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Old 03-28-2006, 03:31 PM   #1
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Aquarium + toddler = ok?

NOTE: This original post isn't too pertinant anymore... see page 2 of the thread instead.

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Hi!

I have an 18 months old boy who likes dogs, cats and every pet there is at the pet store. He's also facinated by the fishtanks over there. Since there's no way we'd ever own a dog or cat (annoying when you leave on vacation, they mess up hardwood floors and leather furniture, ...) we thought that we should maybe get a fish tank.

Two years ago we almost pulled the trigger on a salt water tank because my wife and I are fascinated by these but the cost involved is high and we're not sure if we'd actually like to maintain a tank so freshwater seems like the way to go this time. Based on what I've read, a 20 tank should do the job to get started.

I don't think that my son could cause a problem to the fish tank. It's quite the opposite actually, I'm hoping that he could slowly learn to care for these little creatures. Am I naive and will he simply wreak havoc on the aquarium like all toddlers do but I'm simply unaware of it?? 8O

Is moving from freshwater to saltwater a normal learning curve that pretty much everyone is doing? The saltwater fishes look so much nicer based on what I've seen in stores!

Oh, I almost forgot: we'll be moving into a new house in ~november. Should I simply wait until then to get an aquarium?

Thanks!

Martin
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Old 03-28-2006, 03:36 PM   #2
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I have a 55g aquarium and a 20 month old son and he absolutely LOVES our tank. I think it is a wonderful learning tool to teach them about fish and nature. I would like to warn you that even freshwater tanks are alot of work. You would need to do regular water changes, water tests and if you want real plants, it will be even more work. I would advise starting with a freshwater tank. Even though fish tanks are alot of work, they are worth every minute of it. As far as waiting till you move, that is strictly up to you. I moved my 55g and all of the fish, so it can be done, although it can be a pain and you do need to make sure you do TONS of research before starting any tank.
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Old 03-28-2006, 03:43 PM   #3
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Hey Mart242,

I am no expert, simply been in the hobby for about a year and 1/2!, But going freshwater is a good begining, and cheaper I think than saltwater because of equiptment and specific habitat requirements.
If I was you, I would wait till moved to the new house. Then, find a good steady, solid, no opennings stand for the tank. Futhermore I would keep it in a room where only when you or your wife are around your kid would only then be able to have access to the room and the fishes. I'm sure you have thought of that, just making sure. A nice 20 gal tank will pack a very nice load of pounds heavy enought to break anyones bones in a sec if it would fall. Sorry. kinda trauma here with kids and fish tanks...
Anyway, it would probably be a very good educational and helping situation for your kid to have a fish tank and see his father and mom taking care of it, till he is old enogh to take care of it himself.

Good luck, im sure other people here would give you better advice than me, just hope mine helped too!
Good luck... and remember...stand for fish tank with no OPENNINGs! not even drawrs! LOL
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Old 03-28-2006, 03:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MiamiFishy
I would keep it in a room where only when you or your wife are around your kid would only then be able to have access to the room and the fishes.
Hmmm.... we were thinking of putting it in the living room. That way we could see it more often than if it was hidden in a room. It's not like a 200 pounds tank will fall easily right?

We've never been too worried about our son, at ~8 months old he was climbing up and down stairs... we've never put plastic caps on power outlets or barriers to restrict his movements. We're raising him like in the good old days of lawn darts and big wheels!




As for tank maintenance, I know that it's still "a lot" of work. Cleaning, testing, changing water, but we're aware of this so no surprise. At least the fish won't scratch the leather couch, **** on the floor and stink the whole house because he peed behind the couch! :P
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Old 03-28-2006, 03:50 PM   #5
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Waiting till after you move would be best. It would save you the hassle of moving a tank.

When it comes to very young children, you need to keep some things in mind with aquariums. You don't want the child to be able to reach the top of the tank to avoid the child putting anything into the tank as well as keeping the hot lights away from the child's reach. Make sure you are comfortable that the child understands not to bang anything on the tank...not even soft toys. They may not know the difference between the damage a hard substance can make compared to the soft one. Of course keep all electrical components of the tank away from the child's reach as usual.

I find it easier with kids, to start with a betta tank that is small enough to keep away from the child's reach, but easily seen. This is something you can do before you move. It can allow you to 'precondition' your child to the rules when you do put together a larger aquarium.

Kids do the darnest things and it's always for good intentions, but they can be devastating to an aquarium. When I was 4 years old, I killed all the fish in both my uncle's tanks just by feeding them...but I fed each tank (10 gallons each) half a can of flake...LOL. My very first lesson in keeping fish...Do Not Overfeed!! LOL. I thought I was doing something good. I felt so bad when I saw all of his fish dead...and I took his favorite angel and hid her in a ceramic container behind the couch, so he wouldn't see her floating dead. She was found after about a day or two later. LOL. Eeeewww...what a stench!!
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Old 03-28-2006, 03:52 PM   #6
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i've had 3 boys grow up around tanks and my youngest are twins at 28 months ... the biggest problem I have with them is they are interested in all of my fish food and plant fertilizers. I think as long as you keep the chemicals and stuff away from the kids, the worst you'll likely run into is them banging on the glass (or dropping stuff into the water if they can reach).

