Getting your family interested and involved in the aquarium hobby is a great way to not only strengthen your relationships but also allows you to spend the necessary time on your tank and not neglect what matters most in your life. It might also make it much easier to convince your spouse that it is a good idea to spend your mortgage payment on a bounce mushroom instead.

Visiting a public aquarium is hands down one of the best activities to spark interest in keeping an aquarium.  They provide an easy way for adults and kids alike to enjoy the beauty and experience the wonder of our world’s oceans and the animals that inhabit them.  When you get to the reef exhibit, be sure to stop and take a moment to impress your family with your knowledge of coral and fish identification.  Ask your kids or spouse what animals they found most interesting and keep something similar in your tank to engage them at home.

Feeding your fish and corals is probably the most fun part of keeping an aquarium.  I have never met a child who does find it fascinating to watch my fish eat.  Teach your children or spouse how to properly feed the aquarium and allow them to feed the tank with you.  This will lead to all kinds of great opportunities to explain why you are feeding a particular food and why it is important to feed them in a particular manner.

You can take this a step further and have your family members help with maintaining the tank.  I find offering a little reward for completing the task helps get the job done; especially if it involves cleaning a skimmer cup or filter sock.

Tell your spouse that if we can get the tank cleaned before dinnertime, lobster and steak is on the menu.   Before you know it, tank maintenance becomes a fun family activity that benefits not only you and your family but also the health of your aquarium.

After some time of keeping an aquarium, it is likely you will get pretty chummy with your local fish store.  It is not uncommon for many of us to visit a fish store on a weekly basis so why not bring the family along to find out where daddy is spending his Saturday afternoons.  Tell them to check out all the fish and show you which ones they like the best.  Maybe you can even convince the store clerk to schedule a special feeding just for you and the family.

Attend a frag swap and let your spouse or children choose your new coral or fish.  Rather than argue about which coral you can afford, let your kids or spouse pick out the new addition to your tank.  Give them a budget or specific option among some animals or coral that are suitable for your tank, and let them decide.  Even better yet, let them name the animal and learn how to care for it!  Frag swaps and aquarium club meetings are also family friendly and offer a great opportunity to meet like-minded people with families just like yours.  

Volunteer your time to help maintain an aquarium in the classroom.  While this may not be so easy for all of us it is a great way to engage your kids and teach them all about the biology inside an aquarium. Engaging your kid’s peers and creating excitement for keeping aquariums is one step closer to getting your children on board.  Plus, this will benefit your community and gets you involved in your child’s education in a way that is fun for both you and your kids.

Finally, you can consider getting your child or spouse a tank to call their own; within reason of course.  Marine Depot stocks a variety of small all-in-one aquariums that are easy to maintain and would be a great addition to your home.

API makes some great small tank kits that range in size from 1 to 3 gallons and are great for Betta Fish or a couple of small freshwater fish.

The JBJ Nano Cubes and Oceanic BioCubes are reasonably priced and include just about everything you need to get a Reef Tank up and running.  These tanks easily support a mixed reef that can house a variety beginner type corals such as Zoanthids, mushrooms, and leather corals.  Being a small tank you want to stick with small fish such as clownfish, chromis, damsels and small gobies; all of which are easy to keep and perfect for first time hobbyists.  

We do realize that getting an additional tank is a commitment but it is likely you already own everything you need to maintain the tank. In addition to being fun, maintaining an aquarium will help teach your kids responsibility and all about the circle of life.  A small nano-tank can also double as a great night light and even provide some relaxing water noise to help with getting to sleep.

Books, documentaries, and even the Disney-Pixar films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory can be great tools to keep your family engaged.

All of us here at Marine Depot want the best for you and your aquarium and hope that you might consider some of these activities to help promote responsible aquarium husbandry for the generations of fish-keepers to come.

-Take Care and Happy Reefkeeping.