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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 3 year old, which is why I got into this hobby in the first place. Her little friend got a betta for her 2nd birthday, and my daughter wanted one too, so I figured why not. I knew it would be my responsibility for now, which is what one expects with pets for toddlers.

We got her a betta and a 10G tank and put it in the living room. I got her involved as much as a 2 year old could be. It was her job to feed, with her counting out the pellets, dropping them in, adding the water conditioner, helping hold the gravel siphon, etc.

Now, 5 bettas later (we have 5 total now, we haven't gone through 5), my daughter is now 3 and wants a tank in her bedroom. Great. I have a spare 5 gallon tank, media to seed it, a heater. She's responsible and caring enough that she won't put anything in the tank or anything like that. I'm going to do a princess theme - coat some princess toys in clear plasti-dip and put them in for extra decor and a castle cave, etc.

Just a general query - how involved are your kids in the fish care, and at what age did they start taking on more responsibility? I want to teach her as much as I can about this. I feel like having these fish as pets has already taught her a great deal about responsibility, empathy, and caring for another creature.
 

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My Kids are 2 1/2, 6, 7 and 10 yrs old we have several tanks, as well as other furry and scaly creatures: While the cleaning and such of the aquariums and reptiles still falls primarily on the shoulders of my DH and I, and we do find we have to remind them from time to time (mostly my 7 yr old).... my 6, 7 and 10 year olds are completely responsible for feeding and cleaning of the furry critters cages (with adult supervision on the 6 and 7 year olds).... 2 1/2 yr old is still in the I'm helping mommy and Daddy whether they want it or not phase (you know the one where if your not careful they will make an even bigger mess, but hey at least he is trying)...
 

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I wanted a fish all through childhood, but my parents said no. But then when I was 10 we did a science unit on fish we each got our own goldfish and got to take it home. Since then, I have cared for guppies, glofish, goldfish, and I got my first betta in December. I think having a tank in her room might work, she sounds like she is very mature for her age. but I'm not sure about the princess toys in the plastic coating, I don't know if it'd be safe to put in a fish tank. And I would only put one betta in her room for now, just to see how it works out. Make sure she remembers to feed the fish and all that stuff
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Plasti dip is waterproof, inert, and 100% aquarium safe when cured. It is awesome stuff. I coat any questionable decoration in it, and I have a coat of the clear on my 3d background in my 54 gallon tank. The best part is it fills and seals any cracks or pits in whatever you're coating, meaning any algae growth or any nasties just wipe right off with a paper towel. People use the colored versions to coat filter tubes or spraybars to make them match each other or blend into the background. I know people who have even used it as a final coating on diy plywood aquariums!
 

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Your three year old is very responsible, mature, and advanced for her age. She'll grow up to be someone who has a high iq, and is very trustworthy and will have no trouble getting accepted for jobs and colleges. maybe she'll even be advanced enough to start kindergarten a year early, or skip a grade.
But warning, keeping a betta in her room will make her very attached to it, so when her betta dies, you can expect her to be really sad!!! It will be a hard time for her since she's never lost a betta before and now she has one in her room.
I got my first cat at age 9, first fish at age 10, second cat at age 12, I've had a lot of fish die and now I've got two bettas, both living in my room. I'm getting a snake soon
 

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My kids are 5 and 9. Both have had pets since birth to some degree . I think my son had aquatic pets starting at 2 maybe. And my daughter had them from birth but were shared community tanks with her brother . She got her own bedroom tank at 2 and has kept up feeding and assisting water changes since about the same time. I think it's important to keep a good gage on how much of it is your desire for new fish and how much it is hers. I mention that because I have to admit while my son does have fish in his room it's not high on his priority list . He didn't hesitate when asked if he cares enough .. He loves his bearded dragon and takes excellent care of her . He is fully capable in reptile husbandry .. Because that's what *he* cares about . We have a dog and he will help with her care or any of the other reptiles in the house . Will feed the other tanks if asked or help me set up for water changes on the tanks .. But I don't expect much from him on his bedroom tank so in exchange it's become my tank to stock how I please in his room. He will help me with my tank in his room..if asked . That's why it's nice to know their true level of interest . My daughter has 2 tanks in her room and is expected to keep up with their care . She knows which fish prefer what food.. What all is needed to do water change and can do herself but I like to help. She too has a dragon in her room and absolutely is in charge of his care.

