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yougest low tech tank keeper should be

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how young can a tank keeper be?

1396 Views 25 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn
I have an above average intelligence, dexterous, maturity, 10 year old nephew who has been very interested in keeping fish for years, so it's not a passing fancy. His previous tanks were all failures because his advice came from idiot LPS clerks, and his clueless parents. At some point I would like to teach him everything about keeping a low tech planted tank, work with him on selecting equipment, plants, fish, then closely supervise the first Month of cycling. After that, he'll be on his own with water changes, vacuuming, filter media cleaning, water quality, and plant and fish health monitoring. So at what age do you think I should proceed and why?
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Start now! I have a newphew who is 6 and he has a 5g low light planted(with Java Fern and moss and some anubias species) and he cleans and his mom helps dose ferts(just nitrates). He has a mental disorder as well.
I think I got my first goldfish at the State Fair when I was either 10 or 11. Within a month, I had a 10 gallon tank stocked with various fish and was 100% responsible for it, with the exception of the financial aspect. I say, if you're there to show him the ropes, he'll do just fine!
I think it totally depends on the individual. I know full grown adults I wouldn't trust a low tech planted tank with.:)
It also depends on how active you want to be with the child. I had my first aquarium at age 5 when my dad brought home a baby RES turtle and a 10g tank. I kept care of the setup pretty autonomously, but definitely relied on my father for the details of how to keep the plants in the gravel and the fish and turtle well fed and healthy.

If you are willing to help a kid learn about this wide field, go for it! Don't worry about the age, if the child wants to learn, they will, and if they don't they won't. It's definitely one of the best learning experiences one can have. There's chemistry, botany, biology, geology, and design principles all rolled in to one hobby.
I think it totally depends on the individual. I know full grown adults I wouldn't trust a low tech planted tank with.:)
LOL, that is so true :hihi: :hihi:

Sounds to me like your nephew is lucky to have you as a relative, and will do just fine if you start now :proud:
As difficult as it sounds parental influence is permanent, you must teach not only the child but also the parents. (children while young assume mom and dad know everything)
I have a 12 year old that has been caring for a tank since he was 9, unfortunately he lost interest in his 70 gallon but still continues to take care of a low light planted nano. He stated the large tank was to hard and the nano is much easier.
I feel if a child is taught and with guidance can care for a tank. Here's a hint they love live bearers plus they can get friends interested and sell the babies to them.
I got my first tank when I was 10 and have always had at least one tank since. I've had lots of hobbies come and go. This is the only one I've stayed with.
6 or 7, I had tanks at that age, simple tank with nothing in it but a goldfish, no gravel no nothing, no filter. The fish lived for many years, I think 10 is far too safe.

Children aren't stupid.
I agree to start as early as you can. I have memories of sitting with my dad talking about guppy tails and colors and guppy babies from when I was a little girl, I don't know how old but young anyways. I will always remember that experience sitting with my dad in front of the fish tank, watching the female guppies in the breeder trap waiting to see the babies come.

Im 14 and i have a 75 gallon planted tank and a 20 gallon reef that only I take care of since my mom doesnt know anything about fish, she just thinks that they look cool. I started the hobby in december last year with a 20 gallon petsmart looking tank (plastic decor, sunken ships, blue gravel) and here i am now with natural tanks with sand and driftwood and plants. Ive been looked down upon many times due to my age but there have been many times people like me because of my knowledge but still this young. Luckily my lfs fall in the like part but some people on other forums dont like me since they think i am young i shouldnt be allowed to help other people. And they think i shouldnt be allowed to take care of fish since i am too young. There was a lfs somewhere that banned kids under 15 from buying fish from them without parental consent, but i still see stupid adults have bowls and say "can i get a goldfish here?" and the store says yes....
I had my first tank (yes, planted) with guppies when I was 6. I traded the pair of guppies for some of my stamps. Lost both the stamps and not too long after the guppies. Got stuck with the hobby though.
I think it totally depends on the individual. I know full grown adults I wouldn't trust a low tech planted tank with.:)
i agree....if he is mature and responsible....go for it
I say as early as they can read and use the internet
I say as early as they can read and use the internet
But only until 13 can they start posting in forums...
my dad had aquariums (yes, planted) before I was born. I was probably 12 when I had "my own" tank with guppies, and he just guides me on what to do.

The key thing is that the kid should not lose interest -- I never did. My brother and sister was never even interested at all, unlike me. If you do decide to guide a kid, go with a tank that you yourself can take care of if the kid loses interest.
I'd say 10 is fine but even earlier. They limiting factor is whether an adult is willing to help financially and with knowledge. Given the state of science education what a great way to introduce a child to biology, biochemistry, ecology.
its a great learning experience to keeping and caring for pets. Learning responsibility.
I was really young when I stated helping my granny take care of a gold fish tank maybe 5 or 6 it wasn't until I was about 9 that I tried my first tank out. It had 4 gold fish and a common plec in a 10 gal never the less they all died within a week. a few years later maybe when I was 12 a friend of my fathers from down the street was moving and couldn’t keep his fish anymore so he gave them to me the tank was over stocked again and I learned that it was and bought a 20 gallon I learned how to grow plants and what they needed and now I’m running a high tech heavily planted discus tank at 15 I think the earlier they learn how to raise them and realize 28 fish or 8 gold fish just don’t fit in a 10 gallon and that clown puke gravel is really not all that beautiful. Try to show him some low-tech pics from the site and maybe some T Amano then help him research stuff online about stocking plants fish loads the nitrogen cycle etc. Again I think the earlier the better kids are just waiting for Knowledge they yearn for it. When a person teaching them something they are interested in they absorb every word so instead of telling him what to do help him research it. Maybe tell him to write up a plant list of low tech plants he likes and then help him with final list that way he wont loose his interest also maybe advise a live bearer for him so he can have the excitement of babies . Good luck !
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