Why Comets are better than Goldfish
For ages, Goldfish have been the first fish purchased for young children. They are lovely. Graceful. A splash of orange in a bowl to amaze wide-eyed youngsters. The problem is, Goldfish don't always live for very long unless you have an efficiently working aquarium. Goldfish emit ammonia in their urine and it clouds up tanks. Unless your child (or you) plan on cleaning the fish bowl a lot, then a better choice would be to purchase a little comet.
Comets are orange or multi-colored little fish that look like goldfish but with elongated bodies. The nice thing is their price. Usually under 20 cents per fish. They start out little but they grow quickly and become very large in size.
I like to purchase comets for my classroom each fall. I typically get about 6 of them for the classroom aquarium. By the end of the school year, my aquarium is filled with large fish and lots of color. When I first get a comet, it is small and it is difficult to tell what color it will be when it begins to age. Orange and white comets can turn either color or maintain both. Their fins also can flow out to something similar to that of a goldfish or their fins can stay in a V shape as they age. Like Goldfish, Comets are very friendly and like human interaction. It is a common occurrence for me to put my hand in the tank and have the fish come up and "kiss" me on the hand. They also enjoy fresh scraps of raw or cooked meat and dead bugs.
Comets, while also capable of clouding up bowls and tanks, are easy to maintain and if they die off early while a child is learning care of their fish, it's not like you're losing a fortune. Goldfish can cost up to $5.00 or more for decorative ones and the loss of one can add up financially.
In setting up a bowl, I would recommend 1-2 comets to begin with. Make sure you have small aquarium stones at the bottom. Purchase a living plant to put in the bowl from a pet shop. This will keep balance in the bowl. Buy dried shrimp and mix with Goldfish flake food for extra protein for the fish. Feed one time daily and only enough that can be consumed in five minutes. When changing the water, add chlorine removing drops, and make sure the water is temperate and not too hot or too cold. Comets thrive in warmer water but can withstand cool temperatures. Clean the tank when debris on the bottom begins to collect.
If setting up an aquarium, you can get more than 2 fish. Make sure the comets come from the same tank and are familiar with each other. Have your aquarium ready for a day or so before bringing the fish home. I keep the temperature in my tank around 85 degrees. Place the bag in the water to allow the fish to acclimate to the new temperature. Place living plants in the rocks at the bottom of the aquarium. Feed the same food; a mix of dried shrimp and Goldfish food. I often buy algae eating fish to put in my aquarium too. One Plecko usually does the trick. My filtration system in the aquarium uses filters that I can throw away when they dirty. I also place an air stone in the tank to keep water circulating.
As I stated, for buying fish for the first time, Comets make the best choice. Price, beauty and ease of care provide both parents and children a positive experience for the first fish.