10 Reasons Fish Make Good Pets for Kids

Do you know that fish can be the best option if you’re looking for your child’s first pet? Here are 10 reasons why fish can make great pets for kids, giving them the perfect opportunity to learn, grow, and bond with their new aquatic friends.

fish good pets kids

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Great Biology Project

Fish make an excellent introduction to the world of biology for children. Having a fish tank at home can serve as a living science project, where kids can observe and learn about the fascinating underwater world.

‘Great Biology Project’ refers to the process of setting up and maintaining a fish aquarium, helping children to gain hands-on experience in the subject.

Having fish for pets allows children to learn about fish species, distinguishing their different characteristics and understanding their natural habits. As a parent, you can help your child do research on various fish types and create a plan for setting up a fish tank suitable for their needs.

Maintaining the appropriate water temperature, pH levels, and oxygen levels of the tank is a continuous learning experience – perfect for a curious young mind.

One major part of making a ‘Great Biology Project’ is teaching children about the nitrogen cycle that takes place inside the aquarium. With fish producing waste, ammonia levels can become toxic if left untreated.

Introducing beneficial bacteria into the tank helps in breaking down the ammonia, transforming it into less harmful substances. By observing this cycle, kids can learn essential concepts of biology and chemistry in vivo.

Moreover, kids can explore the diverse underwater ecosystem by understanding the roles of plants, decorations, and fish in their aquarium.

Aside from serving as an appealing habitat, aquatic plants play a significant part in maintaining the water quality, providing additional oxygen, and offering shelter to the fish. Decorations like rocks or caves create hiding places and reduce stress for the fish, making the aquarium a comfortable home for them.

10 gallon fish tank setup

Teaching Responsibility

As mentioned earlier, owning fish as pets can help instill a sense of responsibility in children. But, in what specific ways can it do so?

First and foremost, daily care and feeding routines are essential for your child to understand the importance of being consistent and dedicated. Despite their small size, fish can be quite sensitive and may not survive without proper care. By participating in this upkeep, children learn that their actions directly impact the well-being of their pets.

Setting up feeding schedules and monitoring the tank’s water quality encourage kids to develop time management skills. Since fish have specific feeding and maintenance requirements that must be met regularly, children have to create a routine and remember to fulfill these tasks. This helps them to manage their time effectively and prioritize responsibilities.

Aquatic life is delicate, and attention to detail is crucial if children want their fish to thrive. They must learn to observe and recognize any changes in their fish’s health or behavior. Keeping an eye out for these subtle changes enables your child to better understand the nuances of fish behavior and act promptly to address any issues.

Moreover, fish are living creatures that can be affected by neglect, while electronic gadgets and toys can be easily put on pause. Fish ownership compels children to think beyond immediate gratification; they will start to understand that their commitment to their aquatic pets is crucial for them to survive.

Lastly, fish ownership can facilitate the development of empathy—a crucial life skill enabling them to relate their experiences to those of their fish. As they learn to care for their underwater friends, they will extend this compassion to other aspects of their lives.


Easy to Care For

In comparison to other pets, like dogs or cats, fish require relatively less effort to care for, making them an ideal choice for busy families looking for a low-maintenance pet for their kids. 

One of the most significant advantages of having fish as pets is that they do not demand constant attention or large living spaces. They comfortably reside in your chosen aquarium, with their habitat remaining limited to the tank. This is particularly helpful for families living in small houses or apartments, as there is no need to create additional space for the pet.

Fish do not require walks, outdoor playtime, or grooming sessions. Feeding them takes just a few minutes per day, making it an easily attainable task, even for young children. Moreover, the limited dietary requirements – usually in the form of easily available flakes or pellets – make it convenient to take care of these aquatic creatures.

Cleaning the fish tank is a crucial aspect of their care, ensuring a healthy and comfortable environment for life. However, modern aquariums often come equipped with filters and automatic systems that help maintain water quality, reducing the burden of cleaning. Teaching kids about proper tank cleaning, including removing debris, siphoning water, and cleaning the tank walls, further simplifies the process and inculcates good pet care habits.

While fish do have specific water temperature, pH, and oxygen needs, these factors can easily be managed with the help of heaters, aerators, or water conditioners. Equipping your child with the knowledge of how these devices work enables them to take care of their fish with ease and precision.

planted aquarium setup

Do Not Smell

When it comes to choosing pets, odor management can be a significant concern for many parents. Unlike dogs, cats, or other furry pets, fish rarely produce any strong smells, making them an ideal pet choice if you want to maintain a fresh and odor-free environment. 

