Fish are very delicate animals, but they are also beautiful. They truly are living art and one of the few pets that serve as both companions and decoration, and we mean that in a good way. So do fish make good pets? While they certainly aren’t for every body, they do possess many qualities that other pets do not, making them wonderful pets.
Read beyond the jump for more fishy details!
Choosing the Fish
Keeping fish as pets is for the more erudite, those who can appreciate the beauty in life and in nature. For the poetic soul, the artistic being, the left-brained genius. Or those who just like pretty colors and want a pet that is inexpensive and low-maintenance!
There are quite literally thousands of different types of fish, so before taking the first step into the deep blue sea of fish-ownerhood, it is very important that you do as much research as possible. With plenty of research, you will be able to prepare yourself to create the best environment for you new fish friends. One big decision you will need to make early on is do you want freshwater or saltwater? Fish-care will change depending on what you decide!
You’ll also need to know what kind(s) of fish you will be buying to know what kind and how big aquarium you need. Different fish require different amounts of space. And not all fish get along!
When you finally do go to the pet store, you want to make sure you are buying a healthy fish because the transition to a new environment is very stressful and an unhealthy fish might not survive through it. You should choose fish that swim with energy and do not show any symptoms of sickness (cloudy eyes, thin frame, etc.).
The Advantages of Fish
You can get into the fish keepin’ biz relatively easy, especially when compared to what it takes to adopt other types of pets. All you really need is a bowl or an aquarium, a filter and other tank maintenance accessories, fish food, clean H2O, and the fishies! Depending on your set up, you can spend anywhere from 20 bucks to thousands of dollars (for the large, fancy aquariums and exotic fish). And you can save even more money buy shopping classifieds for fish and fish accessories.
Whereas taking care of a dog or a cat is more of a job, keeping fish is like a pleasant hobby—one that allows you to express your own personality while caring for majestically wet little creatures, who in exchange give you something to marvel at along with plenty of companionship!
The Disadvantages of Fish
It’s not easy coming up with disadvantages for caring for fish pets. They obviously aren’t as affectionate or fun to pet as other furry land animals, but no one buys fish thinking they will be cuddly lap companions. And fish are truly so easy to care for, with minimal effort, there is no reason you can’t keep fish and a furry-pawed pal.
And although fish are easy to care for, they are living creatures so you cannot neglect them completely—lest you will find them belly up and ready for the great ride down the swirling porcelain slide in the sky.
There is also a lot of research required before owning fish, especially if you are mixing species in the same aquarium. You need to make sure the fish will get along with existing fish and be able to adapt to the new environment. Improper research can result in dead fish. As we like to say here, “Buy fish in a rush, and you’ll soon send ‘em away with a flush.”
Best First Fish
For your first fish, you want a flippered friend that is resilient and easy to keep happy and healthy. Chances are, for your first fish, you will be getting a freshwater fish. We recommend danios (especially zebra danios), blue gouramis, rasboras, and barbs for solid first fish, which are all hardy and beautiful to look at. Many people suggest Bettas for beginners, but they are not schooling fish so be sure to only keep one if you do go that route.
Fish for Experts
The Moorish Idol is famous—or infamous, rather—for its high-maintenance tendencies. They are beautiful tropical saltwater fish that have a reputation for being destructive and heavy eaters that require large aquariums. Mandarinfish (or Mandarin Dragonets) are exotic looking reef fish that are also very difficult to keep but worth it if you’ve ever seen one! The problem with mandarinfish is that they can be picky eaters, and sometimes won’t adjust to aquarium life, refusing to eat anything at all. For these reasons, we recommend you only go either of these routes if you have been keeping fish for some time now.