We have had our pet Jack long before the kids were born. They love him, but they wanted a pet of their own. We will take care of him mommy we promise! They love animals and love learning about this so I thought why not start off small, with say low maintenance pet like a fish. But a fish requires a tank and all sorts of other tools and accessories. National Geographic Kids introduced us to the new line of National Geographic products available at PetSmart and it made getting our daughter’s pet ownership experience started.
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We found that Betta fish are a great fish for first time fish owners because they can be housed in an aquarium or a bowl. Bettas gulp air from the water’s surface to help them breath which allows them to live in either a fish tank or in a fish bowl. There are some guidelines to follow with keeping Bettas that will allow them to live and thrive longer.
The first guideline is to never put two male Bettas in the same tank. They will fight each other over territory and will kill each other. Female Bettas can be kept together. Only one male Betta should be kept per aquarium. PetSmart’s rule of thumb is one gallon (4L) of water for every 1” (3 cm) of full-grown fish. Betta fish live approximately 2-3 years and can get up to 3” (5-7 cm) long when fully matured. Keep this in mind when deciding on a proper aquarium for your fish.
Another guideline to keep Betta fish is to make sure the aquarium water temperature is correct. They require water temperatures ranging between 74 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. A water heater and thermometer will help regulate the water temperature for your Betta fish. If your Betta is kept in a bowl make sure that the room temperature remains above 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whether you use a bowl or an aquarium it is a good idea to keep your Bettas’ home in a low-traffic area of the house and keep it away from direct sunlight and drafts. If your Betta is kept in a bowl change the water every week with dechlorinated water. If your Betta is kept in an aquarium vacuum the gravel and change 25% of the water with dechlorinated water on a monthly basis and remember to perform monthly filter maintenance.
Feeding Betta fish is very simple. Flake or pelleted food should be part of the Bettas’ staple diet. The diet of your Betta can be varied by including frozen (thaw first) or freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, tubifex worms and other foods. Your Betta should eat twice a day. Feed it as much food as it will consume in three minutes.
PetSmart offers comprehensive guides to caring for any pet that your family owns. The company also offers the PetSmart Promise: “If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.”
What have my girls learned? How are they doing? THEY actually knew more than mom! I was surprised to find out that what I thought we were supposed to do we weren’t. They read the instructions for feeding their fish Oliver and are doing great remembering to do it every day. Water is made by me and changes supervised by dad. They speak to Oliver everyday but make sure not to tap on his bowl. They are doing great and we are learning no much about caring for other creatures and as we learn more about this fish.