A major reason for fish being an odorless pet option is that they live in a contained environment – the aquarium. Aquariums are designed to keep the water clean and appropriately aerated to support healthy fish life. As a result, there is minimal chance of foul smells emanating from the tank, provided it is well-maintained.

In comparison to mammals, fish do not have any hair or fur that can trap odors. Fish waste can sometimes generate an unpleasant smell; however, a well-functioning filter system in the aquarium typically takes care of this issue, preventing any foul odors from spreading throughout your living space.

Another factor contributing to fish being a low-odor pet is their diet. Fish do not require stinky canned food or animal carcasses, which can contribute to the strong odors associated with other pets. Instead, they usually have simple diets consisting of dry pellets or flakes that produce little to no smell.

To ensure a clean and odor-free environment, regular maintenance of the fish tank is crucial. This includes cleaning the tank walls to remove any algae build-up, siphoning uneaten food and debris, and changing approximately one-third of the water regularly.

By involving your child in these tasks, you can teach them valuable skills and knowledge to maintain an odorless fish tank and take better care of their aquatic companion.

aquarium kit

Don’t Produce Allergies

Allergies are a common concern when selecting a pet for your child, as furry animals like cats and dogs can often trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Thankfully, fish are an excellent choice for allergy-prone children, as they pose little to no risk of setting off an allergic reaction.

Unlike furry pets, fish do not shed hair, dander, or skin particles that can lead to allergic reactions in humans. These allergens are the primary culprits behind pet-related allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and difficulty breathing. As fish live inside a contained environment (the aquarium), they do not come into direct contact with humans, further reducing the risk of triggering allergies.

Aquarium setup materials, including rocks, gravel, and decorations, are usually made of synthetic, hypoallergenic materials that do not produce allergens. Aquatic plants used in the tank are also generally safe and do not cause allergies. However, it’s essential to ensure that you select compatible plants for your aquarium, avoiding any potentially toxic or harmful species for both children and fish.

While fish are unlikely to trigger allergies, there is the potential for mold and mildew growth around the fish tank if not maintained properly. To prevent this, ensure regular cleaning of the tank, water change, and proper ventilation in the area surrounding the aquarium.

Encouraging your child to participate in these tasks will not only teach them responsibility but also help maintain an allergen-free environment for them to enjoy their pet.

mickey mouse platy

You Can Leave Fish Alone

When you have a dog or cat, leaving them unsupervised for long periods can be a challenge, as they require attention, regular feeding, and outdoor activities. On the other hand, fish are more independent and can be left alone without causing them distress or worry.

This makes fish a suitable option for kids who attend school or participate in extracurricular activities and may not have the time or capacity to tend to their pets continuously.

If you’re planning on a family trip or weekend getaway, you can leave your fish without the need for pet-sitters or boarding facilities. With an automatic feeder and properly functioning aquarium equipment like filters, heaters, and aerators, your fish can comfortably live without your presence for several days.

This flexibility in pet care allows for more stress-free planning when it comes to family outings or vacations.

Even during everyday life, the ability to leave fish alone brings peace of mind to both parents and kids. They can focus on school, work, or other activities without worrying about their pets requiring immediate care. This independence helps children learn responsibility at a manageable pace, without the burden of constant supervision.

However, it’s essential to remember that though fish can be left alone, they still require weekly care and attention in the form of tank cleaning, water testing, and general health observation. Teaching your child to value routine and perform these essential tasks ensures the well-being of their aquatic friends.

beautiful betta fish

Don’t Need to Walk Them

Many pets, especially dogs, require regular outdoor exercise and walks to stay healthy and happy. However, walking a pet might be an added challenge for children with already busy schedules or families living in areas without convenient access to parks or outdoor spaces. Luckily, one of the benefits of having fish as pets is that there is no need for outdoor walks, making them a convenient choice for kids.

Since fish live entirely within their aquarium, they get all the exercise they need by swimming around to forage, explore, and interact with tank mates. Their built-in “workout” doesn’t require any additional effort on your child’s part, so they can focus on other activities, like school or sports, without neglecting their aquatic friends.

One of the most significant advantages of not having to walk fish is the increased safety factor for children. When kids walk their pets, they might encounter unexpected dangers, like traffic or unfamiliar, aggressive animals. With fish, these concerns don’t exist, offering peace of mind to parents who may worry about their child’s safety.

Additionally, having fish means there is no need to go outside during unfavorable weather conditions or late-night hours for pet walks. Kids can be safe and comfortable indoors while still providing their fish with a stimulating and active environment.

