Your child has likely asked you at some point for a pet. If members of your household have cat or dog allergies (or if you simply don’t want the time commitment involved with the care of these animals), you should consider buying one of the lowest-maintenance pets available: the goldfish.
Pet care for a goldfish, while misunderstood by many parents, is low-maintenance and can allow you and your kids to have a goldfish as a pet for years to come. A fun way to involve your child is to set up a goldfish care chart which lists the tasks your child is responsible for when taking care of his or her goldfish.
When you and your child visit a local pet store, carefully examine the goldfish before you buy it and buy the one that appears to be the healthiest. Some signs of unhealthy goldfish include:
While goldfish are commonly kept in bowls (and one to two goldfish can live comfortably within one), a bowl is not the healthiest home for your goldfish because the round shape leaves little room for oxygen exchange. Additionally, bowls will limit their growth potential. While a goldfish raised in a bowl may grow to be 2-3 inches long, one raised in a nurturing aquarium can grow much longer, from six inches up to over a foot.
Given the proper room to grow, you and your child can raise your goldfish for a lifespan of up to twenty years, while a goldfish raised in a bowl may last only two to three.
Some controversy exists as to how often a goldfish should be fed. Instructions on some brands of goldfish flakes will instruct you to feed 2-3 times per day while many articles on caring for goldfish suggest once per day. Some veterinarians even recommend that goldfish be fed no more than every other day.
In general, though, there are some guidelines to follow in feeding your goldfish:
You and your kids can enjoy raising a single goldfish for years with proper care, and you will never have to worry about a goldfish shedding on the sofa or peeing on the carpet. If your child is demanding a pet, a goldfish may be the perfect option for you.