I love fish tanks, I like seeing the fish swim and seeing their colors. In some ways seeing the fish relaxes me, therefore I have a fish tank in a wall in my house. Thinking about how relaxed the fish tank made me feel, I decided to do some research. Have you heard of aquarium therapy? Well, the sound and viewing of the fish help with anxiety and helps one sleep better. It is also proven to help lower people’s heart rate and pressure caused by so many activities occurring in one’s life. In the article I found, the fifth paragraph says “ For the study, experts from the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth University and the University of Exeter assessed people’s physical and mental responses to a fish tank exhibit containing different levels of fish (empty, partially stocked and fully stocked). Researchers found that watching the exhibit generally decreased blood pressure and heart rate. Drops in heart rate were significantly greater in the two conditions containing fish” This is something I find very fascinating. Reading about this and experiencing it myself, I believe everyone should have a fish tank to relax and sleep better.
I’ve met several people who also love fish tanks but most of those people don’t have a fish tank because they don’t know how to take care of it and some also believe it is too much work. In reality, it could be easier than many think. My dad, Ricardo, has been taking care of our fish tank for years now and has become good at doing so. Therefore I decided to interview my dad. I asked him several questions that I thought were most important to know about fish tanks. I have always seen him clean the tank, buy new fishes but leave them in the bag while the bag floats in the fish tank, and do all kinds of stuff to the fish tank, stuff that I think is ridiculous. I never asked him why he was doing what he did but now that I interviewed him I learned new things that I think everyone should know when considering having a fish tank at home.
Madelyn: First question, what temperature should the water be?
Ricardo: 72 degrees Fahrenheit, it should never be too hot or too cold for the fish. If the water is not at the right temperature the fish will most likely die.
Madelyn: Is the water the same for any fish?
Ricardo: No, there is freshwater and saltwater. Fish have to be in the proper water.
Madelyn: How big should the tank be?
Ricardo: Depends on the size and the amount of the fish. For example, it is recommended to have a 10-gallon tank for small fish.
Madelyn: One of the things I’ve struggled with is feeding them the right amount. Every time I feed them you (Ricardo) always tell me it’s too much food or too little. How much food should we feed the fish?
Ricardo: Yes, you never feed them the right amount [laughing]. A small flake of food is enough for one single fish. There are also Betta fish and their food is different, for those fish you should feed them two to three balls of food.
Madelyn: I should have known this [laughs]. How often should we feed the fish?
Ricardo: You should feed the fish twice a day.
Madelyn: Ok but what if we go out of town for several days and can’t feed the fish?
Ricardo: There is a small – 1 to 2 inch- food pill that is dropped in the water and the fish can bite the pill. You [Madely] should know this, we’ve done this often when we leave town [ laughs].
Madelyn: I did know but my audience might not so that’s why I asked. Changing from the food topic, what is needed to keep the fish tank clean?
Ricardo: There are two things we need, one is a fish tank water vacuum and the other one is a filter.
Madelyn: Ok and how do we clean the fish tank?
Ricardo: You need to take 25% of the tank’s water -only 25% – with the vacuum. Then you add fresh water to the tank. Lastly, you have to add a type of conditioner to the water, what this does is get rid of the chlorine that water has. If we don’t get rid of the chlorine the fish will die.
Madelyn: How much conditioner should we add though?
Ricardo: The amount of conditioner added to the water depends on the conditioner, every conditioner has its own rules and will have instructions on the bottle.
Madelyn: Great, instructions are always useful… How often should the fish tank be cleaned?
Ricardo: Every 3-6 months depending on the type of fish and the amount of sith you have, the more fish the dirtier it gets.
Madelyn: Makes sense. Is there any additional information you’d like to share?
Ricardo: Yes. Never mix pacific fish with aggressive fish, aggressive fish can kill pacific fish. Also, never mix saltwater fish with freshwater fish. If you have Betta fish, they should always be alone, they can not have any other fish in the tank with them, they are aggressive even when combined with other Betta fish.
Madelyn: Oh wow, those are some important facts. Is there anything else you can share?
Ricardo: Yes, if your fish tank has a light, it can only be turned on for a small amount of time, do not leave it on all day because it will stress the fish.
Madelyn: Awesome! Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Ricardo: Of course!
My experience with my fish tank at home over the past years has been nice. I normally have a lot of homework because I take AP and advanced classes. I also do sports, which I love but they take time away from me. Besides that, I also work. Therefore I get stressed a lot, but I’ve noticed that taking time away from all my duties and watching the fish swim in the tank, with the light on, relaxes me. I tend to have the same energy as another person or animal. When I see a person being happy and excited, my mood changes to happy and excited. When a dog is happy to see me, I get happy as well. When the person or animal is sad, angry, or stressed, the same thing happens, I get sad, angry, or stressed. Besides the aquarium therapy, it helps me relax when I see the fish swimming. Every time I see the fish swim so peacefully, I feel peace. When I see them playing around with each other, I feel happy and excited. If you are like me and also tend to attract others’ energy, this is one more reason to consider buying a fish tank.
This interview with my dad taught me the most important facts about fish and fish tanks. A fish can be a pet and the fact that they aren’t hard to deal with is wonderful. I will for sure buy a fish tank when I move out from my parent’s house, meanwhile, I will enjoy my dad’s. Fish tanks are awesome, everyone should have one.