I think what helps is allowing them to help you decorate the tank . More so as they get more experience .


Also I must add.. While I understand the concern some have with wanting to protect their kids from the loss of a pet .. Or I guess the real wording would be the knowledge they lost a pet? I don't find it a really good idea. This world is real .. Loss and death are real. I made the decision to involve my kids in all aspects of care.. Including death.. It's unpleasant sure .. But I feel it's allowed my kids to have a better understanding of their relationship with their pets . I do still hear about pets lost from yrs ago.. But in a loving not exactly sad way.. Just reminiscing . I think it's healthy .

Sent from Petguide.com App
 

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We've had several pets that have been with us since our son was born. We had a cat die (he was hand raised by me so I was CRUSHED) a few days after our son turned 2. The bettas were initially because he wanted an orange one he saw at Walmart. Apollo came home, and now we are up to 5. However, at 4, he is still convinced that they need to be fed CONSTANTLY. And that, of course they want to see his toys mommy! Like up close and personal! I mean, it has to go into their tanks so they can see it mommy! *sigh*
After the pepper grinder went into the tank (complete with peppercorns) last week, he has been banned from the tank.
 

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We have a kid under 10 living with us and he's involved in the care of our dogs. He helps out with the fish but as mentioned earlier, you need to check the level of interest in your child.

Atm, she's 3. It's tough to say she'll commit to the fish tanks just bec she grew up with them. She'll either advance with the hobby or get fed up with having to be nitpicked with the care for an un-cuddly bunch pets.
 

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I believe I was 6 when my parents started getting me bettas -- we started with a 3 gallon critter keeper with a heater.

My parents had me ver involved with taking care of my fish. They were kept in my room by my bed. I was in charge of feeding them and checking on them every day (im sure my parents make sure I actually did this at first).

When it came to water changes - I remember that my dad had me help every time. Meaning while he helped me cup the fish. and then after he carried the tank into the bathroom, I helped him clean the gravel and the plants and put everything back.

So i think its important to get her into the routine. So basically what you are doing. Have her present for water changes. Have her feed them. Sounds like youre doing everything right.

About the fish passing on -- I know I was very very very sad when my first died (I had him for almost two years). But i also remember being like well now he's in a better place. And I asked my parents for another fish.
 

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sheilding your children from a pet death is the worst thing you can do because then you don't have the chance to sit down with them and explain that its natural. Your daughter sounds very kind and sweet, it shows in how well she takes care of her non- cuddly pets.
 

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I have a 2.5 year old. Right now the most she does is demand to look at the fish, count them, and try to say their names. According to her we have Soon (Monsoon) Sheen (Jishin) and soo-MAH-ee (Tsunami) It's pretty cute.
I never thought to let her help me feed them and count the pellets. I might start doing that in the morning.
 

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I got my first 10g tank for my two boys (then 2 and 6 months, now 3 and 21 months) to be able to look at the fish knowing I would be taking care of them, but that was ok since I had fish when I was a kid. My older son helps with feeding and "helps" with water changes etc, the younger does sometimes but mostly just watches them. When I decided to breed bettas I got them involved with that too, teaching them how to feed the live food with a q-tip and dropper.
Then my older boy asked for a fish in his room so I set him up with a 1 gallon heated, planted tank that we water change every 2-3 days and HE is the one who reminds mommy that "Flash the Fish" needs to be cleaned and that Flash needs his supper. He says good night to him every night before we turn off the light. But we've had several other fish die and we've explained what happens. One good thing is that I know exactly how old Flash is cause he is one I bred myself. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the input everyone :) We have already experience the first fish death (dropsy), and my daughter handled it well. I was away for a few days this past week, and the first thing my daughter asked when I got back is if she can still have her fishy in her bedroom. It's about time to start a chore chart/allowance system with her anyway, so I'm going to make helping with fish care part of her weekly chores. She already does help me with the other tanks, but this one will be "hers" with me obviously having the main responsibility. I have a day off this week, so I'll set up her tank for her and move her betta from the divided tank and into her room.

Bonus for me - I have an empty spot in the divided 20g tank...time for a new fishy for mommy!!
 

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But make sure to remind her that at some point the fish is going to die, so she will prepare for it and get used to the idea so she won't be too sad. Having a fish in her room will make her feel very attached to it, so the death will be hard.
 
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