Just be sure that your child can't pull the tank off of whatever stand it is on while you're not looking (depending on your child's curiousity). A 20g tank full of water could probably hurt someone if it fell on them.
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Old 03-28-2006, 03:56 PM   #7
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I have to agree with keeping the top of the tank out of reach. My 4 year old neice thought my brothers fish needed a bath so she put a ton of dish soap in the water and after that she decided they were thirsty so she dumped in some milk. Needless to say, the fish did not survive this and they no longer own an aquarium. I think as long as you have a very sturdy stand, the odds of the tank falling on your child(especially when full of water) are slim to none, but better safe than sorry.
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Old 03-28-2006, 04:01 PM   #8
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Instead of a typical aquarium stand, a good sturdy desk would be harder to pull down or knock over. You can put the conditioners, other additives, meds, food, etc. all in the drawers and the drawers can be locked.
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Old 03-28-2006, 04:18 PM   #9
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I find it easier with kids, to start with a betta tank that is small enough to keep away from the child's reach, but easily seen. This is something you can do before you move.
What size would you recommend? Are you talking about a simple fishbowl or a tank with filter and all the equipment but just smaller (~10 gallon?)
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Old 03-28-2006, 04:26 PM   #10
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A 5 gallon eclipse sytem could be a good start.
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Old 03-28-2006, 04:27 PM   #11
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Please, Please, Please never, ever put ANY fish into a fishbowl. They are torture chambers. The smallest I would go with would be a 2 1/2g tank with a heater. A 10 gallon would be great!! A betta would really thrive in there and they are pretty cheap. You can get the whole setup for 50 bucks at walmart. And with a 10gallon you can put a couple of other smaller fish in there also, or maybe a snail and ghost shimp.
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Old 03-28-2006, 04:31 PM   #12
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Please, Please, Please never, ever put ANY fish into a fishbowl. They are torture chambers.
Don't worry! I'd never do that to them! I just wanted to be sure of what he meant.

I'll go take a look at walmart and big Al, the two are near my house. It looks like a 10 gallon would be a great start. I'll also do lots of reading before buying.
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Old 03-28-2006, 04:38 PM   #13
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There are some very nice aquariums in the 2-3 gallon size that would work well for a betta. While a betta can survive without a heater or filter, they will do much better with them.

Here are several links to aquariums that would work well.
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...5&N=2004+62761
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...7&N=2004+62761
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...8&N=2004+62761
Plus one of these 25 Watt Heaters.
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...&N=2004+113767

You could probably set up a 10 Gallon for the same or less, but one of these would be much easier to move come November.
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Old 03-28-2006, 04:39 PM   #14
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Good Luck!!
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Old 03-28-2006, 05:12 PM   #15
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I have an 18 month old daughter and she just loves my our 46G tank. Her face always lights up at the mere mention of seeing some "PEESH!". I'm sure your son will love it as well. Don't expect the kid to be able to take care of a ank properly for a while though. I was about 10 or 11 before I could properly take care of my families old Cichlid tank.
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Old 03-28-2006, 06:22 PM   #16
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We're raising him like in the good old days of lawn darts and big wheels!
How did we ever survive those days?
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:11 PM   #17
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What size would you recommend? Are you talking about a simple fishbowl or a tank with filter and all the equipment but just smaller (~10 gallon?)
I think a little five gallon would be good. Eclipse or what I think is called Little Lagoon. They come with filter and light. Even filled with water, you might be able to move the tank if needed without draining it. Really cute little sets. You could use a bowl for a betta, but allow him enough room to swim happily...half gallon bowl the smallest, but I think it'd be too small for the little guy to see up on a shelf or desk. Oh...it's by All Glass and called a Mini Bow. The Little Lagoons are 2.5 gallons. The Mini Bows come in 5 and 7 gallon. Check them out at the following link...

http://www.all-glass.com/products/aquariums/index.html
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:24 PM   #18
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Am I naive and will he simply wreak havoc on the aquarium like all toddlers do but I'm simply unaware of it??
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Futhermore I would keep it in a room where only when you or your wife are around your kid would only then be able to have access to the room and the fishes
if your child is properly supervised like any child should be, you won't have a problem with anything.

Matty
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:49 PM   #19
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I got my tank for my son's second birthday after seeing Nemo. He is now going to be five and he has never touched it. Oh yeah, once he added a half a jar of shrimp pellets and killed a tin foil barb. Oops. That was the last of that. It was my fault. I was letting him feed them and the phone rang. He kept doing it and I had no idea.

Anyway, I think it is a good lesson for a child to learn to watch you feed something and to take care of it. If you are really interested in it, I wouldn't waste money on a tiny tank that you will want to expand on in a month.
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:56 PM   #20
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if your child is properly supervised like any child should be, you won't have a problem with anything.
I second that!!

Another idea in teaching your child the do's and don'ts of what they can and cannot do around an aquarium is to take your child to the pet store or a LFS and browse around. When the child starts to bang on the tank, immediately let him know that is wrong to do. Let him know it scares the fish. Sticking hands in the tank or anything else is a no no. There is a lot of repitition in teaching young kids, so patience is a must. I did this with my own son when he was a baby...and I had more than just fish. I had snakes, lizards, spiders and scorpions. A cat and a dog...LOL. So I had a lot of teaching to do.
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