store, though, they should have small aquarium kits with a pump and everthing that you need all in one. Make sure you ask around at the pet store which fish are the easiest to take care of and if they can live together.

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W.H.

answers from Detroit on

You could get an inexpensive 5 gallon tank. It would be about 50 bucks for everything you need including the fish. We started out with tetras. Theyre like rainbow colored and look like goldfish. They didnt require much maintenance at all and I cleaned the tank about once a month. Hope this helps.

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