How to Share Your Aquarium Hobby with Your Children

A Young Child Touching a Horseshoe Crab

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I’d like to share with you a little story from Igor Kanshyn, a fellow aquascaping blogger over at Shrimp Tank. If you’ve got children and you’re thinking about getting your kids interested in the aquascaping hobby, then you can definitely take a page out of Igor’s book.

Igor explained that a friend gave him a small glass bowl filled with colorful marbles. He gave the bowl to his young daughter, Sonia, to use as a starter tank. The tank didn’t actually have any creatures, mind you — it was just a bowl with water and a few marbles. This was a great way to introduce a young child to aquascaping because it gets the child involved without actually giving the child the responsibility of caring for pets or risking an expensive accident.

Marble Aquarium for Children

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From there, Igor cleverly transformed tank maintenance into a fun activity between parent and child. Igor was cleaning up his own aquarium and invited his daughter to clean her miniature aquarium as well. This is one of the best ways to get young children excited about aquascaping. Not only is it a great opportunity to get in some parent-child bonding, but you can also use that as an educational opportunity to teach the child important lessons about cleanliness, responsibility, and the sanctity of life.

At that point Sonia wondered why her father’s aquariums had plants, but her tank didn’t. Igor spent 10 minutes collecting a few snippets of pearl grass from his aquarium and added them to Sonia’s tank. He also allowed his daughter to pick one of the rocks from his aquariums and use it as a centerpiece in her kid-sized tank.

Planted Glass Aquarium for Children

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I have to say: my hat’s off to Igor of Shrimp Tank. Parents in the aquascaping hobby can really take a lesson from Igor’s parenting skills. He gradually introduced his daughter into the world of aquascaping, moving from a bowl with water to a bowl with a few plants. Once his daughter proves that she can take care of the plants, the next step is to let her take care of a few tiny fish or shrimp. Before long, she’ll be an aquascaping enthusiast just like her dear ol’ dad!

You might be tempted to give a child a complete aquarium to start with, but that’s a lot for a young child to swallow. A little kid isn’t going to be able to understand complicated things like pH balances and nitrogen levels. Igor allowed his daughter to take baby steps and gradually learn things one step at a time. And best of all: he transformed aquascaping into a fun activity that father and daughter can do together. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if these two talk about aquascaping together 20 years from now.

Family at a Public Aquarium

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If you want your kids to share in your hobby, then you would do well to follow Igor’s example. Help your children wade into the hobby at a kid-friendly pace with patience and enthusiasm. Indulge their childish whims by helping your children make small improvements to the aquarium. This will make your child feel like the aquarium is his aquarium that he designed and takes care of. Eventually, your child will ask if he can have a larger aquarium and the two of you can spend hours together chatting about plant combinations and favorite fish species.

Just remember: it’s never too early to get children interested in aquascaping. Studies have found that gentle sounds (such as an aquarium’s bubbles) encourage restful sleep and colorful visual stimulation can help a baby’s brain develop  by encouraging education play sessions. Aquascaping can truly enrich your child’s life — from stimulating his development when he’s young to encouraging parent-child bonding later in life.


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