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The Three Best Fish for Your Child's Aquarium
You've got your child's fish tank all set up; gravel, plants, filter, etc. But what kind of fish are best for a child's aquarium?
You want fish that will live for more than a month or two, and you want them to be easy to care for while also being interesting to your child. The ideal fish should be friendly to one another, cheaply fed, and able to go the occasional day without feeding, in case your child (and you) forgets to feed them.
The following fish are all hardy fish that are likely to live as you cycle your new tank.
They are also live bearing fish, which means they do not lay eggs but instead bear live babies. Fish are terrible parents for the most part, so these fish will also eat their babies if they are not removed to a safe tank, or a safe part of the tank.
All of these fish are also vegetable eaters, which means that they will eat the cheap and simple flakes available at almost any pet food or big box store. The fish should be purchased in groups of three, or five or more, as they prefer to school in odd numbers and also should be purchased in groups of two to three females to every male fish.
Mollies. Mollies are very friendly fish who grow to 2-4 inches in size. They love to swim together and upon maturity will school to the top of the tank to greet their feeder at feeding time.
Mollies come in several different varieties, from regular mollies which come in colors ranging from black and white to yellow to orange, to sailfin mollies which sport a large fin on top of their bodies. Balloon mollies are another type you might consider, although the distinctive "balloon" shape is considered a birth defect and this type does not live as long as the other mollies, generally.
Mollies are prolific breeders, the females giving birth about every 6 weeks if there is a male in the tank. If there is no male, a female molly may give birth up to six times after contact with a male, as she can store the necessary materials for many weeks.
Platys. Platys are smaller than mollies, growing to 2-2.5 inches by adulthood. They are a shyer fish than mollies, preferring to school and enjoy the tank rather than to interact with their caretaker. They are extremely hardy and can take a variety of tank conditions, but also prefer to school in groups of three or more.
Platys come in many colors, from gold to yellow to a grayish-blue. There is also a variety called the "Mickey Mouse" platy, which sports the easily-recognized ears and head of its namesake on its tail.
This variety of fish may enjoy some personal time. If you place a castle in your tank, you may find a platy hanging out by itself for some time. Don't worry - it's okay!
Guppies. Guppies are perhaps the most prolific live breeders of all - in fact, the pet stores near me keep the males and females in separate tanks!
The females are lovely, in gold and yellow and even reddish colors, but the males are far more beautiful. Many sport big flamboyant tails and come in brilliant primary colors.
Guppies prefer to school in odd numbered groups, and they will also school with platys of the same size. They are a little less shy than platys, but not nearly as forward as mollies!
Whatever fish you choose for your child's fish tank, make sure it is an enjoyable learning experience for them. Stick with these fish and you'll have a good chance of creating a fantastic introduction to the world of aquariums and pets for your child.