We have always had pets in the family, from hamsters, to dogs. Then when our youngest was born 5 years ago, he had such severe eczema and allergies we could no longer keep any pets in the house. Having Dominik turned our lives upside down, we had to remove carpets, start steaming every where weekly just to try and reduce his flare ups.
Pre children taking over the home I used to keep tiger oscars, which come into the category of mildly aggressive cichlids, they are such entertaining fish as they have their own personalities often begging for food. I do miss having them so we decided to bring another aquarium into the home, one the kids can get involved with, I think its so important for kids to learn responsibilities of caring for animals.
As you know we are in the middle of decorating our home, see Instagram for more pictures on that. I tend to find aquariums stand out from interiors, the cabinets come in beach, black or white. The style options are very limited unless you go for a custom built set up, so I decided to add my own flare to the traditional aquarium to match my interiors and become part of the room.
We went for Tetra Starter Line LED 54L aquarium, it comes with every thing you need: LED lighting, a heater, a filter with a spare cartridge, plus 2 year warranty. It’s a good starting size, if you go for a really small tank it can be quite hard to keep the water levels acceptable for fish (the larger the tank the easier it is). Also its not too big that it takes up too much space, measuring 61 x 35 x 31 cm (WxHxD).
When deciding where to keep the aquarium you have to consider the weight of it, when you add up 54l of water, the gravel and the actual aquarium you are looking at about 70kg approx. I went to our local pet store and purchased a suitable stand as our sideboard wasn’t strong enough.
Fish tanks should be kept in a quieter area of the house, especially if you have little ones running around. So we set it up in the dinning room, and decided to create a monochrome tank with a hint of gold. First thing I did was to take the lid outside and spray paint it gold using Valspar spray paint. Then using black gravel to make the white accents stand out, I found the white marble stone in Pets at Home, and the white plant in Maidenhead Aquatics.
To finish off the actual aquarium unit, I covered the 2 doors in sticky back plastic so stop it looking like a retro black ash unit, and using the same spray paint, I painted the door handles to make it look all one unit.
Once the water levels were stable, we visited the pet shop for the kids to pick their fish. They wanted to keep within the colour scheme, and picked some dalmatian molly’s and some red leopard molly’s. The kids really enjoy taking it in turns feeding them every morning, switching their light on and watching them whilst they eat their meals.
I hope if you are considering bringing a pet into the home, you consider a fish tank. They are very relaxing, and a good introduction to the responsibilities of keeping animals for children. Although I think the kids now want an aquarium each they love it so much. The Tetra Starter Line has been the perfect tank for the kids, its easy to clean, you can change the filter without even putting your hands in the water. The whole lid lifts up on back hinges to access the whole tank, or you can just lift the feeding hatch for the kids to feed the fish.
Heres a little video to show our fishies in action, they have all been named and the kids some how tell them apart. I would I could share some more pictures of the fish, but they dart about so quick, its impossible to capture them. But heres an idea how relaxing it is to watch as they swim about.