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Fish Tanks: Cleaning & Safety For Kids

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Fish tanks are so beautiful to look at but if not cared for properly can be ugly and dangerous. Cleaning fish tanks can either be easy or very difficult if you don’t have the right equipment. Fish tanks for kids are the usual go-to for a first-time pet for children. But, there is more cleaning and safety that goes in them than you may think.

Fish Tanks: Cleaning & Safety For Kids

My Story

I’ve always been in love with fish tanks. Even if they did put me in the hospital when I was little.

At a very young age, I came down with a fever and was in and out of the hospital a couple of times without a diagnosis before they finally kept me. My fever had gotten so high that they brought bags of ice in for me to lay on.

It wasn’t until 3 days after being in the hospital that I was diagnosed with Salmonella.

The culprit for me getting Salmonella– fish food.

I’ve always been bad about putting my hands in my mouth. It’s a nasty habit that I’ve only been able to beat by keeping my nails manicured.

I remember the pain of an IV catheter, but my mom remembers everything else. She took me to the hospital because I was at home on the couch and told her I wanted to go home after already coming back from the hospital. It was awful.

Many years later and I’m still in love with the beauty of a fish tank.

Fish food may have changed in over twenty years, but I still use caution around fish tanks. Now that my son is mobile and able to get into things– I’m taking extra precautions against our fish tank and all the diseases that can come with it.

Cleaning A Child’s Fish Tank

It’s not necessary to remove the fish when cleaning the tank. It’s actually best for them to stay in there as you change about 25% of the water to keep their stress levels down. If you have to remove them, use a fish net and gently scoop them up and use their aquarium water they’re used to so it doesn’t shock them.

Water Changes

Water changes are vital to your fish health. A 25% water change performed every 2-4 weeks, or a 10-15% water change every week

Vacuum the substrate with a siphon while removing the water to remove some of the build-up at the bottom. The siphon will loosen up the gravel and suck up the loosened debris and water without sucking up the gravel.

Let the water you’re going to replace it with sit for a day to balance out the pH and dissolve any gases.

Do not clean the gravel and the filter on the same day. Both harbor beneficial bacteria for your tank. Clean the gravel and then clean your filter on a different day.

Remove The Algae

Algae scrubbers can be used to scrape the algae off of tank walls in between weekly cleanings

If unwanted algae persist, increase the frequency of water changes and exercise restraint when feeding. A lot of times overfeeding can result in algae overgrowth.

Cleaning plants and fixtures

Only clean plants and fixtures in a kid’s fish tank if you see algae growing on them. It’s best if you can just rub them with a cloth and water. Any lime cleaners or those with ammonia will harm the fish. A light mixture of vinegar can help if rinsed thoroughly afterward.

Since my son was born I have used every precaution so he never goes through what I did. I deeply wash my hands after doing anything. Extensively clean any and all surfaces anything from the tank touched. All fish food and water chemicals are kept in a locked cabinet and I panic if my husband feeds the fish and not wash his hands.

Other than all the bacteria fish can come with, fish tanks can also be very heavy. If not set up properly on a well-built support, they can be pulled over.

Fish tanks for kids can be a great idea if well thought about. Fish require just as much care than any other pet they just may be cheaper at the pet store.

Are there other things you’re concerned about with a fish tank? Or items you absolutely love with your fish tank? Maybe you’re thinking about starting one? I would love to hear from you, let’s talk!

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