Fish make wonderful pets. They don’t ask much of you, they are beautiful and soothing to watch and they’re fun to have around. Even better, you can always manage more fish than you’d ever be able to deal with lots of puppies or kittens at the one time! Enjoying having a pet fish is simple. Take good care of your fish, feed them regularly and give them an interesting environment to live in.
Caring for your fish
1Make sure your tank is big enough to hold your fish. The little betta bowls at pet shops are not big enough even for one fish.
2Take good care of your fish. Happy fish will be more alert, active, and colorful, and will live longer. Use How to take care of your fish as a guide. In particular, research the specific needs of the fish in your tank. Always use a filter to keep things clean, and make sure your fish have enough room.
Feeding your fish
1Feed a varied diet. Proper nutrition is part of good care and will have a marked effect on the color and behavior of your fish. Try to feed breed-specific food (betta pellets for bettas, tropical flakes for tropicals, etc.) mixed with nutritious treats such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, algae wafers and even fresh veggies.
2Research which foods your fish like best before trying anything new. Feed small portions twice a day, and your fish may come to associate you with food, darting out to greet you when you walk by.
Enhancing the Housing
1Create a beautiful environment. A well designed aquarium will not only be pleasant to look at, but decorations and plants will give your fish an interactive habitat.
Broadening your Fish Varieties
1Experiment with different kinds of fish.
- A single betta or goldfish can be beautiful to watch, and these intelligent fish often form bonds with their caretakers. These and other solitary fish like bettas, goldfish, and oscars can often be taught simple tricks, and many will perform entertaining antics without any encouragement.
- A large tank with many community fish is always busy. Small schooling fish, such as danios and tetras, will interact with one another, often chasing each other about. You can mix large groups for dazzling color combinations, or create one large school. When carefully planned, many different kinds of fish can be peacefully kept together, and their individual personalities will delight you.
- Guppies are prolific breeders and come in every color and pattern you can imagine. They do great in a tank of their own and get along with most community fish too.
2Don’t forget about invertebrates. While not strictly fish, small shrimp and apple snails are fascinating to watch. Ghost shrimp have transparent bodies, and when they eat you can see their organs working. These invertebrates will also help keep everything clean, eating algae off the walls, and the leftover food from the tank floor, and should get along with most fish (provided they don’t become dinner!).
Interacting with your Fish
1Be gentle. Never startle your fish or tap on the glass. This will only teach them to hide when you walk by. Try to avoid frequent, large water changes as these can send your fish into shock. Instead, maintain your water chemistry with weekly small (10-25%) water changes.
2Spend time with your fish. Find a comfortable spot nearby and watch your fish. Settle in and let the gentle movement relax you. Fish tanks are great stress relievers, and beautiful living works of art. With time, you will get to know each fish individually, and may even be able to spot illness in time to treat it.
3Train your fish. If you’re patient and your fish is willing, it may be possible to train your fish to do basic tricks.
- Get a flake of fish food and put it next to your fish tank.
- Put your finger in the water.
- Put your wet finger on the flake of food; it should stick there. Make sure your finger is not too wet, just damp.
- Hover your finger just over the water and wait. Your pet fish should jump up and get its food. (Chinese fighting fish are usually happy to do this.)
- If your fish does not jump, it may not be big enough.