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Toddlers - where is your fish tank/what is it on?

(16 Posts)
Fresh01 Tue 16-Oct-12 20:37:29


Looking for some advice as we venture into our first pet experience! DC1 is keen to get a fish tank for her 7th birthday at the end of January. I am just trying to work out what type of tank/location of tank will be most suitable as the kids tanks seem very small and only suit one or two fish.

My current rambling thoughts are:
- Where the tank goes as it will get most interest from the kids in the kitchen/sitting/dining room which is all open plan with no existing unused surface space that isn't next a window. Is it correct that it is not a good idea to put fish tanks near a window?
- It could go in a corner but we would need to get a tank on a stand or something to put the tank on. How stable are tanks on a stand, given I will have a 1 year old and 3 year old around it?
- The tank will need a lid on it to save the fish from DC3 "adding" things into the tank!

Although the tank would be for DC1's birthday, DC3's birthday is the week before hers and he will only be three so I am considering getting him less for his birthday (4 kids and just had x-mas so won't be short on toys)and spending a bit more on a larger tank that they could all enjoy over the coming years. Is a tank around 100 litres too much for complete beginners to handle?

mrscumberbatch Wed 17-Oct-12 00:42:23

You're right, fish tanks away from the window and away from direct sunlight. Also away from sources of heat.

How big a tank do you want?

We have a small starter tank with a lid- it homes 2 or 3 fancy goldfish varieties. It also has a filter so obviously needs to be near a plug. Our sits on top of a console table in the hall.

I'd consider how much you want to spend and start small. It could be an expensive fad interest that they pay no attention to and you're left with a massive tank in your house.

imperialstateknickers Wed 17-Oct-12 00:50:57

We were presented with a fishtank by demented SIL for Christmas a couple of years ago. And the fish to go in it for a birthday in January.

Even a small tank is un-movable when it's full of water and fish, so you need to be absolutely certain that it won't need to move in the foreseeable future. Think about redecorating and re-carpeting. Wish I had.

You need a lid anyway to keep dust out, never mind the dcs and the cat.

Frankly fish are very very boring. dds haven't bothered with them for months, they'd die if I didn't look after them.

Stick to mammals tend to be more interesting.

imperialstateknickers Wed 17-Oct-12 00:52:57

To be serious, get a goldfish set-up if she's that into it, doesn't need electrics, can go in her room, obviously keep an eye on it for the sake of goldfish welfare.

MamaPizza Wed 17-Oct-12 06:37:33

Some bad advice here re goldfish and small / unfiltered tanks. Goldfish grow at least 12 inches and one needs a tank of 180 litres, better a pond. Keeping them in tiny conditions will means they get stunted (organs still grow, body doesn't) and die a slow and painful death.

What I suggest is:
- Set up a tropical tank, all you need to add is a heater.
- 100 litres is a great starter size. Don't go below 60 litres.
- If you buy a tank and stand together (such as a Juwel / Fluval or Fishbox tank) they will be stable and a child won't be able to topple them over.

Fish are great pets, it's a shame some people don't see it this way. DS (3 years) loves all his fish and looks after them very well. He sits next to them for snack times and has a chat with his friends. He watches the babies (got some breeding pairs) and sees them grow. He learns a lot through fish.

If you decide to go for tropical, you can get a nice mix of fish.
A shoaling fish: any of those in a group of ten - neon tetra, ember tetra, harlequin rasboras... (there are loads!)
A bottom dwelling fish: maybe a group of six cories
A centrepiece fish, or some bigger fish: dwarf gouramis, rams, kribensis or livebearers such as platies
And then something like an apple snail, shrimps, otos etc..

There are so many possibilities.

I don't know if you have seen yet, but you need to cycle your tank for 6-8 weeks. Google "fishless cycling ammonia" and you will find some results. Or better, if you find someone with mature media (the sponges in the filter) you can be instantly cycled.

Any questions, please ask. I got 12 fish tanks up and running now, I'm breeding fish and I love it. The whole family is involved and it is a great hobby. Obviously you don't have to be as crazy as I am, but one fish tank alone would be a wonderful addition to any home.

