When most people think of getting a pet, they immediately think of getting a dog or cat. But if you don’t have the time or space to introduce one of these furry critters to your family, or if you’d simply prefer a pet with a difference, pet fish can be the perfect solution.
However, there’s a lot more effort that goes into owning pet fish than many people may realise, so before you choose your newest family member it’s important to be sure you’re choosing the right pet fish for your requirements. Here’s what you need to think about before you select a pet fish.
Choosing a pet fish: what to consider
Did you know that there’s around 2000 different species of fish that can be kept in a home aquarium? Well, you do now, and this should give you an idea of why it can be pretty tricky to decide on the right species for you. Keep the following five tips in mind when you begin your search for the perfect pet fish.
- Do lots of research. The sheer variety of fish species available can make choosing a fish a daunting decision, which is why it’s important that you do plenty of research before you make any decisions. From tropical freshwater fish through to coldwater species, there’s a breathtaking range of pet fish available – all of which have their own unique care requirements. You need to base your decision about a pet fish on much more than just how the fish looks, so make sure you’re fully aware of all the ins and outs of owning any particular species you like.
- Start with the basics. When you’re starting out with your first aquarium and your first pet fish, don’t bite off more than you can chew. While it can be tempting to go for a rare and exotic species, the best way to get started is to choose a small fish tank and a hardy, easy-to-look-after species such as goldfish. That way you can get an idea of what it takes to look after a pet fish and decide whether or not you’re cut out to provide all the care your pet requires. Once you know what you’re doing and you’re sure you can handle the responsibility, you can then think about upgrading to something a little more complicated.
- Remember your budget. Compared to a dog, most species of pet fish are remarkably cheap to look after. However, the cost of getting the right size tank, a proper filtration system and all the accessories your fish requires can quickly add up, especially for some high-maintenance species. With this in mind, your budget is always going to play a crucial part in determining the right species of fish for you.
- Think about ongoing care. Many first-time pet owners think that caring for a pet fish is a piece of cake — just pop it in some water and sprinkle in some fish food every now and then — but there’s actually a lot more to it than you might think. From the right temperature and type of water to filtration, cleaning and feeding, there can be a whole lot to think about when creating the perfect home for your pet. Take some time to think about how much time you will be able to devote to your pet each day, and whether or not you’ll be willing to put in the amount of effort required. This will determine whether you choose a low-maintenance species or one with more specific needs.
- More than one pet. Finally, consider how many fish you will need for the size of tank you choose. Not all species of fish get along with one another, and some can treat others as prey. Chat to your local aquarium specialist to find out how many fish will be a suitable number for your tank, and to work out which species will be able to live together in harmony.
Once you know more about what it takes to care for a pet fish, you can get your aquarium set up and start enjoying the wonders of keeping such truly unique and fascinating pets.