All About Animals: The Issues (Ages 11-14): Fish
Fish are wonderful animals. And they are smarter and have better memories than you might expect! Fish can recognise each other in their shoal, and they keep an eye out to see which fish are friends with each other. They also use tools, build large nests and talk to one another, just like we talk to our friends. Where we use words, they express themselves by using sounds like grunts, clicks and roars, and by changing colour. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that?!
Like birds, fish need their freedom. In nature, they swim around in oceans, rivers and lakes. To them, a fishbowl must feel like a prison. Fish are not happy or healthy living in fishbowls. If you have fish, it is very important to give them a large tank with lots of interesting things to do and real plants, rocks and toys. The tank or aquarium should have clean gravel on the bottom, a filter to keep the water clean and an air pump to make sure the water stays healthy. Fish should be fed once a day with food that is right for them. When you clean the tank out, be very careful not to change the water temperature.
If you keep fish in an outdoor pond, make sure that it’s a large pond with plants. The water should be kept clean, so take out any leaves that fall in. The pond should be cleaned out once a year, and if the water freezes, the ice should be gently melted.
You can hurt fish just by touching them, so if you need to move them, use a net and be as gentle as possible.
Finally, fish need friends, so experts think that it’s best not to keep a fish alone. And remember that goldfish can live to be 25 years old – that’s a big commitment!