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How a pet fish can be a lesson in responsibility

I've been a pet lover my entire life, but made my passion a profession in 2006. I closely follow pet lifestyle trends, industry news and assist companies with product development.

Fish make an excellent first family pet. They teach children about responsibility, offer proven health benefits and much more.

Are you looking to expand your family with a pet to help teach your children about responsibility? While getting a pet is super exciting, it's also an important decision that requires a lot of consideration and thought. First, you should ensure that you have the time and space to properly cater to your new friend. A reality of owning pets is that they can be both messy and expensive, so making sure your household is ready for the additional expense, work and time associated with a pet is key.

A great option for a first pet is a fish. Fish can make entertaining companions and the hobby also provides a great introduction on responsibility for children. In my opinion, fish actually make the perfect "starter pet" for a variety of reasons: Generally speaking, fish are easier and less expensive to feed and care for than other pets. While they do require a proper environment and knowledgeable caretakers, it can feel more manageable than bringing other types of pets into the house for the first time, like dogs or cats.

Plus, it's been proven that pet fish offer many benefits. For example, simply the act of watching your fish swim can be a very tranquil and calming experience, and is even known to reduce stress. Keeping fish has also been connected to helping kids focus better, and achieve better grades in school by serving as a wonderful real-life example to learn about underwater ecosystems.

Having a pet fish will teach children that they are needed and important to someone smaller than them, helping them look out for others and to be gentle and kind.

Another added bonus is that fish aquariums of any size can be a beautiful addition to any room in your home. I recommend starting with a small aquarium with two or three more vigorous varieties of fish such as goldfish. Goldfish are great pets as they live for several years and are very low maintenance. It's important to take the time to research the best environment where your fish will thrive. Most importantly, know the difference between an aquarium and a fish bowl. Aquariums help oxygenate the water in the tank, creating a prime environment for the majority of fish. There are many affordable options for aquariums too. For example, the affordable Nano Tank from Aquatop is an all-in-one system is perfect for beginners; it is equipped with a filtration system with durable bio-plates for beneficial bacteria populations and replaceable carbon enhanced filter pads. The energy-efficient LED clip-on lighting provides a nice shimmer without the high-cost or heat transference. Plus the compact, modern design fits on dressers, desktops or any small nook.

Decorating your tank and creating a special place for your new pets can be very fun and exciting experience to share with your children too. From plants to shipwrecks to colorful backgrounds and more, you can design your very own piece of art. Click here for some great aquarium decorations to get the inspiration started.

When choosing what type of fish you want, get the family involved. Make a trip to the library or conduct a little internet search to see which fish you think you will like best. Some types of fish even interact with their owners, are playful and can be trained to do tricks. So, whether you are into a traditional goldfish, a colorful beta fish or something a little more exotic, it's important to research the species and plan your accessories accordingly. For more information about fish accessories, click here.

Do you and your family have a pet fish? What tips would you recommend to first time fish owners? Leave a comment below.

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