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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I've noticed a not so subtle trend in this community of ragging on decor. Even very nice decor that fits perfectly within a well thought-out theme gets a few barbs from the planted tank purists.

Well, in my tank I have A LOT of junk:



Here's why. I've had fish tanks off and on my whole life. Now that my kids (see below) are 3 and 5 years old, I wanted to have an aquarium that they could participate in. I'm mostly interested in the plants, my wife the fish. But the kids get very excited about the decor. When we go to the LFS they beg and plead for a new decoration and I let them get whatever they want.

At first my daughter got a soccer ball and my son a police care. Since then we've added a stegosaurus, some seashells, a rainbow, and a treasure chest.

No, it isn't going to win any aquascaping awards, but it keeps the whole family involved. And I like that. Perhaps in the future I'll have a separate tank and I will go au naturel... and all natural.

In the meantime, I just felt the need to preemptively explain the stuff at the bottom of my tank before the jabs come. :icon_wink:


 

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What darling kids! All that ever matters is if the inhabitants of the tank are healthy & cared for, and if the owners of the tank enjoy it. Frankly, I think anything that gets kids involved in hobbies is wonderful. Heck. I'm a grown up and I want to build a Hobbit neighborhood! LOL
 

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Ah, the Carnegie Collection Stegosaurus. Collecting dinosaur toys/figures is my other hobby so I would know haha. Never thought about mixing the two hobbies together like that.

It's a nice thing you're doing for your kids. I don't know if I could ever allow such things in one of my tanks. :icon_roll
 

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Aw, I bet you would - even if it meant setting up a tank designated for just such a thing. The delight on the children's faces as they enjoy their would be worth it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, all. :)

@Axel, that's funny. We live about 15 minutes from Dinosaur World and have annual passes. My daughter celebrated her last birthday there. I'm not knowledgeable about dino toys/figures, but the stego is my daughter's favorite dino so we picked this one up during one of our trips to put in the thank. I always think how small its head is. :)
 

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"Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved.
The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these." ~ Susan B. Anthony
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The tank I had in Chicago, before we moved to Florida and before we had kids, was very simple and very natural... dark gravel, driftwood, tons of moss. It took me about 4 years to get it exactly how I liked it. It was so great. We also did a little breeding then.

But now it is more about interaction and education with the whole family. It is also great, but the tank looks totally different. :)
 

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TOTALLY understand!!!

My daughters tank has a castle, a unicorrn and a random tiara (that is bigger than both the castle and unicorn??)

My son's - well the tank including all plants and fish was free on CL. I figured I would evenutally rescape it. Well, we had a huge die off (not sure what happened sadly, just came up one nigh and every fish and shrimp was dead...the perils of aquariums). I just recently decided to get it going again. Dumped all the neon gravel it came with but kept the plants. My son (5) was actually stoked about the piece of driftwood he picked out. He has not yet mentioned the pirate ship and cave that I have not put back in yet...if he notices well, its his tank, I will make room for them:)

I figure what better way to start the next generation of hobbyist. You have to cater it to personal likes and dislikes and keep it fun:)
 

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Anything that generates that kind of smile on the face of a child can go into that family's tank. Period. (I'm lucky - my granddaughter, a fan of "Bubbleguppies" smiles like that just because there are guppies in my tank!

~Bruce, also a fan of dinosaurs and models of them...
 

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You’re a great dad and on the right track. My kids are not grown up and both have planted tanks because they enjoyed the hobby from an early stage in their lives. I remember the rainbows, sunken ships, skulls, Barbie dolls etc…
I now have tanks that are as you would say au natural but there are days that I miss them and their deco’s.
My youngest daughter is in college in a dorm and has a Nano planted tank that she has built on her own that is beautiful and she has started a trend and spreading her joy to many that are following her and setting up tanks too.
Enjoy your children and their deco's while you can they grow up fast and leave the nest.
 

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My kids are exposed to nature and natural tanks a lot. They play with trash, and about anything else they can grab before I take it away. They have plenty of plastic and other stuff in the form of toys they touch and mess with, they do not get to touch the inside decore in the tank(yet).

One view might be this keeps them interested in the aquarium.
But the plastic junk? Or the Fish? Or because you are interested and they are simply copying you?

Hard to say sometimes.

There's not much learned from plastic stuff, if I teach them about live plants, fish, and then take them to a national park, local pond, creek etc and point out those same things, or to the Zoo and show them, this is a far more instructive than placating their ever changing desires and "Daddy! I want this!!!"

They get their way enough. I side track them to more productive things and less destruction to my stuff. But there are other areas where they can learn a lot, I can placate them with many OTHER things. As an adult, I can guide them, I do not have to bend, rather, be creative:icon_idea

I was happy playing in the creek when I was their age. No plastic stuff needed. I ended up taking plants and the minnows and darters from those creeks to start this hobby.

I learned a lot more and had more fun.
As far as a dad, an adult, this is what I am still:



Ask your kids, let's go play in the creek and float down on an inner tube, or let's go buy tacky blue plastic plants?

That's a no brainer. 9 out 10 kids agree.

Good news is they change and then when they are 7-12 years old, they often get more interested in the plants/reefs etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Tom,

Of course, you are right and we try to spend as much time outside as we can - going to the local state parks, zoo, camping, etc. And my kids know that no amount of begging will get them something that we didn't walk into a store intending to buy.

But as I said, unlike most of the posters here, I'm not a purist when it comes to tanks. If my 3 year old wants a police car in the tank - fine. The primarily reason I started this thread is so that when I post pictures of my tank and get flak for the stuff, I can link here and not have to explain myself over and over.
 

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if you're a "purist" and can't see any room for a plastic pineapple in this hobby then you're taking yourself a little too seriously, because let's face it... there's nothing "pure" or "natural" about putting water and plants/animals in a glass box in your living room and keeping it all alive with electric-sucking filters, heaters and lights, and dumping lots of man-made fertilizers into the tank every other day.

And this is coming from someone who has never had a decoration in any of her tanks. But I do think it's cool to see it in other people's tanks, whether it's a well-placed plastic straw hut in a "jungle" or a dinosaur next to a rainbow. As my name might suggest, I love Sponge Bob, and I yearn for blue gravel and one of those [email protected] pineapples every time I see one at the LFS. One of these days I'll set up a tank just for this purpose. :)

Keep on keepin' on NateBW!! Kids' aesthetics are different than our own. Theirs will mature just like ours did. :)
 

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My mom got me a ceramic castle for my tank for Christmas. I was planning on rescaping my tank anyway, so I'm going to put it in there, because I know it would make her happy if she was here to see it (I live in CT, my parents in MI).
 

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Speaking of ceramic doo-dads for the aquarium, am I the only one that remembers the small glazed ceramic deep sea divers, mermaids, etc? I think they are adorable! Unfortunately everyone else must too, because they cost and arm & a leg on That Which Must Not be Named. I would love to collect them & have them scattered about on my book shelves. I really want to put a vintage deep sea diver in my 125, because the original 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was my favorite movie as a child!
 
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