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Finding Your Own Nemo: Is An Aquarium Right For You?
by Ruby Bayan

Glowing Goldfish If you came out of the "Nemo" movie with the urge to head straight for the pet store to start a fish-are-friends-not-food hobby, you're not alone.

News reports said that the top-grossing computer-animated Clownfish mesmerized kids, parents, and professionals -- even non-dentists -- into picking up ornamental fishkeeping as their new pastime. After the movie became a hit, aquarium and fish sales soared -- appreciation for fish tanks entered an age of awakening!

Fins, Feathers, or Fur

A fish-person, compared to a cat- or a dog-person, will attest that having finned rather than furred or feathered animals as pets has its distinct advantages. Foremost is fish don't cause allergies. With fish, there's no fur on the couch, and no expensive trips to the vet for vaccinations or neutering. You won't need to take them out for walks, brush their teeth, or cut their nails. You won't even have to spend extra for litter boxes or carpet deodorizers. And bubbles are certainly more pleasing than barks, meows, or squawks.

Of course, fish won't sit beside you while you're watching TV, or lick your face when you come home; but they can give you hours of peace and serenity as they swim about gracefully in the underwater panorama you've created for them.

But before you dip your fingers into an all-out find-Nemo buying spree, do your homework. A few preliminary steps can ensure you don't end up flushing your new hobby down the toilet.

Preparations Prior to Procuring Pet Fish

Adding a fish tank to your life can be a bit of a challenge especially when you consider the investment not just in hard-earned dollars but also in precious time and effort. For most ornamental fish enthusiasts, fishkeeping started as a whim that easily spurted into a full-time hobby; many eventually became emotionally attached. So, if you're serious about launching a relationship with aquatic animal life, it's best to start with the right foot -- or fin.

Before anything, answer these questions:

  1. Can I afford to purchase a reasonably sized aquarium with matching lights, filters, heaters, decor, and fish?
  2. Do I have an adequate and sturdy location for the tank where it will be safe from direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and excessive noise?
  3. Will I have the time and inclination to maintain my tank regularly for ideal water conditions and optimum fish health?
  4. Will I strive to research on the habitat and feeding requirements of the fishes I want to care for?
  5. Are my circumstances and way of life conducive to displaying a huge breakable container filled with many gallons of liquid in my living quarters?

Aquariums

Fishkeeping can be addictive, being a source of joy and fascination when you see how quickly the fishes grow into lovely little pets. Be sure to consult your wallet, schedule, and psyche before you decide to embark on a potentially life-long commitment.

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Did you know?

  • Aquariums are effective stress-busters.
  • The best aquarium size is 40 gallons because fish habitats are harder to simulate in smaller tanks.
  • It takes about three weeks to prepare an aquarium for fish occupancy.
  • The Clownfish and the Blue Damselfish ("Nemo" and "Dory") live in marine aquariums, which are more complicated to maintain than freshwater tanks.
  • Goldfish have a memory span of 3 seconds.

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