Despite the lack of need for walks, it’s essential to create an engaging and exciting aquatic environment for your fish. Providing suitable decorations like caves, plants, or structures will encourage them to explore their surroundings further, maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle for the fish.

fancy guppy

Fish are Playful

Though fish might not be the first animal that comes to mind when thinking of playful pets, they do exhibit a variety of entertaining behaviors and captivating interactions. Their lively nature and vibrant colors not only provide visual appeal but also create a fascinating and stimulating environment for kids to observe and enjoy.

Fish have their own unique personalities and social interactions. Some species, like guppies or tetras, are schooling fish and display mesmerizing group dynamics as they swim gracefully together in unison. On the other hand, solitary fish such as bettas can be enticing to watch as they engage in territorial displays or create intricate bubble nests.

A well-set tank with numerous plants, decorations, and hiding spots encourages fish to partake in adventurous exploration and curious investigation, making every day a new and interesting opportunity for your child to learn and engage with their aquatic friends. Understanding their fish’s preferences and behaviors can create a bonding experience for kids as they observe and cater to their pets’ needs.

In some cases, fish even exhibit food-hunting behaviors, like diving down to pick up pellets or chasing after live worms or brine shrimp. Watching fish in their natural foraging behavior not only contributes to their playfulness but also provides educational opportunities for children to learn about the feeding habits of different fish species.

While fish may not be as interactive as more traditional pets like dogs or cats, their often-overlooked playful nature can provide a delightfully engaging addition to your child’s life. The opportunity to observe the varied habits, interactions, and behaviors of their fish not only entertains kids but also enriches their understanding and appreciation of the fascinating underwater world.

small hang on back filter

Fish are Cost-effective

When considering pets for children, cost factors can play a crucial role in your decision-making process. While dogs and cats may incur relatively high costs for their care and maintenance, fish are an affordable option, making them a great choice for families on a budget. In this section, we will explore the cost-effectiveness of fish ownership and how it benefits young pet owners.

One of the primary aspects contributing to the affordability of fish is their minimal dietary requirements. Fish generally feed on economical flakes, pellets, or occasional live/frozen food options—these options have a lower cost compared to commercial pet foods for dogs or cats. Moreover, fish require smaller amounts of food per meal, which can result in significant long-term savings.

Setting up an aquarium might be an initial investment, but it can also prove to be relatively cost-effective in the long run. There are various aquarium kits available in the market that are designed for beginners and come at affordable prices. These kits often include the tank, filtration system, and other essential equipment your child needs to start their fish-keeping journey.

Fish do not require vaccinations or regular health check-ups like other pets, cutting costs on veterinarian bills. Although it’s important to have a trusted fish vet’s contact information in case of emergencies, fish are generally low maintenance concerning healthcare expenses.

Lastly, fish accessories such as decorations or plants are available in a wide variety of price ranges, allowing you to find options that suit your budget. As your child becomes more invested in their fishkeeping hobby, you can gradually upgrade the aquarium setup and equipment based on your financial capacity.

tiger barb aquarium

Fish Don’t Carry Diseases

When choosing a pet for your child, it is important to consider the potential risks that pets may pose to human health. Many animals can carry diseases that are transmissible to humans, known as zoonoses.

Fortunately, fish are far less likely to carry or transmit diseases to humans as compared to other common pets such as dogs, cats, or rodents. In this section, we will discuss why fish are a safer option in terms of disease transmission.

Fish are cold-blooded creatures, and they live within a completely different habitat—the aquatic environment. This difference in temperature and environment inherently limits the possibility of fish carrying pathogens that could infect humans since most human pathogens thrive in warmer conditions and are sensitive to aquatic environments.

While it is true that fish can carry bacteria, viruses, or parasites that may cause diseases among their own populations, the chances of them being infectious to humans are extremely low.

For instance, fish are occasionally affected by pathogens like Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (Ich), which causes white spots on their skin or fins. However, this parasite cannot survive outside of water or infect humans, making it safe for kids to keep fish as pets.

It is important to mention that mishandling raw fish or contaminated aquarium water can pose some risks if children do not practice proper hygiene. For instance, some fish carry bacteria like Aeromonas or Pseudomonas, which can cause infections if they come into contact with open cuts on your hands.

To mitigate this risk, always supervise your child and ensure they are taking proper precautions when handling fish or cleaning the tank. Additionally, it is essential to instill the importance of washing their hands thoroughly after touching any fish-related equipment or water.


Fish are truly an ideal choice for kids, offering numerous benefits such as low maintenance, cost-effectiveness, and a safer environment. With this knowledge in hand, why not consider introducing your child to the fascinating world of fishkeeping? Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments below!

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