Fish can make an incredible first pet! They teach kids about responsibility, are a beautiful addition to your home, are relatively cost-effective to keep and, well, are a lot less messy than a lot of other first pet options!
Traditionally, a goldfish was a typical first pet - but as many of us have come to realise, they can live for upwards of 20 years and grow very large.
While goldfish make excellent pets and are characterful and fun fish, they shouldn't be kept in tiny tanks, and thrive best in a large tank and perhaps being moved to a pond where they have room to grow.
Untreated, freshwater tanks are a magnet for toxins, and in fact, investing in a well equipped tropical tank for smaller breeds is a lot more manageable.
Ideal First Tropical Fish
The perception that tropical fish are hard to care for isn't entirely accurate; if you take the time to learn about temperatures and testing water conditions, they are simple and yet elegant creatures.
Some of the best tropical fish as a first pet include:
- Guppies: beautiful, hardy and fun fish that are simple to take care of and live blissfully in small groups. It's best to avoid introducing other fish, as a sensitive guppy can easily be bullied!
- Neon Tetras - this shoal fish love to live in a group of around eight, and hide in plants. They are a lot of fun, but do need a large tank and will need a cycled fish tank before making it home. Tetras like to share a tank with Plecos.
- Plecos eat algae - which means less cleaning! These cheerful little bottom feeders use a sucker to eat and are always fascinating to kids.
- Angel Fish are stunning and come in so many varieties and colours they can bring a serious jolt of colour to your home! However cute and innocent they might look, Angelfish are boisterous cichlids so are best not paired with Tetras (who might become their dinner).
- Betta - Siamese Fighting Fish. Bettas are hardy and pretty, and content with minimal care, so take very little looking after! You don't even need a filter or heater, so a simple clean once a week and your bettas will be satisfied.
Large fish such as Koi are much bigger, a lot more expensive, and take a lot more room and dedicated care. Koi are perhaps best as a first pet only if parents are as passionate about caring for their Koi Pond as their young owners are.