Interview: “Aquariums ignite the imagination”
“Fish make great pets for children.” This is the opinion of Nils Grotelüschen, who has been responsible for feed products as a Tetra product manager for 16 years. The father of two has plenty of experience in this area. In an interview, he answers the most frequently asked questions by parents when buying an aquarium.

Mr Grotelüschen, do you think it’s a good idea to buy an aquarium for a child?

Absolutely! It’s a great idea, especially as younger children aged between five and twelve find colourful underwater worlds and the creatures that live in them extremely fun and exciting.

Isn’t an aquarium an awful lot of work though?

That’s a common misconception. An aquarium is far less work than a cat or dog. That is, providing you follow a few basic rules when establishing your tank. My ideal aquarium has at least a 54-litre capacity. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the aquarium, the better! As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the aquarium, the better! Furthermore, you should preferably only keep a few fish. This reduces the amount of cleaning work required. It’s also a good idea to have plenty of aquatic plants as these not only look great but also conduct biological cleaning activities.

Can young children look after an aquarium properly though?

When children are still very young, their parents naturally have to help them especially when setting up an aquarium. After that though, looking after an aquarium is quite literally child’s play. Or at least if you don’t overfeed the fish and you help your child test the water parameters on occasion.

Don't children quickly get bored of aquariums?

It goes without saying that you can’t cuddle fish, but they’re still far from boring! With the right food, you can interact with your fish – and that’s great fun! For instance, you can stick special food tablets to the inside of the aquarium and watch as the fish nibble on them. You can also train your fish: they learn to identify you as the person who feeds them and swim up to you when you approach the aquarium. You can also do a few things to make the aquarium more exciting when setting it up in the first place.

Can you give us an example?

My son and I set up a pirate aquarium with fighting fish. We added two pirate figures and a treasure chest for decoration. I had to hide the treasure chest behind some root wood so you can’t see it straight away. When my son had a friend round, he had great fun getting him to find the treasure chest.

So the fish aren’t always the number one attraction then?

Exactly. I also found it fascinating to see how children try to use an aquarium to bring their imagination to life. The most important thing is that there’s something to discover!

Is a warm or a cold water aquarium better for children?

If the aquarium is set up in a child’s bedroom, it’s best to go for a cold water one. You don’t need a heater and can keep fish that thrive in temperatures under 24 degrees, such as goldfish. Two or three goldfish are plenty for a 60-litre tank. You shouldn’t reduce this number though as goldfish like to be among others of their kind.

Which fish are best for warm water aquariums for children?

Tropical fish that are kept at temperatures of 24 to 28 degrees. There are plenty of choices: from guppies to neons. Many children find these fish particularly interesting and beautiful. If you opt for a warm water aquarium, you must always install a heater in it. Children also get great enjoyment from shrimps and snails.

Many parents are afraid of water damage – are their concerns well-founded?

No. Today’s aquariums are all very tightly sealed and robust – providing you set them up correctly of course. That means placing them on a flat, stable surface. For complete peace of mind, you can naturally also check whether your home insurance covers you for potential damage. And even if it doesn’t, such cover is often easy to add at little to no extra cost.

Doesn’t the humidity from the aquarium increase the risk of mould?

I don’t regard that as a risk either. As a general rule, rooms should be regularly ventilated whether or not they contain an aquarium. What’s more, a high humidity level tends to actually be regarded as a good thing when creating a pleasant home environment. If mould forms in a room, the aquarium isn’t usually to blame.

But what if my child forms a bond with his fish and it dies?

Death is simply part of life. This is something that children can learn from their fish. It’s sad but also educational. I would recommend finding a nice corner of the garden and giving your pet a little burial. This helps children learn to deal with death.

Thank you for the interview Nils Grotelüschen!

*Please note: We always recommend speaking with your aquatics retailer with regards to stocking your tank, to ensure you don’t over populate.

Tetra FunTips

Biologically balanced adhesive food tablets for tropical fish.

Tetra SafeStart

Makes it possible to introduce fish immediately after setting up a new aquarium.
AUTHOR: Tetra GmbH
DATE: 03.05.2017