EauRouge Wed 17-Oct-12 08:02:45

What MamaPizza said grin

mrscumberbatch Wed 17-Oct-12 12:14:28

Mamapizza-Just to confirm, my goldfish are fancy goldfish varieties and so are very small.I did specify that in my previous post grin

mrscumberbatch Wed 17-Oct-12 12:15:47

Also please take pictures of your house so that we can marvel at your many fishtanks. It must be like living in an aquarium!

EauRouge Wed 17-Oct-12 13:39:21

Fancy goldfish do still get very large- about the size of a tennis ball (with added fins). A pair of fancy goldfish need about 30 gallons to live healthily and they are very delicate because of all the inbreeding so it's so important to give them the right environment.

MamaPizza Wed 17-Oct-12 17:10:23

Fancy goldfish still get big as EauRouge says. How big is the tank yours are in?

Yes, my house looks like the sealife centre, free day trip every day. Well, not free, it costs a lot in electrics hmm. Will get some pics up by the weekend if people are interested.

EauRouge Wed 17-Oct-12 17:41:21

I'm interested! Have you got a dedicated room or are they spread all over the house?

MamaPizza Wed 17-Oct-12 18:21:04

All over the house. I can't believe how many we got now. It was just one (1!) a year ago. Will put something together on photobucket later, not necessarily most recent pics, but just to show the different tanks.

Fresh01 Wed 17-Oct-12 20:51:23

Thanks for the comments.

Wow MamaPizza I'm amazed you went from one tank to 12 in a year : ) Your advice has been great and if you don't mind I probably will ask you more questions as I find out more about this. I had read about tank cycling having to happen but that was as far as I knew so will go investigate google. The fish combo you noted sounds like it would give an interesting tank.

DC1 did ask for it last year for her birthday but as it was when DC4 was due she got told "no" as it was one too many thing for me to cope with last year. Her interest hasn't gone over the year and I think she would be very keen to be involved with looking after the tank and keeping the water just so.

Good point about tanks being hard to move once filled...... I have a corner in mind now.

Will be interested to see MamaPizza's photos : ) Thanks again all.

Fresh01 Fri 04-Jan-13 20:33:33

Well I talked DH round and we worked out a stable, safe place for it and we now have a 46 litre Fluval Edge. The three older kids and DH are all engrossed in it and it doesn't even have fish in it yet! DD1 is very excited!

So we have to wait to get fish but any suggestions on a good combination? All DD1 wants is some shiny Tetra's and has pointed to others she likes the look of.

Have found a good independent fish shop and he has said get 6 tetra's then a few weeks after add a few more and build up slowly.

EauRouge Fri 04-Jan-13 21:26:07

Hmm, can't say I agree with the fish shop's advice. 46 litres is about the smallest tank that you can safely keep fish in. Also the Fluval edge has the problem of pretty much no surface area so very low oxygen level in the water. Personally I wouldn't keep any fish in it at all but if you can't return it then I would drop the water level by 1cm so that there's a gap between the surface of the tank and the glass and then just keep one siamese fighting fish OR 6 neon tetras (yes, that's it).

Sorry if that comes as a shock, fish tank manufacturers are unscrupulous bastards who only think of profits and not of fish welfare. Am being more honest than usual due to a couple of large vodkas grin

Don't forget that you need to do a fishless cycle before you add any fish. This can take 4-6 weeks. Adding fish before the tank is properly ready can result in illness or death of fish. Shops that are stuck in the dark ages may tell you to cycle the tank using fish or tell you to add magic bacteria products that cost money and don't work. Ignore them and get some household ammonia to cycle the tank with and then just wait. Full instructions are here.

TinyDancingHoofer Sat 05-Jan-13 00:05:05

Get some shrimp, they come in all different colours, cherry, bumblebee, black, blue, yellow. They are quite fun to watch and they breed quite easily which is fun for DCs to try and spot the babies.

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