Fish are a relatively low maintenance option for having a pet in the house. You feed them, and you look at them swimming around in the aquarium. There is just the responsibility of keeping the tank clean and the water inside at the right temperature for the fish, and you are good to go. Happily, ever after. But bring children into the equation, and everything changes. There are many mistakes first time parents can make and fish tank safety is one that can be easily overlooked. With a fish tank and children in the same household, safety is of paramount importance. Do consider the below points to keep your child and your fish tank safe.
Fish Tank Safety For Kids:
- Place the fish tank on a surface such that the child can easily see the fish. You don’t want them to grab a stool or a chair to take a better look at the fish when you are not looking.
- Make sure that the fish tank is not in an area which has the major traffic in the house – kids running and grown-ups bustling about. Also, the surface over which it is kept should not be prone to toppling. For these reasons, fish tanks built in the walls are a good bet.
- Cover the fish tank with a secure lid to avoid children ‘feeding’ the fish with what they think is appropriate or putting their hands into the water. Consider a latch-able or lockable cover with something to weigh it down.
- The fish tank, when filled with water, should be heavy enough so that the child cannot push it around. There is also an option of going for a molded fiber fish tank. Fiber fish tanks mean lesser chances of damage during cleaning. Also, no broken glass ever!
Electrical Fish Tank Safety
- Make sure the electrical equipment attached to the fish tank is in a good condition and well maintained.
- It is a good idea to have a lockable cabinet so that the cables and power outlets are inside, away from young eyes and hands.
Safety Against Chemicals
- The tank cleaning products and water treatment solutions should be consciously kept out of reach at all times. You never know when a child might want to see what they taste like. Wash your hands properly after you have handled the fish tank to avoid the chance of bacterial infections. Wear gloves while cleaning the tank.
- If the child assists you in feeding the fish or they touch the tank water, make sure to wash their hands as well.
- By the rule of thumb, everything made up of glass is potentially dangerous. Be on your guard during cleaning. Again, consider the option of fiber tanks.
Diseases and Allergies Concerns
- When buying the fish at the pet shop, make sure they are healthy. Inspect carefully for any diseases or fungal infections.
- Fish allergies are quite rare but check for them in your child all the same.
- Ensure the aquarium water is maintained at the right temperature and is treated properly to avoid fish catching a disease while in your house. You don’t want to risk spreading any bacterial infection with children around.
Feeding the Fish
- Overfeeding the fish can be fatal for them. Make sure your children do not feed the fish without supervision, ever.
- For younger kids, it is better to feed the fish when they are not around so as to not give them ideas as to how to open the tank.
- Learn more about feeding in this video:
Establish Ground Rules For Your Kids
- It always helps to set ground rules so that kids know they aren’t supposed to play too near the fish tank
- And absolutely no banging on the tank. Not even the soft toys.
- Tell them not to open the lid and not to stick their hands in the tank as it could scare the fish.
- Discourage them from feeding the fish on their own. Patience is the key. Keep re-iterating these rules and if the child is too young to understand or remember, keep an eye out!
Having fish at home is a good way to teach kids about pets. Consider taking them to a professional aquarium first, so they can get an idea of the work needed to keep a tank in good condition. If the safety measures are followed, it could be both entertaining and educational to have a home aquarium. Teach them to care for the fish. Encourage them to ‘guard’ the fish against smaller babies or other kids that might visit your house. This sense of responsibility, when they understand it, is a great way to keep the fish tank and children both safe!